Accident – Day 1

On Tuesday, August 10th, Carly, 22, was in town from Florida visiting our family in Cedar City, Utah. They were having a wonderful family time, going to Bryce Canyon, Zion Canyon and seeing other sights. They were headed out on a quad ride (4 wheelers) to Brian Head, which is a mountain ski resort area that is unbelievably beautiful in the summer. They had the entire family, minus Katie who lives in Los Angeles, on multiple quads on the trail. Carly hit a rut in the straight gravel road they were riding to the mountain on and lost control and went into the ditch. She was wearing a full helmet that showed no signs of physical damage after the fall. At first glance, it looked like there were just a few scrapes and a 2” cut on her ankle. The Sheriff saw the accident happen, stopped and filled out a report. She was still fine, and saw no need for an ambulance at this point.

She was taken to the family doctor in town to have the cut stitched up, and she seemed fine to him as well. She was talking, filling out forms, etc. Then all of a sudden she started slurring her speech, became dizzy and threw up. This was probably two hours after the accident. They rushed her to the ER across from the doctor’s office in Cedar City.  After tests, evaluations and stabilizing medications, she was airlifted around 10 PM to the Intermountain Trauma Center in Salt Lake City. Janie flew with her, while Carl, Tripp, Noah, and Abi drove 4 hours to meet them in Salt Lake City. We had been told that Carly might not be with us by the time we completed that 4-hour drive. Katie flew into Salt Lake from Los Angeles early Wednesday morning and Thy flew from Cedar City.

Carly has major brain trauma with right vertebral artery dissection.  This means the artery kinked internally cutting off blood flow and the clots formed that moved up in her brain causing multiple strokes.  The vertebral artery runs along her neck/spine and up the rear of her head. They have had her in an induced a coma off and on, but overall the prognosis is not good. She has at a minimum suffered a stroke, unknown brain damage and is not out of the woods for additional issues, including clots, internal bleeding, and brain swelling.

During the day today (Wednesday, August 11th), they took her off all sedation and medications to try and get her to wake from the coma and attempted to get her to respond every two hours for most of the day. She reacts to touch and becomes agitated and moves around when they poke at her, but she has not regained consciousness and been able to open her eyes. This evening they gave her a low dose of sedation to help her through the night, and they were keeping an eye on a mild fever and rising pressure in her brain.

We are praying for a miracle and a full recovery. The entire Mimstribe is together here in Salt Lake City right now. Many of the photos you see on this site were taken only one day before the accident

Critical – Day 2

Today Carly regained some motor function on the left side of her body. Previously, she had been unable to control that side and her arm and leg had been stiff and curled up. The limbs are now relaxed, and she reacts to touch on that side now.

They took her off all medications to try and rouse her from the drug induced a coma early this morning. She moved around in bed more, and she reacted and became agitated when they poked at her or rubbed her chest to wake her, but she was unable to wake up and open her eyes. She is currently on a respirator, feeding tube, multiple IVs and everything that usually goes with those things. Her neck is in a brace to keep her head in position, and her hands are lightly restrained to help keep her from pulling out tubes. While she was off sedation, she kept trying to cough up her respirator and was chewing on the tube and swallowing on her own.

This evening they are keeping her in a coma, and when the nurses sent us home to sleep they were considering mild pain medication as well. She was fighting a mild fever and her brain pressure had been slightly elevated from what has been her norm. The nurses said this was normal, as the worst usually occurs 24 to 48 hours after the accident, and we hit that time frame last night.

Slowly – Day 3

Positive news this morning. Carly had a good night last night, and they kept her on sedation. This morning they took her off sedation for 45 minutes to try and wake her, and while they couldn’t get her to open her eyes or squeeze someone’s hand, she did try to sit up in bed, she moved all her limbs and became very angry and agitated, biting on her respirator tube and trying to cough it up.  She was so angry and agitated that the doctors decided to sedate her again, to make it easier for the nurses to care for her. All of these are good signs. It means that she realizes that things aren’t normal, and doesn’t want the tubes etc. in her mouth and on her. The movement and attempt to sit up also means that she has control over her arms, legs, and spine. She does have some minor swelling around the ankle that was stitched up and bruising in various places that are becoming more visible. She hasn’t had any more problems with clots, but is still on medication to thin her blood, so that her body can continue to break down what is left of the clot in the artery running along her spine at the back of her head. Bleeding is still a risk because of the medication to thin her blood.

