Mercy Medical Angels: Ally to an Unlikely Fighter

Brian Patterson | 08/30/17

Stephanie Singer, Communications

When you think of a fighter, what comes to mind? Some might think of hulking wrestlers or skilled martial artists. Others might think of those who serve in the military. Still others might think of activists. But sometimes a fighter isn’t who you’d expect. Instead of being physically formidable, they’re small. Instead of putting on a fearless face, they need reassurance.  One of these unlikely fighters is Marsha.

Marsha seems pretty average when you speak with her on the phone. She loves animals, especially parrots. At her church, she’s a pianist – and can also play violin, harpsichord, keyboard, and twelve-bass accordion. She works for a private investigator from home, helping with background checks and finding information on cases. But when the small talk transitions to deeper questions, her story sounds like a real-life legend.

In 2008, one of Marsha’s parrots attacked her. The parrot mauled her face, and Marsha needed to go to the doctor. However, the malpractice laws in Florida made it difficult for her to get adequate treatment. Marsha’s normally easy-going tone turns irritated when she describes the problems. “Doctors have to have all these credentials. If they don’t, a patient can call the police.” She also mentions that malpractice insurance isn’t mandatory. This makes it difficult to file a lawsuit.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, her teeth started feeling unnaturally loose, like they were about to fall out. “I was bleeding for weeks,” Marsha explains. “Eating was nightmarish.”  Not wanting to deal with another medical mess in Florida, she looked for help in other states. “Trying to pay for airfare was a huge burden,” she continues. “I needed a helping hand.”

The “helping hand” came just in time. Around midnight, Marsha received a call from Mercy Medical Angels. They had been up all night finding transportation from Florida to New York and had to let her know.

“They’re miraculous,” Marsha says with relief in her voice. “It’s very calming to know the airfare is taken care of.” The next morning, Marsha flew out of the Sunshine State – and once in New York, found a different kind of sunshine.

First, Marsha needed to have the botched operation corrected. Her dental problem was much more difficult to remedy. Marsha has dental anxiety, which is almost like PTSD.  Luckily, the dentists Marsha found have a softer side. They don’t rush and they explain everything. Sometimes she needs to talk something out, and the dentists give emotional support. If the chair feels uncomfortable, pillows and blankets are provided. “Sometimes it’s like a spa,” Marsha says through a laugh.

When it came to fixing Marsha’s teeth, the dentists had to make special tools. Not only is she shorter than average, she also has a very small mouth.  “What they had to do wasn’t in the textbook,” Marsha says. They managed to save most of her teeth.

Marsha also has alopecia. She owns wigs in all the colors of the rainbow, and matches them to her outfits. She states an often-overlooked point: “If you look better, you feel better.”

When asked how she deals with the challenges, Marsha’s answer is simple. However, the simplicity holds the strength of a true fighter. “I take it as it comes. Every day is precious.”