Mike’s Story

Site created on June 26, 2020

- In November, my dad, Mike went into the hospital with stomach pain which turned out to be an inflamed colon. After being treated with antibiotics, he was sent home 3 days later. Still in pain 2 days after being sent home, he went back and found out that his colon had not gotten better. After several days with steroids, the doctors thought he was making progress and were ready to send him home after one last scan. While prepping for this scan on December 4th, he started to feel immense pain and when he got out of bed, he passed out and coded. He was rushed into emergency surgery because his colon had ruptured. After his surgery, he was on dialysis for his kidneys, had liver problems, and couldn’t breathe on his own. Because of all the strain on his body, he had a stroke and the doctors were unsure if he was going to make it. For more than 7 months, he has been in several medical facilities: ICU, a long term acute care hospital to wean him off his tracheotomy, and 2 rehab facilities (Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln, NE and now QLI Rehabilitation Center in Omaha, NE).

Today, his therapists and nurses are helping him learn to feed himself, care for his basic needs, and learn to walk. Even with the progress he has made, he hasn’t reached those goals yet, and insurance is ready to send him home because his rehab is too expensive. His rehabilitation team believes that he can walk again and his earlier CAT scan showed no reason why he shouldn't.  However, he still needs more intensive therapy before being sent home to outpatient care, or they fear this may not be the case. We are asking for your help! We need about $45,000 to keep him at his current facility. This will greatly improve his chances of walking again. If you feel called to donate, no amount is too small and we would greatly appreciate it. If you are unable to contribute financially, we understand! We hope that you will share this and keep him, my mom (Marsha), myself (Mataya) and my brothers (Austin and Blake) in your prayers. 

Newest Update

Journal entry by Marsha Thomas

Finally, I'm going to do an update.  Mike has been home since August 8th.  I can't believe it's been 11 weeks.  Two hours after he arrived home, a parade of cars (and people) came down our street honking, yelling, and cheering to welcome him home.  One friend said that she quit counting cars at thirty.  My dad said that he thought that there was around fifty.  All I know was that there was a lot.  He was so surprised and blown away.  He loved it and said that he would remember this for the rest of his life. Some people drove by twice.  On the second drive by, they stopped at the end of our driveway and talked to us through their windows.  It was so nice to see everyone!  Thank you to everyone who was a part of this special moment!  We have some pictures and videos from that special day.  If anyone has some that they took, we would love it if you would forward them to us.

We really want to thank everyone again who was a part of Mike's GoFundMe for his extended stay at QLI.  Thank you to those who shared his GoFundMe page, those who prayed, and those who donated.  Whatever your part was, it was very much appreciated and a very humbling experience.  That extra 3 weeks showed improvement.  The 100 days that insurance covered showed a lot of improvement.  As you know, they tried to stop covering 3 weeks before his eligible coverage ran out.  With the peer to peer between Humana's doctor and QLI's doctor, the reports from the therapist and case manager at QLI, and lots of much needed prayer, he did get his full amount of coverage allowed.  However, he wasn't walking like he had hoped that he would be when he left there.  During his extra 3 weeks after insurance stopped covering him,  he improved enough that he started practicing walking using a walker with the assistance of his PT.  Also, the last few days before  he was discharged, I received some training.  If he had gone home when insurance coverage ran out, those 2 things would not have happened. The thought of his going home before he was able to walk and take care of himself was a little overwhelming to him and me.  It would have been even more overwhelming 3 weeks earlier.  There is a lot to his care.  I am so thankful that I was able to get in person training.  The reason that 3 weeks made a difference with me getting training is because for 5 weeks, they were not allowing visitors.  On July 20th, they began allowing visitors again.  Zoom training to care for your love one isn't quite the same as having someone there beside you.  Another good thing that happened the day after he got home, was that his 2 PTs came down for a day and half and helped with a little extra training and figuring out out a few things that weren't going to work the way that they originally had planned.

The Wednesday after he arrived home, he went to Ability KC for outpatient therapy evaluation.  We are so fortunate to have them on his insurance coverage.  We thought at first that they weren't on his insurance and he was going to have to go to one of those places that only gives 60 - 90 minutes of therapy a day and doesn't have the kind of equipment to meet his needs.  When I called Humana to inquire about Ability KC, they told me that they weren't on the list.  As it turned out, they had them listed by their former name.  I had heard good things about them and wanted the best for Mike.  They have a day program.  He was approved for it and began on August 17th.  He goes to therapy Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM and Tuesdays 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM with an hour for lunch.  He gets an hour of PT and an hour of OT each of those days.  He gets other services that vary from day to day (FES bike, elliptical, Nustep, individual exercise help, and etc.) In the beginning he was on a 12 week program that ends on November 6th.  They are going to submit to insurance to extend his program for another 3 weeks.  We never dreamed that his recovery would take this long.  However, he was in bed for almost 3 months before beginning a consistent therapy program.  He has to overcome coding, emergency surgery, mini strokes, and 3 months of being pretty much bedridden. That's a lot for a body to go through.  He is very determined.  He is working so hard to recover.  His therapist have given him homework on his off days.  Plus he has added his own homework to it.  He even does some of the homework on his therapy days.  One of his therapist has had to lecture him on not overdoing it.  His body needs a little rest at times.  He likes Ability KC and all his therapists.   November 12th is the first time he went to the hospital for a 3 day stay.  November 18th is when he went back and was in 5 different facilities for a total of 8 1/2 months.  It has almost been a year since this all began.  He is so ready to be completely recovered.  Please pray that will happen soon.

