Friday, February 29, 2008

No Leaps, Yet

Matt felt some discomfort in his abdomen yesterday. David spent the day with Matt allowing Candy to rest and recover at the courtesy home provided by the hospital. Matt's kidneys have not improved significantly in the most recent few days. A team of physical therapists continue to work with his legs. The therapists get Matt up from the bed and into the chair. Matt has remarked about feeling the floor under his right foot. This should be considered an answer to our prayers. However, feeling and sensation in the left leg and foot has not returned. Medical staff views this lack of sensation as reasonably normal due to the swelling that remains in the left leg. When swelling retreats, sensation should return. Matt continues to eat reasonably well and regularly. The Kelley's have expressed much appreciation for continued prayer for Matt's recovery. We can take comfort and satisfaction in knowing our prayers have directly contributed to the success of Matt's recovery until now. However, as we are learning, Matt's recovery will continue to be a slow and very deliberate process. We continue to be reminded of the definition of slow recovery and a long recovery. Let us also be encouraged to be steadfast in our prayers on Matt's behalf. Prayer will continue to be the undergirding portion of Matt's recovery. Specific prayers are needed for the success of the physical therapy, decreased swelling and improved kidney function. Due to a recent rotation of close family members keeping vigil with Matt, Candy has been getting more rest. David believes he is approaching full recovery from his recent cold. As previously stated, Matt has been moved from Critical Care to room 6117 within the area of specific treatment for kidneys and dialysis. Please carry the prayers with you to church as you worship this weekend. We have traveled a great distance in the past 24 days. However, the journey ahead will prove to be even longer.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Restless and Young

Last night was a restless night for Matt. This should be attributed to the disruption of schedule and activity related to moving day. However, Matt's youth should help him regain strength and move ahead. David has spent the day with Matt in Jackson. No substantive news has made the journey to Somerville. However, we will have another update tomorrow. Let us be resolved and committed to prayer until we have another update.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Prayer Works

Matt was able to enjoy this morning's breakfast from a chair instead of the bed. Matt's food consumption continues to improve on a daily basis. His kidney function has not improved to a measurable degree since yesterday. David mentioned a phone conversation with Matt this morning. Matt was able to speak a little more audibly and clearly on the phone. Until now, his speaking was little more than a whisper. This is due to Matt's injury to his abdomen and soreness in the abdominal muscles and diaphragm. As of yesterday afternoon, Matt did take up the issue of the UT vs. Vandy game from last night with Candy. As you know, Candy enjoys talking basketball. David's brother, Tommy, is spending the day in Jackson with Matt. Typically, this would allow Candy to rest. However, time for rest will come when they are situated into a private room. As of this afternoon, Matt is moving from the Critical Care Unit to a private room. Most likely, Matt will be moved to an area of the hospital with a specialty in dialysis treatment and care. Details of room number are unavailable at this time. Considering our gratitude and relief with this news, rest and recovery remain the primary focus for Matt and the Kelley's. The Kelley's look forward to a visit with all friends once Matt has been released or substantive improvement permits visitation. At this time, visitation would be best if delayed until such time as Matt's condition will permit. A private room does not translate into the fast track of recovery. Simply, this is another step in the process to a slow and complete recovery. Earlier this morning, Candy expressed concerns of people forgetting to pray for Matt's kidneys and legs. She was given the reassurance of our prayers each day at noon as we break from our schedules to pray for Matt. It has been suggested by some that Christians do not believe in prayer. If they did, they would be faithful in prayer. Let us be encouraged by answers to our prayers. Let us take notice of specific answers to them. Let us believe in the power of prayer and remember the result of it. Surely, this is an example of God's favor toward His people when they are obedient and faithful. Our commitment to prayer must not waver in these moments of thanksgiving. Let us remain commited to prayer even when life is good and getting better.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


