This week Andy Copeland updated the blog he writes about his daughter Aimee and the fight she has faced after suffering through a rare condition called necrotizing fasciitis. The flesh-eating bacteria has forced doctors to amputate the South Gwinnett High School grad's hands and most of her left leg, and now the father says the "struggle" has shifted to the emotional side.
In his blog, posted at www.aimeecopeland.com, he writes that though her condition has improved "significantly" her pain has been "considerable." Despite no longer having hands, she feels phantom pains as if they are still there. He said when he asked her to describe the pain, Aimee replied: "It feels like I've been carrying bags of rocks."
Understandably, the pain she is feeling and the emotional distress is tough on the father as well.He writes: "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. Like I said, she has struggled mightily."Though the family has known these "struggles" would happen, it doesn't make them any easier. But just like Aimee, they are tough and determined to persevere. Andy Copeland said his daughter had a rough time last week, even lashing out at caregivers in frustration. But by the end of the week, she told her father she had reached an inner peace. She said she had prayed and realized that anger was not the answer. By Friday, her behavior had changed so much that Andy Copeland said the nurses wondered if something had changed with her medication.Andy Copeland also offered an update on Aimee's health, writing:"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."
So continues the story, one that seems incredible to those of us not sure how we could handle the same situation. But as Aimee continues to fight, she continues to be supported by people from her home county, and especially her hometown. "Aimee's Weekend" is scheduled for next week -- June 15-16 -- and Snellville's Town Green will be filled with musical acts and other entertainment as the city celebrates Aimee while also raising funds for her and her family.There is no cost for the events, but donations can be made as the Snellville Tourism and Trade Association puts on the "Sizzling Snellville Summer Weekend." You can get up-to-date info by going to www.snellvillepride.com and anyone interested in sponsorship opportunities can email firstname.lastname@example.org.It's a nice gesture by the Snellville community and a great way to keep Aimee's battle at the forefront. But as always, she and her family have an amazing attitude through the ordeal as summed up by the end of Andy Copeland's most recent blog:
"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."
Email Todd Cline at email@example.com. His column appears on Wednesdays.