Jason’s Story

Site created on March 14, 2021

In order to try and provide updates a little more efficiently we decided to start this caring bridge page as a way for all those who want to follow our dad’s progress to stay connected. We appreciate each and every one of your prayers, love, and support.

Briefly, our dad began developing flu like symptoms in the beginning of March. They subsided for about 3 days, so he thought he was on the mend. They returned on Saturday March 6th. He went to get labs drawn that following Monday to ensure it wasn’t Covid, however we had low suspicion because he had recently received his second dose of the Moderna vaccine and had very little exposure risk. His covid test was negative, but other labs were a little off. They decided to just watch his symptoms and he was supposed to see his Dr. on Monday the 15th. Over the course of the week his symptoms continued to worsen, he became more lethargic, to the point my mom had to call 911 on Friday morning, March 12th.

He was taken to the emergency room at Mile Bluff Hospital in Mauston, WI. They were unable to determine what was going on. After quite a bit of advocating to get him transferred that night, he arrived at Meriter ICU in Madison, WI at 4 am on Saturday March 13th.

Since being at Meriter he has had extensive work-ups. There are some things we know, and other things they are still trying to figure out. We know he has Streptococcus Group G bacteria in his blood stream that also entered his spinal fluid. We don’t know the source of this infection yet, but it has impacted many of his body systems.

Brain- He has many tiny infarcts (strokes) on his brain MRI. Likely as a secondary injury from this overwhelming infection.  He was originally very disoriented and confused. He was hard to arouse and asleep most of the time. He seems to be making small gains in his orientation and being able to carry on brief conversations, but still very tired and confused at times. We have seen glimmers of his personality with some witty responses and jokes he has made to his care team.

Lungs/Breathing- He has required some respiratory support in the form of nasal canula and bipap to prevent his oxygen saturations from dipping too low.

Heart- His medical team is continuing to look closer at his heart as a potential site of infection. He has a more invasive echo today (3/16) to see if there is evidence of infection. He will get sedated for this study. He is on some medications to support his heart function.

GI- He has develop GI bleeding, so GI doctors will hopefully see him today (3/16) and he will likely need more scopes of his upper and lower GI tract to see what is causing the bleeding.

Joints/mobility- His right knee is very inflamed. The team could not aspirate any fluid from his knee, so they think he is having an arthritis flare up in that knee from the infection, but they will continue to watch it very closely.  In general, he is very weak.

Kidneys- His kidney labs were showing acute injury. They are monitoring them closely and they are trending in the right direction. Unfortunately, one of the antibiotics he needs to be on can be very hard on the kidneys so his labs will be closely monitored.  

We thank all who have reached out and offered support. In the short term we are doing ok. Our mom is staying with me (Laura) in Waunakee. The hospital only allows one person to visit per day, so as of now only our mom has been able to visit. The medical team is including me over speaker phone for important conversations so that has been very helpful. We continue to pray for more answers. We are trying to take each day as it comes, as we don’t know what all of this will mean long term.

Newest Update

Journal entry by Laura Konkol

We received some encouraging news yesterday. Dad's pleural fluid did not have any malignancies (no cancer cells detected). The next step will be getting biopsies of some of his lung masses with interventional radiology. We do not have a date yet, but this should be sometime next week. We pray so hard these masses are not cancerous. 

While we wait to determine next steps, dad continues to progress physically at Select. He will likely be discharged from Select next week. We made the decision not to have him transfer to a skilled nursing facility, rather have him come "home" with my mom. Home is a bit up in the air right now, but for the first week after discharge from Select my mom and dad will be staying at an extended stay hotel very close to UW so he can safely get to his procedures/appointments. While there home health and therapies will be able to see him. In addition, my siblings and I can help my mom care for my dad. 

We continue to work on more permanent housing, and my brother located a new 3 bedroom apartment in Middleton. We are just awaiting  confirmation. We are hopeful this will work out, and even more hopeful they can move in before July 1st. My sister and I spent yesterday and today packing my parents entire house. It was definitely sad to know we are saying goodbye to a place with so many memories, but also know its the safest thing for dad. 

There are a lot of moving parts and many unknowns, but thankful for a bit of hopeful news. 
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