A Humble Request.

[See below for updates.]


My sister spent several days immobile on the floor of her apartment recently. Her longtime friend realized that something was wrong and he called the paramedics. She was hospitalized in mid-April, had a sudden heart attack on Easter Day, 21 April. She was later discharged to a care facility within the same medical complex.

We still don’t know what caused all of this. She has no medical insurance, and there is no designated financial Power of Attorney.

Her mental state is slowly improving, but she’s unable to make cognitive decisions. She has a long way to go physically as well.

Hopefully she’ll fully recover, but we have no way of knowing how long that’s going to take. Her medical caregivers can’t give a timeline either. Maybe she’ll recover, maybe she’ll recover partially, and maybe she won’t recover at all.

We’ve set up a GoFundMe account for Suzanne to offset her monthly expenses for rent, water and power to her apartment with the hope that she can return; meanwhile we’re waiting for long-term prognosis. We’re considering pursuing legal Guardianship as a last resort.

Here’s the link to Suzanne’s GoFundMe page. Any amounts are appreciated, and if you choose to contribute, please do so anonymously.


If you can’t afford to contribute, please don’t. This is not a pressure campaign.

Bill (aka Bunk)

19 May 2019 Update: There have been some improvements physically and mentally. Suzanne still has a feeding tube, an IV for antibiotics, and needs to wear “mittens” to keep her from pulling them out. She’s somewhat coherent but still drifts. Recovery is going to take a while, and we’re praying that it comes soon.

27 March 2019 Update: Suzanne’s feeding tube was removed, and the doctors replaced it with a PEG. She can speak clearly now. I spoke with her on the phone for the first time since she’d been hospitalized and she told me all about the weather… she was reading it from the scroll on the TV even though the scroll was about tornados and hail in Oklahoma, not Ohio. I’ll take that as a plus.

08 June 2019 Update: Suzanne’s making slow progress. She’s able to stand and walk a bit with assistance. Mentally, it appears she’s still in the grey zone, still has to wear mittens or wrist restraints. Oh, and she got a hair cut.2019-06-05 Suzanne

12 June 2019 Update: Medicaid is demanding that Suzanne provide documentation of US Citizenship within 90 days. Her driver’s license doesn’t count.

27 June 2019 Update: Suzanne’s learning how to walk again. We spoke with her last weekend and she sounded just like her normal self, although she’s still a bit confused. She knows she still has some mental problems to overcome, and I think that’s a plus.

2019-07-06 Suzanne in Madeira

06 July 2019 Update: Suzanne has graduated from Special Care and was moved to a local skilled nursing facility yesterday. She has improved both physically and mentally, and her doctor expects “a full recovery.” A doctor wouldn’t say that if he didn’t believe it. Not sure how long that’s going to take, but we’re paying her rent on her apartment out of pocket for now. Any donations are appreciated as the GoFundMe account is tapped out.

13 July 2019 Update: We’ve spoken with Suzanne over the phone several times recently, and her personality is intact. She speaks lucidly, jokes, complains, just like her normal self. She’s somewhat aware that her brain plays tricks on her. Sometimes she’s convinced that she’s in other places and in earlier times. Physically she’s doing better.

Meanwhile Medicaid has kicked in. They finally accepted documentation that my sister is a U.S. Citizen.

23 July 2019 Update: We’ve got a setback. Suzanne is unstable on her feet, but decided to get up and open the door to her room and fell. She got some stitches in her forehead and a fractured femur. How can this happen in a skilled nursing facility?

10 August 2019 Update: Suzanne’s fracture was a compression break, and it was reset with a couple of screws. She’s scheduled to have her PEG and colostomy tubes removed this week. That means her insides have healed.

She’s talkative and coherent, yet still has some confusion about where she is and where she’s been. The progress is slow, but there is improvement, and Reese’s Cups appear to be part of her therapy.

21 September 2019 Update: She’s mentally improving, still in the skilled nursing facility. Doctors found a fracture in her pelvis, and she’s scheduled for a bone-glue-injection procedure. The colostomy tube hasn’t been removed yet…

Meanwhile we’re still paying out of pocket to keep her apartment, but we’re not sure if she’ll be able to go back.

07 November 2019 Update: Great news. She’s granted POA to her long-time friend – he’s local, has been visiting her daily since Day One. This is another milestone, as we’re no longer blocked by HIPPA laws to get direct information about her medical conditions. (We had been stonewalled by some practitioners.)

21 November 2019 Update: Surgery is scheduled for December to repair her colon. Meanwhile we’re still paying out of pocket ($880 / mo.) to keep her apartment. Electric and water run about $90 / mo. She may need to move to a unit on the first floor due to mobility problems. She likes the nurses at the facility, but she wants to go home.

