Journal

Journal entry by Leila Viss

A Day of Rest, Mostly

 

This is Chuck, Carter's dad. It's my turn to take a crack at this.

 

The word that keeps repeating in my mind about how I have been feeling over the past 7 days is "elevated."  

 

I imagine that everyone supporting us through their thoughts and prayers are lifting us up with their hands extended, and crowd surfing us through our unimaginable journey.  

 

We so appreciate every thought and prayer, every well wish and tribute, every dollar donated to assist us, every coffee and other types of beverages supplied.  Keep them all coming.  We can't take every phone call or answer every text or comment on every post, but we do know they are there and cherish them more than you know.

 

Carter mostly rested on Thursday.  He had surgery Wednesday night into Thursday morning on his left wrist and left leg.  Dr A said that "someone must have been watching out for him" as the cut on his left wrist barely (think "millimeter") missed a central nerve.  Both limbs were repaired and Dr A was extremely pleased and we are ever so hopeful that full functionality will be restored to his left extremities.

 

I pretty much sat with Carter in ICU all day being nosy about who was checking on him and what they were putting inside him via pills, injections and IV. 

 

Carter has received a ton of cards addressed to him and to his family, so I started opening and reading them to him.  His smile is working really well.

 

A major activity during the day was managing Carter's pain. He's mostly awake now, so he tells the nurses and docs when he needs meds based on his pain levels.  He said the phantom pain of the missing right arm is by far the worst pain, which we were expecting.  

 

The not so restful part - he had another PT session, and during that he began some nerve desensitization exercises to mitigate the phantom pain.  He said PT was extremely painful, but he knows it's going to be that way for a while.  PT, at this point, is very small movements, but oh so important.

 

The "fishkateers" came for a visit—Katie, Kate and Andy. All four of them were looking forward to it all day.  Carter kept asking when they were going to be here, and I kept telling him, and he kept thinking he heard their voices in the hallway so he was keeping himself awake in anticipation of their visit.  It was tense!  Oh, was it good to see them come through that curtain. It makes my heart smile to see such strong friends hold together under exceptional circumstances.

 

His face is totally free of any tubes now.  Yay!  I had the privilege of feeding him his first meal in 7 days!  Yummy chicken broth, orange jello, apple juice and cranberry juice.  Then he moved on to meatloaf and fruit for lunch. 

 

Other things I observed on Thursday:

 

I am becoming a Sudoku expert. [insert by Leila--he already was!]

Hospitals need more and better bathrooms.

ICU nurses are indeed saints.

A huge turtle given to him by the LMC (Loggerhead Marinelife Center) completely startled a nurse today and that was funny.  

Flowers can't be in his room but they can be in the nurse's station to brighten the ICU and I can take them back to MY room!

Someone other than Chris will cut my hair for the first time in YEARS.

Carter likes the room being at a colder temperature than I do.

Patrick, an RN, is the best hugger around and I get my hug fix whenever I see him.

Fire alarms go off in hospitals.

 

Thanks again for all your love, prayers and support as we navigate this journey together. The tears are still flowing freely with us, but now it's shifting to more joyful tears than sorrowful ones. Something I didn't see happening so soon.

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Journal entry by Leila Viss

He’s back.

 

According to Carter, he was “teleported to his own bed for a good night of sleep.”

 

Although we got a kick out of Carter’s drug-induced hallucinations, they lingered a little too long for him. He was convinced the Loggerhead Marinelife Center had kicked him out. You could tell he was getting frustrated as he floated in and out of reality and ached to be lucid and in the present. 

 

It became clear to Chuck and I that after five days of doctors, investigators, nurses, therapists, phone calls, friends, and well wishers that we needed to protect ourselves and most importantly, Carter, so that he could center himself. We are most grateful for all of these caring people but found ourselves falling into host mode because that’s what we do at home. Not to say that anyone expected that of us but, it’s hard to protect yourself when you’re vulnerable and haven’t been in this situation before.

 

I turned to Mandy, our ICU nurse and said, 

 

“What would you advise? I’ve never done this before!” 

 

We took her suggestion and have limited the number and length of visitations so Carter can chill.

 

For one who lives alone and refuels by being alone, these past couple of days have catapulted Carter into unprecedented overstimulation. The bells and beeps of monitors right next to his head drive ME nuts and I’m not trying to sleep. And, like all good nurses and docs, they come in and check on things and sometimes all at the same time just when sleep comes. ICU is for healing not for sleeping.

