Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Week 12: "My best bud, Matt Palmer, returned to our Heavenly Father...He returned with honor"

Sierra's good friend passed away on June 26, 2014.  She found out the news today.  She did not send any pictures or emails this week, so this week's report will be about Elder Matt Palmer, in his honor.  The following are emails sent from Matt's parents.  The tribute video was done by Matt's brother Nick and his wife, Victoria.

June 4, 2014
Kevin and I received a call from Pres Adams, Matt's mission president on Monday morning, June 2.  Matt sought medical help for bad headache he had for 5 days.  A CT scan was done and he was bleeding in his brain.  Pres Adams worked with the church leaders to get a medical flight to take him to the the hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa. Arrangements were made but the medical jet couldn't come at that time due to a rare fog that had set in on Madagascar.  When the fog lifted, the medical jet was given the "go ahead" to leave Johannesburg, which is a 3-4 hour flight one way.  The mission nurse stayed with Matt at the airport until he was boarded.  There was a medical team on the jet with him.  The Neuro surgeon that would be examining Matt was in surgery with another patient when Matt was admitted to the hospital.
So, Matt was sedated so he could rest peacefully. This morning we were told that he would be having an angiogram.  Apparently, they did the angiogram and another type of scan which showed that the vessel that had been bleeding had healed itself. For now, he won't have to have surgery nor have a clip put on the vessel.  He will remain in the hospital for possibly two weeks so he can be monitored.  Another scan will be done in 10 days to make sure it has completely healed.

Thank you for your prayers and concerns.  I know Matt definitely appreciates it.
Rowena and Kevin 

June 9, 2014
Matt is taking tiny steps in his recovery.  In the phone call we received this morning, he had actually had his eye opened long enough to see that his eyes are brown.  He has been in a bed since last week but doesn't have any bed sores.  He was complaining that his back was get sore but this morning, his back was feeling better.

We get calls each morning about Matt's progress and I will send out updates each Monday.  He is still in ICU and probably will be for a few days.  He will remain in the hospital for at least another week, most likely two.  They will do another scan possibly at the end of the week or next week to see how Matt is healing.

Thanks for your prayers on his behalf.
Rowena Palmer

June 13, 2014

Matt had a shunt put in his brain to help drain the blood to relieve pressure. However, he starting bleeding again.  Apparently this is common when putting a shunt inside the body. The first 48-72 hours will be critical and he is being cared for.  The call we got early this morning was that he had been moved from critical to serious condition.  The continued bleeding has stopped for now.  He is heavily medicated so he is on a ventilator to make sure he breathes.  This should help him relax and minimize the brain activity allowing the healing to take place.

If we get our passports by tomorrow, we will fly out of SLC to Atlanta Sunday morning.  From Atlanta to Johannesburg arriving the evening on Monday.  

Thank you for your support and prayers.

Kevin and Rowena

June 19, 2014
We haven't been able to get internet connection in our flat but I am using Elder Barton's computer in his home.  We meet Sister Van Gass at the Atlanta airport who is a missionary here in Johannesburg.  She had been to Florida to visit family.  Her husband asked her to find us to help us through the details.  She had us paged at the gate and we were able to discuss what to expect at the Johannesburg airport.  It was a relief to know the Lord is providing assistance for us each step of the way.

On the plane, I had a medical issue that left me very weak and unable to walk very far without getting sick. A nurse who was on the plane traveling to Johannesburg, was Ellen Healy, who is backdoor neighbor to Jim and Claudia Yardley (Kevin's uncle and aunt).  Small world huh?  Delta airlines had a wheelchair to help me.  This actually provided an advantage when we got to the passport area because we got to go to the front of the line.

When we left the airport, we went right to the hospital to to visit Matt.  He looked peaceful but when we talked to him, he responded by squeezing our hand with his left hand.  He hadn't done this previously.  This was a good sign.  When we visited today, he was trying to open his eyes.  Tomorrow, the doctor is going to be taking him off the medication that is keeping him sedated.  This should be good for him and us.  Hopefully, he will respond positively.

Thanks for your continued prayers and support.
Rowena and Kevin

June 23, 2014
We were able to meet with Dr Zorio this morning.  they will do another CT scan this afternoon which will show hopefully the area of the blood clot and if it is smaller which will be a good sign in relieving the pressure.  They should also have the culture back on his blood work to see if they can pinpoint the cause of his fever and get him on the correct antibiotics. 
The senior missionary couples have been absolutely wonderful to help us in every way.
Kevin and Rowena

June 24, 2014
Just thought we would update you on Matt's situation.  He has taken a turn for the worse.  He is back on ventilation totally and the doctors think he has had another bleed.
They will be doing multiple tests tomorrow but it is not looking good at this time.  We will keep you posted.
Keep praying for him and keep praying for miracles.
Kevin and Rowena

June 26, 2014
The last email we said the doctors thought Matt had another bleed.  After some tests were done, it was determined that the brain stem had been compromised.  This resulted in the left side of his body becoming non-responsive.  He was then on the ventilator full time. Tuesday morning his blood pressure started fluctuating and was down to 85/64 and his temperature was getting high. He then became totally unresponsive. They started Matt on medication again to bring the blood pressure up and the fever down. When we went to the hospital this morning, we were given the news that Matt was not going to be with us much longer. Because his brain stem had been compromised, there wasn't any brain activity. The doctors were going to do another test to comfirm this today. However, the doctor asked us if Matt does pass on, would we consider organ donation. We knew Matt would want this and it would be a way for him to live on and help others.

At this time, as difficult as it is, we know that Matt is in the Lords hands and will return with honor. We know there are relatives on the other side waiting to greet him.

We are not sure of plans yet but we would like to thank all of you for your love,support, prayers and fasting on Matt's behalf.
Love Kevin and Rowena

June 29, 2014
We will be leaving Johannesburg Tuesday evening, July 1, going through London, then Chicago, arriving in SLC Thursday evening.
We have talked to President Hill (Stake President) and have set the funeral date for Saturday, July 12, at our stake center with a viewing at Russon Brothers on Friday night.

Thanks for all everyone has done for us.
Kevin and Rowena

Matt was a special guy, and our family will miss him.  His picture sits on our piano, where we placed it when he left on his mission, waiting for him to return to play it again.....

Matt and Sierra at Matt's farewell

Matt playing our piano

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