Thursday, February 18, 2010

Update, Thursday 2/18, 9:00

Evening everyone,

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.



  1. WOW... Coach Tressle! Nice job everybody. Prayers and praise for the amazing lives of Drs. Padilia, Johnson and Ragland. They now watch over and pray for us! Prayers and praise also for the caregivers and the family there round the clock. What an amazing witness you continue to be for us all! Go Bucks! - Greg T.

  2. I am so glad to hear that Dr Leahy is not having any set backs! I had Dr Leahy last Spring for Microbiology and I think he is a wonderful person and a great teacher! I have been praying for him and I have faith that Jesus will heal him. We need him around a lot longer!!!!

  3. I am a recent UAH graduate and had Dr. Leahy for two courses my senior year. His enthusiasm for teaching was obvious and quite refreshing. It was evident he truly enjoyed his work as he was seldom without a smile on his face. I will continue to keep your family in my thoughts and hope that Dr. Leahy makes a speedy recovery.
    Mathias Allen

  4. Will, Alex and I are all still thinking constantly of Joe, and of all his family as well! Glad to hear he had a day with no setbacks. I know he's strong and stubborn and I know how much he loves his family. I sure miss hearing that voice around the hallways! :D

  5. Ginny, I had no idea that your husband was one of the injured until CHS sent an email. I am so sorry to hear this but encouraged that he is doing so well. Your family will be in my thoughts and prayers throughout the coming days.
    Melinda Naderi

  6. Ginny and kids, Aunt Joyce is thinking of you and praying for Joe. We'll talk when things are more calm and as Joe improves. Love you all!

  7. Praise God for no setbacks and the love and support your families are receiving through this tragedy. God is so good to send blessings during the midst of the valleys. I have only met Joe and Ginny through very close friends of mine at CHS and St. John's. My daughter that went to St. John's and is a junior at CHS. I have been keeping all of you in my thoughts and prayers and will continue to do so. Thank you for sharing his progress.

  8. Ginny, Stephen, & Keith,

    Kai and I continue to keep you all, and the other victims & their families, in our thoughts & prayers. Give Joe our love, and stay strong.

    Donna & Kai


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