15 Days

Matt’s Miracle, Part II

Text messages, What’sApp messages, and a few phone calls following  Matt’s concussion on February 23, 2017 & emergency brain surgery on February 25, 2017.

 
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DAY 1: Thursday, February 23, 2017

7:00 PM

(Matt’s phone call)

Matt called Dad and me in Austin, Texas where we were on a business trip before going to Boerne (San Antonio), Texas for the baby blessing of Rebekah and Doug’s new baby, Camden, on Sunday. We talked to him for about 10 minutes as we sat in the parking lot of the movie theater. He told us he was happy we’d had a fun dinner and hoped we’d enjoy the movie tonight—since we don’t go to movies very often. He said he might drive a friend to Salt Lake that evening. We told him his Subaru should have the repairs done before he took it on another road trip. He agreed. He also said he might be playing in an intramural basketball game up on campus. He sounded enthusiastic, confident, and full of life. He ended the call the way he always did with his cheerful, “Goodbye! I love you!”

10:50 PM

(Rebekah’s phone call)

When Rebekah called so late at night, I knew something must be wrong. She started the phone call with the words, “Mom, everything’s okay, but Matt has had an accident….”

10:56 PM

(Rebekah)

I heard about Matt's severe concussion from his friend Dillon, who is in Vegas now, but a friend that was in Rexburg told him, & then he called us because he was pretty sure his family didn’t know.

(Me)

Ok. We just talked to Matt. Thanks!

(Rebekah)

So do you think he’s aware and everything?

(Me)

Yes. He was talking pretty well. Do you think Doug’s sister, Whitney, might be able to bring him some food tomorrow and cheer him up? It is okay to wake him up periodically.

(Rebekah)

Nancy talked to Whitney about going over. I didn’t mention her bringing food. What do you have in mind?

(Me)

A little breakfast or a snack…mostly some TLC.


DAY 2: Friday, February 24, 2017

11:37 AM

(My first group text about Matt’s accident to our family)

Matt had a bad concussion last night during a basketball game. He was knocked out and taken to the hospital by ambulance. He had a CT scan that showed no bleeding. He was released last night and told to rest for a week with no mental or physical activities, so he will be out of school for a week while his brain heals. Dad and I are here at Rebekah and Doug’s house in Boerne, Texas, along with Doug’s parents, for baby Camden’s baby blessing. I plan to go and be with Matt on Monday after Camden’s blessing on Sunday. Please pray for him. Love you all!

1:34 PM

(Group text from me)

Matt’s roommate is taking Matt back to the emergency room because he is throwing up and not answering questions. Keep praying.

(Justin)

Will do. Thank you for letting me know.

(Annie)

Praying!!!

(Rebekah)

I hope you know that if you feel like you need to go be with Matt right now I understand, especially where Dad can be here for the blessing. That’s so hard for you as a mom with your boy hurting.

(Me)

Thanks for your understanding. Will let you know. Have been in touch with Matt’s bishop and the Dean of Students.

(Rebekah)

Whatever you feel like you and Dad need to do, I support.

3:15 PM

(Rebekah)

What’s your plan?

(Me)

I have talked to the hospital. Matt is really sick. There aren’t any more flights on Delta today, so I’m planning to fly to Salt Lake City tomorrow at 8:15 AM.

5:06 PM

(My text to Bishop Roe)

I have changed my return flight from San Antonio. I will be coming to Rexburg tomorrow afternoon to help Matt. I was wondering if there is a home in Rexburg where Matt could stay until I get there with a mom to take care of him?

5:32 PM

(Group text from me)

Matt has left the hospital. He is really sick but was given shots for the nausea and pain. His bishop, Terry Roe, is taking him to his home and his wife will care for him till I arrive tomorrow afternoon. On Monday, we will go back to Rexburg and stay with Aunt Elaine’s parents till Matt is feeling better. I’m sorry to miss Camden’s baby blessing. Thank you for everyone’s faith and prayers.

(Annie)

I’m glad he is going to his bishop’s home!!!

7:09 PM

(Bishop Roe)

I have Matt with me and I’m driving to Idaho Falls to take him to my house.

8:07 pm

(Bishop Roe)

Matt is at my house, and he is asleep laying down. I needed to go back to my office, but my wife Debie is with him. If you have any questions or concerns or want to visit, I am sending you Debie’s phone number.

(Me)

Thanks! I will call her to just say hello. The Salt Lake Express should be at the Idaho Falls airport at 3:55 pm. I appreciate her picking me up there.

9:50 PM

(My text to Matt)

I hope you are feeling better and getting lots of sleep. I will see you tomorrow afternoon around 4:30, so I can help take care of you this next week. I love you.

(No reply)


DAY 3: Saturday, February 25, 2017

1:50 PM

(Group text from me)

Matt is still sleeping at Bishop Roe’s house. I will know more when I get there around 4:30. I am currently on the Salt Lake Express headed to Idaho Falls. Thanks for all your faith and prayers and concern. As Steve Young said, who had multiple concussions playing football, “I attribute having no permanent brain damage to keeping the Word of Wisdom and good genetics.” We will hope and pray the same for Matt! Love you all!

(My phone call)

I called and talked to Matt. He answered all my questions and sounded coherent, but his speech was slower than normal. He said he was very tired. He then told me he was sitting on the floor in the bedroom at the Roe’s floor. When I asked him why he was sitting on the floor, he said he didn’t know why. At that point, he started sounding confused, so I told him goodbye. The next time I called to talk to him, Debie told me he was asleep.

6:38 PM

(Group text from me)

I am with Matt. He cannot talk to me. Going to emergency room in Idaho Falls now (with Debie Roe). Pray.

6:46 PM

(Dad)

I am so sorry. We just all prayed. Bryce and Dr. Matt Payne, (Doug’s brothers-in-law) could go over and give him a blessing. What hospital are you at—EIRMC? Please call me when you can. I will let all our children know about Matt, and where you are, and to pray. I’m going to ask that those who can fast, to fast tomorrow. I love Matt and you both so much—praying.

7:13 PM

(Group text from me)

Doctor is repeating CT scan and doing an MRI. Matt is not answering anybody’s questions, but he did respond to grasping the doctor’s hand and moving his toes, etc. when asked. Earlier today he was better and told the Bishop’s wife, Debie, that he had 7 sisters and 3 brothers.

7:21 PM

(Dad)

Bryce will be there soon with someone else to give Matt a blessing as Matt Payne is in Salt Lake City. All of us are so concerned. Love you. So thankful you are there.

7:33 PM

(Group text from me)

CT scan shows a brain bleed. Might need surgery. Will keep you posted. More tests and more doctors seeing Matt.

(Michelle)

Wait. I’m so scared!

(Me)

Pray. Have faith. It is serious.

(Michelle)

I will come tomorrow. Can you please have someone drop me a pin.

(Me)

Ok. Thank you. Love you.

8:04 PM

(Group text from me)

Doing immediate brain surgery or he will die. Maybe long-term problems after surgery. Not certain. Very serious. So sorry for all of us.

(My phone calls)

I asked Debie to hold Matt’s hand while I stepped out of the emergency room to a quiet room down the hall to quickly call Dad and tell him what the doctor had said about Matt’s brain surgery. He expressed his faith and love, and I felt strengthened by his steady, reassuring voice. I knew we were united in our acceptance of God’s will for our son. As I was walking back, Michelle called in tears and said emotionally, “Mommy, what’s happening??? This can’t be happening!!! I’m coming right now.” I said, “Don’t drive by yourself. You’re too upset to be driving. It’s not safe. Ask one of your friends to drive you here” (from Logan, Utah). As I hung up, Kat immediately called and said anxiously, “Mommy, tell me that Matt will be okay. I know if you feel he’s going to be all right, then it will be true.” I quietly said, “Kat, I don’t know. Matt is in God’s hands.” She said again, “But tell me he’s going to be okay.” Truthfully, at that time I felt Matt was dying. I could only repeat, “Matt is in God’s hands.”

8:07 PM

(Dad)

Praying. May God be with him, our dear son. We’re all praying for God and angels to be with Matt and all.

(Justin)

I’m praying for Matt here.

(Annie)

We are all fasting and praying here.

8:22 PM

(Angela)

Can you drop me a pin or send address for the hospital, or wherever you will be in 3 hours? On my way. I love you. (From Salt Lake City, Utah)

8:33 PM

(Group text from me)

Bryce (and Chris, his home teaching companion) just gave Matt a beautiful blessing. I am now hopeful that he will be okay. Love you all!

9:26 PM

(Rebekah)

Can I have Krystal come over and be with you? I don’t want you to be alone, and she knows Matt so well.

(Me)

Angela and Michelle are coming tonight.

(Rebekah)

OK. I love you.

(Me)

She is welcome to come if she wants. I love her!

(Kat)

After praying, Cruz and Bella have both told me the same thing, “Matt is going to be ok.” Whatever that means.

