Apr 17, 2020 Latest post:
Apr 30, 2020
Welcome to Matt's Caring Bridge site! We know that there are people far and wide who love Matt and want to keep up with his progress. Here's the back story: (By the way, this is being managed and written by Karen Dean, Kathy's sister.)
As many of you may know, Matt was diagnosed with Cerebellar Ataxia several years ago, a degenerative brain disease which has affected his balance, swallowing, and speech. Although he uses a walker, he was getting at least 10,000 steps per day in their house because he was determined to stay healthy for his grandson, Tate. Matt has had several bouts of pneumonia in the past two years, which always starts with an elevated temperature and sometimes absolutely no other symptoms. His temp began rising in the evenings on March 21, and Kathy felt that he was just not himself. Because COVID-19 was just surfacing, she was hesitant to take him to an ER but on the advice of their PCP, she took him to UT Southwestern on March 24, where they have received fabulous care before. She was betting that they would do a chest x-ray, diagnose pneumonia, load him up with antibiotics and send him home. They decided, instead, to keep him overnight and sent Kathy home until his COVID test came back negative, which took a couple of days. When it came back negative, she joined him, thinking that it would just be for a few short days. And so began what has been a long journey of ups and downs.
In short, his pneumonia grew worse, he developed fluid in his chest cavity, lost his desire to eat and drink, and was downright cranky! On Friday, April 3, he was transferred to rehab to regain his strength, but his pneumonia resurfaced and he returned to the hospital on Sunday, April 5. The fluid had also returned, and the doctors finally were able to insert a drain tube into his chest to drain the fluid and insert meds, and this was supposed to continue for about four days, then hopefully back to rehab. However, the drain fell out the next morning and they were unable to reinsert it. But...the fluid has continued to decrease on its own, and he was transported back to rehab yesterday, April 13.
So here we are: He still has pneumonia, and will be on IV antibiotics for four weeks. He's weak and still not eating much, although he said today (for the first time since before March 24) that food tastes good. They have given him a tentative release date of Friday, April 24, to go home and they will work him hard to meet that goal.
Kathy, Tony and Angela have been with him every step of the way, encouraging, prodding, laughing, crying, praying (not in that order!). Because of COVID-19 he can only have one visitor and so most of the visiting with his kids (and Tate!) has been done via Facetime, but they've been able to trade off some, which has been so very good for him. They have had terrific support from friends and family, but as you can imagine are all tired. Kathy has her hands full communicating with doctors, nurses, therapists and other caregivers, and keeping his family and friends updated. They have all been surrounded by angels in the form of caregivers and have felt the arms of Our Heavenly Father constantly.