04 January 2020 Update: Suzanne’s still at the skilled nursing facility, and another surgery is scheduled. Once she recuperates, she may be discharged. We’re not sure if she can live on her own, either mentally or physically, and an Assisted Living facility is one of the likely options.

22 March 2020 Update: After waiting months, Suzanne was physically healthy and mentally alert, looking forward to surgery to remove her colostomy. We expected her to heal up and be able to go back to her apartment within a couple of months.

She had surgery earlier this month, seemed to recovering well, but suddenly went into septic shock. It all but took her out. The news we received on 20 March (Suzanne’s birthday) was ominous. If she didn’t wake up, didn’t resume breathing on her own without the aid of a ventilator she’d require a tracheotomy and long-term care. Her kidneys had significant damage, so dialysis several times a week will be required. We were advised to think about her future quality of life and ask ourselves, “What would Suzanne want?” If she remained uncommunicative and unable to breath on her own, we would need to make a difficult decision.

This morning a nurse reported that Suzanne was breathing on her own (with oxygen) and woke up. She was able to follow directions (squeezed the nurse’s hand, wiggled her toes when asked to) and tried to speak.

This is nothing less than a miracle. All we can do is hope that she recovers this new ordeal.

24 March 2020 Update: Early Tuesday morning

Around 4am Cincinnati time we learned that Suzanne’s heart rate had plummeted and her blood pressure shot up. The nurse on duty said they gave her meds to jump start her heart and brought the blood pressure back down, said Suzanne was stable. The nurse asked that I come to the hospital (I’m in CA) so Eddie went. He said Suzanne recognized him and squeezed his hand, but could barely speak.

The night doctor wanted to talk to us both, and wanted Eddie and I to decide whether or not to stop medical care, that Suzanne was “in transition” and that she’s unlikely to survive without permanent care – even gave us the “What would Suzanne want?” talk. She left the room to let Eddie and I discuss in private and make a decision… immediately.

Eddie and I both agreed that we should wait at least until the day nurses and doctors gave their assessments. The night doctor accepted our decision, but didn’t seem to agree with it…

Today Suzanne was talking. She remembered that Eddie had been by, and asked questions about her surgery scheduled for tomorrow. Not only that, her regular doctor said that she and two other doctors expected Suzanne to recover fully, and that she wouldn’t need dialysis or a tracheotomy after all.

Thank God we didn’t go along with the night doctor’s suggestion.

28 March 2020 Update: Suzanne had her scheduled surgery to close up the colostomy wound on Wednesday 25 March. Doctors said it went well. Suzanne is recuperating (again) and although she’s still on pain meds, she is talking.

18 May 2020 Update: Suzanne was released from the hospital on 24 April and went back to the skilled nursing facility. She had to stay in quarantine for 14 days then moved back to her old room

Something caused her right arm and hand to go numb. On 5 May doctor said they expect feeling to come back as X-rays of her wrist showed arthritis but no fractures.

4PM 8 May: Suzanne’s blood and potassium levels were irregular and she was sent to the emergency room. She was stabilized, the doctors said her internals are healing well. She was discharged 15 May, and is back at the skilled nursing facility for a new 14-day quarantine.

We’ve spoken with her numerous times, and she sounds perfectly normal. She’s frustrated and occasionally distraught (particularly because she can’t use her right hand).

And she hates the quarantine.

27 September 2020 Update:

The past months have been stressful for Suzanne, but we’re glad the quarantine business is over. Each visit to the hospital, whether for surgery or follow up examinations, resulted in 14 days in a “holding cell” of the skilled nursing facility, and that added to her frustrations. Seems that staff weren’t always aware that the room was inhabited so meals were sometimes missed and sanitary procedures were not performed. One quarantine lasted 21 days…

At least one nurse was suspended for being obnoxious, another was fired for being off his meds and acting erratically.

Suzanne wants to get out of the facility, but she still needs another operation. Doctors say she’s “high risk” so the procedure has been postponed indefinitely. She can’t be released until she recovers from it, so she’s going to be there for at least a few more months – unless she decides to override the doctors’ advice. She has the right to decline treatment; fortunately that discussion hasn’t happened.

There are other obstacles. Suzanne’s right hand is still non-functional, and she can’t walk without a walker and a spotter due to neuropathy in her feet, so even if she was discharged she’d still need professional care 24/7, either at her apartment (unlikely) or in a group home. We’ve tried to soften the blow, discussing realistic What-Ifs, but Suzanne hasn’t accepted her situation and thinks she can manage on her own. A doctor finally spelled it out to her; Suzanne was understandably distraught.

Suzanne’s GoFundMe account expires on 30 September 2020 unless we start a new one, and we’ve decided to let it go – it’s run its course. Many thanks to all who contributed. God bless you all.