Today the occupational therapists made a customized splint for Matthew’s damaged arm. This will keep it in a better position and protect it from accidental bumps and bruises.
The doctors are concerned about a pocket of fluid near his collarbone. Today they did an ultrasound of the area and drew out a large amount of fluid, which they are now testing for infection. Depending on the results of the tests, they might be able to perform a procedure to wash out the fluid. If so, that surgery would be Thursday (the day after tomorrow).
The discouraging news is that the plastic surgeon will not be able to do the exploratory surgery to determine the possibility of nerve repair until they make sure there is no infection in that region. If they cannot do the exploratory surgery due to infection, UCSF will send Matthew back to John Muir Medical Center (Walnut Creek) until the infection is taken care of, after which time they would then send him back to UCSF for exploratory surgery. Of course, no nerve grafting or implantation can be attempted until UCSF does the exploratory surgery to determine the condition of the nerves from his spine to his arm.
Also, the situation with his arm is more fragile than we realized. The artery graft is very close to the surface, so he would need to have tissue repair before he is in a position to get a skin graft to cover the wounds which are currently underneath the wound VAC.
We were also told that he will most likely need 12 months of daily occupational therapy and that the rehab process could be 12-18 months. It is a guess at this point, but suffice it to say that we are looking at a very long process.
During that time, he would need regular care for the damaged arm to prevent cuts, burns, etc. since he has no feeling or movement there.
If he is able to have the nerve reimplantation surgery, he would need to be seen regularly for checkups for imaging to see if the nerve graft is working and if the nerves are growing. According to his plastic surgeon, these nerves grow at a rate of about 1 mm per day, so it would take perhaps 12 months to reach his hand.
Please pray for Matthew, for us as a family and for the medical teams at both hospitals to have God’s wisdom to know whether it would be best if he/we would stay in the San Francisco area or move him back to Kansas City for treatment. What this means for me, Pam and the younger kids is unclear. It would be costly to live in California near San Francisco for a family of 6 for 12-18 months. Our preference would be to live in Kansas City if that is an acceptable place for Matthew to have his treatments and rehab.
Please pray for wisdom and the Lord’s guidance and peace. Pray if it is his will that he will provide housing for our family (6 people) for 12 months, probably beginning late March or early April
This is hitting us all really hard. Please pray for God’s comfort and mercy and help in this time of need.
Grateful that we can come to you as the Body of Christ and share our burdens,