Day 17 – “Unstable / Critical”

Upon entering Matthew’s room today (after waiting a half hour until we could visit), when I saw him I knew it wasn’t a good day. Matthew was still on the respirator and his body covered in iced blankets. His fever was still up, his heart rate high, and his blood pressure low. It is with a broken heart for Matthew and what his body and mind are dealing with that he continues to suffer in the way he is. I am beyond finding the words to express the helpless feeling of a mother to watch her son continue to endure these almost 104 fevers and other complications!  His skin is so very hot, and his face beet red and his forehead just dripping from sweat! Today is day eight of this!!! When you have to leave there is a total feeling of abandoning him to suffer alone!!!


The day got worse!!! The doctor on the floor came in to talk to Dan and I. He spoke English very well. He told us Matthew has two big problems: first he has a clot in his lungs and second his fever is not responding to the antibiotics! (I thought he was going to tell me about the hallucinations and his ability to breathe on his own). They did a test on Matthew today to look down into his lungs (I’m thinking that’s good with the fever still up, his asthma, some pneumonia still, and the question of whether or not he still has fluid in his lungs… it’s good to be safe). He said a specialist came in to evaluate Matthew and felt he probably had this clot elsewhere in his body for a couple of days and in being combative from withdrawing from the ketamine it traveled in his body to his lungs! The doctor said they have increased his heparin (Matthew was on it already as a preventive of clots) in hopes to dissolve the clot and they have changed his antibiotics and put him on one more specific to treat a bladder infection.


A while later the charge doctor of ICU came in to inform me that Matthew’s condition was “unstable/critical,” to see if I understood what was happening to Matthew, and if I had any further questions. They certainly seem to be on top of this and were very supportive. He did say in Matthew’s periods of hallucinations today they were not as severe as yesterday!


Leaving Matthew alone today was absolutely one of the hardest things I have ever had to do! It ranked right up there with last Saturday night having to leave him in violent hallucinations!


Daniel and I left the hospital and went to the Basilica to pray for Matthew and light some candles for him. Mass was just starting and even though we only understood two words, the mass was beautiful and so very needed! We stayed a while and the church was almost empty so we went to light some candles before they locked up. While lighting candles a women came up from behind and handed me a beautiful pray card and quietly walked away (After I thought how beautiful. Even with a language barrier she gave me strength without speaking a word).  I wanted to say the prayer in front of the candles but it was in German. When we came back to the hotel, Daniel, who had an asthma attack in church and a migraine he went online to translate it for me. We said the prayer. How incredible it was to the Blessed Mother in whom I have always trusted… who is my rock. Another message or coincidence?


After hours of the initial shock of this, I heard Matthew, who always felt when ever he had a problem he turned to prayer first for wisdom strength and guidance. Tonight I will learn a lesson and take strength from how Matthew would handle things and use it to pray harder and longer, for God willing tomorrow a better day for Matthew!!!


Matthew went into this coma believing and trusting in God and The Blessed Mother with all his heart that he would return safe! He has extra power up in heaven… don’t lose sight of that (with so many of our dearest family members we have lost within this past year!)


Tonight he is not able to do that for himself so I beg each and every one who reads this to pray hard for Matthew and keep our trust that in the darkest hour we are all holding strong for Matthew!!! I will not allow myself to travel down another road!!! It will be the only way Dan and I will make it through this journey with Matthew and all of us return home with Matthew a new man.


I need to leave you now to go pray for my Matthew. Daniel has been so strong. I don’t know what I would have done without him.


To those of you who have known and followed Matthew’s story for a few years now

(remember when he was in ICU hemorrhaging 1 ½ years ago… what a worry, but  Matthew, Daniel and myself all came back due to the power of prayer. We will this time too!!!)


God Bless all of you and stay strong!


Love to All,


9 Responses to “Day 17 – “Unstable / Critical””

  1. Shirley Dillwood says:

    As a mother that went through very difficult times with a son, your pain is very real to me. I was thinking of what I could say, so many beautiful expressions of faith and love have been expressed. As I was thinking of different situations in the bible I remembered the story of Moses in Exodus.
    He was in a great battle and as long as he held his hands to the heavens the battle ws being won. When he lowered them the battle was lost. His brother AAron and Hur held his hands up when he grew tired and when he physically could not stand anymore they gave him a stone to sit on. The battle was WON. Please know that whenever you are so tired and wonder where the strenght will come from there are countless people HOLDING YOUR HANDS UP TO THE HEAVENS. God bless,

  2. Anne Marie McDonnell says:

    Your faith is rock solid. The Lord and the Blessed Mother are right there watching over Matthew, as well as all the doctors and Daniel and you. We’ve been praying at daily mass at St. Patrick’s for Matthew. Also, tomorrow is First Friday, and I’ll continue to remember him in a special way.

    God bless you all,
    Anne Marie McDonnell

  3. Denise T Zavota says:

    Russ, Nancy, Dan and Matthew-
    As I update (Uncle) Frank each night as to what is happening, it seems to be getting more difficult to tell him the news.
    All I know is that God will not give up and he has all of you in his arms.
    We will keep praying and lighting the candles.
    We love you!
    Frank and Denise

  4. Rosemary says:

    Dear Nancy,

    I also sat with my son while he was in a coma and suffered fevers. My heart just goes out to you! I will continue to pray for Matthew. May God bless you and keep you strong. Rosemary

  5. Erikka E says:

    My heart goes out to you and I am too young to become a mother yet. The Lord has plans for Matthew, hopefully this is all in the plans.

    ‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’

    – Jeremiah 29:11

  6. Kathi Salvatore says:

    Nancy, please know we are praying for Matt. Everyday I check to see how Matt is doing. We know our angel is watching over him keeping him safe and helping him battle through this. Stay strong and take one day at a time.

  7. jed barton says:

    Matthew is a true hero, an angel is looking down upon him, and will bring him home, a new man.
    Matthew, we love you

  8. Linda Hopkins says:

    Nancy, our thoughts and prayers are with you, Matthew and Daniel at this very trying time. Prayer and support from home helped us feel less alone while dealing with the medical uncertainty, getting us through days of questionable results. We found the ICU physicians at the top of their game-excellant, forthright and also caring. We wish you great strength and forward positive thoughts to cradle you through this process. I believe talking to and praying over patients is helpful and encourage you to continue. I hope the following anecdote is supportive: after 19 days in the coma with critical breathing difficulties due to pneumonia Judy slowly came out of the coma over the next couple of days with no muscle control. At one point they strapped her in a chair so she could sit up and I played one of her favoite CD’s by the Dixie Chicks. The look of pleasure on her face as she closed her eyes and slightly moved her head in time to the music is a vision I will never forget and it convinced me our daughter had returned to us. May you soon experience a similiar uplifting vision with Matthew. All our love and prayers, may Hashem (G-d) bless all of you, Linda Hopkins

  9. Arthur Plitt says:

    It was a unique opportunity to work with Matthew at the Governor’s Commission on Disabilities while he was an intern and helped on the sensitivity video we prepared. Now it seems shocking that someone so vital would be suffering so and yet Matthew’s great spirit could well be surging thru for a breakthru…our prayers and hopes are with you from RI…and we all hope that the powers around us and within Matthew may well show up and sound out with resilience…in this battle..

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