Sometimes a story is so heartbreaking that you can’t help but be affected. Cesar’s story is one of those.
When Cesar was grade 5 he had an accident and hit his head. At first the family thought nothing of it. Coming from an impoverished family, they really didn’t have enough for basic needs so they decided to forego the precautionary medical checkup.
A month after the fall Cesar had a fever for three days. 6 months after the family noticed that Cesar was having a hard time walking. He was dragging his feet. Even at this point the family was still unable to bring him to the hospital due to lack of resources.
It was only until Cesar couldn’t walk any more and with the help of a family were they able to bring Cesar to the hospital. The diagnosis was that Cesar had a dislocated spinal cord at c1 and c2. Due to the length of time between the injury and when a doctor saw him, an operation was not viable anymore. Add to that he contracted urinary tract infection.
Cesar eventually lost physical abilities and is now dependent on a ventilator. He can only move his head and shoulder.
Cesar’s story is tragic because it could have been prevented. The lack of a good healthcare system in our country forces people from impoverished backgrounds not to seek medical attention, which in return makes it more complicated in the long run.
Now almost 23, Cesar has lived 5 years of his life confined to an orthopedic hospital. It wasn’t only until June 2008 that he was able to go home. Aided by a kindhearted family that got him his first ventilator, Cesar has been at home since that time.
The bed is Cesar’s prison. He spends most of his day in bed, only being able to sit up if assisted. His mother or sister also needs to feed him and care for him 24/7.
A few days ago Cesar’s ventilator broke. I only found out a couple of days after but during that time his mother and sister took turns manning the ambubag to help Cesar breathe. For those who don’t know what an ambubag is, it’s a manual balloon or pump that helps push air into the lungs. Imagine doing that for 48 hours.
I felt a deep sense of sadness when I heard about what happened. Being on a BiPAP/Vent myself I know what it feels like. When you can’t breathe on your own and rely on a machine to breathe, every day you’re playing a game of chance. If it breaks you’re in for a tough time. That’s why I’m so anal about my machines. I have backups for the backups.
Cesar is not as fortunate as I am. He only has one. So when it broke, it was a long 48 hours for him.
Luckily I was able to get in touch with a man from Pampanga who has a respiratory care business. He said that he would be happy to drive to where Cesar lives, hook him up on a back up vent and take Cesar’s vent and repair it. He gave a good price on it. So I said let’s do it.
I put out a shout out on Twitter and Facebook. Some friends expressed interest in helping Cesar. I was able to get some pledges for money to cover the expenses to fix the vent.
Once the vent is fixed, I’m hoping that I can rally more people to donate towards getting Cesar a backup ventilator. The guy doing the repair has the exact same vent that Cesar uses. He’s willing to let it go for a fair price. I’m hoping that with help from people we can raise the money needed to do this.
If you want to help, please send me a message by leaving a comment below.