Scott Middleton is a beloved husband, father of six and grandfather to three whose love for baseball resulted in several coaching gigs around Southern Maryland, the majority of which included encouraging youth at La Plata High School, Maurice J. McDonough High School, St. Mary’s Ryken High School and the College of Southern Maryland as well as for the Southern Maryland Braves and Bethesda Big Train.
Whenever he wasn’t offering private baseball and softball lessons, the 39-year-old worked full time to take care of his family. That family is now going through challenging times.
Middleton, who has been unable to return to work since August, suddenly fell ill and ended up in the emergency room. What started out as a typical health scare ended up being kidney failure. Doctors transferred Middleton to the intensive care unit and required him to complete multiple tests and start dialysis.
“I believe it was the last week in August. We were in Virginia, with his mom and dad and our kids, at a park and he didn’t look like he was feeling well,” Kristina Middleton of Mechanicsville, who is Scott’s wife, told the Maryland Independent during a phone interview on Oct. 21. “We got home that evening and he was basically bathing in his sweat. Finally, I took him to the emergency room around midnight.”
“When we got there, the nurses took his blood pressure. It was so high that it was unbelievable — it was like 253/161 or something like that,” she added. “I’ve never seen doctors and nurses run so fast in a hospital room. They were trying to bring his blood pressure down but it dropped too fast. He started crashing, seizing and stuff like that so they put him in intensive care for about five or six days.”
Test results showed that Scott was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease, also known as ESRD or end-stage kidney disease which is the fifth stage of the progression of chronic kidney disease, and in dire need of a kidney transplant. This disease attacks tiny filtering units in the kidneys called “nephrons,” impeding its ability to filter waste and excess water from the blood as urine, which is “caused most commonly by diabetes and hypertension” or high blood pressure, according to the Healthline information website.
The website also noted that end-stage kidney disease is the final stage of chronic kidney disease where the “kidneys function below 10% of their normal activity” are no longer “well enough to meet the needs of daily life.”
Having endured about two or three weeks of dialysis, Kristina said Scott’s numbers still “weren’t going the correct way.” Doctors ended up diagnosing him with stage 6 ESRD.
“They told him that he needs to have a kidney transplant,” Kristina said. “We’re not sure exactly how long he’s been like this. But eventually, his body just started shutting down. … Scott does not like the doctors. But with this situation, he’s definitely doing what they are telling him to do. He doesn’t have a choice.”
Scott’s best option is to find a living donor, which Kristina said she would volunteer for if she happens to be a match. The couple went to the University of Maryland Transplant Center at Baltimore on Oct. 22 for kidney transplant testing to see if Scott is a candidate.
“We’re hoping that his body will be able to accept the transplant and if he does, I’m going to try and be his donor,” said Kristina, who has a universal blood type. “We have a large family. Scott’s really loved in this community so we’re just trying to get the word out. If I’m not [an eligible] donor, then we’re hoping to find one as soon as possible for him.”
Although they are hoping for the best and trying to stay strong, Kristina said she and her family are still in a state of shock. Scott may be back home in time for the holidays, fortunately, but his fight is just beginning.
“One day he’s in a good mood and another day, he just wants to sleep all day. He’s doing what he can,” Kristina said. “If you knew Scott, he just doesn’t show a lot of emotion but you can really tell that his has affected him.”
Scott is continuing to undergo dialysis and could be placed on the donor list if he is strong enough to accept a kidney transplant, though the waiting process may last for years.
Kristina said her husband is “in good physical condition” and doesn’t look like what he’s going through on the inside. He has, however, lost a lot of weight and was advised by doctors to watch his salt intake as well as take other health precautions.
“Until further notice, his doctor said that he can stay on a regular diet,” Kristina said. “He has to have a lot of protein and stuff which he doesn’t have a problem with because he’s a steak man.”
Kristina said she is blessed that Scott still has an opportunity to do what he loves on occasion, as their 14-year-son Ethan, who also shares a passion for baseball, helps out his best friend when needed.
“When my husband is not tired, he’ll set up chairs around the baseball net. My son will do the pitching and stuff while my husband sits there to instruct,” she said. “He’s been there for my husband. They’re like best friends so anything that [Scott] needs to do that requires physical activity, our kids have been there to do that part for him.”
Despite the circumstances, Kristina said their kids are doing quite well, with the exception of their two youngest who took the news pretty hard initially.
“They didn’t want to go anywhere else. They always wanted to be with me and [Scott] at the hospital. We went up there daily,” Kristina recalled. “His two older daughters, one who was pregnant at the time, were definitely there as well. My two boys, his two stepsons, were definitely concerned and they still are. Ethan is the one that’s really taking it to heart and shows a lot of emotion about it.”
The Middleton family is asking the Southern Maryland community to rally around Scott from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9, for his 40th birthday bash and kidney benefit at the St. Mary’s Landing restaurant in Charlotte Hall. The celebration, which aims to raise money for the growing costs associated with his care, will include a silent auction, live DJ, finger foods, sweet treats and special guests.
The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs’ mascot, Pinch, will also be on hand to participate in Saturday’s activities. One of Kristina’s co-workers from Tidewater Dental of Charlotte Hall, Todd Cooper, will also perform tricks as part of his magician act.
“It’s pretty exciting to us because he doesn’t yet know about this. He’s not [active] on Facebook but does have an account so everything that we’ve done has been through that, along with flyers and other stuff,” said Kristina. “I’m not sure how much longer that we’ll be able to hold out because they are so many people finding out about it. … We’ve got lots of people that are getting stuff made for the silent auction. We’ve even got Washington Capitals tickets that somebody donated and so many other things to give.”
Scott’s former classmate Elizabeth Kidder, a Waldorf native who recently connected with Kristina to get the word out, got in touch with the Baltimore Orioles and requested that his favorite team’s mascot be at the celebration.
Kidder, who currently lives in Lexington Park, said she is just happy to lend a helping hand especially with the holiday season quickly approaching.
“I grew up with Scott and knew him when we were kids. But I haven’t talked to him in probably 25 years,” Kidder said. “I saw [Kristina’s post on Facebook about] what was going on with him which mentioned that she was going to do a benefit. A friend of mine, whose son has leukemia, I helped her do a couple of benefits so I told Kristina that I’ve done this before and that if she needed any help, to let me know.”
Kidder credits “the power of social media” for giving her an opportunity to help an old friend in need.
“I’m just here to help,” Kidder said. “I don’t want this to be about me at all. The most important thing about finding a living donor is just getting the word out there. I know a lot of people have mixed emotions about donating an organ, but anything you can do to help somebody is an amazing thing.”
Tickets for Saturday’s benefit are $35 per person. In lieu of attending, individuals are asked to make a donation via www.gofundme.com/f/scott-middleton-medical-bills or by visiting paypal.me/pools/c/8hSYNOP6NR.
“You have to constantly think positive in order to be positive about everything. I have my kids that I have to put on a smile for on a daily basis,” said Kristina. “My co-workers at Tidewater Dental have bent over backwards for me and have been there for me and my husband. Just the constant positivity from them, and our other family and friends, is amazing. I have so much support and couldn’t be more thankful for all of them.”