Sunday, January 11, 2004

Dear All,

I have had several people ask me what happened to Ivy, so I thought I'd pass this along. I know it might be a bit of "old news" for some, but I know for many it will provide some answers...I have also included a web site that covers ARDS and an update on her condition...

Ivy was on her way to classes on Tuesday morning, December 9th. She was driving southbound on I-15, just north of the gopher canyon road off-ramp. She was in the fast lane, doing about 70 - 75 MPH when the car (according to the people who witnessed the accident) drifted into the center median. Apparently when Ivy realized what happened, she jerked the steering wheel to the right and put the car in an uncontrollable skid. The car crossed all the lanes of traffic (on the southbound side of the freeway) and went off a 150 bank. Fortunately, traffic was light at the time and no other cars were hit. At some point, Ivy was thrown from the car.

At about 10:30 AM I got a call (I was at work) from Ivy's cell phone. I was a bit surprised to see Ivy calling because I knew she was on her way to class right then and she won't make calls from the car (unless she's pulled over and stopped). When I answered, a man told me " name is Sam..., I don't mean to frighten you, but your daughter was just in a very serious car accident"...

He couldn't tell me much, but assured me that everything possible was being done for her and that he would see to both her and her belongings. Sam passed the phone over to a highway patrol officer who told me to "start heading south and I'll call you to let you know what hospital". It was a 2-1/2 hour drive for me...the longest of my life! When I finally got to the hospital, Sam was there, waiting with Kathie (Ivy's Mom). He since has brought her a big white tiger that watches over Ivy, continues to check-up on her and came to visit yesterday...he is a wonderful man.

When she arrived at the hospital, her body temperature was extremely low. Her chest was crushed, breaking her ribs and her sternum, which ruptured her spleen and lacerated her liver, causing her to bleed internally. One of her lungs was ruptured and the other collapsed. We found out later that the first chest tube was put in "in the field" by the paramedics...this is very rare according to Ivy's nurses and we are very fortunate that those on scene knew what to do. When she came out of surgery after about 6 hours, she was moved to the CCU unit and has been there ever since.

Sometime within the next few days, her lungs filled with fluid and the condition she is now fighting (ARDS - Acute respiratory distress syndrome - explains it in detail) set in. She is on a ventilator, which completely supports her breathing. She is sedated and on paralytic drugs to keep her from moving or fighting the ventilator's breathing pattern. The doctors recently have performed a tracheostomy (they put a breathing tube into her neck) to allow the vent to more safely fill her lungs. She is on 24/7 dialysis treatment because her kidneys have shut down. Her liver function is somewhat impaired as well. The battle now is to keep her as stable as possible while the lungs work to heal themselves. This is a very slow process with many ups and downs.

On Christmas eve/day she had a very bad turn. We were very afraid that we may lose her when she suffered yet another pneumothorax. But with the insertion of her ninth chest tube (six remain now, three on each side) she was able to re-inflate the lung and once again begin the healing process. I honestly feel that this was the "turning point" for Ivy's recovery. I believe with all of my heart that she is on the slow and bumpy road that will lead to her full recovery, but only time will tell for sure. Today, she will have a titanium screen inserted to prevent the possibility of any blood clots entering her legs.

I also wanted to share that since the candlelight vigil (thank you so much M.G.), Ivy has been making slow and steady progress. Everyday has brought both challenges and successes...the successes are all very small, but the overall picture is positive and I know that your caring has honestly made a big difference. I have put the pictures of the candles into a word document and will save them for her. If there are any posts on the DF board that anyone feels I should share with Ivy, please feel free to send them to me via e-mail.

We read every one of your cards, letters and e-mails to Ivy. I know that she hears them all and that they mean so very much. I have printed out all of the e-mails that you have sent and they will all be put into a book for her, so that she will always know just how many people truly care about her...My special thanks to Jade and Adam of AFI...I know that Ivy will cherish your e-mail and letter forever...God Bless you all!

And my thanks to all of you for your prayers and kind words…

My Best Wishes Always,