 

Mid morning, Carter had a speech pathologist checking on his swallowing and cognitive skills when the orthopedic surgeon stopped by and gave an in-depth description of what would be accomplished in the surgery scheduled later today. At the same time, the physicians assistant came and introduced himself. So, with the nurse, mom and dad and Carter, their were seven people in a small room with lots of machinery, bells and whistles.

 

Dr. A (sorry, can’t spell his last name) went step by step how he plans to repair Carter’s left wrist with plates. Next, he looked directly in Carter’s eyes and stated that the OR docs considered taking both legs during the Thanksgiving emergency surgery and he (Mr. A) said no, we are saving them. Chuck and I had to hold each other at this point—seeing someone protect the future of our son’s ability to walk….just no words.

 

Carter’s left leg is a puzzle to piece together and Dr. A was excited about the present condition of his leg tissue and eager to get the job done with rods and pins.

 

So, after that intense conversation, Carter continued with the speech pathologist and was asked to repeat what the surgeon had described about the surgery among other things. Still suffering from obvious loopiness, Carter did all right but was exhausted.

 

It was time to leave Carter in relative peace—not really possible in ICU—but semi peace and run some errands and head to Loggerhead Marinelife Center where he’d be working now if…

 

We were eager to see the expansion, the sea turtles swimming in the rehab pools and all our new friends we’ve made since ABA (After Boat Accident.) We were welcomed like family by the volunteers at the reception desk. We explored the gift shop, learned about the latest sea turtles being treated and saw Carter and Andy’s workshop. 

 

Gotta say, I did not know that our son could fix brakes on a four-wheeler.

 

After our LMC turtle therapy, we headed back to St Mary’s to find a completely lucent, talkative Carter. The fog had cleared and he had questions. 

 

His first question? 

 

It was about his finances and how he would pay his bills. On the second day of this new journey, Caitlin, CFO of LMC had efficiently swept in and took care of his accounts—what’s due, when and how to pay it. That box was checked.

 

Next, we told him that so many LMC employees have offered their paid time off, that Carter will have at least three months worth of time off with pay. Another box checked.

 

Then we filled him in on anonymous donations that he’s received and of course, I couldn’t wait to show him the latest total of the GoFundMe account set up by his bros and sis-in-law.

 

Check out his GoFundMe account here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/1tsvg06e00?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&fbclid=IwAR0CG6t_A8Yo0GhE7Vm7etstXg0cDgmm6Zf4O_oPIBpcz4eE9chzsb5fIMg

 

He was stunned. Just like us, he had to take it all in and absorb what it means to be part of a loving, worldwide community that wants to give so he can thrive again.

 

Of course, he had other questions about his friends, his condition, his future, how it happened, why it happened…

 

We discussed the timeline of events with remarkable calm. In addition, we discovered that he thought something bad happened on Friday with Andy and we had to assure him that nothing happened on Friday, he was in bed recuperating. It’s really strange how the brain handles trauma, drugs, anesthesia…He was relieved that whatever he thought happened on Friday wasn’t real.

 

As I post this, we received word that Carter is back in his room, post op. Although his surgery was to begin at 5:30, it began at 9:30pm.

 

I fly back to Denver early Thursday morning (when you’ll be reading this.) When we rushed to book flights to get here on Thanksgiving day, we booked one for me to fly home because of job commitments.

 

The eve of day two of this new journey it became clear to me that I couldn’t split my time between Denver and Palm Beach. I need to be fully engaged with Carter’s care. The time back home will be spent getting things in order so that I can return free of commitments for at least a while. 

 

Dr. Borrego, Carter’s Thanksgiving ER doc, was ecstatic about his condition and said “90% of the battle has been won.”

 

Our entire family is stepping into unknown territory for the remaining 10% of the battle. We don’t know how it will look but we know that it’s in God’s hands.

 

Thank you for holding us in prayer and hanging in there with us.

 

PS Happy 23rd Birthday, Levi! (Carter’s younger bro)

 

#carterstrong

Journal entry by Leila Viss

Some comic relief amidst the grief.


 


We learned today that coming down from sedation meds, anesthesia, pain killers and getting off that breathing tube can lead to some major loopiness.


 


Chuck always beats me back to the Carter’s room in the morning. He gets the early-morning-Carter-status and I edit and publish the latest Caring Bridge post. We are staying within walking distance of the hospital and we savor the walk to prep the mind and the soul for what lies ahead.


