Maria Nerisa Monsanto has been a second mother, a sister, a friend, and a confidant to me, my family, and everyone she came across. She is our Ate Risa. Officially, she is our long time house help in our family. She has been with us for more than 3 decades (over 30 years). She has helped raise me since I was still in my mother's womb up to today. So while she may not be related to my family and I by blood, by all accounts, SHE IS FAMILY. This past Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019, she suffered from a ruptured aneurysm. And by the way, April 23 was her birthday. She turned 57 years old.
Without going into too much detail, she had woken up at around 5:20 AM in order to use the toilet. Not long after, the ruptured aneurysm must have occurred. Sadly, it was only around 6:00 AM that my mother had woken up and discovered her on the floor of our bathroom (we know of the time that she went to the bathroom with the help of a security cam inside our house; but sadly, we cannot confirm at exactly what time the rupture happened, but it must not have been long after since she no longer appears in the camera feed after walking towards the bathroom). She was alive, but barely. She was unconscious. Her head had hit the floor and was bleeding. She was struggling to breathe.
We called an ambulance and she was first brought to a small district hospital and later on to a private hospital in the city. There were delays in the transfers due to things like the lack of an ambulance and the financial deposit requirements of hospitals here in the Philippines.
Doctors from both the district and private hospitals were all shocked that she was still alive. According to one doctor, 80% of ruptured aneurysms lead to immediate death, or death within a couple of hours. Add to the fact that she had been on the floor, unattended for 30-40 minutes. It is so horrifying for me to think about her having to suffer for 30 minutes by herself. The guilt is overwhelming.
Besides the ruptured aneurysm itself, as with all serious medical cases, she is also facing a multitude of different complications. She is still in a coma. The obvious brain damage. One of her lungs had been damaged, due to the fall causing stomach acids and the like to pool around it. The risk of hydrocephalus. The risk of sepsis. She cannot yet breathe by herself. The doctors and nurses are doing a tremendous job at balancing so many different things. An example being her need for oxygen, but too much of it also increases the pressure in the brain.
As of today, April 24, Wednesday, she is still in a coma. Besides the above mentioned work that the doctors and nurses are doing, what she really needs first is an angiogram. But this cannot be performed until she regains consciousness; and this in itself is already a big if for the doctors. If by a miracle, she is able to regain consciousness, the angiogram may possibly be done simply to diagnose and find the aneurysm itself, as well as for the doctors to judge whether there is still a chance for her to recover and for them to perform an operation. If the doctors believe there is some hope of recovery, then they will recommend possible procedures: clipping or coiling the aneurysm. And if by another miracle, all of the above take place, the actual recovery is another issue to tackle.
As of now, we are simply taking it one step at a time and focusing on her hopefully regaining consciousness. While it isn't something anyone wants to think about, the financial costs are very high and we are in need of any help we can get. You can find below a rough breakdown of the expenses:
The total that has been spent the past 4 days (April 21-24, 2019) is already about 150,000 Philippine Pesos or almost 3000 US Dollars. That includes the initial deposits, the ICU room costs, the medicines, the doctors' fees, the medical supplies.
Currently, we are spending around 30,000-40,000 Philippine Pesos or about 600-800 US Dollars per day. This amount simply constitutes the hospital room, doctors' fees, medicines, and tests. There are still other expenses that come up unexpectedly.
The previously mentioned angiogram that will be performed if she regains consciousness will cost around 70,000 Philippine Pesos or about 1,400 US Dollars. If we get to the point wherein the clipping or coiling procedures will be considered, that is going to be another estimated 300,000-500,000 Philippine Pesos (possibly more) or about 6,000-10,000 US Dollars.
We are really doing everything we can to catch up with the hospital bills. Both my parents and my two older sisters are doing all that they possibly can. We are by no means a rich family. We are genuinely doing our best to provide the funds needed. Her own family are also financially unable to support the expenses, although they are also doing everything they can to help.
Ate Risa has lived a life of unconditional love and sacrifice. She exemplifies the life that Jesus Christ laid as an example during His time on Earth. For more than half her life, she placed the needs of others well above her own. She is my angel, my hero. Along with my parents, she has raised me to be the person I am today. And while I am so imperfect and flawed, I don't know how much worse I would be without her hand in my life. She was a daily blessing to me and my family, one that we did not deserve yet she willingly was. I could never in a million lifetimes even begin to pay her back for everything she is and has done for me, but I hope during this time, during her most difficult battle, her fight for her life, that I can somehow give a little bit back.
I am still working to get a current picture of her in the hospital. We are still coordinating with hospital staff since their usual policy is that no pictures are allowed. But hopefully I will be able to get at least one current photo of her. For now, please do go through the pictures currently available so that you can glimpse a little bit of the joy and love that radiated from her every single day. And yes, she loved our dogs like they were her own children. <3
I know you may not know me, or my family, or Ate Risa, or her family, but if you do want to help her, we would really appreciate any amount that you can donate. Any little bit helps at this point. I would be eternally grateful. I will do my best as well to update this page, with both her condition as well as a breakdown of the expenses.