Editor's note: Andrea Daine, the daughter of Heather and Lynn Thomas, was severely burned fighting a sage fire on July 5. She suffered second- and third-degree burns over 51% of her body.
A fund has been established for donations: Andrea Thomas Daine Fund, First Security Bank, PO Box 810, Salmon, ID 83467. The family requests your prayers.
I want to thank the many kind folks who read about our daughter's accident and responded. She received dozens of wonderful cards and letters, which are still pouring in.
The heartfelt concern and many prayers have been very helpful to her, and our family is very grateful. Some folks have shared their own experiences about personal burn accidents or those of family members with encouragement for her road ahead.
That's been the upside of this terrible tragedy - the sharing. The dedicated nurses and doctors who cared for Andrea, and the other burn victims and their families we met have touched our lives deeply. The depth of sharing and caring is both humbling and elating, and there's a strong network of support. Anyone who goes through this can never be the same again.
Once a week, the recovering burn patients who come back for checkups meet for a group therapy session with a counselor and the families of burn patients and any in-hospital patients who are well enough to attend. The "survivors" share their experiences and progress. It's greatly encouraging to patients whose burns are still severe and their families - still in agony and shock and struggling through the challenge to cope.
It's a long, hard and painful road with a lot of rough spots along the way. But, there are wonderful side experiences, too, as people help one another. When a person has come through this trial enough to start being an inspiration for someone else who is just starting along this road, that in itself is good therapy.
Andrea is healing faster than the doctors originally expected. She was released from the hospital Aug. 13 and had extensive physical therapy in Salt Lake City for three weeks. Lynn stayed with her at a cousin's home, driving her to physical therapy sessions daily and helping with the constant stretches she must do to keep the grafted areas from tightening up, as well as doing her daily scrub and bandaging.
She's now been fitted for the pressure garments that help keep the grafted areas from overgrowing and creating excessive scar tissue. She must wear these constantly for a year or two. She was able to come home Sept. 2 to finish her therapy here, which will be ongoing for many months.
We are fortunate to have a good therapist in our small town. Otherwise, she'd have to spend a lot of time somewhere else. Being home is wonderful - for Andrea and us. Little Emily (her 2 1/2-year-old daughter) is especially glad to have Mommy back!
Heavy Smoke At Home Here at home, we were still immersed in smoke until Labor Day weekend when we actually got some rain. Several large fires are still burning out of control, but the rain has helped. The firefighters and military forces are mainly trying to protect homes and buildings in the fires' path.
We are hoping for more rain. The range pastures have been so dry for the past two months that there's no protein in the feed and much less feed than usual. Many cattle have been brought off ranges early, and some had to be evacuated due to fires (some cattle were lost in the fires).
We will be bringing our cattle home early, too, but our fall pasture at home is short and dry. The elk ate most of it earlier in the summer when it was still green.
We'll be needing more hay since our hay crop was short due to lack of irrigation water, and fall pasture will be short. We may sell a few cows, however, rather than buy a lot of hay.
It might be wise to make our calving just a little easier this year, since Andrea won't be able to help us. At present, we are fixing fences and getting corrals ready for when we roundup the cattle from the range in mid September.