Mike Cope's blog

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Dear Friends - First, thank you so much for your prayers. We have felt the love and prayers of people from all over. Thanks also for remembering all the families who were effected by the wreck--especially the family who lost their precious 6th grade son. (The funeral, I understand, is tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.) Second, I want to provide an update on Chris. For now, I want to be brief and to the point. There's more I'll share later, but I know some have probably been checking here for info. We've just been too caught up with everything happening in ICU to be able to break away. Apparently, Chris is no longer in critical condition. The dangers we feared seem to be past. Yesterday (the day after the accident) he began communicating through hand signals. He became quite clever at a simple game of charades. His first major question to me was, I finally figured out, "What time is it?" A funny question for a kid who, because of the trauma, doesn't even know what month it is yet. Last night after his lungs had improved so much, they exubated him, and he's been breathing on his own quite well. It isn't pleasant mind you, with two or three broken ribs and bruised lungs, but he's doing well nevertheless. This morning he became very verbal. He's very responsive, and can have pieces of ice. This afternoon the tube in his side (that went into his pleural cavity--I only know this because my med school son is standing beside me while I type) was taken out. Can you say, "BIG OUCH"? He's close to being ready to leave ICU. We've been told his neck brace can't come off yet because of all the swelling in his neck, but nothing about that seems to alarm anyone. Chris has a broken L4 vertebrae. They measured him for a mold that will be made for him that he'll have to wear for a while (couple months?). They (I keep using the infamous "they" to refer to a slew of wonderful docs, nurses, and therapists) aren't concerned about this break; he just has to be very careful for a while. Translation: his basketball season is over. He and Austin Lemmons have been friends from the womb. Their mothers were pregnant at the same time, and they've been big buddies ever since. They're together for covenant group most Sunday nights. They've been side-by-side up in PICU, intubated together, and now breathing on their own together. They keep asking about each other. Austin has been about a day ahead of Chris in all the areas of getting better (plus he doesn't have the back thing to deal with), so we've been able to watch him and know what is hopefully ahead. I don't want to say more publicly about Austin or the other Highland boy here, their buddy Jon Weston Bennett. That's up to their families. But suffice it to say that the Highland report from Cook's Children's Hospital today is very good. More later. This was just for some who might check in. Diane and I appreciate you so much. It's been one of the hardest 48 hours of our life. As you know, we've been down some of this road before--we flew Megan here and were in ICU so many years ago. I'm fighting back tears as I tell you that my son appears to be all right. Thanks, Mike.


  • Thank you for the update! All of you have been much on my mind and in my prayers the last couple of days.

    Grace and peace,

    By Blogger reJoyce, at 1/18/2005 02:15:00 PM  

  • Mike and Diane,

    You are in our prayers! You have been a blessing for us thru the years trying to raise our Taylor. We wish we could be there to help hold you up, but know we are in Tennessee loving you and your family.

    God bless!
    Karise and Terry

    By Blogger Kcheatham, at 1/18/2005 02:24:00 PM  

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    By Blogger Kelli McK, at 1/18/2005 02:32:00 PM  

  • Praise God!!

    Mixed in with our tears of sadness are now tears of elation!! We never doubted, but oh, how wonderful it is to see God answer the prayers of saints!

    The Searcy community and my family specifically will continue our prayers for everyone involved.

    Thanks for taking time to give us an update, Mike. Give our love to Diane and Matt.

    Zac, Connie, Brad, and Blake Muncy and Eloise Muncy

    By Blogger Zac Muncy, at 1/18/2005 02:38:00 PM  

  • Mike and Diane,

    I'm so glad I thought to check your blog today. I am weak with relief as I read your words. Thank you so much for sharing some details. Please let Matt and Jenna know they are also in our prayers. Your whole family is precious to us!

    Bless you,

    By Blogger Kelli McK, at 1/18/2005 02:46:00 PM  

  • Only a person filled with the Spirit and full of love and grace could be thinking of us at such a time as this. You washed our feet ( for about the umpteenth time) with the update.

    We rejoice with you for the progress of Chris and others, and mourn with those who are hurting over loss. Our prayers are still with all of those involved.

    David and Jan

    By Blogger David U, at 1/18/2005 02:56:00 PM  

  • Mike and Diane--
    I felt so alone in Lubbock with Gary sick a few years ago. Not even a cell phone. Just a pay phone in the hall. What a blessing to have this blog and other technology.
    We are glad you took the time to update us. Yesterday I felt so heavy all day with the weight of this tragedy. While I was taking care of my patients, occasionally I would wonder what the medical scene was like over there, and instantly prayed again. Chris, Austin, and Jon were constantly on my mind. Hope this huge response to your blog can help you understand the depth of our love for all of you. And we're mere mortals. God's boundless love has been shown to all of us through many ways in this whole ordeal. I know you must feel it.
    Those of us on the edges of the circle surrounding you feel great pain too. How can we even begin to feel what you are....Just know we care and are praying.
    Sarah Stone

    By Blogger Sarah_RN, at 1/18/2005 04:16:00 PM  

  • Many MANY prayers from the study abroad group from Montevideo Uruguay. Its good to hear improvements. Those are hard times...