 


FYI: Florida mornings are chilly--not Denver cold--but chilly.


 


Chuck found Carter with a minimal temperature, in and out of confusion and talkative…


 


“Are we going to Dairy Queen?”

 

“I just want to go home and sleep in.”

 

“Mom, can you hold this hammer for me?”

 

“Can you wheel me out of this place?”

 

“Dad, catch that spider up there. Don’t you see it?

 

“Where are my shorts, I’m buck naked.”

 

“It doesn’t matter at this point in time.”

 

“There’s 20 bottles of water over there, can I just have one?”

 


Carter had his first physical therapist appointment. She grabbed his external fixators like pot lid holders, rotated him around to sit up on the side of the bed and had him move his arms, legs and feet. 


 


We had visitors break up the day as Carter waited in line for surgery on his left wrist which in the end, never happened. Too many traumas trumped his and pushed Carter down the surgery list. We’re learning that ICU is like an airport during a snowstorm. Flight times are irrelevant, cancellations are common and takeoffs only happen when the skies clear.


 


We did talk with the hand specialist surgeon and he described that once in surgery and the situation is assessed, he will plan for option A, B, or C. He never indicated that he couldn’t fix it, just informed us of the possible options. I made it clear that Carter is a pianist and that five working fingers are a must! He understood.


 


It’s quite amazing that Dr. Borrego was even available when Carter arrived at St Mary’s. He could have already been in surgery with someone else. Patience has never been our virtue and now we understand that in the world of trauma, we must practice it. If all goes as planned, I’ll share a surgery report tomorrow.


 


Mid morning, Carter said he was bored and wanted his phone. The code! We’ve been guessing for days and got locked out.


 


Carter what’s your phone code? 


 


He yelled out four numbers and Chuck said we need six numbers and Carter said no, you only need four and Chuck said no, you need six and then suddenly Carter shouted out all 6 numbers. Big moment. The phone is unlocked. Check that box.


 


Carter’s two guardian saving angels—Andy and Christine—took time to hang with Carter. Both are OK, and family members are surrounding them with love. 


 


Christine recounted her Thanksgiving day experience with Carter. She was on her paddle board and saw what went down in real time. After Carter was struck, she had the sense to swim over and make a tourniquet with a bungee cord around what remained of Carter’s arm. He remembers everything, talked about what happened and how “it went south.”


 


We think that his memory of the experience may be good. Once he comes down from his drugged, emotionally-detached distant place, he won’t be so shocked by his new reality?


 


More matter-of-fact Carter quotes:


 


“I just want to sleep in for 12 hours in my own bed.”

 

“I need to get up and go to surgery so I can get out of here.”

 

“I literally cannot see what I’m holding in my hand anymore.”

 

“Oh, I guess I need to learn piano again.”

 

“No, I’m good, I just need to get up. I just need some leverage.”

 

“I think it’s best for my mental health to go sleep at home in my own bed.”

 


Seeing Carter engaged in conversation even if it was crazy, lightened the mood just as did Iggy the dog. He came in and started smelling Carter’s feet and licking his hand. Iggy belongs to Don Chesterton, the assistant hospital administrator, who rolled in for a visit. 


 


It's hard to calculate the value of  your thoughts, prayers, financial support and stories.


 


Please know that we are inundated with care and appreciate your ongoing comments. We hold on to them, cling to them.


 


Best quote of the day spoken by a Palm Beach marine police officer who dropped by to visit:


 


“The best in people shows up in bad times.”


 


#carterstrong

Journal entry by Leila Viss

Another long day. Scheduled for surgery at 5:00pm, we figured by the end of this day we’d have one surgery off the list, one limb fixed and on it’s way to healing.

 

While I tried to sleep past 5:30am, Chuck slipped out around 5am to sit by Carter’s bedside.

 

As life in the ICU would have it, some fluid snuck into Carter’s lungs, and his fever and heart rate were elevated. The trauma doc decided to run a cat scan to double check all organs and the brain. The scan showed a little fluid by his lungs but nothing else—thank God.

 

So, a good part of the day the ICU nurses iced Carter’s body and we covered his forehead with a cold cloth as he fought with the breathing tube. He is not a fan.

