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
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
from the link:
“Thank you to everyone who has been so supportive to our family throughout this process. We sit in gratitude for the hundreds, or possibly thousands, of blood donations that have been made to the Shepeard Community Blood Center and to others across the country. We are eternally grateful to the wonderful medical professionals who have given Aimee the best care possible. And, thank you for the prayers that are happening for Aimee from across the country and world. We are touched and humbled by such an outpouring of support.
I want to ask everyone to pray for my child’s psyche and for her self-awareness to not be focused on her physical being. Please pray that she will have understanding. Please continue to pour your love out to my daughter, because the collective love of the world is what she needs to pull her through. I have said that Aimee’s greatest gift to the world is her mind, but her mind is also as fragile as her body, if not more.
(Friday May 11)
Aimee will suffer the loss of her fingers, however physicians have hope of bringing life back to the palms of her hands, which could allow her the muscle control to use helpful prosthetics. They are awaiting a safe time before embarking on surgery for this.”
(Saturday May 12)
Aimee is doing wonderful this morning. She is awake, alert and wanting to be rid of that blasted ventilator. She remains at 33%.
Just to let you know what it must be like to breathe through a ventilator, imagine having to suck air through a straw for days on end. No thanks. Well, that’s what it is like for Aimee. No wonder she hates it.
She still has questions, basically the same questions that we have already answered. They are giving her medication to help her forget the stress she’s under, so that explains her inability to recollect many things. This is good for her, but mildly frustrating for us. It frustrates me because I want her to be able to focus on what she can control, not on things she cannot control. I tell her not to worry, I tell her to concentrate on breathing, I ask her to pray and meditate on healing. I hold her and pray while she prays. This is all we can do now and I can honestly say it works quite well. I believe this has helped speed her healing process.
What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Romans 8:31
Thank you so much for your continued prayers and Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there. Y’all are awesome!
(Sunday May 13)
We were told by the doctors that Aimee would have a roller coaster ride of highs and lows over the next few days, weeks and months. Personally I don’t like the roller coaster analogy. The best part of a roller coaster ride is when you are falling, because although it can be terrifying it is extremely exhilarating. Sooner or later the ride has to slow down and crest another incline. The inclines tend to be ho-hum, a time to catch your breath and smile at the person sitting next to you. As you near the top, the anticipation builds until the terrifying exhilaration repeats itself. This is not what it is like with Aimee.
Each day we claim some small victory. We don’t have to see physical progress, we seem to take comfort from simple words, silly actions and quiet moments. That is not to say that there are not concerns, but they are quickly snuffed out and the doctors are left once again scratching their heads.
Speaking of doctors, we have an amazing assortment of brilliant minds focusing on Aimee. Their attention to detail astonishes me. Their accessibility is greater than I could have ever anticipated. Their compassion is extraordinary. Aimee and all the other patients in ICU are their family. If you could go out and recruit the best medical minds and the most caring hearts in the world, I am convinced that these are the men you would assemble. Their personalities range from House to Patch Adams and all points in between. I love them all.
The nurses are quite similar. They are hard-working, diligent, compassionate and loving. Many of them are mothers and fathers and they share the faith that bonds you and I together through prayer. Even the nurses who do not work with Aimee stop by to talk with us at their shift change. They tell us how Aimee’s progress baffles and inspires them. They listen to us while we play with Aimee. They laugh and smile at our frolicking. We smile back.
(Tuesday May 15)
Aimee has asked for something to read (her dad says she loves to read) and for her laptop. Family visits are full of laughing and silliness. Hearing this makes me feel that Aimee and her family have the positive attitude needed to pull them thru what lies ahead.
thanks so much for your continued kind thoughts and prayers
Saturday, May 12, 2012
from the link: “Aimee is alert and trying to mouth questions. Her breathing tube has been reoriented to increase her comfort and allow them to try to read her lips. She said: “I can’t talk!” We told her it was because of the tube, and we explained the need for it. “Take it out!” She also asked “what happened?” and “where am I?”
I thought it would be better when she became alert, but it is actually harder for us.”
- Andy Copeland (father) 11am. Friday, May 11
also, from one of Andy's first blogs about Aimee: If this news leaves you with a long face, then wipe that look off right now. Smile and honor Aimee with your hope. Shower my child with prayers and good vibes. I know that’s how she would want it.
Andy is really amazing. Although I've talked with him a good bit at work, it's never about anything other than work and passing pleasantries. The more I read his blogs, the more I see how Aimee became the never-give-up gal she apparently is.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jer 29:11)
that may seem an odd choice of verse with all that Aimee's been thru. But I know that God has great things in store for Aimee.
Have faith. Keep praying.
and THANK YOU
Friday, May 11, 2012
from the link: Today Aimee is very responsive and coherent. She is responding to specific commands, and even selected the music that she wanted to listen to. The neurologist says that there is no indication of any brain damage. The cardiopulmonologist says that her lungs are slowly healing. Unfortunately, her blood vessels in her hands and in her remaining foot have died, and thus they will have to be amputated too. (1 pm, Thursday, May 10)
from a msg we received at work today from Aimee's dad: The road back for Aimee will be a difficult one, but she is strong and tough. Cosmetically, her body will be different, having been ravaged by this horrible bacteria, but I praise God her beautiful mind is intact. Her surgeon performed minor surgery around the amputation area tonight and removed some dead skin. We also had some disconcerting news about her hands and her remaining foot. Chances are that she will lose them.
I am saddened to learn this development, but I am happy my baby is alive. Her strength and incredible fight has pulled us all closer to her side. She will need us all to help her relearn the most basic of motor skills. We all should rejoice on this day, because Aimee's greatest attributes are her incredible intellect and her loving compassion and I am certain that mankind will benefit when the tubes are finally removed.
God bless you all.
once again, thank you all for your continued prayers for Aimee, her family, and the medical staff caring for her.
are the BEST
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