    By Blogger Phyllistene, at 1/18/2005 04:27:00 PM  

  • We appreciate your time to post the latest updates. I have been keeping up with Jody and Jim but it is good to hear it from you first hand. Our prayers are still flowing for you and all the families. Hope Matt and Jenna have a safe trip home.......give them our love as to you and Diane.

    Lynn and Gordon

    By Blogger Lynn, at 1/18/2005 04:33:00 PM  

  • Praise the Lord! That's great news.

    The ministers & staff of the Campus Church in Norcross, GA (in metro ATL) prayed for all of you today -- the Copes, the other families involved, and the entire Highland family. Countless numbers of people are praying around this city. My little boys & I prayed for all of you just minutes ago. You guys are deeply loved!

    By Blogger Matt Elliott, at 1/18/2005 05:40:00 PM  

  • You know the very beginning of "It's A Wonderful Life" - where the prayers are being sent up and God is hearing them? After seeing the responses you've gotten on this blog I just can't help but think of that scene. "Pray without ceasing" has taken on a whole new meaning to us in the past two days. Know that it's not ceasing any time soon. Love you guys so much. Monty, Seth and Leah send their love.

    By Blogger Frankie, at 1/18/2005 05:52:00 PM  

  • Praise God! Weak with relief on behalf of you, Diane and Chris...We are praying, and holding you close in thought. Thanks for taking time to update us!

    Becky and Fred Strasser

    By Blogger Becky Strasser, at 1/18/2005 05:58:00 PM  

  • Mike & Diane, I am glad to hear about Chris' recovery and that it is going well. We've been praying and hoping for a good word.

    It's sobering to think of how things like this happen - out of nowhere.

    By Blogger Fajita, at 1/18/2005 06:20:00 PM  

  • Mike! PTL!! You are absolutely amazing - thinking about us when you are facing such an all consuming situation with your boy. How to thank you other than to say prayers continue for further leaps and bounds recovery for all three of the boys, as well as calm assurance for all parents involved. Just know how much we love you, Diane, Chris and all the other families as well.

    Thank you, Gracious Father, for hearing our suplications and bringing these sweet children to this point in their healing. We beg your strengthening for them and wisdom for the doctors as they continue on the road to full recovery. All praise, glory and honor to You, Father for hearing us and bringing the miracle of healing to these families and we ask Your comfort for the Bourland's and their loved ones - give us the words You know will be of comfort to them. Thank You LORD for hearing and answering our prayers. In Your precious Son's name I pray, Amen.

    By Blogger Kathy, at 1/18/2005 06:50:00 PM  

  • Mike & Diane
    We love you and Chris' name along with the others is on our hearts and in our prayers. You are loved!
    David and Arlene Kasselman, Amarillo

    By Blogger Arlene Kasselman, at 1/18/2005 06:56:00 PM  

  • Mike, Diane and Chris,
    How do you jump up and down on a blog? I have checked several times today to find news. We are weighed down with worry and grief but hearing your blog voice has lifted that some. We won't stop praying or thinking about you but it doesn't feel as heavy once you hear some good news.
    Love you and can't wait to hear of complete healing.
    love, julie

    By Blogger julie, at 1/18/2005 07:09:00 PM  

  • Praise God, Mike! We've been praying and anxious to hear updates. Thanks for posting. By the way, did Stephen Bailey bring you a special "gift" from me today?

    All the ZOE folks send their love.

    By Blogger Brandon Scott, at 1/18/2005 07:21:00 PM  

  • Praise God! Thanks for the update, how wondeful humbling to be a part of such a vast throng storming the gates of heaven on behalf of Chris and his buddies.
    We love you,
    Jill and Brooks Davis

    By Blogger JDavis, at 1/18/2005 08:07:00 PM  

  • Mike-
    I met you at Zoe this year. I am from Mocksville, NC. I received the news this morning about the wreck. I just left a Crisis Pregnancy Board meeting in Winston Salem and we lifted your son and his friends as well as the families of all in prayer. I hope you and Diane remain strong. Know that brothers and sisters across the nation are keeping you in their prayers!

    God bless you!

    By Blogger Kyle Swicegood, at 1/18/2005 08:09:00 PM  

  • I am overwhelmed with the mystery of God, but so very thankful your son is imporving. In times like this other things seem so petty. You and your family were prayed for in Knoxville, but I think it is safe to say that prayers are being said around the world. As a father I don't even want to imagine what you have been through.

