Local News

February 22, 2014

Murray family works to build new life after flu complications

CHATSWORTH — Philip Martin just wants to be able to eat and drink normally again.

Since suffering from a stroke on New Year’s Eve that left his right side paralyzed, Martin, 46, has battled through nearly two months of struggles to help him reach a new normal. Supporters have organized an online fundraiser (search YouCaring.com for “Through the Storm: ‘Stroke Survivor’”) that they hope will allow them to renovate the family’s mobile home to be wheelchair-accessible for Philip as he works to regain at least some of his former mobility.

His wife, Patti Martin, a nurse, said her husband has lived mostly in the family’s living room, which has been set up with a bed, since the narrow corridors and his dizziness and limited mobility make it nearly impossible for him to reach their bedroom and bathroom at the back of the home. She said she rarely cooks anymore because the smell of food bothers him. Because he still can’t swallow, he hasn’t been able to eat or drink on his own. Patti and other caregivers make sure he is nourished through a feeding tube attached to his body.

Despite his ongoing struggles, Philip has made incredible strides since the episode. Patti and the couple’s two teenage daughters had taken their flu shots as usual that year, she said, but Philip was skeptical of the shot’s effectiveness and decided against getting one. On Dec. 22, doctors diagnosed him with the flu after Patti took him to see a doctor because he was running a 104-degree fever.

The doctor prescribed Tamiflu and prednisone. Philip made it through Christmas, but on New Year’s Eve, he coughed so hard that he severed an artery to his brain. The stroke paralyzed him.

For days, he stayed at Hamilton Medical Center on life support in intensive care. Doctors told Patti they weren’t just taking it day to day — they were taking it hour to hour. They didn’t know if Philip would live.

Gradually, he did begin to improve. On Jan. 22, he was sent to Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation in Chattanooga where he stayed until Feb. 11. Today, he is able to move around some with the aid of a walker or nearby supporters, and he is able to speak, although his voice is raspy and sometimes difficult to understand. A physical therapist sees him several times a week to help him regain as much control as he can. He does throat exercises aimed at helping him learn to swallow again.

The vision in in his right eye was damaged. Through his left eye, the world spins. He struggles with dizziness and must learn to distinguish between what’s real and what’s just a trick his vision is playing on him. Doctors have said they won’t know how much of the damage is permanent for close to a year, but they believe he’ll always have some disabilities because of the stroke.

Before he got the flu this year, he was rarely sick, according to family members. He was on a small amount of medication to control high blood pressure, Patti said, but was otherwise perfectly healthy.

The Martins’ lives were filled with four-wheeler rides with their daughters, ages 13 and 15, and motorcycle rides on pretty days. They loved the outdoors. Patti loves taking pictures, and she dreamed of one day traveling the country with Philip visiting covered bridges to photograph.

A few months before the stroke, Philip built a large, covered porch for the family’s home, complete with a ramp he had no idea he would be needing so soon. One day he surprised Patti with a well house he built in their yard that looks like a miniature gazebo. He didn’t need blueprints or instructions to do it. He was able to see the vision in his head and, with help from his daughters, built the well house in a day.

Patti and Philip knew each other when they were teens — in fact, she dated his cousin for a while — but their lives weren’t to become so closely joined together until many years later. Patti married someone else, but he died eight years ago from a stroke. Then one day Philip came to the medical center where Patti works, they began talking again, and the rest is history.

While the family hopes Philip will continue to improve, Patti said they’re also facing the reality that nothing will ever be the same again. She said the family is struggling with financial issues because of the situation, including having to pay for extra care for Philip while she works and looking for ways to pay his medical bills once his insurance runs out.

They hope the YouCaring page will help and that people will read their story and offer support. The experience has also made a flu shot believer out of Philip, who worked at adhesives company Mapei Corp. before his stroke. Now, when someone mentions whether he’ll skip the shot as in past years, Philip responds with an emphatic “no.”

“I won’t take any chances,” he said.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Kiwanis Club3.jpg Kiwanians get a lesson in money and banking

    Money.
    It makes it easier for us to buy and sell goods and services. It is the measure by which we judge the relative value of those goods and services, and it allows us to “store value,” by placing it away and using it when we need it.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sheriff: Inmates don’t ask to vote

    In his 21 years of service, Whitfield County Sheriff Scott Chitwood said inmates have never asked for the opportunity to vote.

    July 28, 2014

  • Little library 1 mlh.jpg Little Libraries, big goal

    Whitfield County just received a new library.
    And better yet, 26 more are on the way to the region.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Picture 3.jpg Rock solid

    A great number of things have come and gone since 1974.
    One that hasn’t: a small Dalton school founded by parents wanting a unique learning environment for their children.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • Vann House Day '14 6 mlh.jpg History comes alive at Vann House

    SPRING PLACE — In the early 1800s, the 1,000-acre plantation belonging to Cherokee Indian leader James Vann was a bustling place.

    July 26, 2014 5 Photos

  • Local officials agree with Deal

    Regarding news last week that approximately 30 unaccompanied minors from Central America, who had crossed the southern border into the United States, were sent without warning to Dalton last year and enrolled in Dalton Public Schools, Republican politicians representing portions of Murray and Whitfield Counties agree — state and local school officials deserved to know in advance, they say.

    July 26, 2014

  • Former chamber location 2 mlh.jpg Plan could cut flooding, stormwater damage in Dalton

    On a recent day, McClellan Creek flowed gently through Harlan Godfrey Civitan Park. But some park goers who live near the area say that even a mild rain can turn the creek into a torrent that eats away at their property.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Civil War anniversary: The Battle of Crow Valley, May 9-12, 1864

    The Atlanta Campaign began during the first two weeks of May 1864 in and around Dalton. Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s strategy was to target two of his armies, about 80,000 men, against Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee at Dalton. Then, while Johnston’s attention was diverted by these forces, he would secretly send his third army, about 25,000 troops under Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson, in a flanking movement to the southwest through Snake Creek Gap. Sherman’s goal was to break Johnston’s railroad supply line some 15 miles south at Resaca and trap Johnston’s Confederates in Dalton.

    July 26, 2014

  • New church being  built mlh.jpg Church construction continues

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Avans.jpg Three arrested in arson plot to claim insurance money

    Three people have been arrested for their role in a fire at a Chatsworth home as part of an insurance scam to collect money, officials said.

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos