Tuesday, July 03, 2012
this is from Andy's blog; it's a conversation he had with Aimee the first day they were allowed to take her outside:
“So Aimee, how do you really feel about everything that has happened the past 49 days?” I asked.
“It’s okay,” she responded after a bit of thought.
“Okay how?” I dug deeper.
Aimee pondered the question for a moment. She’s always been very thoughtful and she doesn’t speak on the fly without knowing where she’s going. Aimee seems to always be two steps ahead. I bet she’d make a very good chess player.
“I don’t have any regrets about what has happened. I don’t focus on what I’ve lost, I would rather focus on what I’ve gained. I feel like I’ve been blessed.”
I was stunned by her response. I hadn’t anticipated this from her. It wasn’t that I was surprised about her lack of regrets, but her comment on being blessed caught me off guard. Keep in mind that I have said this to the media, that we’ve been blessed by God that Aimee is alive, so I thought this is what she meant by that statement.
“Yes Aimee,” I replied, “I feel blessed that you are alive.”
Aimee shook her head. “No, I didn’t mean it like that.”
“Then what do you mean?”
“I mean that I am blessed to have the opportunity to experience something that not many other people have the chance to experience. I am blessed to be able to have a challenge that not many others get to have. I am blessed to have the capacity to share my experience with others and have a chance to improve the quality of someone else’s life. I’m blessed to be different.”
Aimee has the most amazing outlook. She has had some dark moments (very few IMHO), but always comes back to her positive attitude. I know that there are great things in store for her.
Monday, July 02, 2012
she's headed to rehab for several weeks. It's not the same as going home, but it's a move in the right direction.
she's still trying NOT to take pain meds, but sometimes her meditation efforts are not enough. I cannot imagine what she's gone thru. I'm so glad she has a wonderful family and that they all have such a positive outlook.
thanks so much to everybody for kind thoughts & prayers
Friday, June 08, 2012
from the link:
This past week Aimee had struggled mightily. Although her condition had improved significantly, her pain has been considerable. Phantom pain now plagues her “hands”. Although she has no hands, her brain is apparently still telling her body that the hands are there. If you recall, I told you that her fingers had necrotized and that her hands were puffy and purple. That is what she now feels. I asked her if she could describe the pain and she told me, “it feels like I have been carrying bags of rocks.” Wow. Imagine carrying bags of rocks for days on end and never being able to release them. You know how your fingers freeze up and you want to extend them? She can’t do that. She said her “fingers” feel contorted and twisted. Nothing really helps her pain much. Some of the pain medication makes her sick to her stomach and she winds up vomiting.
This past week the proverbial poopy hit the fan for Aimee. She was lashing out at her care givers, she was in pain, she was sick to her stomach, she was unable to tend to her own basic needs and she was very unhappy. She had every right to be unhappy. By Thursday afternoon, Aimee’s misery had come full circle. She knew that many things were beyond her control and that fighting those who cared for her was not the solution. She prayed and meditated on this and she told me she was overcome by peace. She realized that she had to give in to something much bigger than herself. I asked her what she meant and she said that she surrendered her will and submitted to the will of God. She knew that anger was not the answer. She knows that God is in control.
As for Aimee’s general medical condition, please allow me to relate the following update:
- Her lungs are now healthy. The ventilator has been out of her room for nearly two weeks now.
- She once had a plethora of tubes running into her body, perhaps as many as 16 IVs. She now has 2.
- She is making 100cc of urine an hour on her own. The normal rate is 30cc. She is off dialysis for now.
- The doctors removed her trache on 5/27 and replaced it with a trache cap so she could talk. Yesterday they removed the trache cap and bandaged her neck. The tracheotomy should close within 5 days.
- Her wounds continue to require debridement before skin grafts can adhere successfully. There may be 2-3 more of these procedures before grafts may commence.
Considering that Aimee was once the “sickest person in ICU”, according to one doctor, she has come a long way. Her survival is a blessing and her continued pace of recovery is a testament to the power of prayer. That those same prayers have healed the wounded bodies and souls of many Americans is no coincidence. That is how God works.
God bless you all!
those are the words of Aimee's dad, Andy.
I know that she does indeed still have a long, tough road ahead. I'm glad that Aimee found her way back to her center; the faith that keeps her grounded and gives the Copeland family such strength.
Friday, May 25, 2012
from a work email:
Aimee is now off of her ventilator and is breathing on her own which is a giant leap forward in her recovery. Aimee is able to better communicate now and her mind is as sharp as ever, her sense of humor is alive and well and has been used to entertain the nurses and medical staff at the hospital. The sense of fight and Aimee's attitude toward moving forward no matter what the obstacle has been inspiring to so many and it continues to improve every day.
Although Aimee has made tremendous progress she is far from being out of the woods, she still has several wounds on her torso as a result of the flesh eating bacteria that will take much time to heal and her body will need every ounce of energy it can muster to fight off the potential problems that could arise as she heals in the affected areas. Andy and Donna have asked for your continued prayer and are thankful for the support they have been given so far.
her dad's Rotary and the family's church have both had very successful blood drives. Our company is planning one too. There are also some fundraisers to help with medical expenses and family expenses because Andy has missed so much work. Our company is also taking up a collection to help with whatever the family needs. And Aimee is impatient to get started with prosthetics and rehab! She's nowhere near ready for that yet, but she is ready whenever her doctors give the okay.
I know that they still have a long way to go, but they remain positive. I know all of them appreciate the prayers and kind thoughts from all over the world. Earlier this week, my boss, his wife, 2 of their daughters, and an exchange student who is with them from Sweden all went to donate blood. The exchange student said that her family in Sweden has asked about Aimee when she's corresponded with them.
Amazing how news travels in the electronic age!
this is the link to Andy's blog (Aimee's dad)
Saturday, May 19, 2012
this is from the Atlanta Journal. Wow...a Luckovich cartoon! Aimee's dad says her jaw dropped when she heard about it.
from the link: (this was Thursday's report)
I was a bit apprehensive when I saw Aimee’s pulmonologist. As we approached him, he went into a semi-squat, hands on his knees, much like a shortstop getting ready for the next pitch. He reached up and pulled his reading glasses down to the tip of his nose and made eye contact. I took a deep breath and braced myself .
“We need to talk about Aimee’s hands and foot,” he said as his eyes bored into mine. He didn’t have to say anything. We had noticed a remarkable change over the past several days in Aimee’s hands. They went from a splotchy purple color to a red tone and then to a pinkish flesh tone. Yesterday I had noticed them turning back to an angry red. Knowing all this, I nodded and he continued. The doctor explained that her body was trying hard to heal her hands, but the blood flow was too poor. There was an added risk of infection. The palm of her right hand had developed a sore. Today her hands had returned to their splotchy purplish coloration and they were actually hampering Aimee’s recovery.
The massive loss of fascia on Aimee’s left side also continues to present a big risk to her recovery. This weakens her ability to breathe deep and to cough, which further complicates her respiratory condition. The pulmonologist said that Aimee’s respiratory condition was excellent following the tracheotomy that was performed the previous day. We had a window of opportunity to perform the amputations and have a successful outcome. If Aimee developed respiratory problems and her hands released an infection into her body, there was a risk that she could become septic again. As they usually do, the doctors were presenting us with a medical no-brainer. We had to do what is necessary to save Aimee’s life.
A short time after this meeting with the pulmonologist, we convened in a meeting with him and three surgeons. I knew this decision was not being recommended lightly when I learned that they had flown in a noted plastic surgeon who specializes in hands. The hand surgeon confirmed our fears. The hands were endangering Aimee’s progress. As always, my decision was simple.
“Do whatever it takes to give us the best chance to save Aimee’s life.”
Some people may criticize my decision and say we should have prayed over Aimee and asked God to heal her hands. Trust me, this we have done every day. I believe God has appointed and anointed Aimee’s doctors as miraculous healers and I trust that their decisions are God-breathed.
I then asked the doctors if Donna, Paige and I could share these developments with Aimee. They responded that they wouldn’t have it any other way.
As we walked back to Aimee’s room there was a man talking loudly to her. He was flailing his arms and kicking his legs. At first I wondered if someone had sneaked into the ICU and was attempting to frustrate her. Then I noticed that the person was trying to get Aimee to follow his motions. He was her physical therapist.
When he saw us gowning up to enter the room, the therapist left. Aimee had a look of frustration on her face. She had been crying from her exertions, which must have been incredibly difficult for her. The look on her face warmed instantly the second we walked into the room. Her pulmonologist had even noted that Aimee’s blood pressure rose when she saw us, which was a good thing.
A small tear rolled down the side of Aimee’s face as she smiled and greeted us.
The next thirty minutes we took Aimee through the timeline of her illness. From the kayaking trip to the amputation of her leg to the miracle of her survival. We told her of the outpouring of love from across the world. We shared with her the Mike Luckovich editorial cartoon. We told her of news conferences and television appearances. We told her that the world loved and admired her. We explained that she had become a symbol of hope, love and faith. Aimee’s eyes widened and her jaw dropped. She was amazed.
I took Aimee’s hands and held them up to her face. She didn’t draw back in horror. She knew the condition she was in.
“Aimee, these hands are not healthy,” I explained. “they are hampering your progress.”
I explained the use of “pressers” and how the medication restricted the blood flow and collapsed the veins in her hands. I explained everything that the doctors explained to us.
“Aimee, I do not want anything to happen to you. Your mind is beautiful, your heart is good and your spirit is strong. These hands can prevent your recovery from moving forward. The doctors want to amputate them and your foot today to assure your best possible chance of survival.”
“Do you have any questions about any of what we have discussed?”
Aimee thought for a moment and mouthed some words. Paige caught her response and quickly interpreted.
“I’m a little confused, but I’ll figure it out.”
Aimee nodded to confirm the interpretation.
We went on to explain that Aimee would be able to use prosthetics to get around. That she would be fitted with artificial limbs to help her get around and perform normal daily functions. She nodded at this and asked if they would be fitting her immediately. We told her that she would need to continue to recover and the prosthetics would come later. She again nodded approvingly.
She smiled and raised her hands up, carefully examining them. She then looked at us. We all understood her next three words.
“Let’s do this.”
A tear rolled down my face as I walked out of her room. I wasn’t crying because Aimee was going to lose her hands and foot, I was crying because, in all my 53 years of existence, I have never seen such a strong display of courage. Aimee shed no tears, she never batted an eyelash. I was crying because I am a proud father of an incredibly courageous young lady.
thanks for your continued prayers for Aimee and her family
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