Another good day in the fight -- solid progress but no dramatic breakthroughs and, more importantly, no setbacks. Joe's sodium level continues to come down and is now at or near the range the doctors want. He remains responsive to commands (e.g., "lift 2 fingers" or "wiggle your toe"), but the strength of the response varies depending on the area of the body involved and the level of sedation that he's under at the time. As of late afternoon, his temperature was back up a couple of degrees, but the nurses do not seem overly concerned -- results of the cultures taken yesterday weren't back the last time I talked to Ginny and Lisa, but white blood count is still good. Physical therapists have been working with Joe regularly -- Gin says it's mostly involved deep massages of his limbs to try to maintain muscle tone, etc.
Ginny asked me specifically to express her deep appreciation for the amazing response she and the family have received from the entire Huntsville community. She says that southern hospitality is definitely alive and well, and she regrets the fact that Huntsville might be getting an undeserved negative national reputation as a result of this tragedy. UAH faculty, administrators, staff, and students have been overwhelming in their warmth and generosity, with constant visits to the hospital and immediate responses to any questions or concerns that have arisen. Even the Mayor of Huntsville has come to the hospital to pay his respects, as have countless ministers and other representative of local church communities. And of course, the overwhelming support from Joe and Gin's local friends and neighbors continues unabated.
We also want to remind readers that the funerals and memorial services for the victims who died -- Joe's friends and colleagues Drs. Gopi Padila, Adriel Johnson, and Maria Ragland -- are now underway and will be completed over the next few days. At the service for Dr. Padila today, one man offered a particularly apt thought: "All the focus in the last few days has been on the dark mind of Amy Bishop. I think it's very appropriate that we spend time talking about those bright points of light that she extinguished." Ginny asks everyone to remember in their prayers those departed souls and their grieving families, even as we take great comfort in Joe's continued progress and our family's good fortune.
One last note, just phoned to me: Joe received a greeting today from a pretty famous supporter -- a signed photo with personal words of encouragement from Jim Tressel, head football coach at THE Ohio State University. More Buckeye pride, Buckeye strength......
Ginny, if I've forgotten anyone or anything, you know where to find me.
Love and thanks to all.