She is also breathing more on her own! She is on the lowest respirator settings and the doctors say that she could probably breathe on her own, but they are worried that she wouldn’t be able to swallow properly. They also said that they do not usually take people off the respirator while they still have the bolt in their head to measure internal cranial pressure.

Her brain pressure continues to be OK. It does spike when she is agitated, but it quickly goes back down, which is the important thing. The doctors are keeping the bolt in to measure things, but seem optimistic that she won’t have any more pressure problems so long as there aren’t any more complications.

The doctors say that nothing good happens fast, so slow and steady progress like this is what we want.

Carly’s Miracle – Day 4

Carly’s miracle has been delivered! During the nursing change this morning at 7:00 AM. Carly responded to commands and squeezed and released the nurse’s hand when asked.

Later this morning, around 10:00 AM, they took removed the bolt from her skull. The bolt was a small sensor inserted into her skull to measure her internal cranial pressure. This was a big step because it means that the doctors are much less concerned with rising brain pressure, internal bleeding and some of the things that cause more serious complications.

Around 11:00 AM, Carly opened her eyes once and responded to commands asking her to squeeze and release our hands. At 12:00 PM, she woke up, opened her eyes and began gagging so badly on her respirator tube that they removed it. Once it was removed, she was able to answer yes and no questions by nodding her head, she was able to hold up two fingers when you asked her how many fingers you were holding up, and she was able to squeeze and release your hand when you asked her.

Since they removed her from the respirator, she’s had breathing treatments to help break up mucus, and just a little while ago they took her off the oxygen mask she’d had on since they took the tubes out. She is still on blood thinners, the feeding tube is still in, she is very exhausted, and her breathing is still a little wheezy.

Those caring for Carly are very encouraged by her unbelievable recovery!  The doctors are still cautious but they are admitting that she is doing much better than expected, and recovering much faster than expected. No doubt it is still a very long road, but you cannot believe the joy of the Mimstribe at this point! We have been so blessed with the miracle of Carly’s progress, the prayers and love from everyone, the great care from Intermountain Health Care, all the doctors, nurses and respiratory staff who continue to provide unbelievable care.

Please continue to pray, rejoice and give God glory for all that has happened. We have a long way to go, and she is still in serious condition, but we are so encouraged by Carly waking up and making the progress she is! She needs to rest to build up strength and continue to heal. The family needs wisdom in making decisions about coming changes.

More Miracles – Day 5

Jessica Buikema and her Mom arrived from Colorado.  Jessica is Carly’s close friend in Fort Lauderdale and happened to be visiting her Mom in Colorado.  They drove 14 hours to be with Carly.   Carly reacted wonderfully smiling and waving her hand!

Carly had a great night last night, and the nurses said she was able to rest. At 11:00 AM this morning,  right after the neuro team had made rounds, the physical therapists came in to evaluate Carly. The intention was to help her sit up and swing her legs around and dangle them off the bed, and test some of her motor functions. When Heather the PT asked Carly to raise her arms she immediately recognized Carly’ extension and hand form as that of a dancer.  Turns out Heather is a dancer as well.  That queued Heather to know she could push Carly a bit and she asked Keith who is Carly’s nurse to get her unplugged to “travel”.  They decided to see if she could walk a few steps. Guess what? She walked an ENTIRE lap around the shock/trauma ICU!  Amazing how God appoints just the right person at the right time to care for Carly.

She walked with great assistance, but her legs were working just fine! She has equilibrium issues, and still cannot hold her head up without assistance. It also looks like she is having slight trouble with her left side, but everyone is amazed! The neuro team said she is making stellar progress, but said that we still have a very long road ahead of us. She still isn’t really talking, but she is doing much better with swallowing and coughing up the mucus in her throat. Once she has that down, she will probably move out of ICU.

Keith, one of her nurses that have been with her for several days now, said that you hardly ever get to see something like this happen, but that THIS is why they do what they do. He has been a shock/trauma ICU nurse for thirty years.

Please pray for continued progress, Carly’s comfort and frustration with not being able to communicate, and for wisdom as we make decisions for the future.

