Grateful for friends and neighbors On July 5, our daughter Andrea was severely burned while helping to control a range fire near a friend's home. She was taken by ambulance to our local hospital, then flown to the Intermountain Burn Center at Salt Lake City, UT. The fast, efficient teamwork of the emergency medical technicians (EMT) who brought her to the hospital saved her life.
The past few weeks have been traumatic. But, we've gotten through it - a day at a time - with the help and prayers of many caring people.
Andrea was in critical condition with third-degree burns over 42% of her body. She had a ventilator tube in her throat for three weeks, was given many liters of fluid intravenously each day to offset losses from the burns, and was fed through a feeding tube.
Though she was still in critical condition, skin grafts began five days after the accident. They started with her arms and hands, using strips of skin (the top two layers, which then regrow) from her belly to cover them.
The second surgery transplanted skin from her back to cover as much of her legs as possible, using cadaver skin as a temporary covering for the rest (until her body rejected it). Surgery was done again July 31 to finish covering those areas, after her back and belly skin healed enough to harvest again.
Lynn, Jim, Michael and Carolyn, and a close family friend and neighbor have all been taking shifts, driving 390 miles to Salt Lake City to sit with her. I've stayed behind to do the chores and take care of Andrea's little girl, Emily (age 2 11/42), but we hope to take Emmy down to see her mama soon.
It's been traumatic for her as she witnessed the fire and the EMTs working on her mama. She still has nightmares about it. She understands that mama is in the hospital having "owies" fixed; she spends a lot of time putting sticker labels (bandages) on herself, her dolls and on Grandma, and this seems to help.
Chores Still Need Attention We have been so grateful for the help of friends and neighbors in this time of need. Folks have helped us hay. They also rounded up the bulls when they escaped through a fence break, helped remove the tree that caused the break and helped rebuild the fence.
Neighbors also took care of little Em for me during the days I helped Carolyn and her kids move our cattle to the high range pasture. We rode for five days to get the range fences and troughs checked and fixed and the cows moved.
The first three days were fairly easy. Even though it was 90??? weather, we were only riding six to seven hours/day, gathering the high cows and moving them in paired-up groups. Nick, 7, and little Heather, 9, were good help following the herds or acting as "herd holders" while Carolyn and I sorted out the ones we had to cut back.
The fourth day was a tough, nine-hour ride. By the end of it, we'd found and moved all but 18 pairs and two yearling heifers. The next day Carolyn and I rode seven hours and found the rest - except one yearling heifer, which Carolyn and the kids found the next day. We moved the cattle the rest of the way up the mountain and then came home.
We still have one stretch of fence in the timber to check, a spring-box to clean out and a little more hay to stack, but we are managing. Another good friend helped us pick the big patches of Larkspur in the creek bottom while we were moving cows into that pasture.
We're short-handed this summer, since Andrea usually does a lot of this work herself, and now we are "being there" for her in her crisis. But friends and neighbors have pitched in to help and we will make it through the summer OK.
The good news is Andrea is healing swiftly. Barring complications, the doctor thinks she may be out of intensive care by mid-August. After a few weeks of physical therapy in Salt Lake City, she may be able to come home to finish her final months of physical therapy. We eagerly look forward to that time!