1. Please remember to contact the following elected officials to tell them that you are interested in the Ava Lopez hit and run case and that you feel that San Antonio needs to be sending a stronger message regarding this crime to serve as a deterent to others.
a. The District Attorney is Susan Reed, but the contact person for the DA’s office is Amanda Strickland at 210 335-2311.
b. Northside State Senators for San Antonio are Senator Jeff Wentworth (District 25 – Northcentral San Antonio at 210 826-7800), Senator Leticia Van De Putt (District 26 - Northwest San Antonio at 210 733-6604).
c. If you are in San Antonio and are not sure who is your state senator, then you can find your district at the Bexar County Elections Department website. A complete list of the elected officials for Bexar County can be found at http://www.bexar.org/elections/Electeds/electeds.html, complete with addresses and contact numbers.
2. There is much interest in the “All for Ava” t-shirts and Ava buttons. We are currently looking into a more efficient way of handling the ordering and distribution of these items. As you can imagine, Jennifer Smith is going to get crushed if she takes this on for herself (the receipt of checks, getting the shirts/buttons, and mailing them to people who are out-of-town, etc). For those of you who are local, contact Jennifer Smith, as mentioned in the previous journal entry for today. For those of you who are out-of-town and want t-shirts or buttons, please give us a few days to see what we can do before we annihilate Jennifer with this task. All the proceeds will be going to MADD under Ava’s name.
3. Many people have been wanting to send cards, etc to the Lopez family. We ask that if you desire to send something, that you mail it to The Lopez Family, c/o Kerri & Chad Thompson at 18414 Rogers Place, San Antonio, TX 78258.
4. Least importantly, I will be unavailable for a few days and likely won’t post another entry until Friday evening. Please keep offering up support to the Lopez’s via the guestbook. It has been hugely uplifting to their spirits.
Incrementally Ava continues to improve and the Lopez family continues to heal. As I entered Ava’s room this evening, Manny and his mom, Beatrice, were “relaxing” (if such a thing is possible when your baby is the patient) in the vinyl love seat that is positioned against the left wall of the room. Traci was standing over the foot of the crib taking pictures of her three children. Isa and Jack were standing on stools on opposite sides of Ava’s bed. Jack was on Ava’s left and Isa on her right. They were leaning on the sides of the bed next to Ava offering their best smiles for mom. A new “normal” develops.
As I walked into the room Manny saw my reflection through the mirror on the wall and offered up a “Freddd!” that was very reminiscent of “Norm!” on the sitcom Cheers. It was comforting to me and served as a barometer for what was happening in the Lopez’s world today. How natural it is seeming for all of them now. It is now possible to come and carry on relatively normal conversation, complete with laughter, without fear of upsetting the delicate balance of life and death. How fragile those times were and how far away they are starting to seem… thankfully.
Ava continues to increase her neurologic control every day. They are little gains, but gains nonetheless. Her eyes continue to be wide open and seemingly search around the room. She does not track yet, but has on a few occasions seemed to look at something that comes near her. Whether or not this is coincidence is uncertain. She has seemed to gain more control of her legs in recent days. She lays there just kicking away. Her legs were active nearly the entire time that I was there this evening. She seemed to be intentionally kicking at the stuffed animals at her feet. Her arms are another matter. She has been moving her arms some, but not nearly as much as her legs, especially her right arm. Manny and I spoke about this openly tonight. It is as if she is starting over again with these almost fetal-like movements. It appears to be the neurologic equivalent of a system reboot. It is; however, a little peculiar to me that she would regain leg control prior to arm control, but it all depends on which neurologic tracts were most injured. Maybe next time we will discuss DAI (Diffuse Axonal Injury), which Ava suffered as a result of the head impact (I chose this word combination intentionally as to not lessen the severity of the negligence that resulted in her being here).
But to me the most notable gain was that of a whimper. Ava has been completely silent since her initial injury without any vocalization of any kind. She is now starting to vocalize with little whimpers. They are not quite cries and are a long way from verbal communication, but this is where it starts… with a whimper. We believe in you Ava and know that you are coming back… 100%.
See you in a few days.