The Amazing Carly Mims – Day 6

Yesterday was an amazing day. Later on in the day, after she had walked and rested, they had her swing her legs around and sit up in bed for a little while. By the end of the day, several of the staff were chocked up by her performance! Keith is officially one of our favorite nurses.

All of the staff have been amazing, and we can’t say enough good things about them, but he has taken particularly special care of Carly! He is the nurse that said yesterday that patients like Carly are the reason that they do what they do.

Keith caring for Carly

Carly had a good night last night but is extremely tired today. This morning Heather, Carly’s physical therapist, came in and had her sitting up in a chair, and they went for a walk again. This time they used less support. Instead of having one person on each side to support her, Heather held her around her waist from behind. It is amazing to see how God has put exactly the right people in Carly’s life right now. Heather is also a dancer and recognized that Carly was by the way she was raising and extending her arms yesterday. As a result, Heather now realizes that Carly has more muscle memory and balance than your average person, and she has been pushing her harder. Afterwards, Carly spent some more time in the chair, and we were able to wash her hair and braid it for her!

Carly is having a good day as far as progress but is not as happy. Yesterday she was tired, but she was all smiles most of the day. She still cannot communicate with us verbally, and we can only imagine how frustrating that must be.

Praise God for Carly’s miracle of life and progress! Please pray for comfort, peace, and joy for Carly, as well as continued healing. Janie, Carl, Noah, and Abi are going to be staying in Salt Lake City for some time, so please pray for short-term and long-term living situations, wisdom, peace, and patience. All of the big decisions need to be made early this coming week. School for Noah and Abi starts next week, and college for Trip starts the following week. Katie is leaving to return to Los Angeles sometime late this coming week.

Graduated – Day 7

A quick late-night update. Not long after we posted the last update, we got the news that they were hoping to move Carly out of the Shock/Trauma ICU sometime tonight, and onto another floor in a normal room. Around 6:00 PM, Carly’s nurse came in and we moved! She’s in a room with more space for us to spend time with her and a private bathroom. She’s no longer constantly hooked up to monitors keeping track of her vital signs. They come in every few hours to check them, and that’s it! She is only hooked up to one IV and the feeding tube now.

The move to another floor means that Carly is out of the woods on a totally negative outcome (aka, not waking up, no motor functions, no ability to swallow, can’t communicate with gestures, etc.). There are still major neurological issues that will take intensive rehab, therapy and time to deal with. Carly still hasn’t audibly talked. She has mouthed a few words, and some of us have thought we heard a whisper.

While today was a wonderful day as far as progress, it was a very hard one for Carly emotionally. She seemed very sad, and as a result, made less of an effort to communicate with us. She has a lot to process and work through, so please continue to pray for comfort, joy, motivation, and peace.

Vu Family – Day 8


Today was a good day. Carly seemed happier and continued to show progress. She walked down the hall and back again, and did excellent in physical, speech and occupational therapy! She brushed her teeth all by herself and even unscrewed the cap from the tube of toothpaste this morning. She did much better communicating her needs to us. Carly has officially mastered thumbs up or thumbs down for yes and no questions.

This afternoon Carly had an MRI of her neck and head done, to get another look at her brain injury and make sure that there wasn’t any muscle or tendon damage in her neck since she still wants to lean to the left. We received the results of both MRI’s, and her neck MRI was perfectly fine. Any listing to the left is neurological. The results of the brain MRI are the same as the results of the angiogram they did when she was admitted. Damage to certain parts of the brain from the stroke. But, the doctors are still amazed by how she is progressing! There is talk of moving up to the rehab unit this week.

The Mimstribe has been so blessed by everyone’s prayers and support. Especially the Vu family! Tripp’s girlfriend, Thy, is from Salt Lake City, and her parents, Khanh and Viet offered to let us all stay with them on Friday night last week. They were amazing hosts! We were able to stay with them Friday through Sunday night, and they took amazing care of us! Viet made amazing home-made Vietnamese food for us, brought us bagels from Einstein’s (Cedar City doesn’t have a bagel shop!) and even brought Chick-Fil-A to the kids at the hospital on Monday (another favorite not available in Cedar City)! We can’t even begin to express our gratitude for their generosity. Thanks, Vu family!

