My wife Debbie has epilepsy. We found out in 1999 and for a number of years it really wrecked havoc on her life. We got it under control several times but back in 2017, she had to have surgery to remove and replace the vertebrae in her neck and a few weeks later, she began to have frequent, violent massive seizures, the kind that are very dangerous and that we had never seen before. Her Neurologist was stymied so I started researching and tracking her seizure activity. There was a clinical paper written in Russia that identified the impact of oxygen reduction during sleep and correlation to Grand Mal seizures. I studied Debbie while she slept, strange as that sounds and it seemed to me that she had an apnea and needed oxygen support so we got her doctor to order a sleep study and sure enough, she had apnea and oxygen deprivation issues. When she started on the CPAP and oxygen saturation at night - like a miracle, no seizures.
Her machine has been acting up off an on for several months and her oxygen machine too is acting a little squirrelly. She tried to call our medical device provider Apria Healthcare several times but we hit a bunch of red tape, calls were dropped, shipments never arrived, candidly, they made it a real pain in the rear to get the problem resolved. The machine quit for good on Christmas Eve - just terrible timing. We contacted Apria yesterday oh Christmas Day, the first rep was not helpful; they promised someone would call back but they did not - it was Christmas so we kinda understood. Debbie had two smaller seizures yesterday but you could tell things were amping up to get worse.
Today Debbie called without success. Turns out the machine is not under warranty, the respiratory support person told her that the machine has a three-year warranty but in reality we had got the machine in late April 2018 - a date I will remember well because I basically did not sleep from January until then that year, waking up to convulsions and seizures all night long. She called several others to no avail. Finally I called the main number and reached a lady who was helpful. She got me to a person locally named Chris. No listen, I ripped Chris up one side and down the other, it wasn’t pretty, I was upset, I knew where we were heading. Chris was patient and explained that he had no record of the machine because we owned it and it was outside of the rental period. He further explained that what we needed to do was get a new prescription from our doctor and gave me an after-hours fax line to get the prescription to; so we wrote our doctor and explained the situation. Debbie’s doctor is on vacation with the holidays so we were in store for a few more days without the device and things looked bleak.
I didn’t like the answer, I didn’t fully understand why a three year warranty and contract ended prematurely but I knew what was about to unfold so, without a doubt, I was agitated. It’s not just this, Debbie has been wrestling with a slew of health issues since July - back vertebrates with arthritis, a toe infection that almost had to be amputated, low serum sodium levels, it’s been a ROUGH few months and now seizures were going to be part of the mix.
A little bit later, the dogs are going crazy because somebody is at the door. I’m in the shower and Alex comes up and said that Carlos had a replacement machine for Debbie. It turns out that Chris and Carlos got together and figured out a solution and Carlos drove down to Castle Rock from Centennial to bring us the machine. I had missed the call because I was in the shower. I’m just awe struck and so eternally grateful at this act of kindness - what a true Christmas miracle! I hope that I can figure out how to thank Carlos and Chris in a better manner, maybe with some gift cards or something but what a incredibly nice act of kindness when we needed it most!
One other thing really struck me today... As of today, 1 out of every 1000 Americans has been killed by COVID-19. The math is pretty intuitive and obviously I’ve been concerned about this virus from the onset and am dismayed as to why Americans would politicize this issue; but when you hear it put in such plaintive terms, it is haunting and spooky. I hope that we prevail, that the vaccines right our overall defenses to this scary invisible killer, that mutations are constrained and not as deadly and that we can heal from these troubled times and come together as a country and as a people.
Proud father & husband, investor & healthcare executive, photographer, artist, writer, creative personality, nature-lover, technology nerd, speaker, gardener and home chef.
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