Special Photo -- In this file photo, Aimee Copeland recently met with interior designer Donna DeLuca, left, to discuss the color scheme and other details of the wing being added to her family's Snellville home as Isabelle Ponder, center, looks on. Copeland 24, is in need of special accommodations at her residence as she battles a disease that destroys flesh resulting in doctors amputating her leg, foot and both hands.
SNELLVILLE -- Aimee Copeland is home.
After some 50-plus days in rehab -- and nearly four months after contracting the flesh-eating bacteria that claimed her left leg, right foot and both hands -- the 24-year-old South Gwinnett High School grad is finally out of the hospital. Aimee Copeland "graduated" from rehab at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta and was released Wednesday to go to her family's Snellville home, her dad told the Daily Post.
Her first matter of business, Andy Copeland said, was to do a little bit of nothing.
"As soon as we got back home she flopped down on the sofa, flipped on the TV and started watching (the cartoon) 'Futurama,'" Andy Copeland said with a laugh.
Aimee Copeland contracted a rare bacteria called necrotizing fasciitis following a May 1 incident where she fell from a homemade zipline on the Little Tallapoosa River, splitting her left leg open on a rock. Her life was in danger for weeks as organs shut down and circulation struggled, but she pulled through and left Doctors Hospital in Augusta on July 2.
Since then she's been rehabbing in Atlanta to get used to functioning without her amputated limbs.
But Wednesday she got to go home, to a roughly 2,000-square-foot, $200,000 addition to her parents' home known as "Aimee's Wing." Though the wing, built and donated by Pulte Homes and a series of other vendors, was officially turned over to the Copelands last week, Wednesday was the first time Aimee saw it in its entirety.
"She absolutely fell in love with the wing that Pulte built for her," Andy Copeland said.
Aimee's favorite part of the additions, her father said, was the pondless waterfall installed in the backyard by Snellville's Serenity Falls Water Gardens. The whole structure, as well as modifications to the existing home, are meant to better accommodate Aimee's needs.
"We're just really excited to have her home," Andy Copeland said.
After picking Aimee up from rehab at about noon, the family enjoyed a meal out together before returning home. The family was planning an at-home movie night with "The Hunger Games" DVD and a little chocolate chip sheet cake.
The respite will be nice, but Aimee still has work to do.
Her rehab to this point has been mostly core work and preparing for the use of a wheelchair. She's been fitted for prosthetics for her right foot and both hands, but her left leg -- the one amputated almost to the hip -- has remained too sensitive to do a real fitting, Andy Copeland said.
That might still be six months to a year away, he said. In the meantime, she and her family will still have to make trips to occupational and physical therapy sessions in the Atlanta area, as well as visits to a prosthetist in Buford.
"We're all over the place," Andy Copeland said. "I can't wait till she learns to drive."
That, he said, likely won't happen until December.