My Wife is a Critical Illness survivor

Many know this, but what others do not know is that she didn’t have health and critical illness insurance when hemorrhagic stroke struck our family.


Our Critical Illness Story

It was October 9, 2014 and we gave birth to a beautiful baby girl nine days prior.

The previous day was also great since we had an engagement photoshoot with our lovely couple at Sandari Batulao, Nasugbu, Batangas. It was also the day I was supposed to go back to work after my wife delivered our baby girl.

The delivery also went well. We went to the hospital and were prepped for normal delivery as she was already on her full term. Our doctor had to induce labor since our baby needed to come out. After a couple of hours, she started having contractions. Unfortunately, complications disrupted our our plan for a normal delivery.

Cervix dilation stopped at 6cm and our baby’s heartbeat started slowing down.

As a result, our doctor advised us to shift to a C-Section. The rest went as planned. It was a textbook delivery, and the highest blood pressure level reached was 120/70. All good, right?

Our baby was born at 8.9 lbs. She was big, strong, and beautiful!

We went home after 3 days in the hospital as both my girls were given a clean bill of health.

At home, we took care of our baby girl as she did what all babies did — eat, sleep, and poop. We took all the opportunity to get some sleep and leisure time, and we could even play some Diablo III (we were both gamers) back then while our baby was asleep. Everything was awesome! Our only challenge was breastfeeding, which gradually worked out by the 7th day.

Symptoms and Manifestations

But some things were not normal. My wife started having intense mood swings, which can be attributed to post-partum depression. We didn’t think to tell our OB-Gyne since she usually calmed down after a good cry. No other symptoms worried us.

Fast forward to October 8, 2014, I had an engagement photoshoot. My wife stayed at home to take care of the baby, and my mother in law came over to help her. The shoot went as planned and I got home around 5pm.

Before sleeping on October 8, 2014, my wife complained of a headache. According to her, it was slightly more painful than before, but it was only a two on the pain scale. Biogesic seemed to resolve the pain; we decided to just sleep it off.

At 4:30am, my wife complained that her headache was really painful. I offered to get her a pain killer, but she said she can manage. She went to our medicine cabinet to drink one and went back to bed. At 5am, our hellish critical illness experience started.

My wife woke me up by saying: “Bebu, ang shakt talga ng ulko (Bebu, my head hurts really bad).” She repeated it twice; trying to wake me up.

Eventually, I woke up, but when she repeated it for the third time, I quickly sat up. I asked her to repeat it again because she didn’t usually talk that way. It sounded like there was a slur in the way she talked. I stood up, turned the lights on, and went closer to check on her. One half of her lip wasn’t moving, and one of her eyes wasn’t moving in synch with her other one when she tried to look at me.

I said “you’re having a stroke.”

It was then that I started to wake up everyone in the house. I was literally shouting at 5am in the morning to alert everyone. I asked her to just lie down and relax while everyone else cleared the way to our car. When I picked her up from the bed, her left arm and left leg were already limp. My dad held her arm toward me so that it won’t get injured as I carried her to the car. Understand that my wife wasn’t light — she’s 5’4″ and recently gave birth. The adrenaline probably allowed me to carry her all the way from our bedroom and to the car.

To the Hospital, and Quick!

Using our SUV, we rushed her to the hospital where she was assessed at the ER. Along the way, we called up our OB-Gyne and told her what happened; that we were on the way to the hospital. When we got there, her vitals were crazy as her blood pressure was at 180/100 and her pulse rate was at 110. Take note that her normal blood pressure was 90/70.

Our OB-Gyne eventually arrived and she referred us to a neurologist, who examined the CT Scans and MRI remotely. The neurologist advised the ER doctor to place my wife on induced coma to stabilize her vitals and prevent further injury.

After a few hours, the diagnosis was in: Hemorrhagic stroke due to a ruptured aneurism.

My world stopped. Critical Illness hit our young family.

I went over to my wife who was on an ER bed and in a coma. She still responded to my voice as I asked her to grip my hand. I whispered to her how strong she was and that she can get through the ordeal. She responded with a “Mmmmm. Mmmm.”

We waited for the neuro to arrive so that we could know the next steps. My only refuge from all the chaos was in prayer and social media.

