Friday, March 28, 2008

The Downhill Run

Matt had a successful surgery on Wednesday afternoon to close the remaining six incisions. Four of the six were closed permanently with two incisions receiving temporary closures. Previously, Matt was aided in his recovery by wound vac systems, one for each incision. As of Wednesday evening, Matt does not use the wound vac systems anymore. This aspect of his treatment was a confining system and in use around the clock. These are additional steps in the long road to Matt's complete recovery. Matt has recovered from the surgery as we had hoped. However, his return to normal activities remains out there in the future. Skin grafts were necessary for the closure of his incisions. Matt's appetite and quantity of food consumption need to increase. His lower GI sustained a significant shock during his injuries on February 5. Matt remains unable to consume average quantities of food for meals or snacks. Matt might eat only half of a Subway sandwich. As you can imagine, this is typically not a problem for a college student to finish a whole sandwich and look for more. Please continue to pray for the many facets of Matt's recovery. Pray for no infections in the incision closures, his appetite and the therapy that continues. When the medical staff views Matt's recovery from surgery and overall condition to be satisfactory, they plan to move Matt to another floor within the hospital. This will be the rehabilitation portion of his recovery. Matt will be actively engaged in many efforts to strengthen his legs and coordinate his walking. Most of us have heard the quip, 'rehab is for quitters.' In Matt's condition, rehab is certainly not for quitters. Individually, we can be encouraged by Matt's daily battle with his own body to regain strength and activity as he had before the storms. Also, continue to remember the Kelley's in your prayers for Candy's strength, David's split life between Jackson and Somerville, and Christin's unpredictable schedule with school and family. It should be noted that Candy traveled back to Somerville last weekend to assist in preparations for the prom with Christin. As you might suspect, she enjoyed her time with Christin and equally anxious to get back to the business of Matt's treatment and recovery.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Getting Closer

Surgery is being considered for Matt later this week. The surgery will close the remaining 6 incisions on his legs. Candy has remarked about Matt's leg and about seeing his kneecap on his left leg. However, as one would expect with any invasive procedure, surgery can be an unpredictable event. Let us pray for Matt's successful surgery and the recovery to follow. Please pray specifically for infection to be no problem with this procedure. The surgical staff has included a plastic surgeon in preparation for these procedures. Considering the nature of Matt's injuries and treatment with incisions, a skin graft might be necessary. Matt continues to be very weak and lacks stamina for his therapy and other aspects of treatment. Matt's stomach has yet to regain its original abilities to consume and digest food compared to the time prior to the storms. Please remember the Kelley family during this week and the impending treatment. When the medical staff is satisfied with the recovery from surger, Matt may be moving to the rehabilitation phase very soon. The rehabilitation center is located within the hospital. Preliminary estimates for Matt's move to the rehab center would be approximately one week after surger. However, this may change contingent upon Matt's recovery.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring, Sun & Softball

Matt's high school, Fayette Academy, is planning an annual alumni weekend for April 5, 2008. Fayette Academy will honor Matt's with the activities of the weekend. More information can be found on Fayette Academy's website at Any questions about participation should be directed to Charlotte Karcher with Fayette Academy at 901-465-3295.


Matt's progress continues to be very slow and somewhat methodical. Matt has remained independent of dialysis for a period exceeding two weeks. The swelling in his legs continues to decrease. However, the left leg remains swollen significantly. Pain is one source of discomfort for Matt in recent days. As the circulation in the lower extremitites improves, pain becomes increasingly difficult to endure. Matt does receive some regular pain medication. Matt's diet and food consumption continue to improve with each day. The Kelley's have consulted with the surgical staff about an impending surgery to close all six incisions. As of Wednesday, the 19th, surgeons anticipate scheduling a surgery for the middle of next week. A definitive date and time have not been set. As we know, this will consume a considerable amount of time due to the delicate nature of the procedure and the quantity of incisions to be closed. The other two incisions are healing nicely albeit slow paced. Matt's physical therapy continues to be a rigorous regimen of activity. Matt will be assisted in moving from the bed to a wheelchair or an armchair. Matt will make slow progress from his room and down the hall. Matt's legs do not bear a any significant amount of weight at this point. Most of Matt's walking is done with the aid of therapists. Matt uses a walker and relies on his arms for support. The sensation in his legs continues to improve. This will become increasingly helpful as he regains more substantive use of his legs. Matt has commented about his legs becoming a bit heavier and able to bear a slight load. However, the road leading to independent walking will surely be slow and difficult. Matt eats his meals seated in a chair in the room. The movement from prone positions to seated positions is steady and frequently painful. As each day draws to close, Matt is exhausted from the activities of the day. However, Matt does receive visits from family and his golf teammates. Matt's optimism and demeanor improve significantly when teammates update him with each day's practice results and weekly tournament results. The banter about missed putts or low scores stirs Matt's interest and participation in the conversation. Matt's physical battles ahead certainly loom large. However, the battle for Matt's mental health is certainly not questionable. Please continue to pray for Matt's impending surgery, David's and Candy's trepidation with the surgery and recovery ahead, and Matt's slow recovery after the surgery.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Beware, The Ides of March