 

Best news of the day? The breathing tube was finally removed late in the afternoon. His respiratory doc was ecstatic with how the procedure went and said that in his 30 years, he’s never seen lungs as strong as Carter’s. 

 

FYI, one day on a ventilator is equivalent to one week of recuperation. 

 

Another monumental moment was meeting Dr Borego who immediately operated on Carter when he arrived at St Mary’s on Thanksgiving Day. We thought Carter was considered a John Doe before the operation began but, Dr. Borego said no. He asked Carter what his name was while on the operating table and despite his condition he said “Carter Viss.” 

 

Between visitors (we love you all!) Chuck and I receive healing therapy by reading your supportive comments on Caring Bridge. They buoy us up for the day ahead. Chuck read yesterday’s post and let me know that I left the story hanging with Andy’s visit late last eve.

 

So…turns out, the minute Carter heard Andy’s casual, distinct voice, he turned his head, and they locked eyes. Carter’s agitation subsided and he dosed back into the land of healing. In reality, it will be just as hard for Andy to recover from the Thanksgiving rescue as it will be for Carter. Remember him.

 

The most unexpected glimmer of light in this dark place has been the revelation of who Carter is and what he means to the communities of Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) and Truth Point where Carter’s play bass guitar for their worship team—yeah—this is an especially hard place for me to go right now.

 

Back to Carter…turns out most people around West Palm Beach use these words when describing Carter: gentle, loving, funny, kind, hard-working, sweet, helpful, strong, dependable, responsible, frugal, funny, resourceful, musical…

 

Chuck and I fight back tears (yes, we’re hydrating!) as his friends who are now our friends, continue to show up and faithfully stand by his bedside. They are hardcore fans of Carter and we know they will be key to his healing.

 

Carter works as a marine biologist at the LMC in the maintenance department along with Andy and his boss, Tim. He cleans and preps the complex for events, fixes things, builds things, participates in cleanup dives, maintains the Juno Beach pier and is LMC’s deferred expert on fish and their tanks. And, Carter is one of the guys that regularly hoists 200 pound+ sea turtles into rehabilitation tanks for therapy and then back into the ocean when they recover.

 

Recently, LMC was featured in the NBC Today show because of the anticipated release of the turtle named “Today.” Although you can’t see Carter until around minute 5 only for a second or two, Carter, along with Andy and Tim, were part of the team that carried a healthy “Today” back to a renewed life in the ocean.

 

Here’s the link to the video of Today and his release back in September: https://www.today.com/video/climate-in-crisis-inside-efforts-to-save-america-s-sea-turtles-69741637511

 

Some sea turtles at LMC are in need of care because they swallow fishline or garbage. 

 

Many sea turtles arrive at LMC because they have been struck by a boat.

 

What Carter has been doing over the past two years for sea turtles at LMC has a remarkable resemblance to what his personal journey looks like now.

 

With the help of St Mary’s ICU team, the LMC community, the Truth Point church, family, friends and supporters (you!) around the world, we will see Carter rehabilitated and released from injuries and—just like those sea turtles—be free to swim, to snorkel and free dive in the ocean. 

 

Some day.

 

Back to the front part of the journey and the last part of the day…

 

Once Carter was released from the breathing tube, he could finally begin to communicate to us. He thought it was Friday but he knew it was 2019. He also said, unprompted…

 

“I swam as fast as I could.”

#carterstrong

Journal entry by Leila Viss

For some reason—I’ll credit the prayers from around the planet—I was uplifted to a sense of steel calm today. Resolve? Unlike other days, I powered through conversations of tremendous sentiment and sorrow for Carter’s new-found condition with few tears. 

 

Sitting by Carter’s side for hours with my sister and brother-in-law as the nurses and doctors discussed his numbers, his low-grade fever, his wound drainage, and most importantly, his breathing tube was how I spent my Sunday. Not the norm.

 

I didn’t cry as I watched Carter repeatedly try to lift his right arm (mostly missing) behind his head to make his head more comfortable on the pillow. I know that’s how he likes to sleep.

 

Monday, Carter will undergo surgery to repair his left wrist. He is left handed. It will begin with exploratory surgery and may lead to a plate, pins, etc. They are waiting to begin work on his legs as they need to “rest” from the newly installed fixators.

 

Doctors were hoping to take out the breathing tube and let Carter breath on his own today. This involves a fine balance of ventilator, reduced sedation, pain meds and evidence that Carter is able to breathe on his own. 