This evening will be exactly twenty-one days ago when catastrophic storms tore through Jackson, TN. However, we can consider that God's plan included life for Matt and many other Union students twenty-one days ago . Matt's white blood cell count is down into a normal and acceptable range as of today. This gives a credible indication that any infection has been dispatched with treatment and our prayers. Matt continues to improve his eating and the quantity of it. A team of physical therapists came to work with Matt on Monday. The therapists were able to move Matt out of the bed allowing him to sit in a chair for a while. This was a good development in Matt's recovery. Careful attention must be given to Matt's legs in the process of moving from bed to chair. Hopefully, this change of position will indirectly aid in the improvement in Matt's leg condition. Improvement of kidney function is very slight. The conundrum of kidney function and leg injury continues to be a concern for the medical staff. While Matt is taking very small steps toward improvement, we should remember David in our prayers. David has battled a cold in recent days. Let us continue to be faithful in giving a moment of prayer at noon each day on Matt's behalf. We should be cautious to not allow ourselves to become complacent in our prayer for the Kelley's. Prayers are needed for Matt's healing legs and kidneys, David's cold, Candy's rest whenever possible and Christin's abstract schedule and time at home without all members of the family in Somerville. David and Candy have also been encouraged to know that Dr. Frank Crawford has been contacting the family and tracking Matt's progress. For those who are unaware, Dr. Crawford has accepted the invitation of First Baptist of Somerville, TN to be Senior Pastor. Dr. Crawford has yet to move to Somerville. However, his ministry has already begun. Dr. Crawford will be filling First Baptist's pulpit on Sunday, March 9.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Monday, Monday

Matt has had a pretty good weekend. He overall strength has diminished some. However, he is ever agreeable and willing to engage in his physical therapy and medical treatment. Doctors have started requesting Matt eat a certain quantity of food to provide strength and nutrition. Matt's white blood cell count has fallen to 14. We are looking for numbers in the 5-10 range. Matt had 2 incisions closed on Friday with 6 remaining. The incisions closed were on the inside of the right leg, upper and lower. The left leg remains swollen more signifcantly than the swelling in the right leg. Kidney function continues to be a concern as improvement is marginal at best. Improved kidney function would greatly enhance the recovery of the leg injuries. Also, the recovery of the legs would be conducive to a more rapid return of normal kidney function. Dialysis continues to be prescribed three days each week. Matt has enjoyed soups and sandwiches from outside the hospital and continues to do so. David informs us that Candy did receive a little rest this weekend.

Many prayers were lifted at churches in our community and from afar this weekend. However, at First Baptist of Somerville, TN, several individual prayers were lifted during a time of children's devotion in the morning worship service. The blessing was ours to hear children ranging in age from 4 -8 lift specific prayers for Matt's legs. The children mentioned Matt specifically asking our Lord 'to heal his legs.' Without doubt, our children are hearing our prayers and offering prayers of their own. Let us continue to be faithful each day at noon in breaking from our busy schedule for a brief moment of prayers on Matt's behalf. Specifically, we should pray for healing to Matt's legs and decreased swelling there. We should also pray for healing in Matt's kidneys.

Let us not be misled by the optimism in this blog that Matt's condition is anything other than critical and serious. We claim the little victories and embrace the recovery for which we are hoping and praying. Many of us desire to make a physical and tangible contribution to Matt's recovery. However, at the present time, let us be resolved to be faithful in our prayers of intercession for Matt and the Kelley family.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Successful Surgery

Matt's surgery was completed shortly before 4:00PM on Friday afternoon. Surgery was successful to close 2 of 8 total incisions. Swelling had not decreased enough to adequately justify closure of the remaining incisions. The relief of swelling is somewhat related to kidney function. Matt is dealing with a considerable amount of pain which is expected. Matt remains heavily sedated during the recovery period immediately following surgery. Let us pray for Matt's pain, improved kidney fuction, decreased swelling and rest for the Kelley's. May we also search for God's purpose in all the events of the storms and the days that have followed. We will worship Him on Sunday for His guiding Matt through His recovery.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Finally Friday