The ides of March should be embraced with guarded optimism. Matt's right leg appears to be nearing a normal size as swelling has diminished. The swelling in the left leg has been reduced. However, some significant swelling remains. Matt has not received dialysis treatment since March 4. Doctors believe Matt's kidneys are well on their way to recovery. However, the possibility of future dialysis exists and will be administered as needed. A visit from the surgical staff is expected on Friday to discuss the possibility of closure of incisions. This surgery may not be immediate. However, surgery is another step in the process of recovery. Matt has been sitting in a chair on a daily basis. All movement is closely assisted by physical therapists. Earlier in the week, Matt seized the opportunity to go outside in a wheelchair for fifteen minutes of fresh air. Matt tires quickly from any significant physical activity. Matt utilizes a walker when walking. However, his knees can easily be compared to spaghetti. Simply, Matt is learning to walk again. Matt has done this once in his life. Naturally, he does not remember this. He will remember this relearning of a perceived natural skill. Matt has some sensation in his right leg. He has limited sensation in the upper section of his right leg. His lower left leg does not have significant sensation. However, sensation should return when circulation to these extremities improves. On occasion, Matt is frustrated with the pace of improvement and recovery. He does remain committed to recovery at any pace. Let us give thanks for his recovery until now. We should also remain committed to consistent prayer for Matt's full recovery.

Monday, March 10, 2008

To The Door?

Matt remains independent of dialysis since last Tuesday. Assumptions of normal kidney function would be considered a bit premature. However, the progress is embraced and eagerly accepted. The swelling in Matt's legs continues its slow decline. The reduction in swelling is noticeable and measureable. Matt was exhausted after his physical therapy activities today. Therapists elevated Matt into a chair again. However, the most substantial improvement is walking with assistance to the door. Indeed, Matt did walk from the bed to the door today with careful assistance from therapists. His overall condition continues to improve. However, let us be guarded in our optimism. We can surely take the full measure of a slow recovery into account. May we be thankful for answered prayers. May we also be equally committed to prayer for Matt's full recovery.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Unexpected Visitor

Progress is the adequate description for Matt's condition as of Thursday, March 6. Medical staff see a marginal decrease in the amount of swelling in Matt's left leg. As you would imagine, this is embraced as welcome news and an answer to much prayer. More good news arrives with the knowledge that Matt did not require assistance from dialysis on Thursday. He has received dialysis on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday in recent weeks. However, Matt's kidneys have improved and did not require dialysis assistance for Thursday. Dialysis may be delayed only a day. However, this one day is a clear step forward. Matt continues to sit in a chair for meals and physical therapy. He was capable of standing with assistance on Wednesday and Thursday. Has this development exceeded our expectations from February 6? At this point, no infection has manifested itself in regular blood testing. Matt was visited early in the week by Dr. Frank Crawford, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Somerville, TN. However, all visitors were up-staged by a visit on Thursday evening by Dr. Curlin. Dr. Curlin will make the decision on Matt's progress and move from a private room to a rehabilitation regimen. Matt will not be making this move in the very near future. However, the process of recovery will continue for several additional weeks. Matt's voice continues to recover from a whisper to audible tones and inflection in his voice. As of today, Matt can set his sights on the rehab process that is nearly within his grasp. If steady consumption of a large bag of M&M's is any sign, we can be assured of seeing Matt swinging a club in the future. Let us remain obedient and committed to prayer for the Kelley's. May we hold firmly to the results of our prayer and the grace and mercy of our Lord. Specifically, continue to pray for Matt's kidney function and diminished swelling in his legs. As one aspect of Matt's condition improves, others will follow. Let us be faithful until the end with our prayers and quiet ministry to the Kelley family. Take these requests with you as you worship and give thanks to our Lord for his grace and mercy this weekend.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

28 days

28 days; 672 hours; 40,320 minutes. These are the measures of time for which Matt and the Kelley's have been battling through a slow recovery. Today, Candy reports Matt's kidneys have improved measurably since yesterday. However, there is much improvement needed. Significant swelling remains in Matt's legs. His left leg continues to be the worst of the two. Matt is visited daily by two teams of physical therapists. One team addresses the movement of his legs. The other team addresses the incisions/ wounds in his legs. Therapists have mentioned the need for Matt to increase the weight on each leg when sitting and standing in the near future. Currently, Matt receives continuous treatment from a 'wound vac.' Simply, the 'WV' consists of a sterile sponge used to remove fluid from the interior of Matt's leg incisions. Doctors have advised the Kelley's of their optimism in the health of Matt's leg muscles. Health of the leg muscles is directly related to the prognosis of full recovery and utility of the legs. The legs give clear signs of the recovery for which we pray through signs of pulse and pain. From the beginning, the Kelley's have requested realistic reports from all members of the medical staff regarding Matt's condition and prognosis. As of now, the entire medical staff remains confident and optimistic in the likelihood of Matt's complete recovery. However, they remain committed to their estimate of a slow recovery. Dialysis continues three days each week, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. During the past 28 days, Matt has received approximately 10 units of blood. This is not attributed to a loss of blood or any unknown internal injury. This is directly related to Matt's ability to produce red blood cells for carrying oxygen to all parts of the body. The availability of oxygen is vital to the healing process. The receipt of this blood should be no cause for alarm at this point. This is another method to assist Matt's body in making the most expedient recovery possible. Matt has received some intravenous antibiotics within recent days. A small infection was detected and treated aggressively by the doctors. At this time, doctors are confident this infection will be clear within a couple of days.

Candy mentioned trying to clearly understand the full scope of a slow recovery. She has also mentioned good days and bad days. In retrospect, we can be relieved that good days have outnumbered the bad days. However, we should be guarded and aware of the length of a slow recovery and the uncertainty ahead. There has been no mention of surgery for the remaining 6 incisions. Specific prayers are needed for Matt's legs and decreased swelling. Pray for the continued improvement and healing in his kidneys as they aid in the healing of the legs. Please pray that Matt continues to remain free of any secondary infections. Let us remain committed to consistent prayer on Matt's behalf as well as the remainder of his family.