 

The reduced sedation let us see a part of Carter we had not seen yet ABA (After Boat Accident.)

 

Carter became agitated and with the help of friend Kate, he communicated with head nods that he wanted to see Andy. From more nods, it was clear he did not want a phone call, he wanted to see Andy in person. Andy was there earlier in the day so we called him back but it still took 20 minutes for him to return to the hospital. In the meantime, Carter became extremely agitated, his heartbeat rose to 150. All his vital signs showed that he was completely pissed off with the breathing tube. He’s over it!

 

The nurse had to sedate Carter more so that he calmed down. At this point, it was not recommended to remove the tube since he’ll be headed to surgery at 5pm on Monday, the 2nd.

 

Andy is one of Carter’s closest friends who is responsible for Carter being here today. Andy shared more of his story with us. We’re nosy and we want to hear it ALL. Every little detail.

 

Some things we learned about the timeline of that day, Thanksgiving Day:

 

  • Carter was rushed from the beach to St Mary’s in an ambulance while stunned beach goers looked on. He was admitted into emergency surgery as a John Doe as his phone, keys and ID were not with him. 
  • Andy had to remain behind at the beach to answer questions. Later, he drove himself to the hospital.
  • After we got the call from the Palm Beach Police Department, we scrambled to find a number to call. I didn’t have any of Carter’s friends in my contact list and the Logger Head Marine Life Center was closed for the holiday.
  • As Chuck desperately searched for flights that would get us to Palm Beach ASAP, I decided to call the 24-hour sea turtle hotline. Someone picked up the phone and I broke down saying I needed to contact someone at Loggerhead to let them know about Carter.
  • The kind man who answered the hotline promptly let Tim, Carter’s boss, know of the accident. Tim was away for the holiday and quickly called other LMC peeps. Coworkers immediately left their Thanksgiving dinner tables to join Carter at the hospital.
  • Katie of LMC stayed at the ICU over night with Carter. I’m not sure I could do that at 25 years old.

 

Sunday afternoon we said good-bye to my sister Lorilynn and her husband, Ivan as they needed to fly back to Raleigh. They surprised us by booking a flight to Palm Beach soon after we did. Their love and presence pulled us through THE roughest time in our lives.

 

“Our lives can’t stop. If they do stop, we won’t be any help to Carter.”

 

So said/realized, Chuck after a day where he had to stop and check out from the ICU room. There’s no pain meds or sedation for a grieving parent. He’s back there now as I post this.

 

Every day we witness new families entering the ICU unit facing fresh, life-changing tragedies in the rooms next to ours. It reminds us that everyone has a life that goes on despite a disastrous fall, a court hearing, the loss of a dog, a looming deadline, a cancer diagnosis, an overwhelming workload….

 

From your kind comments and messages, we've learned that our news has interrupted your lives, too.

So, we appreciate the time you take to stop by read, share and care.

Journal entry by Leila Viss

Some good news

 

From the start, the surgeons were concerned about saving Carter’s legs. After the thorough washing of his wounds yesterday, the surgeon was pleased with the health of the tissue in both legs. It appears we can move forward with more surgeries next week.

 

Some facts

 

Andy, Carter's good friend and guardian angel has roots in Northwest Iowa (my original stomping grounds) and remembers swimming in Lake Okoboji.

 

Chuck’s cousin’s daughter and son-in-law work at the same Level 1 trauma hospital that Carter was admitted to and the son-in-law was an OR tech during Carter’s first surgery.

ICU nurses are saints.

 

Just about every female who works at Loggerhead Marine Life Center (LMC) is named Kate or something close to it :-)

 

Kate and Caitlin stopped by to visit and are overseeing an umbrella of protection for Carter’s financial well-being as he heals. They also promised to upgrade our coffee situation. We are coffee snobs.

 

Kate and Katie stopped by last eve. They, like Carter and Andy, are not native to Florida and the four of them bonded together as they’ve hunkered down during hurricanes and plan friends-giving meals. Katie stayed the night with Carter while we flew from Denver to Boston to Palm Beach. Our hearts have melted as we discover how the LMC and the Truth Point communities covered for us as his family as we made our way there.

Jack CEO, as he's named on my phone, has been carefully orchestrating what we need now and in the future for Carter's well-being with his kindness and connections in the LMC community and beyond.

Offers of help from across the planet keep streaming in.

