Today is Matthew’s 28th day in the hospital. His medical team at UCSF Parnassus is working to prepare him for discharge. The earliest date would be Sunday.
The biggest challenge before discharge is getting his pain under control. They are weaning him off of the IV medications and trying to find the best solution using only pills. He was in a fair amount of pain today as his body has to adjust to the medication change. They started giving him a lidocaine patch which he can put on his left shoulder blade to numb the nerve pain in that area, and that has been helpful. Unfortunately, the doctors are saying that no matter what they do, he will be living with pain for quite a while.
One big plus of being off IV medication is that he is no longer tethered to a pole. He can walk around all he wants to, using his new arm sling. We still need to find a better solution than just propping it up on pillows, though, while he sleeps since that is a bit precarious.
When Matthew is discharged, he and I will be able to stay with very kind friends in Walnut Creek, California, where Elizabeth and I stayed at the beginning when Matthew was at John Muir Medical Center. They even have a car we can use so that I can return the rental car.
The nurses are changing Matthew’s wound dressing twice a day. He will probably have in-home care every few days so a nurse can change the dressing and check to see how his arm is healing. On the other days, they said it is safe for me to change his dressings at home. His arm is wrapped in heavy gauze and is in a splint to keep it in the proper position. Of course, he has no feeling or movement at all in his left arm and hand, from the shoulder to the fingers. And he will still need to have his fingertips and thumb tip amputated since they have died.
There seems to be no change in his chyle leak. Please pray that it would heal on its own soon. Yesterday they took out most of his staples, though he still has some near the chyle leak.
Today when Matthew was doing his walking through the ward, he met a man who had had a severe motorcycle accident 15 years ago. Though the man has no feeling in his lower arm, he still manages to bowl, golf, lift weights, etc. It was an inspiration to Matthew. They said goodbye, promising to pray for each other.
In two weeks, Matthew will be seen by the nerve doctor for an evaluation of how to proceed with his nerve therapy. In a little over a month, he will be seen by the doctor who examined his broken neck to see if it is healing on its own or if he will need an operation.
The occupational therapist worked with Matthew again today to help with the range of motion in his right arm.
When Matthew is discharged, we will help him pack up his room so that his things can be taken back to Kansas City when his therapy in San Francisco is over. He has been sharing an apartment with Jonathan, but that lease expires at the end of February and Jonathan will be moving to a smaller apartment.
Thank you for your continued prayers,