Dear friends, were circumstances other than what they are, you would not be receiving this announcement – the second one I’ve had to make in as many weeks. But present conditions are that I recently underwent an emergency Catheter Heart Ablation for a condition known as Tachycardia, a condition I appear to have inherited from my mother. I had first gone to the hospital on Friday January 31 after experiencing three days of incessant and extreme anxiety. As a bipolar patient I am familiar with anxiety. But I had never experienced anything at this level and that lasted for so long. Having been prescribed the beta blocker Betalol (Propranolol) we had hoped to see stabilization. However, my visit on Sunday March 8 for the reading of the heart monitor, revealed I had a cardiac event Saturday evening when my resting heart rate hit 142. The doctors were concerned at the rate at which my condition appeared to be worsening and ordered a surgical procedure known as catheter ablation, something my mother has had two of.
My problem was this. I could not undergo that procedure until I paid an outstanding bill with the hospital that resulted from my insurance company having determined that my condition was simply stress related. And since my employer’s insurance plan excludes all coverage for anything remotely related to mental health, it covered nothing – none of my three ER visits, the admission, the wearing of a heart monitor, medicines, nothing. (Yeah, this is why my my bipolar medications take 40$ of my monthly pay!).
After much reflection, I chose to ask a select number of colleagues at DPU and elsewhere for help. I raised the funds in about 6 hours. (yes, I confess, I was reduced to tears.)
I was pleased to report back a week later with clear indication that my heart rate had been stabilized.
However, a newer and graver concern looms. It relates to what is known as Heart Rate Variability (HRV). HRV is the measure of time between heart beats. And perhaps counterintuitively, a high HRV indicates a healthy heart, where as too low HRV is strongly correlated with myocardial infarction and sudden cardiac death. The normal range for HRV of a man my age is between 50ms - 90+ms. A too low HRV is correlated with sudden cardiac death. This is what has ny surgeons so concerned:
My HRV has averaged 6ms since the ablation.
Far, far below the minimum range of 50-90+.
Their diagnosis is that I have severe Myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle. They are presently treating it as a bacterial infection, but they must now perform a myocardial biopsy as well as other less invasive tests such as an echocardiogram, etc. But again, I can’t have these done until I pay the remaining uncovered out of pocket expenses from the last procedure. A few days ago I thought that figure was only about 20,000 THB ($640 USD), but owing to these recent follow up consultations, and my misreading of the bill (in Thai) the outstanding debt to the hospital is 35,950 THB ($1,100.23 at today’s exchange rate).
My friends, it is but another embarrassment that I come to you for your help. I hope to pay the bill in full, and then should the insurance appeal go in my favor, gleefully reimburse any donation I might receive.
Please note that this is a request for a loan, not a gift. Now promising to repay from Thai salary would simply be disingenuous. But I have made the decision to sell my African Art Collection, and Tavy Ahearn and two colleagues are in the process of appraising it. There is one significant variable in the collection. A Dogon Granary Door. Should they authenticate it as Dogon, market value rises from $350-$500 to upwards of perhaps $10,000. But even if that does not happen, my paintings, masks, sculptures and one tableau en cuivre from Congo should easily cover the amount I am requesting. That amount is $1250 – a figure higher than the 1100 needed. This extra $150 reflects the fees GoGetFuding charges, paypal charges and my Thai bank charges. IF the last campaign’s transactions remain constant $1250 will leave after all charges sufficient funds to pay the outstanding debt and make myself eligible for the testing and possible surgical procedures they seem to think are going to be likely.
The other repayment avenue stems from some good news. Several recent positive developments dramatically improve my positionality as I re-enter the job market to find a position closer to Rowan, or barring that, a position that will pay a salary and offer medical care that would make what i am forced to do now again unthinkable. I am a finalist for a senior position at an outstanding, major university specializing conflict studies in Scandanavia, I have been asked to apply for two other positions, one in Shanghai the other here in Thailand at Thammasat University, their oldest and most prestigious university. There are also several positions in the US for which I am quite a reasonable candidate.
I thank you friends for having read my letter, and for having followed the link here to hear my plea. That is all one can hope for really. So please know this: If you feel cannot participate, for whatever reason, know in your heart that I know in my heart, there was no other possible answer for you. I know who you are and what kind of person you are. That you are on this list to receive my campaign, is ipso facto proof of what I think of you and why you would have nothing to explain to me. Nothing.
And finally, I thank you friends for the extraordinary life you helped me live in Greencastle, the only place that has ever felt like home. That that life was taken from me is obviously the greatest loss I have ever suffered. But I have worked assiduously as I can to keep my promise to Rowan, to return to her as soon as is possible. Staying physically well, is just an unexpected added dimension of challenge in keeping my promise.
Please accept my blessings and my warmest regards for having blessed me when you crossed my path at DePauw.