Rehab! – Day 9

Today Carly moved to the Rehab floor! She was in the Support Unit less than 24 hours! Yesterday they had told us that they thought she’d move up to the Rehab Unit on Wednesday, or sometime this week. Late last night Rebecca, one of the doctors on the Neuro Trauma Team that saw Carly when she was first admitted, stopped by the room. She was shocked and thrilled at Carly’s progress! She let us know that they thought we would move up to the Rehab Unit today.

Around 11:00 AM, the nurses came in and said we were moving! Carly is all settled in her new room. She has a wardrobe, and the girls are all going shopping to buy her some comfortable clothes since she can now get out of the hospital gown! The Rehab Unit has a wonderful staff, and they have three different areas of therapy that Carly will be doing. Speech, Occupational and Physical. Her therapy hours are from 8 AM to 4 PM, and they work with her for a minimum of 30 minutes at a time, with rest breaks in between. We spoke with the Speech Therapist, and they told us that often speech is the last thing to come back, so we shouldn’t worry about that.

Carly is doing really well today, and she’s moving her legs around more when she’s resting in bed. She’s happy but still tired, and she wore her glasses for the first time today! It must be wonderful to see again:-)

The Journey is Moving Forward – Day 10

One of the things that Carly’s accident has done is bring together our family and many others. The Mimstribe is made up of seven, plus Dominic, Carly’s boyfriend, and Thy, Tripp’s girlfriend.  We have all grown closer together as we have rallied around her. It’s hard, but each of us needs to move forward, just as Carly is moving forward in rehab.

Tripp and Thy left earlier in the week to return to Cedar City to register for college and get back to work. They will come back to Salt Lake City on the weekends. Katie is leaving tonight to return to Los Angeles to work. She has four intense weeks until the end if iCarly shooting and then has a hiatus for 4-6 weeks. We greatly look forward to the “General’s” return! She has truly been the one catching the small details and making everyone march. Dominic is catching a red-eye flight back to Florida tonight to get school started and get back to work. Noah and Abi were registered for school in Salt Lake City today, and are starting on Monday.  While the Mimstribe is starting to go in different directions, we are still one.

More than ever we also feel the outside love of extended family, those who are not related but are woven into our lives in such a meaningful way. There are many others who are friends and friends of friends, and the web goes on and grows much larger. No doubt the force of the entire list that’s praying for Carly have been heard in a mighty way!

Carly had a very busy day yesterday, since it was her first day of rehab. She was wiped out by 4:00PM and slept until 8:00PM. She had a very restless night, and was constantly moving in her sleep, and finally slept deeply and stopped wiggling around 4:00AM. This is all part of the brain injury. Her big progress yesterday was swallowing. She ate a few spoonfuls of pudding,  and chose an Oreo to try after that. She was also allowed a few sips of water. They are still leaving the feeding tube in for now, while we wait on results from a swallow test that they did today. They need to make sure that she’s not aspirating, and what she’s swallowing isn’t going into her lungs. Once she can swallow properly, her feeding tube will be removed within a week.

Please pray for safe travels for Katie and Dominic as they return to Los Angeles and Gainesville, and for Thy and Tripp as they drive up to Salt Lake City on Friday. Also pray for Noah and Abi to have a smooth transition to their new school, and for Carly’s progress to continue. Pray for strength, wisdom and calmness for Carl and Janie as they deal with the various doctors working on Carly’s case.

A Long Road – Day 11

Last night we received the results of Carly’s swallow test. Apparently, she still is not swallowing properly. The mechanism that closes off her airway when she swallows is not working, so everything is going straight into her lungs. This is serious, and there is no way to know when or if she will learn how to swallow properly. As a result, her feeding tube must stay in. Her speech therapist is still working with her consistently with small amounts of soft food (applesauce, pudding) under very close supervision to try and help her learn how to swallow properly. She also still has not spoken, and while the speech therapist doesn’t see any reason why she shouldn’t talk eventually, it is the same with the swallowing. There is no real way to know for sure when or if she will start talking. Her speech therapist is wonderful, and actually took the time to explain to us that this is very common with girls that have brain injuries like this!  Girls withdraw and quit talking, and boys often become aggressive and throw things and have tantrums.