 

I had the wits about me from the start of this journey to take pictures of all the visitors we now consider life-long friends. This allows us to match names with faces much more quickly. 

 

Every moment is darkened with a tinge of guilt when we walk away from Carter’s ICU bed and sip hot coffee, eat an omelet, drink cold beer and laugh with sister and brother-in-law, feel the 70 degree morning air as we make the 10 minute walk across the hospital campus…

 

Thanks to Carter’s worship pastor, Eric, we now have a blue tooth speaker near Carter’s bed to play his growing play list. We discovered that Eric and Carter have been meeting weekly for beers for years. To know that someone like Eric has been in Carter's life...oh...too many tears now.

 

Although we want to see Carter’s eyes and smile, we almost cringe when he moves and fights off the breathing tube. For now, we don’t want Carter to feel the pain. We want him to stay calm and sedated so that his body can heal.

 

Chase, our oldest son and his wife Brittany and our youngest son Levi have bonded together and are fighting for their bro in all the ways they can. They’ve been in charge of setting up this Caring Bridge, managing media, arranging a GoFundMe, researching how best to protect Carter's future, attending to the dear Denver community that wants to reach out in any way they can and battling the agony of not being here with Carter.

 

We found out that they have booked flights (including Erin, Levi’s girlfriend who lives in CA) for Thursday eve. 

 

Chuck’s having a hard day. 

 

Pray as we can’t.

Journal entry by Brittany Viss

As a family we would like to offer our sincere gratitude for the multitude of prayers, well wishes, and offers of support! We cannot begin to be able to grasp, accept, or even respond to all the kindness we have been offered and received. A GoFundMe site has been started to assist with the numerous financial needs Carter will have through his medical journey and our family’s travel needs as we commute from Colorado. 

To donate to Carter’s GoFundMe please go to the menu here on our Caring Bridge site, click “ways to help” and click on the GoFundMe link. The link to the GoFundMe site can also be found on our social media platforms. 


With love from the ‘home front’,
Brittany, Chase, and Levi

Journal entry by Leila Viss

What we know

 

1. Carter can move his toes. Because his feet are so swollen, the caregivers regularly use ultrasound to listen for a pulse in each foot. For the past days, we have heard a pulse in both feet. It is crucial that this continues so that his legs can be saved. 

 

2. Right now, surgeons are carefully and thoroughly washing each of his wounds to keep out nasty infections that could be brought on by shallow, warm sea water.

 

3. There is a world-wide community that is elevating our entire family “storming the heavens with prayers.” The power of prayer and support allowed Chuck and I to have a good night of sleep. Our children in Denver are feelng the love of Denver Christian, Hope Fellowship, South Suburban Christian Church and SO many of our dear Colorado friends.

 

What we learned

 

1. Carter is a reserved young man that gives information over the phone on a need-to-know basis. However, even before we landed in West Palm, we knew he was treasured by his Loggerhead Marine Life Center family. Upon arrival we gained insight into what Carter means to his Truth Point church family where he regularly plays bass guitar for their worship band.

 

2. Parents have an innate sense on how to toggle emotional breakdowns. While one jumps in with a crying fit, the other stays strong—the roles are interchangeable and change like the wind.

 

3. Carter’s Second “Florida Mom,” Nancy, has been our unending supporter and cheerleader with her medical background. She CONSTANTLY reminds us of the positives in a realistic way. She pointed out that Carter’s room is No. 3—Father, Son and Holy Spirit watching over for Carter.

 

4. God puts angels in our midst. After sobbing on the phone with Laura, Carter’s First “Florida Mom,” we walked back into Carter’s ICU room to find Kathy from Truth Point with her pink baseball cap praying and playing music over Carter. It happened to be “So Will I”—a tune that Carter plays at church and a tune that I had just helped a piano student arrange as a piano solo. As a past chaplain and two-time cancer survivor, Kathy prayed around Carter’s bed as we held hands with most of the surgery team.

 

What we mourn

Life before November 28 and Carter’s right hand. This is really hard for me as a musician myself. For now, Carter will be unable to soothe his soul with playing piano and the bass guitar—at least for quite some time. As a fisherman, he will miss out on baiting his own hook…and you can imagine the list will continue.

 

I just started a playlist called Carter’s Playlist. I’ll try to post it on my Facebook page. I hoping you can add to it. Stay tuned. We all know the healing power of music. Let it begin it’s power now!

