This week Shelley, after a two month stay, will be discharged from the Life Knysna Private Hospital and transferred to a rehabilitation clinic in George. We publish this to express our deep appreciation for all that was done by the amazing group of people who helped make Shell’s recovery possible.
We are filled with gratitude for:
The skillful, methodical and caring leadership of the physician Dr Coetser and the team of doctors and medical experts who did everything possible to create opportunities for Shelley’s recovery.
The nurses, particularly in the Intensive Care Unit, who were truly outstanding. The competence and compassion, of these ladies and gentlemen provides evidence that angels exist.
Dr Dee Richman, Shelley’s GP, who provided amazing care and support to many members of our family over a sustained period. Her WhatsApp messages kept me going during some of the darkest moments of this journey. Thank you Dee.
The support and administrative staff of the Hospital who were uniformly compassionate, welcoming and encouraging.
Supportive friends, and especially Lally Viljoen, who did so many practical things during this time, ranging from providing meals to keeping and eye on Shell’s garden.
The huge choir of people in Knysna and around the world who prayed and prayed and prayed for healing. Your contribution to Shelley’s amazing recovery is immeasurable.
So many members of our family from far off places who visited during this period. We are blessed with a wonderful family.
Residents of Knysna need to know that we have an amazing place of healing at the Life Knysna Private Hospital. It is a place where highly competent and caring professionals provide care that is absolutely the best. We are privileged to be in a town with this kind of hospital.
We also want to thank the volunteers and the management committee of the e’Pap Children’s Feeding Project for making sure that the Children continue to be fed in the usual efficient and caring way.
Finally, and most importantly, we want to end with thanking God for the many different ways His love and care has reached Shelley, myself and members of our family, during this long journey.
Peter & Shelley Godsell October 2016
Shelley’s recovery continues steadily and joyfully. The Physiotherapist is now able to get her into a chair, where she spends a couple of hours each morning. Full movement of arms and hands is back and she can operate and type on an iPad. Shell is loving the fact that she can communicate with her family at long last. Next goal is to get her walking.
The ventilator is no longer needed as she is breathing on her own, with a small pipe providing supplemental oxygen to the nostrils.
Weakness and venerability is still an issue and visiting remains restricted.
But the big news is that after two months of silence, my wife can TALK AGAIN. Wow it's music to my ears.
My thanks to the dedicated volunteers and members of the e'Pap committee for the their dedication. All of our children continue to be fed regularly. Teacher training is on track and all the extra services of love and care are in full operation.
The project is running like clockwork.
Shell's progress has been very good over last couple of days. Slowly she is doing more of the breathing and the ventilator is doing less. This is hard work for her that leaves her very tired, but the process of weaning her off the machine is progressing well. Shelley will only regain her voice once she is fully off the ventilator.
On Tuesday she had, for the first time in six weeks some food per mouth, as opposed to via the tube. First meal was a smoothie, jelly and chicken soup. A veritable banquette. Physically she is still extremely weak and months of physiotherapy lie ahead. Extreme caution to avoid new infection is still required. So we must remain vigilant. Visiting, other than by family and Lally is still some way off.
There is no doubt in my mind or the minds of those who have been caring for her that we have witnessed a miracle. Yesterday I said to the physician - “faith and skill is healing my wife”. He responded, “more faith than skill”. I expect the truth is “sufficient of each”. I am overwhelmed with gratitude to God, the medical team and all who prayed and supported. The avalanche of prayer in Knysna, Johannesburg and around the world has been an inspirational witness to God's love and the care from those who are filled with God's love - both those who are aware of the source of their love and those who are not. All the love played a role.
Many months of healing and recuperation still lie ahead. We don't know how much longer she will be in ICU nor after that, a ward. So the duration of the journey is still unknown, but the destination is. It's our home. My heart is bursting with joy THANK YOU GOD.
Shelley continues to make continuous but slow progress. The reliance on the ventilator is being slowly and carefully reduced. The physician is pleased with her rate of progress. Physiotherapy sessions twice a day are starting to strengthen her muscles and return her ability to move arms and legs. This is a meticulous and careful programme that challenges Shell to do bit more each day.
Her spirits are high. She smiles a lot and enjoys the humorous banter between nurses and the family. Of course it is frustrating for her to have such limited movement and not being able to talk, but she manages this frustration so well. I am so proud of my wife.
In short the slow process of recovery is proceeding well. The time scale for being in ICU and after that in a ward is unknown at this stage. However we have been advised to plan for a recuperation period of at least six months.
The Project - is in fine shape and operating with the usual efficiency and care. Lally convened a meeting of the committee on Wednesday 28th. The committee has risen to the occasion and no balls have been dropped. Feeding is proceeding as it should and all of our non-feeding activities are being managed by a member of the committee or an experienced volunteer. When Shelley is fully recovered and back at the helm, the project will be in fine shape. I am sure Shelley is going to be thrilled to bits with the way the team has responded to this challenge.
Committee members at our meeting on 28th: Helga, Lally, Marlise, Jon, Lesle, Rose, Leonie, Nicky and not in the picture Ursula and Peter.