She is still active in physical and occupational therapy, and still able to walk with much assistance. She cannot get out of bed or a chair without help and support. She still has serious balance issues, and has only regained some of her motor skills that help her do daily things like brush her hair, her teeth and get dressed. Her right side is stronger than her left, but she has more flexibility and control on her left side. She managed to tie her shoes with a little help today! For Carly, the small things like that are huge steps, because this really is such a long recovery road for her. She has to re-learn how to do everything. All the little day to day things that we all take so for granted!

She does answer questions with thumbs up or thumbs down, and with yes and no nods, and she always seems to understand what we are saying to her, so the doctors are confident that her intelligence is intact, and that for the most part, her memory hasn’t been damaged. She knows where she is, who we all are, and where she lived and was working and going to school before the accident. When she is walking down the hall for physical therapy, she can read the room numbers and find her own room!

We are still hopeful and we still believe that God can work miracles, but the news from her doctor on her swallow test is not good. Especially since her body has had a hard time processing the formula that goes through the tube, and as a result, she has been having blood sugar issues and has needed insulin on several occasions. Janie is going to chat with the nutritionist and find out when we can start supplementing her feeding formula with some Juice Plus, and eventually some Juice Plus Complete shake mix, so she can finally start getting some real nutrition!

Please continue to pray for Carly’s recovery, and for the transition, Noah and Abi will be going through as they both start at new schools on Monday. Please also pray for safe travels for Tripp and Thy, as they are driving up to Salt Lake from Cedar City tonight to see Carly!

Sleep – Day 12

Carly had a very uncomfortable night on Friday night. For the last few nights, she has been having uncontrollable body movements during her sleep. In fact, it almost looks like she is dancing a ballet, the way she lifts her legs and moves them in sequences of motions and then points her toes and lays them back down. Even though she is sleeping while she is doing this, we can only imagine that it isn’t very restful sleep, which she very much needs in the evenings.

Last night they gave Carly a medication to help calm her and control the movements at night. Unfortunately, it did not do very well at all! It caused very bad nausea and stomach distress that stretched well into the first half of Saturday. The doctors have given strict instructions to NOT try that medication again, but in a few days they will most likely try another.

Carly continues to make slow progress. Yesterday, during physical therapy, they took her for her first walk outside! Carl and nurses accompanied her, with IV pole in tow, and she went all the way down the elevator, outside and walked to the next building over. Not only is she walking better, and now only requires the assistance of one person instead of two, she was able to find her own way back to her room! She read all the signs along the way and pushed the buttons on the elevator. She is truly amazing!

During occupational therapy, she was asked what month it was, and she answered correctly (non-verbally), and then they asked her to today’s date, and she responded by not writing the actual date, but the words “today’s date”. Her handwriting is still very small, and this is related to the brain injury and her lack of speech, and is called micrographia. We all joke and say that Carl must have been brain damaged for years, because his handwriting is microscopic and impossible to read! We have been told that her handwriting will grow larger, especially as she learns to talk again.

Every little accomplishment takes so much time and energy on her part. She is wiped out after each thirty-minute therapy session, which is partly why the doctors gave her medicine to see if they could help her sleep more restfully. She is allowed to rest some during the day, and she sleeps peacefully when she naps in the afternoons.

Carly is such an encouragement to us, and she has been so strong and brave. Our source of hope for Carly’s recovery continues to come from the Lord. Please pray that Carly would be calm as she sleeps at night, and have peaceful and restful sleep, without involuntary movements, so that we can avoid the game of finding the correct medication to help calm her.

A Lesson in Customer Service – Day 13

Carly continues to improve in very small ways each day. The pace for the rehab unit is much slower on the weekends, with only half of the normal schedule. Yet even with the decrease in therapy sessions, we still see improvements. Carly tied her own shoes today! A perfect example of the small things that are such huge leaps for her.

Unfortunately, Carly is still not sleeping well at night. She was awake most of last night from midnight to 7:00 AM doing her leg dancing. She did manage to get some good sleep from 8:00 PM to 12:00 AM. The doctors will most likely try a new medication with her tonight because she was so exhausted all day from not having slept.

It is common for companies to post their mission, core beliefs and customer service statements in prominent locations. It is not very often that those lofty words and statements match the actions of the company and the employees that represent the company. Intermountain Health Care has a very simple core value statement. It is simply:

-Mutual Respect. “We treat others the way we want to be treated.”

-Accountability. “We accept responsibility for our actions, attitudes, and mistakes.”

-Trust. “We can count on each other.”

