Family in Crisis
Jan 02, 2017 01:36PM ● Published by Alison Clary
By Alison Clary
Last August, Community Focus published “Family in Crisis” after Matt Trantham of Martinez suffered a stroke and his wife, Angela, suffered a subarachnoid (brain) hemorrhage. Although Angela’s angiogram showed good results, Matt attends ongoing sessions with a gamut of health professionals. Costs for extensive specialized care are staggering, and insurance coverage dwindles at a steady rate.
The paragon of patience, Angela confessed recently, “There are times I am filled with anger - asking why any of this happened to us - why us, what did we do to deserve any of this? And then, at the same time, we have this amazing community, wonderful friends, caring strangers and a loving family rallying around us - never ceasing in their love, support and generosity.”
After a neurosurgeon at UCSF said Matt was a ticking time bomb for another, even more damaging stroke, he underwent high-risk surgery in October. Although Matt survived and is more determined than ever to recover, he has coped with countless side effects and constant setbacks. His right eye wouldn’t close and had to be temporarily sewn shut. He was unable to speak well or swallow food, so a nasal feeding tube was inserted, and despite extensive speech therapy, he would choke on foods like applesauce or pudding. So, a PEG feeding tube was put directly into his stomach, and Angela and their teenage sons, Hunter and Austin, have learned how to implement interval “bolus” feedings.
Matt uses a wheelchair, and his biggest challenge is transferring independently in and out of it for the bathroom, car, etc. When using a walker in rehab, his sons play motivational music, including the “Rocky” theme. His goal is to walk on his own someday.
Despite everything, the couple maintains a sense of humor and Angela loves her “warrior husband” to no end. Still, she can’t help but remember everything Matt used to do: “to build, to fix, to create, to play and work, and roughhouse with the boys. I wish he could at least walk, or eat, or see, or didn’t have brain damage.”
A swallow test in December did show signs of improvement with thick liquids, and Angela said he might get to have a spoonful of mashed potatoes or pumpkin pie by Christmas. For more information on the Tranthams, or to make a donation of support, go to: www.paypal.me/TEAMMATT