9:38 PM

(Andrew)

I’m headed over to Idaho Falls in a few minutes (from Boise, Idaho). Where are you exactly? I just talked to Dad. I’m praying.

(Me)

Thank you for coming. I love you.

(Andrew)

Of course. Be there ASAP.

9:43 PM

(Dad)

I’m waiting for a call back from Delta to take a 6:40 AM flight to SLC to arrive by 8:47—then Ben said he could pick me up at 9 and drive us straight to hospital by noon. Hope to hear from you soon. Love you.

(Me)

Bishop Roe and Matt’s Elder’s Quorum President (Andrew Kubat) are here now. Bryce gave me a beautiful blessing with Chris and both of them. So special. I feel at peace.

(Dad)

Wonderful—so grateful. Love you so much. Praying.

(Me)

Thank you. So happy for all our family and friends’ support.

(Dad)

Yes—such a blessing. All the Cody 3rd Ward is praying for Matt, too. We are so loved.

(Dad)

Rebekah, Doug, Kirk, Nancy, and I continue to pray. Now just sitting in living room together. So grateful for our God and Savior.

(Me)

Give them my love.

9:58 PM

(Group text from me)

Surgery should last about 3 hours. Then in ICU. I will update you as I get updates.

(Dad)

How are you doing? So thinking about Matt, you and all our family. So grateful that Andrew, Angela and Michelle are on their way to be with Matt and you. I’ll be leaving Peterson’s at 4:15 AM.

(Annie)

I just talked to Dad. I’m so grateful some of the kids are on their way to be with Matt. Wish I could be there too. Love you so much and praying so hard.

(Me)

I know you would be here if you could. Thank you. I love you. I am at peace.

10:26 PM

(Kat)

Justin’s on a business trip. I’m so glad I got to talk to you and hear your voice. I love you so much. I can’t imagine what you’re going through. Call me anytime if you need me, ok?

(Me)

Thank you so much. I feel your prayers. I am at peace now since the Priesthood blessing. So thankful.

10:39 PM

(Elizabeth)

Mom, how are you doing? I’m glad you’re there, but wish Dad were with you so you weren’t alone. I love you so much. I’m leaving my ringer on tonight, so I can hear any updates or talk or whatever. Call or text anytime. I’m praying for you, too. Xoxo

(Me)

Thank you so much. I will keep you updated. Matt’s bishop and his wife are here. Bryce and Chris have been here too. Michelle, Angela, and Andrew are coming in tonight. Rest in peace. All will be well. Take care of those little twins!

(Elizabeth)

I’m so glad they’ve been there and that more family is coming. It is so hard to be so far away. I heard both our babies’ heart beats yesterday…strong and healthy!

11:26 PM

(Group text from me)

Surgery is over. Matt came through fine. Doctor stopped the bleeding but had to take out some of frontal lobe—(about the size of a “cutie” orange)—damage to left side of brain. Because he is young, doctor said it is possible for him to be okay. The next 24 hours are crucial, and doctor will know more then. We will keep praying.

11:28 PM

(Dad)

Thank you. So very grateful. Can we talk for a few minutes? If not, I understand.

11:29 PM

(Michelle)

I’m almost there. See you soon. Like 5 minutes away. Where do I go?

(Me)

Ask to come to surgery waiting room for families. “Intensive Care Guest Lounge,” it is called.


DAY 4: Sunday, February 26, 2017

12:11 AM

(Kat)

I love you Mommy. I am coming there tomorrow (from Spanish Fork, Utah) to be with you and Matt.

(Me)

Thank you for coming! Drive safely. I love you so much.

1:01 AM

(Ben)

I love you so much. I’m praying that the Holy Ghost will comfort all of us, and that Matt will be made whole. I pray that you can sleep well tonight.

3:00 AM

(Me)

Michelle, Angela, Andrew, and I have been gathered around Matt in ICU. I finally convinced them to go to Bishop Roe’s house (5 minutes from hospital) to get some sleep. The nurses will keep Matt sedated until later this morning.

4:07 AM

(Angela)

Mommy, if you need anything, call or text me or Michelle, then we will wake up Andrew. (He just told me he is turning his phone off and asked me text you this.) Love you so much. Let me know if you need anything at all. Or if you just get sad or lonely, and I’ll be right there. Love you.

(Me)

Thank you. I am resting comfortably. The chair is a recliner! Xoxo

(Angela)

Lol!! Luxury! You’re so amazing. I admire your strength and faith and patience. I have no idea how you are holding yourself together like you are, but it’s amazing and inspiring! Also, Debie bought you some cute jammies, lol! Also. I know you’re so strong, but if you need or want to break down, I’ll be here. Love you.

(Me)

Yes, I know. You are always there when I need you! Looking forward to the jammies. I have learned complete faith in the Lord the last few months. I am strong because of my reliance on my Heavenly Father, dear Savior, and the Holy Ghost. They are all very real to me. I am not alone. They are with me.

(Angela)

I believe the same. I’m so happy you know all of the above, too. xoxo

7:19 AM

(Group text from me)

Matthew was stable all night in ICU. So grateful. Bishop Roe and his wife Debie have been so wonderful to us. I slept a little on a recliner. We have to be out of Matt’s room from 7:00-8:30 AM during the shift change. He will be getting another CT scan this morning. Thank you for all your prayers and faith.

(Dad)

Thank you for this update. So very grateful. Just landed in SLC. Will be with you, Matt and all about noon. Love you and our family forever.

(Me)

We have an incredible family. You and I are so blessed! Love you eternally.

8:10 AM

(Rebekah)

Any news through the night?

(Me)

Did you see my group text on Matt’s update? I am praying for you and Doug and all your family to be at peace today. We have anticipated this blessing day for Camden for so long. He is a special spirit. I love and adore him.  Give Kirk and Nancy my love. I’m so happy they will be there with you today. We will be there in spirit! What time is your church?

(Rebekah)

It’s at 11. Doug and I are having a really hard time…it feels weird to be blessing Camden right now…plus my eyes are so swollen from crying I can’t take pictures right now. I don’t know what to do. I’m thinking about flying out but it’s so hard with young kids and everything, but I want to support Matt.

(Me)

Do you think you should postpone the blessing? I hadn’t thought about that. If you feel you should come out to be with Matt, I’m sure people would be happy to help with your kids. I know how sad you are—you and Matt have been so close the last few years. Let me know what you decide.

10:32 AM

(Group text from me)

They did the CT scan. Do not have results yet. Doctor should be in soon. They took off the sedation medication at 9:00 AM. At 9:30, Matt opened his eyes for a few seconds and gave my hand a squeeze. The nurse asked him to give her a “thumbs up,” which he weakly did with each thumb. He then went back to sleep. So grateful!

(Dad)

So very, very grateful! Tears here with Ben and me.

(Annie)

So thankful. Love you all so much and so thankful some of you can be there with Matt & Mom. What a MIRACLE!

11:18 AM

(Group text from me)

Doctor just came in. CT scan looks good. Bleeding has stopped, and brain looks healthy. Doctor very happy with Matt’s progress. Matt continues to open his eyes and follows doctor’s instructions to wiggle his toes, etc. They will remove breathing tube soon. It is still in, but he is breathing on his own right now. So grateful!

(Dad)

Ben and I are driving together now—on schedule for about noon. Please call me when you can. I love you.

(Me)

I can’t call on phone in ICU. I can text. Holding Matt’s hand.

(Dad)

Totally understand—keep holding it for all of us. We love you. We will be with you all soon.

(Me)

Someone has to be with Matt at all times while he comes off sedation. Nurse isn’t in room now. Xoxo.

(Dad)

Xoxo forever. Something good will come out of all of this—Matt is so loved by all who know him.

(Rebekah)

I am so grateful to hear that. We decided not bless Camden today. Doug’s and my heart are to heavy. We feel very blessed that he is responding well! Thanks for keeping us posted.

(Justin)

So grateful! Thank you.

12:47 PM

(Dad)

Just pulling into hospital parking lot. So grateful for all.

(Me)

I love you so much! I’m so happy we can be here together as we go through one more “difficult time.” You are such a strength and comfort to me. Thanks for being such a wonderful father to Matt and all of our children. You’re the best!

(Dad)

You’re amazing, beautiful and wonderful! Feel the same about you—Love you forever!

1:43 PM

(Angela)

I don’t know how this works…but can anyone put Matt’s name on a temple prayer roll or or something?

(Me)

Thank you for remembering. I will do it right now.

(Jon)

It’s on two that I’ve heard of.

(Shelley)

My mom put Matt’s name on the prayer roll at the Portland Temple.

(Angela)

Thank you so much.

(Jon)

My mom put Matt’s name on the prayer roll in the Logan Temple.

(Me)

I just called the Billings Temple. I know Jayson Arrington called the Boise Temple.

 (Annie)

Just called the Memphis Temple prayer roll.

(Elizabeth)

So you can just leave a message? I’ve only done it on paper in person.

(Me)

Yes. Temple prayer roll names can be left as a message on phone.