FB post about my wife's stroke

But I was still hopeful.

When our neurologist arrived, she was with a neurosurgeon. They explained what happened and what had to be done. Because of the ruptured aneurysm, there was 33ml of blood in my wife’s brain, which put a lot of unwanted pressure and caused the stroke.

The next steps were critical, and involved surgery as stroke medication wasn’t accessible during that time. They asked me to make a decision.

They needed to perform a craniotomy to relieve the swelling in the brain and remove the dried blood, which may cause further damage (Feel free to correct me if there are medical inconsistencies). The surgery had to be performed late in the evening until early in the morning, and my wife will stay in the ICU post-surgery.

I said “okay doc, if that’s what’s going to save her.”

FB post wife needs craniotomy

They wheeled her into the operating room, and I got a hospital room where we could wait for her. I didn’t want to leave the hospital, and I knew our baby was safe at home with family. When we got to the room, we prayed and that was when I literally broke down.

All the pressure, stress, and fear of losing her weighed upon me and I cried.

It was my late cousin, Andre Gonzales, who told me “she’ll get through it, Mike. Just pray.”

Finding Refuge in Prayer

And pray, I did. Every day, I posted on Facebook to update family and friends. In each post, I ended with a prayer to thank God and made a request to heal my wife. While going through that critical illness experience, prayer really helped me in so many ways.

After the operation, the neurosurgeon and OB-Gyne updated us in the room.

“The operation was successful. Your wife is stable, and will be in the ICU. We hope that she can regain consciousness later,” he said. I smiled and told him that she was a fighter.

Post about successful surgery

The neurosurgeon then explained that the next steps will be difficult, and he showed us the amount of damage on my wife’s brain. He said “fortunately, it only affected her right side of the brain,” while he explained that the affected parts controlled motor functions of the left side. There was to be no evidence of any memory loss nor loss of speech.

I was relieved.

Then, he said that she will be transferred to the ICU and I can be there during the move. He went with me and explained further what may happen next. I paid less attention to him since I was just so happy that she survived. A feeling of relieve and sadness came over me when I saw her — she looked very alive, not even pale, but looked like she had an accident with all the bandages.

But, I looked forward more to her waking up.

She woke up sooner than expected

I remembered when the ICU nurse called our room at 8am and she asked me to go to the ICU since my wife was awake. Smiling nurses greeted me at the ICU, and they told me that my wife remembered me and our baby.

my wife is awake

She also remembered her age, and looked for her mobile phone. She couldn’t talk because of all the tubes, so they had a pen and paper for her to write on. Her scribbles on the paper showed that she complained that her throat hurt, which was probably due to the NGT. But she fell asleep before I could get to the ICU.

scribbles of a stroke survivorMy wife spent a good 2 weeks in the ICU as she recovered. Since she always looked for me every time she woke up, I didn’t leave the hospital. I only went home to visit our baby and take a bath, and then I’d go back to the hospital again.

Whenever she’d wake up, the ICU nurse called me up so I can visit. I was usually at the ICU door every 8am to wait for my chance to go in and check on her. The ICU trips were a welcome activity even if I only had a few minutes to spend with her. While there, I just talked to her, said a prayer with her and she usually gave a thumbs up or tried to smile.

When the neurosurgeon came by to explain that they had to remove her hair, I explained it to her and she willingly approved. They had to remove her hair to avoid infection of the surgical wound.

Here were some pictures of us at the hospital.


October is Celebrations Month

Since it was October, it was a month of celebrations for our family. I decided to hold all the celebrations at the hospital so I could be with her, then I’d just go home to spend time with the rest of the family. On the 15th, it was my birthday, and it was our anniversary on the 20th. After our anniversary, she was moved from the ICU to the regular room for further monitoring.

Around the last week of October, our neurosurgeon gave us the thumbs up to be discharged and continue the recovery journey at home.

We were relieved!

Part Two

After the Hospital

We were relieved that it was time to go home for 3 reasons:

  1. Staying at the hospital was getting tiring.
  2. Our hospital bills were already high.
  3. We wanted to be together.

Staying in the hospital throughout a critical illness experience was tiring. During such situations, your emotions are always heightened. You’re anxious and excited to visit your loved one, and you’re surrounded by sickness. You’re usually alone too.