    By Blogger RC, at 1/18/2005 08:47:00 PM  

  • Mike, I was horrified to hear about the accident. Last May we spent 3 1/2 very hard days at Children's Mercy Hospital in KC, MO with our then 19 month old daughter. My 4 yr. old son and sister-in-law were also injured in that car accident, but released the same day. My daughter had 2 fractured ribs and a laceration in her liver. We beat the helicopter to the hospital. I know how frightening it is to watch your baby lay in a hospital bed with tubes and machines all around. The prayers and thoughts sent heavenward by a helpless mother were desperate and yet hopeful. (She's doing great now.) I don't know your family, but you are obviously very loved and covered in prayer by people around the world. My heart and prayers now go out to you and Diane and the rest of your family as you surround Chris with Love and Hope, and as you also minister to the other families involved. Thank you for giving your blogging friends/family an update. I'll keep checking in. May God-our great Physician, heal your son, and God-our Father, bring peace and rest to your heart. Prayers from Kansas are with you.

    By Blogger Niki, at 1/18/2005 09:21:00 PM  

  • Hey Cope family,

    We've been praying at the Southlake church and in the Elliott home. Thanks for the update and praise God for his amazing power. Love you and looking forward to seeing you.

    By Blogger Nino, at 1/18/2005 09:51:00 PM  

  • Thank you for taking the time to post the update. I'm sure you're exhausted, and still recovering from the panic and emotional upheaval. We'll keep praying for you, and all the families affected by the accident.

    We'll miss you in Fresno this week, but nobody could doubt that your place is with your family right now. We'll just have to suffer through hearing Walling yammer a little more, I guess. (evil grin)

    By Blogger Tim Castle, at 1/19/2005 12:42:00 AM  


    Here are things we would appreciate prayers for today:

    1. That the swelling in Chris's neck would go down enough so that his neck brace can come off. It's driving him crazy. (Again let me say how thankful we are that he's alert enough to be driven crazy.)

    2. That his pain can be managed. Pain everywhere. Head hurts, back hurts (especially around the L4), thumb hurts (found out last night that the left thumb is broken), lungs hurt (that wonderful combination of asking him to cough continually so he won't get pneumonia, but knowing that he has broken ribs).

    As it has started to dawn on him what kind of shape he's in and what kind of recovery he's looking at, tears have come.

    For him they are tears of disappointment. For us, the fact that there are tears coming from our sweet boy is a gift of life.

    Our prayers are with the Bourland family today as they hold the funeral for their beloved son. I hoped to slip over for the funeral (it's about 2 1/2 hours to Abilene from Cook's), but we're still going to be in ICU today. We're with them in heart and spirit, though.

    By Blogger Mike, at 1/19/2005 03:34:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    Thank you so much for the update. You mean so much to your blogging community church!

    Our prayers are with you and your family today, the Bourlands and all those who have been affected by this tragedy. Thank you also for your example as a father. I imagine that you wish you could take away his pain, and even take it upon yourself. May Father God wrap his loving arms around you and give you strength. God loves you and so do we.

    By Blogger David Michael, at 1/19/2005 04:24:00 AM  

  • Prayers from your friends at the CrossBridge Church in Birmingham, AL are being lifted up.

    By Blogger Khris, at 1/19/2005 05:21:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    Thank you so much for taking time to care for us with an update. It is 5:30am as I sit here at work alone with my tears of relief, joy and sorrow. I will call Avery and give him the update, he has been a little out of sorts since Sunday. You know how much it means to him to "take care of Mike" and he feels a little helpless being so far from you. He speaks of you often and was excited last night when Eric asked him to please come to Pepperdine to work with you again (College is not singing this year so we were not sure if we were coming). We will continue our prayers here at College and now we will be specific to Chris' needs. May our loving God continue to hold you and the whole Highland family close to him as you are all healing.

    Love to you and your family,

    By Blogger Lex, at 1/19/2005 06:01:00 AM  

  • Oh Mike! Thank you for posting the updates so much! Bless Chris's heart!(And all the others) Our thoughts and prayers have been with you throughout this. We will continue to lift you all up to Our Father. Love,Andee and Jimmy

    By Blogger annie, at 1/19/2005 06:13:00 AM  

  • Mike and Diane:
    I am so thankful to hear of the progress of Chris and the others. I was praying for your family and the other families on the way to work today, thanking God for all that he has done and will continue to do..
    Thank you for your faithfulness that you have demonstrated during this ordeal. I pray that you will continue to feel the annointing of all of the prayers that have been raised for you and Chris and the others.

    Thank you God for your love and care.

