Oscar's story

On November 14, 2010 my brother, Oscar suffered a stroke due to a ruptured AVM. He spent a month and half in the ICU at Methodist Hospital in Houston, then two weeks at a long term acute care facility where he had several complications. He ended up back at Methodist and spent several months there. His hospital bills were ridiculous as many of you can imagine... We have been praying to get him to TIRR for inpatient rehab but his insurance company has denied inpatient coverage on several occasions even though TIRR has accepted him and his neurorehab doctor advocated for him to receive therapy there. Unfortunately we had to take him to a nursing home because we could not afford all the medical expenses and equipment at home. However we had a horrible experience there. He spent over a month in the nursing home where they dropped him, gave him the wrong medication, yanked his G-tube, and simply mismanaged him in so many ways. It was awful. We could not bear it any longer so one day my parents just took him home. My parents who have no medical background became nurses overnight. With all the generous donations we were able to manage with the medical expenses/equipment at home. Also thanks to all the financial and emotional help from friends and family we have been able to pay for outpatient rehabilitation. Since my brother’s insurance company did not provide home nursing care, my mom takes care of him alone during the day while my dad works. I worry about her... Feeding, lifting, changing, are not easy for one person to do. She has injured herself many times. There have been several kind people who have come out to help and we have been able to hire someone for a couple hours a day. My parents have done such a great job taking care of my brother. I thank God each day for my family.

It has now been over 2 years since my brother's stroke. My brother still has a long journey ahead of him but we are grateful for the progress he has made despite many setbacks. He no longer has a tracheostomy tube. He has had surgery to repair a severe contracture on his left foot. He now has a baclofen pump to help with the increased tone as a result of the stroke. On October 12, 2012 after 23 months of not speaking my brother spoke for the first time! It really felt like a miracle to me. Not sure if any of you are aware about an unclear but well documented effect of ambien on stroke patients. It original use is to help with sleep but for some reason on some stroke patients it induces a type of arousal where they are also able to speak. Although it had no effect on him in the past in now allows him to speak for a couple hours a day. He still needs 24 hour care for activities of daily living but we are so proud of him and the progress he has made. He hears and understands us and is able to respond with his hands, eyes, his head and with facial gestures, and now with speaking! I am amazed at how many things he remembers from the past.

We all love my brother so much! You hear stories like this all the time but it is so different when it is someone so close to you. My family and I have learned a great deal about patience and persistence. Life really can change in an instant....but I know my brother is fighting and will get better. We appreciate all the prayers and donations. Your generosity truly means a lot to my family.... The money collected goes towards medical care (medications, medical costs, diapers, wipes, feeding supplies, nursing care etc), and rehabilitation which is an important part of his recovery.

You can also make a contribtion online on his gofundme site. The link is on the Right. Thanks!