Matt has been in surgery through the middle of the day today, Feb. 22. Surgical staff will be working to close the open incisions in Matt's right leg and possibly some on the left leg. Physicians are not satisfied with the progress of the swelling of the left leg to completely close all incisions yet. We should consider prayers to be answered related to Matt's right leg healing. We can give thanks for the report ealier this week that no permanent tissue damage has been found. David has spent all day in Jackson with Candy awaiting completion of the surgery and a report from the surgical staff. Matt continues to shoot hoops into his small 'nerf goal' while passing the hours in the hospital. We should spend our time in prayer this weekend for the recovery of Matt's legs, the hours/ days after surgery, keeping out infection and any residual swelling. Specifically, pray for Matt's left leg to drain fluid and decrease in swelling to allow for closure of incisions as soon as possible. Please pray for Matt's patience as he takes inventory of the long road ahead. Please continue to pray for healing and increased function from Matt's kidneys. All of Matt's body continues to gain some strength and recover from nothing less that monumental trauma injuries. Take time this weekend to give thanks for God's provision in Matt's recovery and worship Him for His compassion, grace and mercy. Let us thank Him for being our Great Physician. Pray for the Kelley family's time together this weekend. Pray for a peaceful and enjoyable family time although it will be spent in a hospital. Check back again this weekend for update from surgery when they are available.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Union, Dearest Union

Day 16 is much the same as the fifteen before. Kidney function is steady and improving ever so slightly. Dialysis continues three times each week. Matt has a small 'nerf-style' basketball goal in the room in CCU. Shooting hoops helps to pass the time. We should be safe to assume Matt's room in CCU is a bit unorthodox. It puts a different spin on Critical Care Unit. Matt's left leg, the more severely injured of the two, remains swollen more than the right. The medical staff would prefer to see this swelling diminish before closing the incisions on the legs. We can be encouraged to know the medical staff is somewhat satisfied with the progress of the right leg. However, at this point, their preference is to close all incisions with one proceedure. Perhaps, we will receive better news tomorrow. Matt's diet is much of the same with soup, light sandwich fare and beverages other than water. Of course, David's and Candy's insurance plan provides meals from the hospital. We know the nutritional quality of those meals is good. We have doubts about the tastiness of those hospital meals. In light of a substantial change from yesterday's report, let us remain committed to prayer and hope. When we pray, specific prayers are needed for Matt's left leg. Pray for the swelling to diminish and the surgery that will be coming soon. Christin has a basketball game in Jackson this weekend. David is hopeful to spend some family time with Matt, Candy and Christin after the game. For those that may not know, the hospital owns a single family home across the street from the hospital. This house is used for out of town families keeping vigil in the CCU. The hospital has offered this to Candy. The Kelley's are the only family using this house for now. Candy has been able to catch a few brief naps while staying with Matt. David plans to spend the night with Matt and allow Candy to go to the guest house for some needed rest. David and Candy certainly appreciate your prayers and are happy to know we are finding a brief prayer time each day at noon.

Yesterday, David mentioned how compassionately and faithfully they have been ministered to by Union University staff and faculty. David talks daily with Dr. George Guthrie, Christian Studies professor, regarding Matt's progress. Dr. Guthrie has been an ad hoc liason for the university. David has spoken to Dr. Guthrie daily since Wednesday, the 6th. Literally, a multitude of Union faculty and staff visited the Kelley's during the first week. Dr. Dockery and his wife, Lanese, have been regularly contacting David and Candy to track Matt's progress and recovery. Many of Matt's current and former professors visited the hospital in the early days of Matt's recovery. Needless to say, the outpouring of love, care and concern has been appreciated. David and Candy have mentioned their clear understanding of the depth and quality of Matt's education from Union University. David and Candy have mentioned their satisfaction with Matt attending Union and the relationships that have been established there. Without doubt, this concern, love, and personal attention is most difficult to find at most other colleges and universities.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Week #3

There is news of more little victories from Jackson, TN today. Matt's white blood cell count is down to 19. Most definitely, we shall consider this to be an answer to prayer. However, our job of prayer is not complete. Matt continues to receive food that is more palatable than hospital food. He has eaten more potatoe soup, a small portion of a Subway sandwich and some of the food provided by the hospital's food service. Matt has also been able to drink a small amount of Sprite and some sweet tea from Chic-fil-a. He is receiving daily treatment from physical therapists in the hospital. He is working a large rubber band to maintain some upper body strength. Kidney function continues to be a concern. However, daily improvement in kidney function is not particularly substantial. Hope for the possibility of surgery to close Matt's leg incisions exists for later this week. The left leg has not improved to the same level as that of the right leg. May we remember Matt's frustration with the slow recovery. We all live in a time of immediate satisfaction. As we know, Matt's recovery will be very slow. We should pray for more patience for the Kelley's and ourselves. Let us all thank our Lord for His answers to prayers, specifically Matt's white blood cell levels. Let us hope for our own commitment to daily prayer at noon for Matt. We should also say specific prayers for students resuming their semester classes at Union University today. We believe nothing less than a miracle is being completed as Matt's recovery begins to take shape. If we ever thought 'seeing is believing,' this is it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

How Long?

