Hayden man recovering after surgery
Steamboat Springs — A call for help has resulted in a windfall of support from the Hayden community.
Tim Ingalls became ill June 16 and has been unable to work since. He does not have health insurance, and the medical bills have been adding up. During the past two months, Hayden community members have been giving what they can.
On Saturday, about $4,000 was raised during a bake and rummage sale and barbecue. To date, Tim Ingalls’ friends from Hayden and other areas have donated groceries, offered prayers and about $5,000 in cash to help pay the bills.
Ingalls will have a scar down his chest that will serve as a reminder of his summer illness, but also of the generosity of the community.
“It’s just amazing how the community came together,” said Pat Ingalls, Tim’s mother. “It’s something that only happens in a small community like this.”
Ingalls has been a plumber for nearly 30 years and has been self-employed for the past seven years. Because he has Type I diabetes and was born with a heart murmur, he has been without health insurance.
It cost $18,000 for the helicopter ride from Steamboat Springs to Denver’s University Hospital after he became ill June 16. Ingalls drove home from work that day, pulled into the garage and passed out at the wheel. Pat had been living with him during the summer and found him in the garage. Doctors said an infection from his mouth had spread to his already weakened heart.
Since then, Tim Ingalls has been recovering and gaining his strength so he could undergo open heart surgery.
He had 11 hours of surgery in Denver on Aug. 19. Doctors fixed a damaged heart valve and installed a pacemaker. He stayed at the hospital for seven days and got out just in time to attend the barbecue fundraiser in his honor.
“He’s doing well, and he’s home,” Pat Ingalls said. “He’s expected to recover fully.”
Pat Ingalls said her son, who was napping Monday afternoon, has to take it easy for the next few weeks. In six weeks, Tim Ingalls might be able to start working again, she said.
The money raised at the fundraiser could not have come at a better time. On Monday, the Ingalls received a $49,000 hospital bill for his stay in the hospital. They have not received the surgery bill yet.
The Colorado Indigent Care Fund will take care of a good portion of that bill, but it has still been a difficult summer, both physically and financially for Pat and Tim Ingalls. But people like Patty Hoyt, Betty Barnes, BJ Barnes, Diane Lenahan, Jody Lenahan, Janet Babish and Ralph Babish are making things a little bit easier for Tim and Pat Ingalls.
“Thanks to the community,” Pat Ingalls said, “we’re going to make it through this.”
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