A family home to repair. A teenager’s funeral to plan. Chris and Kristi Matherne have been juggling a lot since Hurricane Ida hit Houma.
Their 17-year-old son, Christopher, died Friday after more than a month of fighting COVID-19 complications.
“It’s been a snowball effect of bad things,” Kristi said. “I never thought it would get to that level.”
The trouble started in late August, as the major hurricane neared Louisiana. The parents say Christopher felt too sick to evacuate. Soon the 911 lines went down. Then the hospitals took structural beatings. Soon the mother and father found themselves learning how to check vital signs using cell phone apps and at-home equipment. They hoped time would help, but it didn’t.
“His health deteriorated within a couple of days,” Kristi said. “We were scared we were going to lose him on the sofa.”
The Mathernes tried 911 again five days after Ida hit. This time they got through. They also got paramedics, who rushed Christopher to Thibodaux Regional Medical Center — before he was transferred to Children’s Hospital New Orleans.
The family was so busy with the teen, they had little time to check the top or sides of the house. They had no fence . . . and part of a roof.
“You don’t worry about your roof when your child is in the ICU and on a ventilator,” Kristi said.
Christopher’s death leaves his parents facing many costs at once: for home repairs, hospital bills and a funeral. They say knowing how much money they’ll owe will take some time, but they know they want a ceremony that will reflect who the young man was.
“We don’t want it gloomy like a normal funeral,” Kristi said.
“We want a celebration of life,” Chris said.
Christopher’s funeral will be at 7 p.m. Saturday at Chauvin Funeral Home in Houma. His parents ask attendees to wear blue and yellow, his favorite colors.
The Mathernes plan to donate Christopher’s blood and tissue samples to COVID-19 research.