Fortunately for me, family accompanied me during visiting hours. But the most tiring part was the monotonous sequence of activities I faced day in and out.

And that’s why I really wanted us to go home.

I wanted us to be together with family. Fortunately, when my wife was out of the ICU and moved to the regular room, family and friends then had more opportunities to visit her.

Chino Visits

Preparing Home for Rehab

It was also that time that we consulted with the doctor on what we needed to prepare for her to continue rehab and recovery at home. We bought a hospital bed, a wheelchair with commode, and we had to find an OT/PT who can run the therapy programs. While my wife recovered in the regular room, I worked with my dad to find everything and prepped our room. Thanks Dad!

Our house was turned upside down to accommodate the changes, but it was definitely better than having to stay at the hospital. At least when we’re at home, my wife saw our baby girl, we had faster internet, and we ate delicious food again.

Mother and Daughter reunited

Curious about the Bills?

The main #realtalk factor, which made our hope for discharge be earlier, was our rising hospital bills.

Every day that my wife was in the ICU, we settled around Php 45,000 to Php 60,000. The amount included the ICU charges, which incorporated everything that was used in the ICU. I had a regular room for myself so that I can quickly reach the ICU whenever I’m needed. In total, we spent around Php 700,000 for just the hospital expenses. Add the doctors’ PFs, we spent close to 1 million pesos for the entire hospital critical illness experience.

Good thing we had critical illness insurance, right?

I had PruLifeUK’s Crisis Care Benefit for myself, but my wife didn’t. We were supposed to get a plan with critical illness insurance for her and for our baby after delivery, but critical illness hit us before we had the chance.

So, that’s 1 Million Pesos straight out of our savings. It was 1 Million pesos well spent because she was able to get through the ordeal. Thank God!

But our critical illness experience didn’t stop there.

When we got home, she needed to take medications and go through therapy sessions in order to recover. The medication we bought had cost us approximately Php 30,000 per month. She needed OT sessions in order to allow her to be more independent and have better control of her weak side. PT sessions were necessary to improve the strength of her weak side. The sessions cost us around 15,000 per month, and it lasted for 2 years along with the medication.

You see, because of the stroke, my wife’s left side was really weak. This explains all the sessions, and the medication helped prevent seizures and improve the circulation in her brain.


Wife doing rehab.

Our post-hospital expenses for 2 years reached around 1.1M pesos. 

But the important thing was that she was recovering.

In two years of rehab, she gradually grew to be more independent. She walked on her own with the use of a cane, her vision was improving, and she had the confidence and comfort to try and be more productive.

It was great to watch her strive to recover more.

Our critical illness story didn’t stop there though. From 2016 to the present, my wife still takes maintenance medicine to protect her from seizures and also to improve her brain activity.

All in all, we have spent close to 2.4M pesos throughout the entire critical illness experience.

So, what’s the point of my article? 


“If we had critical illness insurance coverage, our savings wouldn’t have been greatly affected.”

Mike Togle, Retirement Coach

My Message

Critical Illness Expenses Can be Managed

If only we focused on getting an insurance policy for my wife while she was healthy, we could have managed the loss of savings better.

Imagine: If we were able to get an insurance plan for her in 2012 when we got married, we could have had around 1M in critical illness insurance for these emergencies. How much would we have needed to invest for such a policy?

Just Php 60,000 annually; probably lower.

Since the ordeal happened in 2014, we would have invested only Php 120,000 for 2 years. That would have covered the entire hospital cost, right?

Php 120,000 versus Php 1,000,000.

I use this experience to fuel my passion in providing critical illness insurance to people. That way, they won’t have to face the same situation that we went through. Their savings don’t need to be affected like ours. And if they don’t have adequate savings, they have a better chance at surviving AND RECOVERING.

I hope this #realstory gives you a new perspective on insurance and the benefits of having one, especially critical illness and health insurance.

If you feel the need to share, give insights, or ask questions, you can post a comment below or contact me.

Be safe and God bless you all.



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

10F Ayala North Exchange Tower 1
Ayala Avenue, Makati City, PH
[email protected]


Share Me!

Share this post with your friends!