On December 8, 2017, Cherie was seriously burned in a kitchen fire. Her shirt and the sweater she was wearing caught fire. She sustained 3rd degree burns on her chest and torso, on her right arm, and on her right side wrapping around to her back. She suffered 2nd degree burns to some areas, including her face.
Cherie was airlifted right away to Cabell Huntington Hospital, Huntington, WV, where she remains in the Burn ICU. She was placed on a ventilator and put under sedation. After a couple weeks the staff took her off the sedation, and over the next ten days Cherie slowly woke up. She gave us some concern by how slow she was to wake up, but an MRI and an EEG showed no obvious underlying problems. She first responded to a command ("wiggle your toes") on Jan 1, 2018. She now responds by squeezing my hand, wiggling her toes, and shaking her head "yes" or "no." Today she gave a "thumbs up" to the nurse in response to a question.
Cherie was weaned off the ventilator, breathing now on her own with a trachea collar, receiving a supplement of humidified oxygen-rich air. She was on the ventilator about a week longer than the preferred fourteen days, so there is some concern about damage to her vocal cords or her swallowing ability.
So far Cherie has undergone several debridement surgeries and two rounds of skin grafting. It appears she will need at least one more round of grafting. The burns were deeper than the staff originally thought, and she took longer than expected to wake up. Both these facts have resulted in a longer hospital stay than we were first told to expect (originally, four to five weeks).
As of this writing (Jan 10, 2017), Cherie is at the end of her fifth week in the Burn ICU. Besides further skin grafts, she faces physical therapy, and speech and swallowing therapy. She will also see an occupational therapist (all of that will begin, at least, while she is still in the hospital). She will likely be sent to a rehab facility for more therapy when she is able.