(Elizabeth)

Our temple was closed already on East Coast time last night, but I’m so happy other were able to do this.

2:17 PM

(Text from Andrew to his daughter Emily)

Excellent news! Matt is now “laughing” at my Napoleon Dynamite jokes! (His shoulders shake as if he were really laughing, but no sound comes out of his mouth.) And then when he coughed and breathed out, his breath was horrible! I asked him when was the last time he brushed his teeth, and he “laughed” again.

I asked him if he recognized Gentle Ben, and if he did, to blink his eyes 2 times. He did! Then I asked if he recognized me, and said, “Andi with a heart over the ‘i’,” and to blink 3 times if he did, and he blinked 3 times! Then Ben went to get Angela and Michelle since only two of us can be in his ICU room at a time. As Ben and I left, and with Angela and Michelle looking on, I said, “We love you. If you know we love you, blink 4 times.” And then he started blinking, and I counted out as he started to blink, “One, two, three, FOUR!” He blinked 4 times.

My mom and dad went to go sleep for an hour, but I called them to tell them the excellent and miraculous progress. They are very happy and grateful to God.

3:21 PM

(Elizabeth)

Such wonderful news!

(Angela)

Y’all, I just asked Matt if he wants me to read to him to pass the time. He nodded, “Yes.” Any suggestions? I’m thinking a conference talk or church related because I know he likes to keep the Sabbath holy.

(Jon)

Atlas Shrugged

(Ben)

Book of Mormon

(Andrew)

I’m thinking Napoleon Dynamite lines.

(Ben)

Andrew left out that I asked Matt to squeeze my hand, which he did. Andrew then said, “Grab my wrist…no my other wrist.” At which time Matt made a face as if he was trying not to smile. Andrew’s such a funny guy!

(Elizabeth)

Ang—I just looked up my bookmarks on the gospel library app. I’ll text a few links of talks.

(Jon)

Does Matt still have a breaking tube in?

(Angela)

No. No breathing tube, no sedation, no pain meds. I asked if he was in pain, and he nodded, “No.” I asked if he just felt nothing, and he nodded, “Yes.”

(Jon)

So, the inability to talk is just due to residual (but presumably temporary) effects of the swelling?

(Angela)

I’m not sure. The nurse said that because of everything his brain has gone through, he’s kind of naturally sedated and hazy. But she said that he will most likely become more coherent with time.

(Ben)

I think it might be the swelling, but also the medication. It may be a few days before the meds are out of his system, so it might take that long. Mom can correct me when she wakes up from her nap.

3:44 PM

(Jon)

Someone send a pic with Matt.

(Andrew)

Mom got some chap stick from the school nurse.

- Picture sent of me putting chap stick on Matt’s lips-

(Jon)

His lips must hurt real bad.

(Ben)

He couldn’t actually feel his lips, but we were trying to anticipate the need…due to the meds.

(Andrew)

Yes, this is where being codependent is healthy.

(Ben)

It really was incredible to see him responding to our questions and turning his eyes to look at us when we asked. So encouraging.

4:41 PM

(Ben)

The doctor just came in and asked Matt if he could speak, and he weakly said, “Yes.” He then asked him to follow his hand left, right, up, down—and he did it!

(Jon)

That is such a relief!

7:58 PM

(Elizabeth)

Thanks for keeping those of us who aren’t there in the loop, everyone. This is so great to hear. Anything new?

(Andrew)

He is in good spirits and talks a little bit. He knows who is there with him and is looking better every hour.

10:49 PM

(Group text from me)

The doctor and all of us are amazed at Matt’s progress today. Matt is aware of us who are here—Michelle, Angela, Andrew, Dad, Benjamin, Kat, and me—and he turns his head to look at us when we speak. His siblings told him funny stories and got him laughing (silently) and smiling many times today. He started saying a few words throughout the day, which the doctor didn’t expect to hear for several weeks, so the speech therapist started working with him today. It is truly miraculous. The nurse said this this is not normal for the first day after brain surgery. Thank you for all your faith and prayers. We love you all!

(Justin)

Matt has inner strength beyond anyone I have ever seen. His strength is a result of his faithfulness, and his progress is a testament to me that the Priesthood is real and prayers are heard.

(Kat)

Yes! I’ve been reminding him all day how strong he is and that he will get through this.

(Justin)

For our family reading tonight, I just picked up where my scriptures were, and it happened to be D&C 84. I thought of Matt as we read.

D&C 84:19-21: And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.

Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.

And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh.

(Kat)

Beautiful.

(Ben)

I just happened to read these same verses with Shelley last night. God is real and will lead and guide us if we let Him. Love you all!

(Rebekah)

We feel so grateful!! And I know our brother-in-law, Dr. Matt Payne, checked on Matt and reported to us that Matt looked extremely well for the procedure that was performed. He said he had seen some patients that have to be restrained because they don’t know where they are or who they are. And my brother-in-law said he will hopefully be helping with Matt’s rehab at the hospital, too. I am happy that our brother is being so well looked after! Also, I heard Krystal came by, too, right?? I’m happy that a part of Doug and me have been there with you all!

(Annie)

Thank you for sharing all this! SO beautiful.

10:53 PM

(Me)

Andrew, thank you so much for being here for Matt. You were a strength to all of us, and your sense of humor has helped Matt’s recovery, I know.

(Andrew)

I’m so glad I could be there. I love you too forever, Mom.

11:30 PM

(Ben)

I’m with Matt now for shift #1 tonight:

#1. 8:30 PM—11:30 PM—Ben

#2. 11:30 PM—2:30 AM—Kat & Michelle

#3. 2:30 AM—5:30 AM—Angela

#4. 5:30 AM—8:30 AM—Mom


DAY 5: Monday, February 27, 2017

10:55 AM

(Group text from me)

The nurse said Matt had a good night. We just talked to the doctor, and they will keep him in ICU one more day to continue monitoring him and get him up and walking. Plan is to move him upstairs to the 4th floor (surgery recovery) tomorrow.

(Elizabeth)

Wow!

(Ben)

So wonderful!

(Andrew)

Wow! Miracles!

(Me)

Yes. Miracles for sure! The doctor said to expect ups and downs in Matt’s daily recovery, but having a good first day is extremely positive regarding his healing process.

11:52 PM

(Elizabeth)

Does anyone have pic of Matt I could post on Facebook? Not that the one where Mom is putting chap stick on him isn’t awesome…. Unless you think Matt would appreciate it when he sees it later if I included a Napoleon Dynamite quote?!

(Me)

Use the Napoleon dynamite quote if you use this picture—it was used by his siblings and brought a smile from him. He didn’t want pictures taken of him yesterday. Wait till you hear back from them to see if you should post a picture.

(Elizabeth)

Whoever is there—ask Matt when he’s awake if he wants me to post any picture or not, and if so, which one.

(Me)

He is asleep. He might not understand the question. The only questions asked of him are pretty simple, “Do you want water? Are you cold? Are you hurting?”

(Ben)

I don’t think he wants pictures up online, but let’s wait until he can answer that question. Somethings we’ll just keep within the family in the meantime.

(Elizabeth)

Sounds good.

12:05 PM

(Rebekah)

Is everyone still there?

(Me)

Andrew flew to California last night for business. He left his car for us to drive. Everyone else is here, but Ben might be leaving later today. Dad and I are at the hospital now. The kids took night shifts so someone was always here with Matt.

12:34 PM

(Annie)

This is a recording Matt sent me a while back. I love to listen to it and thought I’d share!

-Recording sent-

1:33 PM

(Me)

I found this quote that I love from Elder Holland: “Jesus has chosen, even in a resurrected, otherwise perfected body, to retain for the benefit of His disciples the wounds in His hands and in his feet and in His side—signs, if you will—that painful things happen even to the pure and the perfect; sings, if you will, that pain in this world is not evidence that God doesn’t love you; signs, if you will, that problems pass and happiness can be ours.”

(Kat)

Beautiful.

(Elizabeth)

I love this so much.

1:18 PM

Angela created group “Fales Family” on What’sApp.

‎5:42 PM

-Angela added Doug Peterson-

(Rebekah)

Oh, hello my love.

(Angela)

Lol! Cutie.

-Angela added Kat-

(Annie)

 Yay!!! Hey Kat! Hey Doug!

(Elizabeth)

Woohoo!

(Rebekah)

Gross, no one look at Doug's profile pic.. I do not approve.

(Elizabeth)

Lol, of course I just had to look!

(Dad)

All good! I must say it was so great to see Matt walk today with a walker (twice with a therapist at each side of him)—and it wasn’t an especially slow walk either—so grateful! He’s been sleeping a good amount today—getting good rest.

 (Elizabeth)

 I love every little update, Dad, thanks for keeping us posted!

(Annie)

Wow!

‎-Angela added Justin Serra-

(Angela)

Everyone is on WhatsApp now, so let’s streamline communication and only send messages for the group here. Love you all. So grateful for each of you during this time.