-Excellence. “We do our best at all times and look for ways to do it even better.”

In reality, these are not lofty words at Intermountain Health Care! Every interaction with every staff member we have come in contact with totally reflects those four values, with the addition of passion, love, and care shown in every way. Many have pointed to the great customer service found at Disney Theme Parks, which is very good. Yet, Disney does not hold a candle to Intermountain Health Center, and more importantly, one can often get a Disney staff person to say negative things about the company that they work for. Every single IHC employee truly loves IHC and their co-workers. We have never received even the slightest negative comment. This excellence in service has been on all levels! The neurosurgeon, trauma team, ICU nurses, staff, Doctors and rehab therapists, all the way down to housekeeping.

When you think about it, providing this extra care and concern for the people being treated at IHC costs little if anything, yet it is a value that increases everything. We could all make life a little better for those around us by following those four steps and demonstrating the compassion that the IHC employees have shown us.

Please pray for Carly to get the much needed rest and sleep that she needs at night, and for Noah and Abi’s first day of school tomorrow.

Two Weeks – Day 14

It’s hard to believe that tomorrow marks exactly two weeks since Carly’s accident. So much has changed, and so much has happened at such a lightning quick speed.

Carly had her IV removed today! The only medication she was still receiving via IV was heparin, a blood thinner. The doctors are still keeping a close eye on her levels, but the combination of coumadin, an oral blood thinner, and aspirin has allowed her to slowly wean off the IV heparin! Combine this with the fact that her feeding tube is only running from 4:00 PM to 8:00 AM and she can now be totally detached from machines and pumps during the day! Thanks to this freedom, she was ready to walk whenever you said go today. She still needs assistance when walking, but her balance is slowly improving, as are the rest of her motor skills.

Carly still has not been able to swallow or eat solid food. Please continue to keep this in prayer. She also still has not spoken, but the doctors have assured us that this is typical of a brain injury, and as of right now they see no reason why she won’t be able to speak in the future.

She was able to sleep better last night, thanks to a new medication. They are using it again tonight, so hopefully, she will continue to have restful sleep!

Leaping Forward – Day 17

Carly has made another giant leap forward! Yesterday she passed her swallow test, and can now drink liquids and eat solid foods. She has done well eating, with only a small amount of choking. In physical therapy yesterday, she did one lap around her rehab floor walking with no assistance! Afterwards, she walked down twelve flights of stairs with some assistance and then rode the elevator back up. This morning, she walked down three flights of stairs, and was able to make it back up! She also did some balance work and jumping, and did wonderfully. With the added fuel of real food, she is always ready to get up and go! You only have to mention going for a walk, and she’s out the door before you can even get up.

It will take several days of eating for her to reach her goal of 1,800 calories and 1.5 quarts of liquid a day. Once she is able to meet that goal two days in a row, they will remove the feeding tube. So it looks like the tube will be out in 4-6 days.

We also had a good conference with Dr. Ryser, who is the head of the rehab unit. The entire team meets every Tuesday to prepare an evaluation of the patients. Dr. Ryser took the time explain in detail how the artery was dissected, and exactly what that meant. He also had requested a detailed comparative analysis of Carly’s first MRI, right after the accident, and the second MRI, from six days after the accident. Originally, we had thought the second MRI showed evidence of multiple strokes and more brain damage, but it turns out that the first MRI just hadn’t been notated in as much detail. He went over the results of the comparative analysis, showing the pictures and explaining it so that we could all understand. The great news is that most of the problem areas that showed up very well on the most recent MRI were already present in the first MRI.

Dr. Ryser and the entire team are now very positive for a fabulous recovery.  On Tuesday they were projecting two more weeks of in-hospital rehab, but with the passing of the swallow test and her physical therapy progress in the last two days, the time frame is very likely to become shorter. Even though being released from rehab will be an amazing step, Carly still has a long way to go, and she will be living in Salt Lake City with Carl, Janie, Noah and Abi indefinitely while she goes to intense out-patient rehab.

Thank God for Carly’s miracle, and for the wonderful caregivers of Intermountain Health Center! And for the blessing of the amazing Blalock family. They have opened up their beautiful home for the Mimstribe to stay with them (more details to come).

Please pray for Carly to regain her speech, for continued speed in rehab and for all the details that the Mimstribe need to work out.