Sometime on Saturday, July 19 2009, Matthew was involved in a MRAP rollover in the Logar Province in Afghanistan. We are unclear of what exactly caused the rollover, whether is was an attack or an accident. He was immediately treated for two collapsed lungs, a massive head injury, fractured spine, and spinal cord damage. He was air lifted Sunday night to the Landstuhl hospital in Germany to receive better care for his head injury. Monday he received a craniectomy, which is the removal of a peice of skull in order to help alleviate the swelling and prevent further brain damage.
When the accident occurred, Matt was put into an induced coma so he could be transported in a military aircraft to Landstul. Since then, he has taken out of his induced coma but remains in a coma. His condition is stable; however, his motor functioning skills are not improving. Basically, as of right now what we are looking for from Matt is movement of his arms upward towards his chest or the opening of his eyes. This will give us a better indication of exactly how bad the damage to his brain is.
Unfortunately, Matt has been tightening his arms inward which is another indication that he has sever damage to his cerebral cord. This basically means that it cannot send signals to his body when he should be reacting to something. After meeting with his neurologist, we have decided to see how Matt does over the weekend and talk again on Monday. By then we should have a better idea of where exactly he stands in the healing process and where we should go from here.
All of this information is pretty much in a nut shell to blatantly put it. His injuries are very complicated but we are taking any ounce of hope we can get. He does flutter his eyes sometimes and anytime we enter the room and talk to him his heart rate increases.
According to the doctor and nurses caring for him, he can hear us talk to him, but in a sort of dream state. That is why we were given military orders to fly out so soon. The doctor believed that we would really help in his recovery. The three of us (dad, mom, and myself) have practically moved ourselves into Matthews room :) only leaving his side when they kick us out :( Of course its always to give him some sort of treatment he needs but we hate to leave. Through out the day and night we sit at his bed and talk to him, laugh, joke, tell stories, watch movies, so he knows we are with him. His nurses have been amazing. Brad (the “Matt know it all”) and Micheal are our favorites. Micheal has been Matt’s night nurse the past three nights. He does his best to keep us cafficated and comfortable. We can tell that Matt has really made an impression at this hospital. Everyone loves to hear the stories we share like when he was two and always tried to escape the house after bathtime. Or when he would fart in my car and roll up the windows and turn the heat on. There are so many we could write a novel.
It’s really hard to actually tell his story because it seems as though it makes this situation a little more real. It’s like you hear anyone say in this position that you would never think something like this would ever happen to someone you love so much.
In all honesty, we aren’t hopeful for Matt’s recovery and as his family we need to think about what he would want. This part is maybe a little easier than we thought because we know Matt so well and we know how he would want to live his life. Definitely not in a nursing home as a coma patient.
One thing that is for sure is how much we love Matt. I will do my best to keep everyone updated as we learn more. Once again, thank you for all the love and support. Matt is a pretty special person.