Shelley continues to make good progress. The sedation has been completely off for the last few days and assisted by the ventilator machine she is breathing well. Most of the time she is comfortable and peaceful.
She sleeps a great deal of the time, but quite frequently there are periods where the non verbal communication is rich and full of meaning. Facial expressions and movements communicate happiness, peacefulness, discomfort, frustration, agreement and humour.
Of course the road ahead is is still long. Of course there is still the possibility of danger and challenge. But as of now Shelley’s steely will, excellent medicine, the avalanche of prayer and God’s power are working in harmony to heal her. All of these continue to be needed.
To protect her from the risk of new infections visiting is still tightly restricted.
We have a great deal for which to be grateful
Shelley is starting to show encouraging signs that the the infection has been controlled and her system is stable. She is still on life support for all of her needs. The level of sedation is being reduced slowly. Medically these are still small steps, but emotionally the change is huge as she can move her head a little and respond a bit by nodding.
There is still a long journey ahead that is not without its dangers and challenges, but the direction is positive. We are grateful.
A tracheotomy was performed late yesterday afternoon and it proceeded without complications.
This morning physician has told us that her condition is much more positive. Still a long journey ahead, but today the news is very encouraging.
I am very thankful
Update on Shelley’s health - September 9
I know that many of you are anxious to get an update on Shelley’s health. The last update was on Sunday which was a very encouraging day. Since then Shell’s condition has got weaker. She remains on full life support, is fully sedated and her condition is critical.
The care she is receiving is superb. I cannot think of any better place to be or a better team of people to be caring for her. I am so very very grateful for this.
The family is tightly bonded together as we support each other through this period. Loving friends are providing all the practical support that is needed. We lack for nothing.
I am sure you will realise that the family and Lally are totally focused on loving and caring for Shelley, keeping the immediate far flung family updated and caring for each other. Please excuse us if at this time we do not communicate with all of Shelley’s loving friends and colleagues as much as we would like to.
Love to you all
It has been a week of ups and downs, but the ups create hope and the downs create patience !
There was a secondary infection or worry of one which has not turned out to be an issue thankfully.
They have lifted the sedation twice to see if mums system would cope. The first time was not very successful so they sedated her again quite quickly. The second time was much better and mom coped really well.
We have seen mom deliberately move her head and eyes in response to us talking to her which has been hugely exciting !
We are conscious of and are reminded by the amazing nurses that mom is by no means out of the woods. The small improvements are however there!
The greatest need is for healing in her lungs as there has been significant damage.
Currently mom is calm, stable and being prayed for in most corners of the world.
Thank you so much for all the messages, meals and prayers.
September 1st 2016
I wish I could report positive progress on Shelley’s health. However the situation remains very serious. What is positive for me is :
1 She is receiving the very best and amazingly loving medical care. I could not wish for anything better.
2 She is stable and comfortable.
3 There seems to be an avalanche of love and prayers from around the world.
4 And finally I strongly believe that she feels God’s constant and loving presence.
Please do not to cease to pray for Shelley
August 28th 2016
Dear e’Pap Children’s Feeding Project Supporter
It is my sad duty to advise you that Shelley is seriously ill and will not be able to be able to lead the e’Pap Children’s Project for the next few months.
Nearly two weeks ago she contracted a particularly aggressive strain of pneumonia and has been kept alive by machines for the last 11 days. There is no communication at the moment. I am told that she is stable but still very vulnerable and I have been advised to prepare for a very long journey. I don’t know what that really means, other than it is likely to be some months before Shelley can reassume the leadership of our project. We had an e’Pap management committee meeting on Thursday and wherever possible activities normally handled by Shelley have been taken over by one of the other committee members. There are a couple of activities, such as starting new schools and new volunteers, which will simply be postponed until next year.
We are confident that the feeding of the many thousands of children through our 90 odd schools in the Garden Route Area will continue with the same efficiency and care that has always been the hallmark of our project. Our committee is fully committed to ensuring that our project will be a strong as ever when Shelley returns to take up the lead again in January next year.
Updates on the status of Shelley’s health, will be posted to the website - see the link at the end of this note. Things are moving very slowly so updates are unlikely to be more frequent than weekly. I will however update when there is a significant change.
I have two requests to volunteers and supporters:
Firstly, as Shelley is very vulnerable to any germs at the moment, the hospital has limited visiting to the immediate family and Lally only. So please do not visit her until I have advised you that the situation has improved.
Secondly, I am sure you will understand that Lally and I, in particular, are battling to cope with that many calls from concerned supporters and volunteers as well as handling the normal queries that are involved in our project. We need to spread the load of providing communications. It would be helpful if you could be guided by the following guidelines:
1 For general project queries, volunteers should contact their area representatives.
2 For queries that relate to bursaries for teacher training in 2017, please contact Lesle Odendaal 0732245886 firstname.lastname@example.org
3 For information relating to end of year meeting - Nicky Rutherford 044 384 0766, email@example.com
4 For other issues please send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and i will ensure that the query is routed to the most appropriate person.
Finally let me end by saying that my focus is to do everything possible to help Shell to recover and then be able to have time to be a mother, grandmother, sister, wife and friend.