Mattapoisett teen beats deathly lung illness

Jul 6, 2020

MATTAPOISETT — To most, Kaidin Young looks like a teenager on a modified bicycle. To those who know him, simply being able to ride is a miracle in and of itself.

Young went through a near-fatal bout with lung issues led to a 7.5 month stint in hospitals and rehabilitation programs. 

In late March 2019, a few days after a case of the flu, the sixth grader collapsed and started vomiting blood. His mother rushed him to St. Luke’s Hospital, then he was transferred to the ICU at Boston Children’s Hospital, where he was intubated right away. 

“The doctors said he shouldn’t have lived, but he’s a fighter,” Kaidin’s mother, Nikki said.  

A drug-resistent pneumonia hit both of lungs hard, but especially his right lung. That, and an infection in his lungs forced doctors to keep pumping his lungs out. Kaidin was in a coma for six weeks, with various complications.

Doctors later told Nikki if she had waited another minute to bring her son to the hospital, he wouldn’t have made it. 

Though endlessly grateful he survived, his family was still anxious about him regaining consciousness. 

“We didn’t know how it was going to wake up,” or what he would remember, Nikki said. 

Later, Kaidin developed an air pocket along one of the airways in his lung that impacted his breathing and a specialist had to invent an entirely new procedure to treat it. 

The Mattapoisett resident spent 7.5 months total in ICU and at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown, with a two week reprieve in June 2019 when he was able to attend his 6th grade graduation. There, he was named “the toughest, strongest kid at Old Hammondtown School.” 

In total, he returned to the ICU four times. After waking from his coma, Kaidin had to learn to walk and talk again so he wouldn’t have to permanently rely on a sign board to communicate.

Though Nikki said she has seen her son grow stronger as a person, the experience has been tough on his family. 

His sister Addison found it particularly hard, since “before that they were inseparable. They should have been twins,” Nikki said. It got to the point where Addison was afraid he wouldn’t come home every time he went for a check up. 

As for Nikki, she said she “was a mess, and cried for the first 48 hours straight,” then compartmentalized and pushed through, staying with Kaidin until he was ready to come home. She only broke down once more, when her son was on the verge of coming home.

“I don’t know how I did it,” she said, looking back. Now, she is responsible for many of his at-home treatments. 

Now, Kaidin still can’t walk long distances, or go back to school, and will have to rely on tutors to continue his education for the foreseeable future. Coronavirus put his rehabilitation on hold, but he will have a re-evaluation this week to work on getting some of his strength back.

The Youngs have been able to keep busy with things like crafts and visiting Ned’s Point. Two weeks ago, Kaidin’s grandparents Rick and Lynn Regan bought him one of the bikes he had used at Spaulding to give him something else he could do and help him regain his strength.

Nikki said that almost everyone in the family was crying watching Kaidin ride for the first time. 

It’s just one example of the upwelling of support that the Youngs received from their family and the community: Addison’s grandmother Carol Regan who took care of his sister, The Knights of Columbus who donated the proceeds from one of its Teen Dances to the family, friends who visited to lift Kaidin’s spirits or a friend’s mom who worked in one of the hospital and would stop by with gifts and surprises.

“We never could have done it without their support,” Nikki said.