Monday, August 20, 2007 1:26 PM

'She left so we could make a better life for others'

By Dawnelle Keys, American SiCKO

LOS ANGELES -- Life was hard for me after Mychelle died. She was the only girl in the family since I was born.

My mother has nine grandsons now so you could imagine how happy the family was to have a girl. It devastated the whole family when we lost her. She was my little angel when she was born and she had such a beautiful smile and a warming spirit. I had to deal with the fact that I had to still celebrate Mychelle's birthday Oct. 10 every year without her.

But I still needed and wanted to be there for my son Devion who shares the same birth date but is four years older. Mychelle and Devion were just like twins, and when she died he knew instinctively though he wasn't even at the hospital with us. My sister in-law said he let out a scream at the exact time his little sister went into cardiac arrest, and my mother’s neighbor came to check on him. He still struggles with it everyday.

For me it was a struggle to get up in the morning and go to work and face life without her. I was placed on medication and excused from work for five months.

But the medicine was Prozac, and I became so depressed that I was to the point that I did not want to live and even thought of suicide.

A family friend called and questioned me because she had heard I was acting strange, and she asked about my medication. Once I told her I was on Prozac she suggested that I call the doctor and request to be taken off of it. She worked for a law firm that was handling cases where people on Prozac had attempted and some committed suicide and even worse – some committed murder. That phone call is what saved my life, and I know I would not be here today had God not sent my angel through my friend on the other end of that phone.

Well I phoned the doctor and he only wanted to reduce my dosage, so
it was up to just me and God. I asked him to deliver me without any ill side
effects.

Now not a day goes by that I don't think of Mychelle, but it's not a struggle
because I know there was a purpose and reason why she left us. I could not
see it then but now I know that she left us so that we could make a better life
for those who are in the same position as I was in.

My faith is so strong and I know that God does not make mistakes. Even when we were in the ambulance on our way to Kaiser, I kept talking to my little girl and even though she did not answer me with words, but with moans, she was at peace and with God.

That's how I’ve been able to make it this far. My trust in people has not changed, but when I deal with people in the health care field I have a total different opinion.

I had the chance to experience it once again when my son Devion was involved in a roll-over accident last year. I was not allowed to see him until I gave them my insurance card and was told he had a head injury.

Once I spoke with the doctor, I was informed there was a foreign object showing on his X-ray, and the doctor said he would do a scan. Well, the nurse felt it was glass that would wash out once he cleaned it. Devion was discharged without the scan and complained of headaches After two months and several doctor visits, my son was sent to a surgeon who operated two days later and removed a large piece of glass from next to his skull. He continues to have migraine headaches and has to take medication.

My feeling will never change until something is done about the health care system that is so broken. Too many lives have been lost, and it's all about money.

My family is my biggest support, and they are so proud of me. My mother has been
there since day one, and you all will see her again when we come to Washington, D.C., in September for the candlelight vigil.

Since 'SiCKO' was released, I have been called ignorant by some people. It's been said to me that Mychelle was not denied treatment and that MLK Hospital did the right thing by sending her to Kaiser and not treating her.

But I will keep fighting ‘till the end because I made a promise to my daughter that I would not give up until there was a change.

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