2:27 PM

(Annie)

Is there a way we can send a card to Matt? What address should we mail to?

(Angela)

Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center (EIRMC), 3100 Channing Way, Idaho Falls, ID  83404

4:48 PM

(Rebekah)

It’s miraculous how he is progressing! It’s been so hard to being there to support Matt…so Doug just booked the kids and me plane tickets, so we will be in Idaho Falls from March 7-21. It’s over our kids’ Spring Break from school, so they will only miss 5 days. My in-laws can watch the kids while I am at the hospital. And Doug cleared it with his work, so he will fly in the 12th, and fly out the following Sunday. We are anxious to get there and be by Matt’s side as he recovers and starts rehab. And I don’t know when yet, but while we are there we will finally bless our baby Camden. Love you all!

(Me)

What a wonderful blessing you can all come out to be with Matt. We will all be so happy to see you and be with you at Camden’s baby blessing!

 (David)

Wonderful—it will be so great to have you all here—Matt will love it!

(Rebekah)

Do you think you will be in Idaho Falls while I’m there?

(Me)

Yes, I will probably be here for a month. Dad’s going home on Saturday, but he will be back on weekends. We will know more in a day or two about Matt’s recovery plan. That would be awesome if you could come March 8-21. We were supposed to be in Anaheim for the Expo West Trade Show March 10-13. Carol Ann’s wedding is March 18 in Boise. We will keep you posted on our plans and let us know your plans. Our original plans will have to change.

(Rebekah)

Ok! And where are you staying?

(Me)

We are staying at Matt’s bishop’s house. Terry and Debie Roe. They are both very welcoming and have a big house and told us we could stay the whole month if we want to.

6:00 PM

(Group text from me)

Matt is making some improvements. His speech therapist asked him many questions, and he knew all the answers. He speaks slowly, but his voice is much stronger today. When she asked Matt what Michelle’s name was, he said, “Michelle.” When she asked Matt how he knows Michelle, he said very clearly, “She is my younger sister.” That is his longest sentence so far! Unfortunately, he has thrown up twice today, so he has to stay on clear liquids. The anti-nausea medicine makes him sleepy, so he hasn’t been awake that much today. Physical therapists had him up walking around—so wonderful to see!

(Jon)

Matt and Michelle have such a special relationship. It is so wonderful that she can be there with him while he recovers!

(Elizabeth)

Great news!


DAY 6: Tuesday, February 28, 2017

12:26 AM

(Texts between Kat and Andrew on my phone)

Hi. This is Kat. Phone died. Can you come this weekend?

(Andrew)

No worries. Of course. For my ideal schedule I can be there late Wednesday night if need be. Of course, I can be on the next flight out tomorrow morning if needed. Not ideal, but I’m willing to, of course.

(Kat)

Whatever is best with your schedule. You and Ben both have a great influence on Matt. I know he misses your presence and positive vibes and humor that are so important for his healing.

(Andrew)

I will come Wednesday night late.

(Kat)

Thank you so much.

(Andrew)

Of course.

10:16 AM

(Doug)

How is Matt doing today?

(Group text from me)

Matt had a rough night. But doctor said everything is normal and will move him up to the 4th floor. His head dressing has been removed, and the incision is healing as it should. Doctor said Day 3 is always a worse day. We will say extra prayers for Matt today.

(Doug)

I’m so sorry to hear that; we can’t wait to get there to support him.

(Me)

It is so wonderful you can all come. Such a blessing.

(Doug)

We are very grateful to be able to. It has been so hard not being there for him.

(Me)

I know. But we have felt your love and faith, Thank you so much!

11:41 AM

(Me)

Ben, we would like you to come back this weekend. Matt does so much better when his brothers are with him. Andrew is coming back late tomorrow night for another couple of days. If your family could come on Friday night, we would appreciate it.

(Ben)

Yes! We will leave at either noon or around 3:30 when the kids get home from school. We will then stay through Sunday and drive home Sunday afternoon. Sound good? It was so nice to be with everyone, so I’d love to get back sooner than later.

(Me)

That sounds great! Thanks!

(Ben)

It will be great. Also, please tell Debie thank you from me for letting my family stay at their home this weekend. She and her husband are very kind.

1:30 PM

(Andrew)

Right now, I land at SLC at 7:30 pm on Wednesday night. Then my connecting flight is a 10:12 PM, and I land at Idaho Falls at 11:17 PM.

(Me)

Thank you for coming back so soon. Dad can pick you up. Love you!

(Andrew)

Excellent. Of course.

2:00 PM

(Group text from me)

Matt is still nauseated and not eating yet. Just drinking water. He sleeps a lot, which he should, but immediately wakes up when a nurse or therapist talks to him and does what is asked of him. The last question the Occupational Therapist asked was, “f you had $10, and you spent $6.50, how much would you have left?” Matt immediately said, “$3.50.” He had the answer before the rest of us!

2:23 PM

(Andrew)

So great! I will be back there Wednesday night.

 (Ben)

This truly is amazing! Everyone at work is so amazed at these miracles! By the way, I'll be back with my family by Friday night. Love you all!

(Angela)

So happy to hear that Ben. I know Matt appreciates having his parents and some sisters here. But I think having his brothers here will be important, too.

(Ben)

Agreed. One of my employees at work described the “Napoleon Dynamite” discussion and laughter on Sunday as “Bro Time.” It’s important.

(Ben)

 P.S. For those that don't want to get a notification every time someone posts, go to your settings and turn off notifications for this app so you can just check in when you want. Love you all!

3:40 PM

(Group text from me)

Matt’s left eye is now swollen shut. Swelling is normal, and inside his head it is also swelling, but doctor said it should be gone in a few days. He might get a black eye.

3:45 PM

(Ben)

Let's get Matt on this What’sApp thread so he can look back at this sweet history we are all sharing together...

(Me)

I agree. He won't remember much of this hospital stay. I kept a journal for Ali when she was in the hospital (after her near-death car accident and traumatic brain injury in 2005), and she still enjoys reading it from time to time.

(Dad)

To Andrew and all that are coming to be with Matt and our family—so glad you're all coming!!!

(Andrew)

Of course. Happy to.

9:21 PM

(Dad)

Kristine and I are here with Matt right now, and he’s sitting up on the side of his bed brushing his teeth right now—by himself! Kat, Angela, and Michelle have had very good interaction with him this afternoon/evening as well. So grateful for all prayers and his progress!

 (Andrew)

Finally!! His breath was terrible. And so glad to hear!

(Jon)

Ha ha! I can only imagine! That is really great news though!

(Ben)

So great! Matt is such a hard worker and has such a positive attitude Both attributes will be a blessing to him in his recovery!

(Rebekah)

That is seriously amazing! What does it mean as far as his mobility where the left side of his brain was damaged? I heard the left side controls the right side? Obviously, that isn't affecting him?

 (Jon)

www.neuroskills.com/brain-injury/frontal-lobes.php

Rebekah: Thanks Jon!!


DAY 7: Wednesday, March 1, 2017

9:10 AM

(Group text from me)

Tuesday update: Matt walked 1,000 feet with assistance. The Occupational Therapist did evaluation and expects Matt to have full recovery of all his skills. He is out of ICU. His new nurse said he saw remarkable progress between 1 pm when Matt arrived on the 3rd floor and 7 pm tonight. He said he’s never seen such a miraculous thing happen before. The nurse is touched with how we have gathered to support Matt. He said he can feel the love within our family group. Matt's long-term and short-term memory is excellent. We are witnessing a divine miracle. The blessing we need today is for Matt to eat food without being nauseated so he can get off the IV. Thank you all for your continuing faith and prayers.

(Elizabeth)

Wonderful news!

 (Jon)

This is such wonderful news! Tell Matt that we love him. On the night of his surgery, Neal said "If I hear that Matt is OK, I think I'll instantly be able to do a backflip because I'll be so happy!"

(Ben)

Haha! Send us video of the backflip! Yes, a miracle, indeed! So happy for Matt!

9:54 AM

(Me)

My sister Robin has a friend who is a music therapist. She said listening to songs a person remembers from his childhood helps the brain heal faster. We have been playing Primary songs and Hymns for Matt every day. She also said listening to classical music from the Baroque period (Bach, etc.) also is good for the brain because of its strong, steady beat.

11:26 AM

(Group text from me)

Dr. Allen, the neurosurgeon, saw Matt this morning. He said Matt is much further along than he expected. As soon as he can stabilize his diet and get off the IV, Matt will go up to the 6th floor rehab. Maybe tomorrow. Matt ate cream of wheat, some milk, and part of a fruit smoothie this morning. He walked without the walker today.

11:34 AM

(Ben)

Just amazing.

(Annie)

Audrey: "Wow! He's impressing me!"

(Annie)

Seriously, VERY impressive!!!

(Annie)

Mom you should sing to him some of your bedtime songs. Your voice is still soothing to me and I'm sure it will be to him too!!