I went back to work on August 21st.  It was a little bit of a rocky start.  We had caregiver issues.  We went through an agency.  Caregiver #1, I trained her the day before I had to return to work.  She was great.  We loved her.  Then the 2nd day, she didn't show up.  I had to take a half day of paid time off work.  Turned out that we had met her at a bad time in her life.  She had suffered a tragedy  last December and was suffering from depression.  Then on Saturday, she died in a one car accident.  Our hearts broke for her.  On Sunday, I was suppose to train caregiver #2.  She didn't show.  Turns out that she was a new hire wanting more than 33.5 hours a week or more pay.  She accepted the assignment and then just didn't show.  Monday, I had to take another half day of PTO because we didn't have a caregiver.  Tuesday, I trained caregiver #3, another new hire, however, her mom worked for them.  She insisted that as long as Mike was patient with her, she could handle the job.  Right as I'm going to bed that night, I get a text from the agency that she decided that she couldn't handle the job and that they have someone else coming out in the morning.   It's 9 weeks later and we still have caregiver #4.     She is good with Mike.  She's also a handywoman and has assembled several things for us.

October 16th was a sad day.  We lost Mike's Uncle David.   He had been in a nursing home for 3+ years.  Because of Covid 19, he hadn't had any visitors for 7 months.  Mike's mom received a phone call that he had tested positive for Covid (not showing symptoms) and because they don't take care of Covid patients, they were transferring him to another facility.  Two days later, she received a phone call that he had passed away.  He didn't have a wife or children.  He was always there for his parents (when they were alive), his sisters and their family.  It is sad that for the last 7 months of his life, he couldn't have visitors and died alone.  He will definitely be missed by our family.

Prayer requests:

1) Complete recovery for Mike and that insurance will cover him at Ability KC until that time.

2) He gets sad and depressed at times because recovery is taking so long.  Sometimes, he doesn't have faith        that he will fully recovery.  He needs prayer that he will overcome these feelings.

3) He's still having ostomy and skin issues.  Please pray that those issues will be resolved.

4) Wednesday, he has his 1st appointment with a new GI doctor.

5) I need prayer as his caregiver.  Besides medical staff and his paid caregiver, I'm the only one he will allow to help him when he needs to go to the bathroom or have his ostomy checked or changed.  He wants to keep his dignity and I completely understand.  I need prayer for strength and energy.  I have to wake up every 2 -3 hours to check on his ostomy.  The bag may need emptied or changed.  I can be up anywhere from 20 minutes - 1 1/2 hours depending on the need and skin condition. 

6) We have been fortunate that he had a lot of sick days and annual leave.  Around Thanksgiving, they will be running out.  He won't be ready to return to work by then.  He will be eligible for retirement May 1st.  We need prayer for guidance on what to do until then.  

7) We have a grievance with insurance about some bills from doctors (and facilities) that Mike saw while in Omaha plus lab work that QLI sent out.  Please pray that they will consider these in network and agree to pay them.



1) The kids have been a big help.  They have stayed with their dad while I run errands or get things done that need to be done.  They have helped with his homework exercises and walking with his walker.  Mataya has cooked some delicious meals.  Austin and Blake have kept our yard mowed.  

2) My parents have opened their home to us for baths because we don't have a bathtub or shower on our main floor.  They even feed us on those days.  Part of the time, my dad has had his own health issues and was still there for us.  We felt bad that we couldn't be there for them.

3) Mike's mom has also helped so that I could run errands.

4) Mike has been making continued progress.  I have faith that he will recover one day.


We know that so many other people would be there for us if we asked.  However, with Covid and social distancing, we feel that we can't be exposed to too many people.  If Mike would get exposed to someone that a day or two later test positive for Covid, (even if he doesn't get it) he would have to stay away from Ability KC for 2 weeks.  He would make up those days later.  During those 2 weeks, he would have to do homework exercises and not get the benefit of Ability KC's therapists and equipment.  That could cause him to regress a little.  We enjoyed some social distancing driveway visits while the weather was good.  Darn weather is messing that up now.

Thank you to everyone for your continued prayers!  Please let us know how we can pray for you.


Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.      Philippians 4:6








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