For the first time in nearly two months, Aimee Copeland felt the warmth of sunshine.
Copeland — the 24-year-old South Gwinnett High School grad recovering from a flesh-eating bacteria — left her hospital room Sunday for the first time in 49 days, her father pushing her around the grounds of Augusta’s Doctors Hospital for an hour or so.
Monday she was officially upgraded to “good” condition.
“For one full hour I pushed Aimee around, giving her a tour of the outside of the hospital while her mother followed along with a water jug for Aimee’s hydration,” her father, Andy, wrote in his blog. “All three of us talked while we rolled along and eventually we came to rest near a grove of pine trees. The smile on Aimee’s face said that this was the best therapy that she has had in weeks.”
Copeland, a graduate student at the University of West Georgia, fell from a homemade zip-line near Carrollton on May 1, gashing her left leg open and contracting a bacteria called necrotizing fasciitis. She has since had her left leg, right foot and both hands amputated, and has battled back from severe organ failure.
Her life is no longer believed in danger. Her most recent battle is with the pain from numerous skin grafts. Even that has subsided substantially.
Aimee could leave the hospital for a rehab facility in as little as a week, her father said Tuesday.
“The progress from where she was a week ago is as night is to day,” he wrote.
Several celebrities — Katie Couric, Ann Curry, Kirstie Alley and Sophia Vergara — have recently expressed their well wishes for Aimee Copeland, but her father said her truest inspiration has come from fellow amputees who have reached out and shared their own stories.
During her walk Sunday, Aimee told her father she felt blessed.
Her words, according to her father: “She said I’m blessed in that I get to experience something that not everybody gets to experience. She said that she has an opportunity to learn a lot through this, and through learning she feels like she can reach out and help others from her experience. That blew me away.”
“I thought she’d have this realization,” Andy Copeland said, “but not this early.”