12:22 PM

(Dad)

Matt just took a shower by himself! I just got the water going and then stood outside the shower curtain in case he needed, and then he took his shower and dried himself off after I handed in the towel. I was so proud of him! The funniest thing after his shower was that I didn’t know how his “hospital gown” had to be snapped together and put over his shoulder—but he did! In my opinion, Matt is doing better and better with these kinds of things!

 (Annie)

Wow, wow, WOW!!!

 (Rebekah)

His progress is seriously mind blowing!! I’m so proud of him. I’ve always known what a strong & determined person he is! This proves it!

(Kat)

That’s exactly what I keep saying, Bekah!

(Annie)                             

What a sweet moment!!!

 (Elizabeth)

So incredible!

11:34 PM

(Me)

Matt is smiling again today from time to time! When Dad made the comment that he hadn’t put Matt’s socks on him since he was a baby, Matt laughed a little.

3:33 PM

(Rebekah)

So, anyone still in Idaho Falls...if you’re craving Chinese food, Main Moon is the best, and Fiesta Ole has the yummiest bean and cheese burritos and the best ranch and hot sauce to dip, and their crisp bean burritos are yummy too. For Thai food, THAI Kitchen is the best (it's by Sam’s Club) ... Broulim’s has the best fried donuts, and Blue Hashi has the best sushi, but Broulim’s has really yummy cheap sushi, actually their whole hot food selection is amazing!  The best ice cream is Reeds Dairy over by Kohl's. Cocoa Bean has the best cupcakes, and of course we have a Costa Vida which was a go to for me.

(Me)

Rebekah, you know the food in Idaho Falls well! Thanks!

(Rebekah)

Yeah...queen of takeout!

(Jon)

Ugh! Now I wish I was in Idaho Falls!

(Rebekah)

Oh, and Geraldine's has the best BLT's and sugar cookies...plus they have a drive thru which is nice on cold days! And Pizza Pie Cafe is a family favorite and you can buy a salad to go, and they let you go through their salad bar with a to-go container...if you're in the mood for healthy. They let you do that for their pasta bar too.

(Doug)

If you're in the mood for a real treat, get a smothered ham and bacon breakfast burrito from Los Albertos. Perkins has really good pancakes and omelets.

(Dad)

 All such great suggestions—thanks!

(Angela)

Thanks!

7:40 PM

(Me)

Justin, thank you for the beautiful flowers that were sent to Matt. Please let the Modere family know how much we appreciate their thoughtfulness and concern. The flowers brighten up the room with faith, hope, and love. Thanks again!

(Justin)

 Of course. We will see you all in a couple of days!

(Me)

We are so thankful you, Cruz, and Bella are all coming!

9:19 PM

(Annie)

Can Matt read? Like if we mailed him a card? And should we mail it to the hospital?

(Angela)

Yes, he can read! And yes, mail to the hospital, I believe.

(Annie)

Awesome!

(Kat)

He can read, and he can write. Yesterday he couldn’t explain how he was feeling, so I got him a pen and paper, and he wrote, “Nausea. Medicine.” Michelle was there too, and she said, “Well, Matt, your handwriting looks exactly the same!”

(Annie)

Oh wow, so interesting!

(Kat)

It really does.

(Annie)

Ha! So cool!

(Justin)

Such great news! Thank you for the updates!

9:20 PM

(Annie)

Can Matt sing?

-Sends screenshot quote about music therapy-

“Restores lost speech. Music therapy can help people who are recovering from a stoke or traumatic brain injury that has damaged the left-brain region responsible for speech. Because singing ability originates in the right side of the brain, people can work around the injury to the left side of their brain by first singing their thoughts and then gradually dropping the melody. Former U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords used this technique to enable her to testify before a Congressional committee two years after a gunshot wound to her brain destroyed her ability to speak.”

(Angela)

No, he can barely speak.

(Annie)

Can he hum? Can he make any sounds at all?

(Angela)

Not certain at this point! Probably not today, but possibly soon.

(Michelle)

He can whistle.

(Michelle)

One note.

(Angela)

Annie, that screenshot you sent was so interesting to read. We will ask the speech therapist about it.

(Annie)

Cool, okay! This is the article it came from—http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/healing-through-music-201511058556


DAY 8: Thursday, March 2, 2017

1:30 AM

(Me)

Andrew said he would take the night shift tonight, so I’m coming home with Daddy.

9:27 AM

(Group text from me)

Wednesday update: Matt was able to eat soft foods yesterday without being nauseated. He said, "I'm happy!" when he ate a turkey sandwich for dinner! No more IV. Thank you for everyone's prayers. Doctors and therapists continue to be amazed at his progress. He is moving up to 6th floor today start inpatient rehabilitation.

Ben: That is so wonderful! Praying multiple times every day for him!

Annie: Great, thank you! I love every single update from all of you who are there!!!

10:45 AM

(Group text from me)

Kat, Angela, and Michelle had a fun time with Matt yesterday. He was awake a lot and was smiling and laughing many times. Although he had walked with the Physical Therapist twice yesterday, he wanted to walk again last night. With a sister on each side of him and one behind him, they walked all the halls on the 3rd floor-twice! The nurses loved it! Many nurses throughout the day have told me what a wonderful family we have—and we do! Andrew arrived around 11:30 pm Wednesday night, and Matt was happy to see him again. Andrew said he would stay overnight with Matt—brothers’ sleepover! The swelling over Matts left eye and face has pretty much gone away so he can see out of two eyes once again. We love you all so much. This hard experience has drawn us all so much closer together.

(Ben)

We should get there tomorrow around 8:00. I can't wait to see Matt and all of you!

(Elizabeth)

So wonderful! I hope everyone is taking candid pictures throughout the days... I'd love to see them! Especially Matt walking around with his sisters!

(Annie)

Yes, please take pictures! I love the sisters’ walking story and the brothers’ sleepover!!!

(Justin)

Hearing this story reminded me of one promise of the Word of Wisdom. “And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint." We all know Matt has a strong testimony of the Word of Wisdom and observed it with obedience. I have no doubt this promise is being fulfilled to him now.

(Annie)

Amen to that. Thank you for that great insight, Justin!!

(Me)

Yes. It is a promised blessing that Matt deserves. Thanks, Justin for the reminder. Matt said he didn't want us taking pictures. So, we just take mental pictures and write down the memories.

(Angela)

The last time we asked if he wanted to take a picture was a few days ago. We could check in to see if he's feeling more camera ready now.

11:18 AM

(Ben)

I think Matt wouldn't want pictures posted online (which makes sense since he doesn't look his best right now), but I don't think he would mind sharing some with his family...but let's ask him!

(Annie)

Yes, I definitely agree with Ben. Nothing online but fine for just his family who can't be there with him. If he's okay with that!

(Me)

Matt just said he is okay with photos JUST for family on What'sApp.

(Andrew)

Jamba Juice…the hospital protein shakes didn’t do…

(Michelle)

-Picture sent of Matt with Andrew and Angela with Jamba Juice-

(Annie)

Yay!! Tell him THANK YOU from all of us here in Mississippi! And I'm sure from those in Texas and New Hampshire too! WHAT AN AMAZING FAMILY WE HAVE! I love that he's smiling in this pic too!!

(Rebekah)

Oh, sweet Matt! I still can't wrap my head around all he's had to go through this past week! I can't wait to be there next week!

(Elizabeth)

 So great! So wonderful to see him!

(Me)

He actually had a big Matt Fales smile a moment before, but we didn't catch it fast enough!

(Ben)

Love it!

(Annie)

Wow! Absolutely amazing. I still can't believe he's moved up to rehab on day 5 post brain surgery.

(Dad) 

Yes—it so wonderful—I know we're all so very, very grateful for God's blessing on our amazing Matthew.

1:37 PM

(Me)

Andrew, I am coming to Kat’s hotel to take a nap. Are you still there?

2:17 PM

(Andrew)

I just woke up. At the bishop’s house.

(Me)

Ok. I took a little nap. Trying to go back to sleep again. Love you.

(Andrew)

Love you, too.

2:59 PM

(Elizabeth)

I fly into Salt Lake City (from Litchfield, NH) on Wednesday, March 8 at 11 pm and leave SLC at midnight on Sunday, March 12. I can't wait to get up to Idaho Falls and be with Matt!

(Me)

Wonderful!

(Dad)

So glad you and others are able to come—it will mean so much to Matt!

(Angela)

Me too!

 7:24 PM

(Angela)

-Pictures sent: 1. Michelle and Kat walking with Matt (back view), 2. Michelle and Kat walking with Matt (front view), 3. Michelle, Kat, Matt , and Angela (in Angela’s selfie)-

(Angela)

Just finished comedy hour. Now it's time for a night on the town.

 (Annie)

Oh, I love you 3 walking with him!!

(Me)

Yes. Comedy Hour for sure! Dad and I could hear Michelle's laugh clear down at the nursing station!

8:18 PM

(Andrew)

Matt is in his new room on the 6th floor for rehabilitation.

-Video sent-

(Andrew)

Listen closely as he repeats back exactly what I tell him to say. A very obedient little guy.