 

With tears streaming and yet feeling comforted by your overwhelming response surrounding our family and our Carter,

 

First Mom, Leila

Journal entry by Leila Viss

This is Carter's mom Leila.

The story began to unravel yesterday when the West Palm Beach sheriff called us with the news that Carter was snorkeling and struck by a boat. After countless conversations with Florida Fish and Wildlife agents caregiverss and then a long, tedious, painful red-eye plane ride, we finally saw Carter in the state you see him in the photo below. 

Since a picture speaks a thousand words, I share this picture. It's the brutal truth and it hurts, oh does it hurt.

Chuck and I and the family are not OK and yet, we find OKness in the unending support we continue to receive from Carter's Florida "mom" named Nancy, faithful friends, work place family--the Loggerhead Marine Life Center, his church family, the caregivers at St Mary's Hospital and my dear sister Lorilynn and her sweet husband Ivan. And, of course all the friends and family around the world who continue to reach out and want to help.

And...when ready, I'll tell you more about the story of Andy and Christine, the two that ultimately saved Carter's life. Carter was conscious during the entire horrific event.

We need prayer warriors to lift up Carter's legs. They must remain infection free so that corrective surgery can begin.

We need prayers and support for our Denver children Chase, Brittany and Levi as they await the latest news of Carter.

Chuck and I are asking why. We take turns losing it, sobbing, and comforting each other. While Carter is sedated we have the luxury of being as weak as we need to be. We know that when Carter is slowly taken off the sedation, we will need to be strong for him. 

For now...



Journal entry by Leila Viss

This is Carter's mom Leila.

The story began to unravel yesterday when the West Palm Beach sheriff called us with the news that Carter was snorkeling and struck by a boat. After countless conversations with Florida Fish and Wildlife agents caregiverss and then a long, tedious, painful red-eye plane ride, we finally saw Carter in the state you see him in the photo below. 

Since a picture speaks a thousand words, I share this picture. It's the brutal truth and it hurts, oh does it hurt.

Chuck and I and the family are not OK and yet, we find OKness in the unending support we continue to receive from Carter's Florida "mom" named Nancy, faithful friends, work place family--the Loggerhead Marine Life Center, his church family, the caregivers at St Mary's Hospital and my dear sister Lorilynn and her sweet husband Ivan. And, of course all the friends and family around the world who continue to reach out and want to help.

And...when ready, I'll tell you more about the story of Andy and Christine, the two that ultimately saved Carter's life. Carter was conscious during the entire horrific event.

We need prayer warriors to lift up Carter's legs. They must remain infection free so that corrective surgery can begin.

We need prayers and support for our Denver children Chase, Brittany and Levi as they await the latest news of Carter.

Chuck and I are asking why. We take turns losing it, sobbing, and comforting each other. While Carter is sedated we have the luxury of being as weak as we need to be. We know that when Carter is slowly taken off the sedation, we will need to be strong for him. 

For now...



Carter’s Story

Site created on November 29, 2019

This Caring Bridge is a page for family and friends  to stay updated on Carter Viss' recovery. We thank you for your prayers, encouragement and interest in Carter's story. 


On Thanksgiving Day Carter was out doing what he loved most; diving in the ocean near Palm Beach with a good friend. As a Marine Biologist, who works for a Turtle Rescue Center, Carter has always valued ocean life and ocean safety. While he was out diving, he took every safety precaution possible and put his flag up to indicate where he was diving. Unfortunately, he was run over by a boat. Carter lost his right arm, sustained a break to his left wrist, and has severe injuries to both his legs. 


Thankfully, Carter was rescued by his good friend and another Good Samaritan and brought to a Level 1 trauma hospital nearby, where he is receiving the best possible care. Carter was conscious arriving to the Hospital and has since demonstrated that he is a fighter. We know this will radically change Carter's life and he will go through many surgeries on his journey to recovery- BUT- we also know that Carter is  strong, determined, in excellent health and he serves a mighty God! 


As his family, we are forever grateful to his friends, coworkers, and church family in Florida who were God's hands and feet when we could not yet be there. The Viss family will be updating this site as often as we have significant updates to share.  



"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through deep waters I will be with you... they will not overwhelm you. For I am the Lord your God, your Savior." Isaiah 43:1-3



*** Please note this is not a donation site for Carter directly. Any donations made on Caring Bridge go towards powering their site.  At this time we do not have a donation site set up, but if that changes in the future we will post an update here ***

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