An Aberdeenshire grandpa has been left with a million dollar medical bill after suffering a stroke and heart attack when visiting his ill granddaughter in the USA.
Ever since Hugh Drysdale’s six-year-old granddaughter Kyla was diagnosed with medulloblastoma brain cancer, he has tried to be there to support her and family.
He even wrote to several public figures when trying to get his wife over to the USA to support the family during Covid and has started writing a book to share Kyla’s story.
This was no different last September, when Kyla’s six month assessment was due.
‘Trapped in hospital’ for two months with huge bill
Mr Drysdale, quickly flew over to help on the nine-hour car journey to the hospital from the family’s home.
However, one day when playing with his grandchildren, Mr Drysdale started having a coughing fit and could not breathe.
“What probably transpired was I had a heart attack,” he said. “I was turning blue and I also had a stroke.
“So we ended up more or less two months trapped in a hospital in Pensacola, Florida where at the moment my hospital bill is in the region of a million dollars but the travel insurance wangled their way out of it.”
The 67-year-old had been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation a few months earlier which can lead to strokes.
However, Mr Drysdale said he booked his flight in a rush to help the family out and simply renewed the travel insurance forgetting to add the new diagnosis.
He said he is still battling with the insurance company over the medical bills.
‘If she can fight all she has been through then so shall I’
During his time in hospital, he said Kyla was his “tonic” and his “mini therapist”.
Coming to visit him during his 50 days stay in hospital with her brother Kaydn, Mr Drysdale said seeing her “lifted his spirits”.
“I was in the original hospital that she got her operation in,” he said.
“She was my mini therapist. She would play games at the end of the bed and keep me company.
“Kyla always lifted my spirits and brought a smile to my face. I thought if she can fight all she has been through then so shall I.”
Has a second heart attack after arriving in Scotland
When he was able to fly back to Aberdeen with his wife on Tuesday, November 15, Mr Drysdale said he was admitted to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI) straight away.
After being discharged on the Thursday, he started to have chest pains.
“I got home in my own bed at 7pm at night,” he said. At 11pm I ended up having chest pains so the medics were called and I was having a heart attack.”
The Newtonhill resident had to have surgery and was taken to ward 106 where he said he got “first class” treatment.
Since then, Mr Drysdale who works in IT, has been off work and has been having physical therapy.
Despite having a “bit of a rough ride” over the last year, he said: “When you consider what Kyla’s been through, I couldn’t let the side down. I’ve got to show Kyla I can do this.”
He said Kyla will always be at risk of cancer but appears to be responding to treatment well and is recovering.
Describing her as his “warrior princess”, Mr Drysdale said he and wife facetime Kyla and family nearly every day and have planned a whole family trip to Orlando next year.
He said he was really looking forward to it and added: “It gives me something to work towards.”
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[Stroke and heart attack victim left with million dollar bill after taking ill in America]