Saturday, May 20th, someone contacted my daughter, Mia, in the middle of the night looking for an adult relative of Matthew. She sent me the message the next morning when she woke up. I told her I would handle it by texting my brother, thinking the person was just a friend who couldn’t find him for some reason. After no reply from Matt (who ALWAYS responds quickly - day or night) and noticing he had been away from his phone for almost a day, Rene, my S.O., and I decided to call him to check in.
I wouldn't want to wish on my worst enemy what happened next - a woman answered the phone asking my name and relation to "Matthew" and proceeded to tell me that MY brother was in the Intensive Care Unit. She started asking me if I knew who would be his Power Of Attorney and told me he had been unconscious since they found him. She needed to speak to someone who could make important decisions for him since he couldn’t speak for himself and he needed to have multiple procedures performed. The closest immediate family member was at least 6 hours away, but thankfully our cousin Jason and his wife Jamie lived close to the hospital. They got there immediately so my brother would no longer be alone.
The hours after that were mostly a blur - my parents, my other brother Everette, Rene, Mia and I were all in California before midnight. Somewhere in that time span we learned that Matt would need a craniotomy, he could possibly have brain damage, and could possibly lose the use of the right side of his body. Basically, the doctors were not clear on a lot of details, and told us that things could change for the better or worse at any moment. All I remember is when I got there, I touched his hand and told him I was there with him - and that I loved him.
His brain surgery went well, and they were able to remove all the blood in his brain from the hemorrhage. After that he remained stable but definitely not awake. He has had a couple more procedures - including a tracheotomy, in which they discovered a nodule on his thyroid that would need a biopsy, as well as placing a filter in his leg to remove and prevent any future blood clots that might occur.
Since this has happened, many people have come forward to us wanting to help in any way possible, with prayers, bringing food, and offering all kinds of support - and we couldn’t feel more blessed or grateful. We know it will be a long road, and we don't know what lies ahead, but the picture painted for us includes months of rehab, more surgeries, and many uncertain changes depending on what we learn once he wakes up. I'm hoping it includes more miracles, too. Matt is a strong, stubborn and extremely intelligent person - I can't imagine the future any other way other than him going back to his home with Barkley and picking up where he left off before any of this happened. ❤️
I'm sure I've missed multiple details in this novel I've written, and I can create a timeline, because I know a lot of people definitely want updates on how Matt is doing, but thank you for even being here on this page and reading our story. Any amount of help is a blessing and I will definitely keep you all updated on anything I find out.
Thank you again! ❤️
- Lee Ann Fullington
- Celeste Pearlman
- Sal Salazar
- Lauren Orlina
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