(Ben)

 Obedience brings blessings!

(Annie)

This brings tears to my eyes!!! Amazing to hear him speak and see him smile. I wonder what is going on inside his head!

(Andrew)

I would think, "I love my family, and they really do put the fun back in dysfunctional."

-Picture sent of Angela and Michelle rolling him up to the 6th floor in a wheelchair-

 (Annie)

And I love the nurse taking a double take in the background in the picture/ It's gotta be the bathrobe @12086080127 (Michelle!)

(Rebekah)

Lol! These pics are all so funny! Matt and I will have to have a "who wore it best" face off with his pics now compared to the pics of me in that hospital gown after my C-sections at the same hospital!

11:31 PM

(Angela)

Plot twist.

(Angela)

He can sing.

11:49 PM

(Me)

Andrew, did you pick up a white phone charger on the table with your laptop, etc.?

(Andrew)

Yes. Sorry!

(Me)

That was mine. Can you bring it back tomorrow? No problem…

(Andrew)

Yes. Of course.


DAY 9: Friday, March 3, 2017

12:18 AM

(Michelle)

I kind of want to come back to the hospital.

(My phone call)

I called Michelle and talked to her for a few minutes. I told her I understood how she felt because she had been by Matt’s side every possible moment she could. I told her she was emotionally exhausted from all the tears and going without sleep and really needed a good night’s sleep at the Roe’s house. All she had been doing since she got there was just napping by the side of Matt’s bed or resting once in a while on the sleeping bag on the floor of Matt’s hospital room. I finally said, “Try to sleep there, but if you can’t, come back.” Fortunately, she was finally able to fall sleep.

 8:10 AM

(Elizabeth)

I love all the pictures, videos, and comments! Thank you for sharing!! How much did he sing?

(Me)

Matt joined us in singing "Love One Another" during scripture time last night. His voice was strong and beautiful as always! When we finished, he had a little smile on his face. I think he was surprised he could still sing...

(Annie)

Aaaaah! Wow wow wow!!!!! I love this so much. It's just like the article said! See if he can sing along to this! (Sends audio)

(Me)

I will try later today in between his other therapies. Thanks!

9:05 AM

(Group text from me)

Thursday update: Matt was moved up to the 6th floor late last night. He had a good day, and he is able to speak a little faster now. He was telling jokes and making his sisters laugh last night! He joined us in singing, "Love One Another" when we had our family scripture and prayer time before bed. The 6th floor doctor said, "After reviewing your records, I would have thought you'd still be in ICU, but you're already here!" Thank you for your prayers of faith as we watch Matt's miracle occur before our eyes.

(Ben)

So beautiful, Matt!

(Me)

Matt will have speech therapy from 10 AM to 11 AM and physical therapy from 11 AM to 12 Noon. No occupational therapy today, so he is free to visit the family at other times. Regular visiting hours are from 5-8 PM, and he might have a few friends stop by for a few minutes. Family can be here 24/7. They love having family support. Visiting hours are just for friends. Love you all.

(Ben)

Ok. Good to know! Because we will probably get there around 8:00.

10:56 AM

(Ben)

Good morning, Mom! My family will be staying at the Roe’s house tonight, correct? Is everyone staying there? What bedding do we need to bring? Thanks!

(Me)

Roe’s have everything you need, but if the kids want to bring favorite pillows, they should. So excited to see you all! When will you be going home?

(Ben)

We’re planning on going home Sunday afternoonish. Do you know what the plan is for Sunday? Is there a specific ward everyone will be going to or will we all gather and take the sacrament with Matt? (And maybe sing some songs, etc.?)

(Me)

We had the sacrament brought to his room last Sunday in the ICU. They will bring the sacrament here on the 6th floor also. We can sing songs, etc. as we desire. I’ll check to see what time they will bring it.

1:39 PM

(Elizabeth)

Just drove past Mathew’s birthplace.

-Picture sent of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Nashua, New Hampshire-

(Angela)

Love that!

1:50 PM

(Melissa)

I am glad Matt is doing so well & I am so grateful. Please tell him I love him.

(Me)

Thank you so much, my sweet Melissa. I will when he wakes up. He is asleep right now. He just finished physical therapy and speech therapy. He did well! I love you!

4:02 PM

(Angela)

When we post about Matt on Facebook, be sure to tag him so it will go on his wall and his friends will see it in their feed!

 (Angela)

He said it feels good to be exercising (to an extent) again.

-Picture sent of Matt in Physical and Occupational Therapy-

Love it!

(Justin)

Get it Matt!

(Angela)

You can tell he has great discipline and is back in his element doing drills. I'm so proud of him.

-Video sent-

(Annie)

Aaaaawe! Our precious Matthew. Wow! I can't believe his facial expressions!!!! That seems to be quite advanced for this point after surgery, is that right??? Way to go Matt!!!

(Me)

Yes. Facial expressions are a sign of recovery the doctors have said.

(Kat)

I kept telling him yesterday to look at rehab like a workout.

(Elizabeth)

Oh, my goodness! Seeing him nod and smile and hearing his voice brought tears to my eyes! So amazing.

(Rebekah)

I am just amazed!!

(Dad)

It's all so wonderful! There's more recovery down the road but great progress!

4:53 PM

(Andrew) 

I'm bringing my kids for the weekend. What do I need to bring?

(Me)

Bishop Roe said just bring pillows for your kids. They have enough sleeping bags. But they can bring a favorite blanket if they want. Xoxo

(Andrew)

Will do. Love you too.

5:07 PM

(Angela)

BTW. We bought Matt that fresh look he's rocking today because honestly this place isn't very lively....so we thought that maybe if he was at least in some cool new clothes that could possibly help his spirits/make his time here more enjoyable. So, Michelle and I went shopping for him this morning, and I bought 4 sweats/joggers, 3 Nike t-shirts, 1 Nike zip up, socks, and a pair of red suede Nike tennies. His eyes really lit up when we showed him the goods, so I think he was really excited about it all!!

 (Rebekah)

You must have hit Ross.

(Angela)

Lol yes!!!! And TJ Max. And I was totally channeling my inner Bekah maxxinista while I was at it.

(Elizabeth)

Rebekah is definitely the ultimate maxxinista!

(Rebekah)

Lol! I was going to guess TJ's, but I knew you hit Ross for sure because TJ's doesn't sell men's shoes.

(Annie)

Wow, way to pick up on the subtle clue @12084037525!!!

 (Rebekah)

Yes, I read a lot of Nancy Drew books growing up.

(Annie)

I love that, ha!

(Dad)

I love all this banter! We're so blessed!

7:25 PM

(Justin)

-Picture sent of Matt, Michelle, Angela, Kat, and Justin-

(Jon)

Wait... Which one just had brain surgery?

(Annie) @18013183890!! Well you know they have to shave your head before they can open your skull.... Matt is going to love looking back at these pics....Mom—do the doctors say he will remember this time of his recovery??

(Me)

They are surprised he remembers the basketball accident, but he does. I'm sure he will remember most of these experiences.

8:01 PM

(Ben)

Just catching up on this thread while Shelley drives! So funny, Jon! Great clue, Annie!

(Kat)

-Video sent of Matt-

Matt getting an Xbox workout in. Good times!!!

(Ben)

Ang - PLEASE add Matt to this WhatsApp group!!!

(Annie)

Wow! Matt's real laugh!!!!

(Me)

I knew I'd see Matt dance again, but I didn’t know it would be so soon! This makes me cry! So grateful!

(Angela)

I honestly don't want to add Matt yet. I think that he can read through it when and if he wants to / is ready. I would rather let him make that choice rather than all these messages involving such a hard time flooding his phone when he turns it on. I know a lot of it is positive. I would just still like to let him choose.

(Ben)

Ok, but let's keep THIS thread alive...It's legit! Justin has even posted!

(Me)

I agree with Angela. And yes! So happy to have Justin on it, too!

(Ben)

And Doug has posted! Just waiting on Scott to make it full legit!

(Annie)

Shelley would also add to the legit-ness. Except not right now since she's driving!

(Ben)

Oh, she's always watching...

8:25 PM

(Scott)

Ben, thank you for the formal invitation to participate in this NOW legit thread. It has been great seeing pictures and comments. Matt (and I would say we all are) lucky to have a such supportive/caring family. We are working to see if we can get Marie (Annie) down to see Matt and the family, but Memphis is a very tough airport to fly out off. If not, we will be out for 2 weeks in July.

(Angela)

Yay! Keep us posted!!

(Ben)

Yes! Thanks, Scott!

(Ben)

Shelley will post one day, too!

9:57 PM

 (Justin)

Great to be with Matt today! You can tell it's him in there, and it's just a matter of time. He even beat me in x-box hurdles if you can believe it!

10:01 PM

(Angela)

-Picture sent of Michelle and Matt-

(Dad)

Awesome! Miracles—blessings!

(Dad)

Scott, thanks for all the comments. We all understand, and we feel the faith and love of the Arrington’s.

