Day 46 | OCTOBER 26, 2021
Good Evening Friends, today is day 46 of our new and amazing life!
Wow, what an incredible and emotional day I had ! Thank you God for this blessed day.
As you know, today I went to the Lunch offered to the first responders that rescued Charlie. There were 15 people directly involved in her rescue, from the 911 operator all the way to the EMS , firefighters and Pegasus helicopter crew.
Today I had the honor and pleasure to meet almost all of the 15, we shared a delicious meal donated by our friend Chef Craig Hartman from the BBQ Exchange, and I was able to talk and express my gratitude, it was a very informal gathering, simple but very special, we also had delicious cookies from our friend Kiri.
Let me start by telling you that today’s encounter was my first time speaking public and in person and I was so surprised to find out how emotional I was when I talked about Charlie, anyone that knew me before the accident knows that I don’t cry, now I cry all the time, but it is ok, I am not ashamed to express my feelings and there is no shame in crying or being sad or emotional.
After we introduced ourselves to each other, we started by thanking them for their heroic efforts and I asked each person what their role was and asked if they could tell me about Charlie’s rescue from their point of view.
I will purposely not mention any of their names, since I did not ask permission to make it public.
It is important to know that The Gordonsville Volunteer Fire Company is made of 100% volunteers, so when a call comes in they send a message to all volunteers and whoever is available and near, reports into the fire house , that being said there is not really any guarantee that someone will be nearby or even available, the good news is they always have someone they said .
Now, back to Charlie’s rescue, when the 911 call came in, the call was sent to the Gordonsville Fire House, they send the message to all volunteers.
The first person on scene was a female volunteer and she is a nurse, she is the one that called me on the request of Charlie to tell me where she would be taken, it was great to put a face into her voice, she said when she got the message she was leaving the supermarket next door from Patch and was there in less than a minute from the call, she described the scene horrific, however she said she was beyond surprised to see Charlie conscious and talking, Charlie’s main concern was the kids and myself, she wanted to make sure I knew where she was going, that nurse quickly assessed Charlie and called back dispatch to request the helicopter.
The second person to arrive is a volunteer firefighter and he is in the military and he is actually a commander within the Virginia National Guard!
He has also been into 2 wars and several deployments, he is a man of war, he told me that when he got the message, he was working from home, his house is less than 3 minutes from Patch, he very rarely works from home, but for some reason he was that day, he left his house, drove past Patch and went to the firehouse to get his gear and a rescue vehicle, he arrived at Patch 10 minutes after the call.
He was the one that talked with Charlie and told her to focus on breathing and remaining calm, because she was very focused on me and the boys, and also worried that she would have to stay at the hospital for more than a week , he said he was the one that started to cut her burned clothes because he know of the risk of contamination and at that time Charlie began to cry because she felt ashamed to be without clothes, he said he assured her that she had nothing to be ashamed , and explained to her why he had to do that they had a thermal blanket around her , so no one would see her.
He also said, he was very shocked by her injuries and he told me that in his many years in the military he had never seen a trauma victim stay awake and coherent after such extensive injuries, he was also concerned about her possible inhalation injuries, since her teeth looked charred, he was happy to know she had no inhalation injuries!
This gentleman is also a man of faith, and he said once Charlie spoke with him , he saw how strong she was and he knew at that moment she would survive! He is beyond inspired by her story and he also knows that her survival it is a miracle!
The ambulance arrived few minutes after the first responders, and they immediately took Charlie to the fire house helipad, the ambulance ride was 5 minutes long, and within 5 minutes , Pegasus the helicopter landed and took off with Charlie, from the moment of the 911 call to the helicopter departure was around 20 minutes total!
Just how fast they act and how they knew exactly what to do with her injuries, I was told by her doctor that if she had arrived a minute later, she would possibly have lost her hands and feet!
Because they had no blood flow when she arrived at the hospital! 1 minute would have added an incredible challenge to her already difficult road of recovery, but thank God and her rescuers and doctors that did not happen!
I could not hold my tears at every testimony, they also did not held back their tears, it was a emotional encounter, but a happy one because Charlie is alive and recovering, they asked to please tell Charlie how much they are praying for her and they want to see her at the firehouse once she can visit!
After this emotional and incredible Lunch, I made my way to the hospital and I arrived around 5pm and Charlie was just back from the OR, her doctor called me after the surgery and he was very happy with the procedures, he said that the take down was successful and the “take” was very high, I asked what was the percentage ? He laughed and said , between 85% and 90% , but he said the CEA is still very fragile and that number could lower in case of any damage to the CEA, just for you to know the Epicel Brochure proudly displays an average take rate of 75%! Well, I told everyone that Charlie is NOT average. joke
He also placed the new order of her lab skin and it should take 2 weeks to be ready! In the next week, they will take her back to the OR just to replace her allografts since it will be 3 weeks and do the routine wound care.
Charlie's story keeps getting better and better, today’s encounter with her first responders added one more layer of God's work in her survival. Those men and women are touched by Charlie’s miracle, and yet they are part of that miracle in a big way!
It is humbling, it is comforting to know that our community is served by incredible volunteers, I told them how much their service meant to my family and to our community.
I have asked the firehouse what would be 1 thing I could do to help them do their jobs better or that would benefit the entire fire house, so I have a feeling they may ask for something big:) , so just want to let you know that I will be counting and asking for your monetary help when that time comes.
They will be the first beneficiary of our giving back mission, Let’s start with the ones that have a direct impact in saving Charlie.
Once again, my heart is filled with gratitude and hope for Charlie’s healing.
Thank you and please continue to pray for Charlie and May God Bless you !