Is it possible that the destructive storms of Feb. 5 were only two weeks ago? Two weeks seem like an eternity. However, this morning Candy and Matt were visited by the surgeon who will be closing the incisions on Matt's legs. The surgeon prefers to wait just a little longer to allow for more removal of fluid that has caused Matt's legs to swell. Apparently, Matt's left leg was injured somewhat more severely that his right leg. However, good news was received from the results of MRI completed within recent days. Images DO NOT show any damaged tissue that should not recover completely. Yes, all of the tissue in Matt's legs should recover completely. David and Linsey made a visit to Jackson yesterday afternoon after work and school. David was able to bring Matt some potatoe soup from O'Charley's. Matt has also been able to eat a few chicken nuggets from McDonald's. Nutrition continues to be a concern for Matt. We can consider Matt's consumption of 'regular food' as a small victory in the long recovery process. Matt also drank a portion of a milkshake earlier today. The quantities of food from outside the hospital is very minimal. Matt's white blood cell numbers continue to slowly decline. This number was 31 earlier today. We are looking for a number in the 5 - 10 range. The highest number was 37 over the weekend. Kidney function is improving a bit. However, Matt continues to receive dialysis as previously posted. Early reports immediately following the injuries were estimating time in the ICU to be approximately 2 weeks. However, it is safe to consider that duration to be marginally longer. Matt has his expectations fixed upon moving to another step in the treatment and recovery process. May we pray that Matt, David, Candy and Christin will continue to have strength to endure a treatment and recovery process that will be very taxing upon their patience. Typically, we consider a slow recovery to be a matter of weeks. However, Matt's complete recovery is likely to consume several months. Let us pray for the skill and discernment of the medical staff treating Matt. As concerned family and friends, we will need patience and endurance to accompany the Kelley's through the recovery process with diligent prayer at every step of the way. Earlier today, David relayed concerns from the medical staff and family to limit 'in room' visitation to immediate family only. The Kelley's appreciate prayers, concerns, and love that has been expressed by many family, friends, and community members. However, the concerns about visitation are in the best interest of Matt's complete and a more rapid recovery. As readers of this blog, would it be possible for all of us to take up noon, 12:00 CST, each day to remember Matt in brief prayer? This would be during the traditional lunch hour. However, we can be assured that many others will be pausing at the same time each day to intercede with our Lord on Matt's behalf.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Answers to Prayers

As of this morning, Feb. 18, Matt has some improved kidney function. However, his kidneys continue to receive dialysis assistance 3 days each week. This past week, Matt's white blood cell count was elevated indicating the presence of some infection. As of this morning, the white blood cells have decreased some due to Matt's receiving antibiotics. Matt has been moving his legs ever so slightly and delicately in recent days. This is very hopeful news of the recovery for which we are all praying. Matt should be having surgery in the next few days to close the incisions that helped relieve the swelling and pressure resulting from his crush injuries. Matt has already started some mild physical therapy to begin a portion of the rehab process for his legs. On several occasions, he has asked Candy to 'stretch my muscles the way the therapist does.' As a result of the many prayers for Matt's need for nutrition, Matt's Monday morning breakfast included scrambled eggs and chocolate milk. As we are blessed with Matt's improvement until now, the road ahead is very long and somewhat uncertain. Some of the improvements may appear to be small steps in the right direction. However, they are very large steps when considering the nature of injuries and the level of trauma endured. Please continue to remember David and Candy during the stress of caring for their family. Please pray for rest as it may be permitted for Candy as she remains at the hospital nearly all day, every day. Let us thank God for Matt's optimism and resiliency to this point.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Specific Requests

David & Candy have asked for specific prayers for healing to Matt's stomach. As you may know, most of Matt's injuries were internal injuries. As such, Matt's ability to consume solid food has been very limited. The Kelley's have asked for specific prayers for Matt's ability to take food orally to aid in his overall nutrition and health. Matt's stomach has not permitted him to consume an abundance of food of any kind by mouth. Some of this results directly from his injuries and indirectly from the medications he is receiving for his overall treatment. Also, an increased level of health and nutrition will make healing faster and easier, especially if any further invasive procedures are needed which are not planned at this time. Please carry these requests and others with you to church as you worship this weekend. Let us also be thankful for God's miracles, His provision, His mercy, His grace and His sovereignty in our lives.