(Me)

Pizza at the hospital with Matt tonight!

-Picture sent of Matt with family at pizza “party”-

(Annie)

Incredible pics!!! And that smile!!! Send more videos of the Xbox gaming next time he plays. Can't believe he is up doing that! And that he beat Justin. So glad you all can be there with him!!!


DAY 10: Saturday, March 4, 2017

9:11 AM

(Scott)

Marie (Annie) and Parker are coming out March 18—March 22.

(Dad)

Wonderful! Matt and all of us will be so happy to see them and have them here with us. We love you all!

(Ben)

Sweet!!!

(Me)

We are SO excited that Annie and Parker can come out to visit Matt! Wonderful!

(Michelle)

-Picture sent of Matt’s goals she wrote on his white board-

(Annie)

Congrats to Matt!! I hope we can jump in on his social therapy when we're there!

(Rebekah)

Yay! I’m thinking we will bless Camden Saturday the 18th... so Annie, you might be able to be there! What time do you arrive? I can’t wait to see Parker too! It's been so long!

(Annie)

I would LOVE to be there! Unfortunately, we don't get in until midnight on Saturday the 18th (SLC).... We'll drive up Sunday though, if you want to do it then??

11:03 PM

(Me)

-Picture sent of Angela with Matt doing online shopping-

1:32 PM

(Me)

Ben, I want Andrew, Charlie, and Champ to sleep in the room with the twin beds (with a mattress on the floor), Austin to sleep in your room upstairs, and all the girls to sleep in the downstairs family room (at the Roe’s). Thanks!

(Ben)

Sounds great!!!

(Me)

Can, you come and pick up the kids to go swimming?

(Ben)

We were visiting with Matt, but he wants to take a nap now, so we’re on our way back.

2:00 PM

(Group text from me)

Matt started socializing last night at dinner with other patients here on the 6th floor. Most of them are quite elderly.  He was visiting with them again this morning. I met one elderly man who said, "I really like your son. He always has a big smile on his face and is so friendly!" That sounds like our Matt, doesn't it?

(Justin)

Sound like Matt!

(Elizabeth)

Ahhh, of course he's doing that! Love it!

2:46 PM

(Andrew)

-Pictures sent: 1. Matt in Physical Therapy with Michelle, Dad, and me; 2. Matt in his hospital room with Angela and me; 3. Video of Michelle-

(Annie)

Ha ha—“accidentally”

 4:23 PM

Annie: One week ago today.....

(Me)

Yes. One week ago today I arrived in Idaho Falls at 5 p.m. on Saturday night and rushed Matt to the emergency room. I am so grateful for the Priesthood, the combined faith and prayers of a multitude, the loyalty, love, and laughter of our family, and the conviction, faith, and tenacity of Matt who wants to get well and knows that he will. We are all blessed as a family.

5:17 PM

(Group text from me)

Today Matt had 1 hour and 30 minutes of therapy: Speech, Occupational, Physical. Camille, Adam, and his wife Savannah came to visit Matt. Andrew brought his children here also this afternoon. We plan to have a brief, quiet dinner tonight as the doctor on call (Dr. Matt Payne--Doug and Rebekah's brother-in-law) said the brain needs a long time to heal without too much stimulus. He told Matt, "This is a marathon not a sprint. You have to pace yourself and go slow." Tomorrow morning Matt's Bishop will bring Matt and all of us the Sacrament at the hospital. Love you all!

5:20 PM

(Shelley)

Do you need help with dinner? There were not any cars at the house, so I came to the hospital. But Angela just said you may not have a car?

(Me)

I’m just waiting for the lasagna to finish cooking. Should be done around 6 PM. Can you come back and get me then?

(Shelley)

Yep!

6:40 PM

(Doug)

It is amazing to me that Matt Payne is able to be there as Matt's on-call doctor. So grateful for the network of this great family we all share.

(Me)

I know. It has been so comforting!

(Angela)

Yes, Doug, I totally agree! It was so great to have that sense of familiarity working with Matt today!!

(Annie)

So awesome!!


DAY 11: Sunday, March 5, 2017

9:20 AM

(Me)

Andrew, did you see my text about Sacrament meeting at 9:30 AM here at the hospital in the group room?

(Andrew)

Yes.

(Emily)

Pulling up to the hospital right now.

11:55 AM

(Angela)

Cruz wanted to see what Matt’s therapy was all about.

-Video sent of Matt’s Physical Therapy-

(Justin Serra)

Go Cruz!! Matt needs competition to be motivated!

12:26 PM

(Group text from me)

We had a short Sacrament meeting with Matt’s bishop and all of us here—25 in total—Andrew, Emily, Eva, Moorea, and Champ; Ben, Shelley, Abby, Halle, Gwen, and Austin; Justin, Kat, Cruz, and Bella; Angela, Michelle, David, and me; Camille, Adam and Savannah (cousins); Bishop Roe, and of course, Matt! Ben played the guitar and we sang songs afterwards while Matt went to therapy. Some people had already left the room before a picture was taken.

(Michelle)

-Picture sent of Matt, Dad, and me after our Sacrament Meeting-

Sacrament Meeting: Bishop Roe presided. Dad conducted. Ben played the guitar and I conducted the songs. Opening song was “I Am a Child of God.” Angela gave the opening prayer. Sacrament song was “I Stand All Amazed.” Andrew blessed the water. Ben blessed the bread. Charlie passed the sacrament. Kat gave the closing prayer. After the sacrament, Dad and I both bore our testimonies. It was so sweet to be together as a family. I love the restored gospel of Jesus Christ! We are so blessed.

(Kat)

*Because we are a family.*

 (Me)

Yes. We sang “Because We Are a Family” after sacrament meeting. I wrote that song when Jonathan was 15. This song has helped me through many difficult times...and brought me great joy during the good times. We are all a gift to one another. Where one person is weak, someone else is strong. We help each other in many ways. Quite incredible.

(Annie)

We really are. So beautifully said, Momma.

(Andrew)

Also, today is March 5. Seven years ago, Jon passed away. I'm sure he would be happy seeing us all rally round Matthew.

(Kat)

Yes. Definitely. Thank you for sharing that, Andrew.

 (Me)

I have felt close to Jonathan this whole time. I know he's been one of Matt's guardian angels. He loves us all so much.

(Ben)

Jon would always be there (and probably still is) for anyone of us in our family. His loyalty and love for his family permeated his being.

(Angela)

❤❤❤

 (Annie)

I love all of this so, SO much.

 (Rebekah)

What a sweet family gathering! Love to all.

1:00 PM

(Me)

I forgot Matt has speech therapy from 1:00—1:30 He didn’t get a nap yet…he usually only lies down for a few minutes to rest. No visitors right now.

(Elizabeth)

What an incredible day! So wonderful that you can all be together and worship together! The pictures and videos are blowing me away ... Matt has come so far!

(Ben)

Yes, he’s coming along!

3:27 PM

 (Michelle)

-Picture sent of Matt doing Physical Therapy-

(Ben)

Rebekah, as an FYI, we are currently thinking that we will come back up to Idaho Falls the weekend of March 18th. Halle has a soccer game on the 18th at 8:30 AM so we would probably leave around 10:00 that morning and get there around 2:00. So, if you bless Camden on 19th we will probably be able to be there, too.

(Rebekah)

Ok great! We aren’t sure when we will bless Camden yet. I’m thinking the 18th will work best because my parents-in-law are going out of town the 19th...so whoever can make that work is welcome but no pressure where it’s also Carol Ann's wedding in Boise. Doug flies into Idaho Falls Tuesday the 14th and will fly home with me on the 21st (his birthday) so unless we can bless babies any day of the week, I think that Saturday will work best.

(Elizabeth)

You can do it any day of the week, just talk to whatever Bishop will be there.

(Ben)

Yep, any day of the week. Just check with the bishop where Camden will be blessed as he or one of his counselors will need to be there to preside.

(Rebekah)

OK, well, we will let y'all know what day works best for us & let you know.


DAY 12: Monday, March 6, 2017

10:00 AM

(Angela)

I made a Go Fund Me for Matt last night. I shared it around 10 pm and when I woke up this morning it had already raised over $1000. I cried when I saw this. So many people love Matt and our family. I tagged you all in my post but for some reason it didn't show up on any of your pages or Matt’s. So, if you could share on your page and tag Matt in the post that would be amazing. You can also text or email the link to people who have asked how they can help. Here is the link: https://www.gofundme.com/matt-fales-medical-fund-recovery.

(Annie)

Wow, Angela! That's amazing! Thank you!!!

12:22 PM

(Me)

When Matt's new "friend" (an elderly gentleman in rehab on the 6th floor) learned that Matt could play the piano, he wanted to hear him play. Matt played “Nearer My God to Thee.” Listen to the man's comments when Matt is through!

-Video sent of Matt playing the piano-

(Justin)

“A gentleman and a scholar” indeed! So amazing! I kept seeing that piano there and wondering how long it would be before Matt was on it. What a miracle.

