Matt and Ashley Davis are a normal young couple in their early thirties who are raising two boys ages 8 and 9 years old. They were healthy, happy, productive young adults and enjoying life until one day, everything changed. On February 21, 2017, Matt took his skateboard over to the Dublin Skateboard Park to enjoy an afternoon of leisurely riding. The weather was perfect for a February day in Ohio. Not too cold, no ice or snow, clear and somewhat sunny.
Here is Matt’s story through the memories of his wife Ashley.
On February 21, 2017, my husband Matt took our 8 year old son, Ashton, to the new skate park in town to put their brand new skateboards to use. The next thing I know, I get a call from my son from a phone number I didn’t recognize, telling me that “Daddy had fallen and wasn’t waking up.” My other son and I rushed to the hospital to meet them there. Matt had hit his head on the pavement and was not wearing a helmet. As a result, he was knocked unconscious and rushed to the nearest hospital.
At the hospital, Matt was diagnosed with a subdural hematoma, where small veins on the outer surface of the brain may tear, causing bleeding in the subdural space. In addition, he had fractured his skull and suffered a concussion. For many weeks afterward, Matt suffered incredible pain, nausea, dizziness, and short-term memory loss which made it near to impossible to work. Matt is a graphic designer so you can imagine the difficulty he had in trying to perform his job.
The hospital stay plus the speech and physical therapy that followed landed us with several thousand dollars in medical bills we had not planned for. In addition, the high deductibles and the out of pocket expenses hit us hard. We are paying those bills off a little at a time as best we can.
Then 8 months later, on October 16, 2017, Matt woke up with extreme vertigo and vomiting anytime he moved. I took him to the ER that evening, an all too familiar place at this point, and the medical team ordered a cat scan due to his history with the skateboard accident. They found a torn artery (vertebral artery dissection) which can lead to a stroke or the formation of a blood clot. They said it was likely from his skateboard accident. He was immediately transferred to a different hospital who had more experience is treating this condition and an MRI was done.
The MRI showed that Matt had an acoustic neuroma, also known as vestibular schwannoma. This is a noncancerous and usually slow-growing tumor that develops on the main (vestibular) nerve leading from the inner ear to the brain. Matt’s tumor is pressing against his brain stem and acoustic nerve, keeping him in a state of constant vertigo and suffering hearing loss. This complication will require Matt to have an 8 hour surgery, performed by 2 neurosurgeons, where they will drill into his skull and try to remove the tumor without manipulating the nerve.
The doctors indicate he will permanently lose hearing in one ear and can potentially suffer from permanent paralysis on one side of his face. There is also a chance the surgery will not correct the vertigo he suffers from daily, since the nerve has already been severely stretched. However, even with these risks, the doctors indicate the neuroma has to be removed because it is actively growing and putting more pressure on the nerves that affect his balance, hearing and face.
The torn artery has recently resolved itself and Matt has been able to wean himself off the blood thinner medication he was prescribed. We can now schedule the surgery needed to remove the acoustic neuroma. We were hoping the surgery could be scheduled to occur before the end of this year (2017) because it most of the expenses related to the surgery and hospitalization would be covered as we have more than met our family deductible at this point. However, Matt could not be scheduled until mid-January 2018 based on the surgeon’s schedules. We are still paying off Matt’s previous hospitalizations and associated medical bills and now we are facing a multitude of upfront and out of pocket medical expenses with the impending surgery in January. We will have to meet our family deductible all over again and cover any additional out of pocket expenses we incur due to the timing of the surgery. We are anticipating thousands of dollars in unforeseen medical expenses based on our previous experience and do not know how we will be able to pay what is required for his treatment since some of the payment is required upfront for the surgeons.
Matt’s company will pay him 100 percent of his income for 4 weeks, but his recovery will last several months possibly preventing him from working. Matt has been unable to drive since October per doctor's instructions and fortunately his company allows him to work from home. He has learned how to sit at the computer without turning his head to avoid getting vertigo and is determined to get better.
We are so very lucky that he has continued to work so he can bring home a paycheck. I also work part time to help out as well. We will need at least $3,500 before the insurance will kick in to help cover some of the cost of the surgery.
As we face additional medical bills that will put an even more severe hardship on our family, we continue to remind our boys how blessed we are that God watched over their daddy and kept him alive through the accident, as well as the importance of helmet safety. We are blessed to have each other and a network of caring and supportive people and so we try to live each day to the fullest and in the best way possible. We know that everything happens for a reason and believe that God has a purpose for our family that is somehow tied to this experience.
Please pray for us as we continue the journey toward Matt’s healing and recovery.
God Bless you!
Ashley, Matt, Ashton, and Ziloh
A note from Lindy McLean, the organizer of this campaign: As the organizer, I am hoping to raise $10,000 to help pay for Matt's past and future medical bills and rehabilitation therapy and care. These donated funds are urgently needed before the surgery so we can pay the upfront fees required to keep his treatment and surgery on schedule. Any donation no matter how small will be much appreciated by the family. Thanks in advance for your support!
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