Settling In

Valentine's Day was a good day for Matt. Matt was able to eat a couple popsicles. Diet will be a challenge for the medical staff as it relates to his kidney function. Matt was in good spirits and optimistic about his own condition. He was very compliant with the doctors' requests related to treatment. Treatment by medication and other marginal movement/ activity from the bed was embraced by Matt as a means to and end in the recovery process. As we consider the complexity of Matt's medical recovery, the most positive news of the day might be his watching the Golf Channel yesterday. Let us continue to pray for Matt's recovery in general. Let us pray for David, Candy & Christin's perseverance with the travel and inconsistency of their schedules and routines. Please check back for updates.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Slow and Steady

Thursday, February 14, is day 9 of the long and difficult task of recovery for Matt. As you might imagine, Matt has some good days and some bad. Some days are a mixture of both. Hopefully, this blog will become a mechanism by which the Kelley family can disseminate information about Matt's condition on a regular basis. This should provide updates to all who have called and cannot reach Candy, David or others. Also, hopefully, this will be an efficient platform by which information can be shared and allow Candy & David to focus all of their effort, energy, and love with Matt and their immediate family.

Matt has shown some improvement in kidney function. As we all know, the injuries to Matt's legs were the indirect cause of the shutdown of Matt's kidneys. The toxins and bi-products of the crush injury to Matt's legs were sent directly to his kidneys upon extrication from the debris. As of Tuesday, Matt's kidneys have shown very minor signs of recovery and function. This is a small step and sign of recovery. However, it is a welcome sign of the progress for which you are praying. Matt will continue with dialysis for the immediate future until a time in which kidney function is more definite and sustainable. Also, Matt has had some movement in his legs that is a definite sign of a hopeful recovery. It is difficult to understand how such an injury and trauma to Matt's body yielded no broken bones. The only skeletal injury was a very small fracture to a vertebrae in the lower lumbar section of Matt's back. This fracture appears to be of little concern to the medical staff with regard to lasting effects.

Please continue to check this blog frequently for more updates. Please pass this web address along to others who may be concerned. Specifically, please pray for rest and comfort for David, Candy and Christin as well as the rest of the Kelley family. Pray for the restored function to Matt's kidneys, his legs, and healing of the fractured vertebrae. Soon after David and Candy met Matt at the hospital, Matt asked about the condition of Union's campus. Please pray for Union's recovery, others affected by the storms in Jackson, and other students that remain hospitalized. Also, please pray for families that have experienced a loss of life, home, or possessions in other areas such as Memphis, Middle TN, North MS, etc.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Optimism and Answered Prayers

Nearly one week after storms trapped Matt on Union's campus, Matt's condition is improving. He is optimistic and eagerly anticipating the recovery that is sure to be a long one. However, far as it might appear at this point, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Recently, Matt made comments to family members that he 'just might get out of here.' As Matt's body begins to recover from a catastrophic event and injuries he sustained, there is good improvement and optimism from Matt's family, his doctors, and himself. Without a doubt, prayers have been answered and are being answered as Matt's recovery begins to take shape. The Kelley family expresses appreciation for prayers and requests continued prayer. Although Matt's condition is improving, doctors and family members believe visitation should be minimal.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Messages for Matt

Hopefully, this blog will become a place over the weeks ahead whereby friends, family, and others can relay messages for Matt while he is recovering in the hospital and at home. If you are visiting this site, it is likely that you know Matt was injured in the destructive tornadoes of February 5, 2008 on the campus of Union University in Jackson, TN. Matt and several other students were trapped for several hours beneath several tons of debris on the campus of Union University. At this time, the Kelley family and medical staff believe a minimal amount of visitation will be most conducive to a more rapid and complete recovery for Matt. However, they are most appreciative for all prayers that have been and will be lifted on Matt's behalf. Please know they look forward to the opportunity to visit with friends once Matt's recovery has made significant progress. Please leave Matt a message wishing him well and a rapid recovery.