(Dad)

All amazing and wonderful!!!

(Annie)

Oh wow!!!! So much of his brain is still working!!! Incredible.

(Elizabeth)

Sooo cool!

7:32 PM

(Angela)

Matt getting fancy in physical therapy this morning.

-Video sent of Matt exercising-

(Elizabeth)

Lol!

(Dad)

That's our Matt! Miracles by the day—so grateful to Heavenly Father!

(Annie)

Hilarious!! Love you Matt!!!

9:30 PM

(Annie)

I just talked to Matt for the first time since the accident. WOW!!!! I'm soooooo thankful for all of you who have been able to be there with him. I know that all that love and support is helping him to thrive in his recovery. I love you ALL so much!

(Me)

Bishop Roe and 12 students just stopped to say hi to Matt! It was nice!

(Annie)

So great!!

11:55 PM

(Michelle)

Some things never change…

-Video sent of Matt flexing his muscles in the mirror-

(Michelle)

Also the first time shaving himself.

-Picture sent of Matt shaving in his hospital room-

(Angela)

Lol!!


DAY 13: Tuesday, March 7, 2017

6:37 AM

(Elizabeth)

Awesome pic and video, Michelle! So funny!

8:31 AM

(Group text from me)

Weekly Update: Matt had 23 family members visit him over the weekend, and we had a faith-filled Worship Service/Sacrament Meeting together on Sunday. We appreciate your continuing prayers of faith which sustain him and us. Matt socializes throughout the day with all the patients here (70+ years old) and they all love him! Matt is improving in all areas and remains cheerful and optimistic. Yesterday he played the piano, "Nearer My God to Thee" and sang along with the BYU Vocal Point songs. The miracles continue. We thank each of you for being a part of Matt's healing process.

 (Me)

I was walking towards Matt's room and a nurse said, "Matt's not there. He's in the dining hall surrounded by ladies." I thought maybe some of his female friends had stopped by to visit. Then I saw him at a table with three little old ladies who were laughing and talking with him. Later that day when one of the ladies was walking past Matt with her walker and her physical therapist she said, "Stop right here. I want to tickle Matt's neck before I go by!" She stopped, tickled Matt's neck, and said to me, "I just love this boy. You have a very fine son!" Then she continued on her way. So sweet!

(Elizabeth)

Lol! So sweet!

(Annie)

I love this story!! And the pic/video from Michelle!

(Angela)

Lol!!! I love that! Was is Carol/Doris??

(Me)

Not sure of her name...the one with the sweet smile and her left eye swollen shut.

8:03 PM

(Me)

The intended discharge date for Matt is Thursday, March 9 in the afternoon. I will keep you all posted as to the plans when they are finalized. We will be staying in Idaho Falls at least until the end of the month. He has been moved to the "transition room" across the hall #621. If you want to talk to him, call my cell phone. He is only in his room to sleep--otherwise he is eating or socializing in the dining room!

(Annie)

Ummm...discharged 12 days after brain surgery??? WOW SO AMAZING!!!


DAY 14: Wednesday, March 8, 2017

12:16 PM

(Dad)

I so agree! So good seeing Rebekah at hospital tonight—and will be so wonderful to have Liz and Annie here when they get here! Love to all!

1:50 PM

(Dad)

Matt in PT today (tried to send video). Sorry—can't send the video but he was playing catch with a tennis ball with a therapist!

(Angela)

I love that???  

**** !!!!

No question marks lol

 (Andrew)

Angela—do you love that? I love you all.

 2:31 PM

 (Me)                                                         

-Picture sent of Matt with Rebekah and her kids-

(Angela)

I love that pic. So sweet.

(Annie)

Aaawe, what a great pic!!!

3:01 PM

 (Me)

We talked to an occupational therapist today that says he has worked here for 21 years and seen hundreds of young adults with head injuries. He said he has never seen anyone else recover with such "lightning speed." He said the recovery steps that usually take several days have happened in hours for Matt. We feel so blessed! "No miracle until AFTER the trial of your faith" (Ether 12). Our faith has been tried. Thousands have believed. The miracle happened!

(Annie)

WOW!!! SO THANKFUL.

(Kat)

Amazing! Matt is so strong and so is his faith!

(Elizabeth)

So incredible! I'm so grateful!

(Angela)

Love that. So proud of him.

(Rebekah)

I’m so proud of Matt, too! It's so fun being here with Matt! Yes, I'm so happy to be here with Matt...I love supporting him, but it's also very healing for my own heart to be able to be with him and talk to him face to face.

7:18 PM

(Rebekah)

-Picture sent of Matt making Mac & Cheese in the Occupational Therapy kitchen-

(Angela)

I love that!!!!

(Elizabeth)

Oh my gosh, did he acquire that skill from his brain injury?! Like those people that wake up and suddenly become concert pianists?

(Me)

Rebekah says he made Mac & Cheese frequently for their kids...also, he just ate all the Mac & Cheese as an appetizer before dinner! Matt's appetite is back. He circles everything on the menu and eats it all!

(Elizabeth)

So great to hear!

(Annie)

Congratulations Matt!! Love this!!!

10:52 PM

(Rebekah)

...and if anyone has ever eaten or heard of “mission figs” before please let me know!

-Picture sent of the unusual goodies Aunt Laurie mailed to Matt in a care package-

11:03 PM

(Rebekah)

Matt just described his appearance right now, while looking at himself during facetime, as “Voldemort.”

- Picture sent of Matt with a serious expression on his face -


DAY 15: Thursday, March 9, 2017

8:56 AM

(Andrew)

The name that shall not be spoken!!

11:11 AM

(Me)

Matt went outside today during our walk around the hospital. 1st time since he arrived 12 days ago!

- Picture sent of Matt and Rebekah -

(Angela)

Yay!!! So happy.

(Annie)

That must've felt so good!! The weather looks nice!

(Me)

Yes...45 degrees!

1:54 PM

(Angela)

Just so everyone knows. The Go Fund Me has raised $5,438! I'm overwhelmed by everyone's generosity. I'm not sure if everyone has shared the link yet, but I am planning on posting it a few more times...just to hit people who maybe didn't see it the first time. New people close to Matt reach out to me asking about what happened every time I post about his situation, and they want to know how they can help. Anyways. Just wanted to say thanks to all of you who have posted and/or donated and just given an overall update on how it's all going too! Love u all!

(Annie)

 Wow Angela, that's amazing!!!

(Me)

As an update to your friends, you can post what I posted yesterday about the therapist who has been here for 21 years...

 2:07 PM

(Rebekah)

- Picture sent of Elizabeth hugging Matt-

(Angela)

So sweet. So happy she could be there

(Annie)

I'm so glad Lizzy made it safe!

4:09 PM

(Andrew)

Yay!! And has anyone seen my GoPro?

(Angela)

I noticed U left it at the hospital, l so I'm assuming Mom still has it. Rest assured though, it was still being put to good use in your absence!

(Me)

Yes. I have it. All is well.

(Andrew)

Yay! Thank you.

8:25 PM

(Annie)

Did Matt get discharged today?

(Jon)

Yes, he's at his Bishop's house with the fam.

(Annie)

Awesome!!!

(Jon)     

I'm just so pleased that I knew something.

(Dad)

Yes! Matt had therapy and got his 38 stitches (small staples) out of his head, and he was discharged about 5 PM. Now for the out-patient therapy—and he has an appointment to see his neurosurgeon on March 23rd for another CT Scan. Grateful!

(Annie)

2 weeks ago tonight, he was playing basketball with his friends...

1 week ago, he barely repeated back "Hi Matthew" at Andrew's request...

And tonight, he is out of the hospital...

MIRACLE!

(Dad)

And good job, Jon!

(Annie)

That's amazing!!! And yes, Jon, I was actually quite impressed, ha!

(Jon)

It helps to have a spouse onsite.

(Me)

Rebekah took some pictures—she and Elizabeth decorated Matt's bedroom here at the Roe’s home with balloons and a poster she made. I'm sure she will post them soon. Love you all!

(Dad)

And yes, Annie, he's a miracle!!!

8:43 PM

(Rebekah)

A little cheer for Matt’s outpatient recovery room!

- Picture sent of Matt sitting on his bed holding baby Camden surrounded by balloons and the sign the girls made which said, “We love you Matt ‘Prized Patient’ Get Well Soon!”-

(The 6th floor rehab doctors and nurses labeled Matt their “Prized Patient” not only for his speedy, amazing, miraculous recovery, but also because he was so happy and cooperative with each of them and so friendly and kind to all the other patients on the floor.)

(Annie)

Aaaaawe, I LOVE THIS!!! Y'all are so awesome!!!!

(Elizabeth)

Well, I actually just accompanied Rebekah to the store and picked up Mom and Dad and Matt, so she could decorate...Rebekah had the vision and executed!

9:16 PM

(Kat)

I love this pic!

12:34 AM

(Andrew)

Love it!!