The Knutson Family.
Late on 4/9/2014, 37-year-old Joe Knutson got a piece of food stuck in his esophagus right before his stomach. Due to a congenital problem, the food broke through to the open space that houses the heart and esophagus. His wife (Jeni) had gone to bed and he had to crawl up the stairs to awaken her. She called 911, they got him to the hospital in Eau Claire where all sorts of difficulties occurred. They did a CT scan and found food lodged in his lung, a tear in his esophagus, fluid around his heart, and some other issues. However, the hospital in Eau Claire was not able to address these injuries and Joe was sent to St Josephs in Marshfield by ambulance. By this time, he had so much pain he could hardly breathe. His heart rate was over 200 and his oxygen sats were very low. They took him into surgery right away which ended up taking twice as long as anticipated. In surgery, they opened him on his right side and were able to remove the food. They did all the repairs and he came back to SICU with two drainage tubes, two chest tubes, four IV lines including one in his neck and an arterial line. He woke up in ICU with a start, in incredible pain, panicked and tried to pull out his tubes, so they put him into a medically-induced coma, restrained his wrists, and had the anesthesiologist come and put in an epidural. That gave him sufficient pain relief that he could breathe on his own.
Joe with his mother (Ruthann) at St. Joseph's.
In the 5 days since, Joe has been steadily improving. The epidural is gone. The cath is gone. He is down to three IV lines now. However, he is having a hard time breathing and is experiencing left-sided chest pain (although the X-Ray is ok). Per his doctor's orders, Joe has been able to walk short distances. He will be in Marshfield for about 2 weeks. However, recovery time is expected to take up to 3 months or longer and will include additional surgery to correct the initial congenital issue. Joe is the sole provider for his family (wife and 5 children: Bryant, 17; Gage, 13; and 6-year-old triplets, Thomas, Elijah, & Isabella). He is seasonally employed through Premium Lawn Services LLC in Eau Claire. Due to his injuries, Joe will miss the larger portion of his company's busiest season (during which time he would make the majority of his annual income). The family will need assistance covering medical bills and paying debts in the next few months without their main source of income. Any support is greatly appreciated. Thank you and God Bless.
4/13/2014 - Joe's first steps after surgery.
Joe and Thomas.
Joe and Elijah.
Joe and Isabella.
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