My sister has been placed in induce coma for the last ten days on ICU, my family needs your help
Edit: removed broken link
Edit: repaired link gofundme campaign for my sister
This have been the two worst weeks of my life.
I have a big family for most modern standards. My younger sister "Isa" lives with my mother in our family home in Caracas. My mother has been in the US the last couple of months visiting my older sister "M" and Isa has been living with her boyfriend at his house. My brother "JA" migrated last year to Europe with his family and my other sister "AM" lives in another city 5 hours away from Caracas. I have been living on my own since early 2017 with my then future wife, which I married back on December 2017, so our family house (where our mother and Isa currently live), is, at the beginning of this story, unoccupied, except for two old dogs and two cats.
Two Thursdays ago, I got a message from Isa, asking me to take care of one of the cats which had died the evening before, she wasn't going to be able to bury / dispose of it herself as she was feeling really ill and was going to check in to the hospital's emergency the next day because of a continuing fever / flu. Come Friday, I go to my family's home, dispose of the poor kitty and message my sister to check how she's doing at the ER and whether she's OK, going to come back soon, etc. Apparently she wasn't done with her emergency tests, and being the great brother that I am, went to the hospital to check-up on her status. Turns out she's in a very rough state, shivering all over and experiencing severe pain in her stomach. Knowing my sister's history of bizarre allergies and quirks, (e.g., she doesn't like and is actively repulsed by sugar / sweet tasting food or beverages, of any kind, not even chocolate) I wasn't that much alarmed, maybe she ate something bad. I left and promised to come back soon.
When I came back an hour or so later, the doctors where talking to her with this grave, concerned look on their faces and voice. Hepatitis, she can't leave and needs to be hospitalized immediately for hydration and close monitoring by the doctors as her hepatic test show alarming high levels of tranzaminase, among other things.
Now, in any other circumstance this would be concerning and worrying, but in Venezuela at this precise moment in time is a bleeping disaster. Getting sick, falling ill to an easily preventable disease anywhere else right now in my country means pulling all the brakes and hoping whatever you got goes away on its own, or at best is easily treated with over the counter medicines. This wasn't going to be the case.
So my sister gets hospitalized during the weekend, the doctor's give her saline solution to hydrate her and some mild pain reliever (she can't be given any medicine as her liver seems to be collapsing ). She can't be given solid food and most of the hospital's non-solid food is fruit based and thus sweet. She's hardly
eating anything Saturday through Sunday, and whatever she eats or drinks she vomits after 5 minutes or so. On Sunday my sister AM arrives to keep her company that night and help her get well. We all feel she should start improving sooner than later as she's being taken care of by a top-notch hospital, for Venezuelan standards. Come Monday I get a message from her: Isa is not OK
I get to the hospital as quick as possible, AM is teary eyed and Isa is mumbling incoherently "mommie, mommie, my mommie" while clutching her tummy in a feverish agony. I have never felt as frightened, miserable and useless as I did in that moment. The doctors arrive and they have to insert a tube on her nose to her stomach so that they can feed her directly, but it's impossible, Isa can't stand the tube for more than half a minute. She pulls it off once, twice, thrice, even while restrained by nurses and doctors and me, gasping for air while sobbing and crying. She doesn't know where she is, she doesn't know what's going on. I cry as well. My father passed away 3 years ago due to cancer, but this moment right now is
the worst moment of my whole life.
The decision is made to sent her to the Intensive care unit.
I have to tiptoe around the status of my sister with our mother on the phone, I tell her she needs to fly back to Venezuela right away, Isa is in pain and needs her mom. The previous Friday I had told her she should be ready to return in case of emergency but after consulting Isa decided against it during the weekend . Her return ticket was for February the 4th and changing it was way too expensive for our sister M, who paid for her trip. Also, she could be looked after by me, her boyfriend and AM while she returned, as most people usually endure hepatitis while resting and sleeping . Again, this wasn't going to be the case.
So Isa is sent to the ICU and finally the doctors come clean, she has an hyper-acute, one-in-a-thousand occurrence of severe Hepatitis type A. Her liver is basically pumping toxic ammonia into every crevice of her body, including her brain. Her lungs are filling with liquid, her hands and feet swollen like hams. I have to convince my sister M to send my mother back home without telling her that she's unconscious. I have to dodge my mother's questions about Isa's status, but she wasn't born yesterday, she knows something's gone wrong. When she finally begin's the 15 hour trip back, I have to break the news to my brother JA over the phone, my voice breaks and I'm a sobbing incomprehensible mess.
My mother arrives the next day, I have to pick her up at the airport, I go with my wife and a family friend to help me explain the situation to her. I let them do all the talking, she cries all the ride up, we drive straight to the hospital. Two days later my sister M joins us as well. I begin to pray for the first time in 30+ years.
That was 9 days ago, during this time Isa has been at the ICU in an induced coma while hanging for her life, the hepatic readings on her liver improve drastically once she's sedated and hooked up to all the machinery, but the rest of her body is a battlefield: Her lungs show signs of infection, she needs steroids that no drug store sells, she's uncoupling from the breathing machine, her heartbeat is decreasing, her blood pressure is rising, etc etc. We've been through hell and back, each day a new threat, a new menace.
Today we finally got a small break, the sedatives had been reduced last couple of days and she was able to respond to simple commands, open fingers, blink, that kind of stuff. Isa's still hooked up but things are beginning to look up for her. Doctors are mostly confident she hasn't suffered brain damage and we can't wait for her to regain conscience and be assessed properly. I want Isa to wake up and hug our mom.
Now, for the difficult part
My sister Isa has been extremely lucky to have worked for one of the doctors that run the hospital she's being treated at, she used to work as a sort of medical visitor / sales representative for a company that used to work with this aforementioned doctor a few years back, so the hospital has treated her so far without demanding upfront payments as every hospital do here when you don't have insurance. Unluckily, she wanted to shift to a different, less expensive policy by the end of the year and wasn't able to finalize the deal before her previous policy ran out. Talk about bad timing.
We're pretty sure we won't be able to get the new policy to cover the expenses, and my family combined can't cover for them either. We're very grateful with the hospital as they've been terrific with our sister, but we dread to ask about how big the bill is been getting, as this is one of the very best clinics in the country and am pretty sure each ICU day is, with luck, about 4 figures each, give or take. We simply don't have this kind of money and I don't know what else to do.
We've set up a gofundme page for Isa, it's managed by my sister M and we hope to get enough contributions from good-willed people out there like yourself, as well as from our relatives, friends and people in general to help Isa in her road to recovery. I feel terribly sorry for doing this, asking for assistance, but these are trying times and circumstances are what they are. My sister means the world to me and she's very much worth any and all trouble.
Thanks in advance everyone for reading through, sorry for the long post, feel free to ask anything and i'll be responding as soon as I can (it's very, very late, but I couldn't go to bed without opening the thread)