In October 2015, Mattress City Owner Stewart Patey made the decision that Mattress City would be expanding their store to a location on Auburn Way to serve the people of Auburn, Kent and the South End with Washington Made Mattresses sold by one Washington Family.

A recent battle with the flu almost ended his life and is a story that others may benefit reading.

Always a hard worker, Stewart was at a home show event in March 2019, educating people about the importance of having a good mattress and getting a great night’s sleep. He ignored some warning signs of an impending illness because he had work to do. We all get the flu now and then, right? Well, flu turned into pneumonia and two days after the show, he found himself being whisked away by ambulance to the emergency room.

While at Providence Everett Hospital, he was also diagnosed with sepsis, a potentially life-threatening condition. While it’s normal for our bodies to release chemicals that fight infections, Stewart’s response was out of balance and when that happens, organs can be damaged. He was put into a drug-induced coma for two months and given a tracheotomy to help him breath. His body started to fail, and he was put on dialysis, then life support. Six weeks in ICU with a cardiac condition, atrial fibrillation, and blood thinners. In addition, there was damage to his lungs. Nothing was going in Stewart’s favor.

And then something did. There is an amazing bed (ironic) that patients can be strapped into horizontally and rotated a full 360°. The hospital normally doesn’t have one onsite; they rent it when needed and it can take up to eight hours or more to get one delivered. A nurse remembered they had used one recently and it was still in storage waiting for the company to pick it up. They brought it to Stewart’s room, but there was only one nurse who knew how to set it up properly. It took over two hours to get him situated, but almost immediately his oxygen levels improved, and he began to stabilize. Once stabilized, the improvement continued in small increments. The hospital staff finetuned medications, oxygen pressure, padding supports – anything that might help his internal healing.

Throughout the ordeal, daughter Megan Gilbert kept everyone informed via Facebook. Unfortunately, Stewart’s illness wasn’t the only thing happening. During this desperate time, Stewart’s wife Julie’s brother passed away.

There were many times it didn’t appear Stewart would make it through these crises happening one after the other. Yet his will to live was incredibly strong. And his dedicated wife Julie never left his bedside and was committed to constant prayer on his behalf. He came out of the coma in mid-May 62 pounds lighter and mostly paralyzed. He is recovering his abilities day by day and gaining strength through physical therapy. Miraculous!

Throughout all this, Stewart’s family was by his side, too. While Mattress City has always been called a family business, it was really Stewart who had everything in his head. His four daughters, Julie, and staff had to figure out what needed to be done to keep it all going. While no one wants to be in this situation, it has ended well. They now have systems in place, and everyone knows what has to happen. So many people found ways to help: Stewart and Julie’s pastor worked in one of the stores; the landlord gave them a three-month break on rent; their marketing firm worked two months at no charge. The upshot? The team produced the most sales on record going back 10 years!

It’s one of life’s lessons. Often you have all the people around you to help you be successful, you just have to recognize it and let them do their jobs. Certainly for Stewart, his workload can lessen, keeping him healthy, while his team can grow, keeping the business healthy.

The critical lesson is that through tragedies like this, we fully understand that things in life occur that are out of our control. Stewart understands that the relationships in his life are what give him a clearer perspective. If it had not been for the amazing prayer warriors, he believes he would have been another statistic. The doctors told him that 15 people were brought into the hospital with his exact diagnosis and only one left healed. That was Stewart. A very humbling thought…

Stewart and Julie give a great deal already, yet these situations are reminders that if you can help others who are hurting, it’s important to do so. Stewart and Julie were recently made aware of a woman who desperately needed a new bed but had no resources. They are donating a mattress to her so that she can get the good night’s rest she deserves. You can’t keep a good man down, and with Stewart on the mend he plans to help more people find the perfect mattress.

Stewart Patey has worked and managed other large mattress and furniture stores, yet has always wanted to provide the type of customer service he believes everyone deserves. He and Julie started Mattress City to help people with one of the most important purchases they will make. Unique, affordable, family owned. Mattress City has five convenient locations including stores in Auburn, Everett, Lynnwood, Shoreline and Woodinville.

Learn more about Stewart and Mattress City here: https://www.mattress-city.com/post/our-story

Scott Schaefer

Founder/Publisher/Editor. Three-time National Emmy Award winning Writer (“Bill Nye the Science Guy”), Director, Producer, Journalist and more...