Jonathan’s Story

Site created on February 1, 2020

On January 18, 2020, Jonathan Watson fell seriously ill from Influenza B and a bacterial blood infection, Strep A while on a business trip in Europe.   His survival of this illness up to this point, and multiple surgeries afterward were the first of many miracles for Jon.  Initially admitted at Saddleback hospital, the staff quickly realized that Jon’s severe condition warranted more care than their facilities could provide. Jon’s illness had progressed so quickly that only a helicopter could safely transport him to a more properly equipped hospital. Unfortunately, due to the occurrence of strong winds, transport by helicopter was deemed unsafe.  As a result a team from UCLA medical came to Jon at Saddleback and administered a life-saving treatment to stabilize him enough to be safely transported by ambulance to UCLA medical.

We are beyond grateful for the advances in modern medicine that have kept Jon alive while his body tries to heal during this time.He currently remains in critical condition at UCLA medical. Please keep the entire Watson family in your thoughts and prayers for these next critical days, weeks, and possible months.  

In 2005 Jon graduated from the University of Iowa with a B.S. in Engineering.  After graduating he moved to California and started his career at Meggitt Defense as head of their sales department. Driven to challenge himself professionally and further provide for his family, Jon transitioned from engineering, to the business side of commercial aerospace. He currently works at Hartwell Corporation as a Business Unit Manager. In December of 2019 Jon graduated from Pepperdine University earning his MBA. 

In 2009 Jon married the love of his life, Megan who is a full-time stay at home mom caring for their three boys; 7 year old Landon, 6 year old Maddox and 3 year old Wyatt.  

The family is so grateful for the staff at Saddleback Memorial in Laguna Hills California as well as the heroic staff at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical center who continue to work tirelessly on Jons behalf 24 hours a day.

All donations are being sent directly to Megan Watson, his wife, on behalf of Jon. 

In order to allow Megan to fully focus on her family, please direct all well wishes and thoughts to his GoFundMe page or follow Jon’s progress and communicate with her on this caring bridge site.

Newest Update

Journal entry by Allison Byrne

Sometimes, it’s the Little Things.

Let’s talk about all of the “little” things because in order for the big picture to become clear, all the little things have to come together in just the right way. And, for clarity’s sake, I’m speaking comparatively here. The measures taken in each of these instances were absolutely life-saving and, in the real world, are a pretty big deal but when you take into consideration all Jon’s body has been through, “little” seems appropriate. 

I briefly reviewed on update one that Jon’s Impella was removed successfully. For review, an Impella is a medical device used for temporary ventricular support. The Impella saved Jon from his severe heart failure as previously discussed but once it was removed he was faced with a few more obstacles. Without the Impella Jon’s heart had very little pulsatility, despite very high doses of epinephrine and milrinone (medicines that help kick the heart in gear) increasing the chances of a clot. If a clot occurred, we were told there was really not much they could do at that point, worst case scenario. But, as if Jon knew he was underperforming (don’t ever play Scattergories with him, or Megan for that matter, underperforming is just not in their vocabulary), shortly after receiving this news, his heart started to show the first signs of recovery. That recovery trend continued for two more days which gave Jon’s team the confidence to dial back his Ecmo machine from 4.6 to 3.97 on Monday. Remember the Ecmo is a life support system for his heart that oxygenates his blood allowing his heart to go on what we hope is a short vacation. We continue to see more signs of recovery from his heart, laying the foundation for his other major organs to begin their road to recovery, too.  

Let’s move to Jon’s lungs because at the very least, they deserve to win Best Supporting Role. Initial chest x-rays of Jon’s lungs looked like one big gray cloud with no discernible features. The fluid retention had overtaken his lung cavities but removing that fluid would be no easy feat. Since Jon was on blood thinners to allow his blood to move more easily through the Ecmo, getting to the lungs, behind the chest cavity, posed a serious risk. Keep in mind his low heart pulsatility, meaning less blood production. Jon needs every possible drop of blood in his body. Despite the risk, on Sunday his team moved forward with a fluid pull from his lungs removing two full liters of fluid. I’ll say that again...Two. Full. Liters! Picture two, one liter soda bottles. Think about how much you cough when getting just a small amount of fluid down the wrong pipe. Jon’s lungs deserve their own award ceremony in my opinion.

On to that nasty word from last night...amputation. I guarantee, we’ll never be able to add up the hours of lost sleep we’ve all suffered trying to wrap our heads around this concept. What we haven’t relayed is the lengths at which Jon’s medical team went to try and save his lower limbs. Dopler scans, massages, antibiotic regimen changes, and the last-ditch invasive effort of a Fasciotomy. Jon received a Fasciotomy on both the interior and exterior of both calves. A Fasciotomy is a potential limb-saving surgical procedure where the skin is cut to relieve pressure and treat resulting loss of circulation to tissue or muscle. Unfortunately despite all the above mentioned efforts to save Jon’s lower leg limbs, none were successful and amputation was literally the only option.

Sometimes, in life things just don’t work out the way you’d hoped. Sometimes the resulting disappointments of your former hopes can bring you to the darkest of places. Sometimes you just need to scream “What the f**ck!!!!” into your blanket in an LA hospital waiting room as loud as your healthy lungs will allow. And sometimes you need to let your friends, family, village pick you up off the hospital lobby floor and face this Brave New World together. Sometimes life just doesn’t make any sense...

Oh, and don’t think we forgot that behind each of those “little things” was a team of medical professionals rallying around Jon and Megan. Per Megan’s request, her “girl squad” came together today to make a care basket for Jon’s medical team, complete with protein shakes, granola bars, beef jerky, restaurant gift cards, and homemade “life-saving” cookies. Because sometimes a “little” thank you just doesn’t quite cut it. 

#EffSTSS #WatsonNation
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