    In His Love - Shawn and Arlene

    By Blogger Shawn, at 1/19/2005 06:33:00 AM  

  • Mike, thank you so much for your updates & for giving us some specifics on what to pray for. I am relieved to hear that Chris is doing better (although the broken thumb is going to seriously hamper his XBox or Playstation action) I know it must be heartbreaking to see Chris realizing what his future looks like during the physical recovery period, so I will be praying for his (& your)emotional healing to begin. Please tell him just what it would look like if we took all the bloggers & their church families who are praying for him & the others & put them into 1 space together. What a mighty army of prayers he has!!! May God continue to bless you with His peace & comfort.

    By Blogger Beaner, at 1/19/2005 06:46:00 AM  

  • Mike,
    God's blessings and comfort on you, Diane, Chris, Matt & Jenna!!! It is unbelievable that you have taken the time to comfort the rest of us with your reassuring words about the improvements in the boys conditions. I'm sure that you don't fully realize the difference in receiving news from other sources and getting it straight from you, but it is tremendous! We are praying continually for everyone involved in the accident as well as all who have been affected in any way.

    In Him,

    By Blogger Ronalyn Sutphen, at 1/19/2005 06:55:00 AM  

  • Mike,
    God's blessings and comfort on you, Diane, Chris, Matt & Jenna!!! It is unbelievable that you have taken the time to comfort the rest of us with your reassuring words about the improvements in the boys conditions. Praise God! I'm sure that you don't fully realize the difference in receiving news from other sources and getting it straight from you, but it is tremendous! We are praying continually for everyone involved in the accident as well as all who have been affected in any way.

    In Him,

    By Blogger Ronalyn Sutphen, at 1/19/2005 06:55:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    It's great to hear things are going better for Chris. We here in Indiana will continue to pray for the Bourland family and everyone else involved in this, and that Chris will recover well.

    Know that there are some people on the other side of the Restoration Movement(independent Christian church) praying for you brother, and that your ministry has been a uniting force in our movement for God's glory.

    Benath His Mercy,

    By Blogger Brian Burkett, at 1/19/2005 07:00:00 AM  

  • Thanks for the good news! My Wednesday carpool assignment was missing the usual first stop at your house today. We look forward to getting that stop back soon! We will continue to pray for Chris and all the others.

    By Blogger BMann, at 1/19/2005 07:38:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    Praise God!! We are so relieved to hear that everyone is progressing so quickly. Please know that Chris and the other kids involved in the wreck as well as the whole Highland family have been in the prayers of Greenville Oaks Church here in Allen and Looney family ever since we heard about wreck.

    Thank you for this update and for all the ways you bless our lives even in the midst of pain and tragedy.

    Grace & Peace,
    Adam,Stacia, and Jenna Looney

    By Blogger Adam, at 1/19/2005 08:49:00 AM  

  • Mike and Diane,

    So glad to hear of Chris' improvement! We are praying diligently for Chris, you guys and the other families.

    Brett, Kim, Conor, Anna-Grace, Mary-Margaret and Everett

    By Blogger Brett Kirkman, at 1/19/2005 01:02:00 PM  

  • Have been praying for everyone again today --especially for Brett, Jennifer, Taylor & Brock. I have also been praying for the specifics you mentioned today regarding Chris, but I had to chuckle a little. Having a blog is sort of like an extended family run amok. Behind every prayer is about ten questions, but I will try and refrain from asking and to only say you all are are lifted up continuously in prayer from us.

    Always in prayer, Cindy
    P.S. So, um, did the swelling in his neck go down? Have they set his thumb? How is his pain this evening? Any update on the other two? :}

    By Blogger Cindy, at 1/19/2005 01:24:00 PM  

  • I am glad to hear the update, I will continue to pray for Chris and the others.

    By Blogger Emily, at 1/19/2005 01:25:00 PM  

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    By Blogger Emily, at 1/19/2005 01:25:00 PM  

  • Mike,
    PRAISE THE LORD! You, Chris, Diane and all the others remain constant in our prayers! Continue to look up! He will sustain you! Blessings! sd

    By Blogger SkipD, at 1/19/2005 02:57:00 PM  

  • Sweet thanks to God and sweet blessings on you and Diane. Our prayers are with you! Love, Freda Nelson Rushton

    By Blogger Rushton, at 1/19/2005 03:10:00 PM  

  • Mike, Diane, and Chris,
    I hate what you are going through. I am so sorry for all the long hours, tears, pain, and uncertainty these past days have brought you. From someone to someone who knows pain and suffering all to well, I pray for you as I have been since I learned of the accident. The driver of the vehicle was a lady in my Life Team. I ask for prayers for her and her family as I have seen many read and are sharing this burden.
    Because of Chemo I am not able to visit her with my Life Team in Lubbock this Saturday, but I sit here in the quiet and ache deeply for all the kids, especially the family of the boy who went to heaven.
    Again, your family and mine know there are angels in heaven waiting for us.
    Please know I have not stopped thinking about you and all this must resurface.
    I am really glad you have been writing. And am more pleased Chris is making progress every minute.
    In Christ,
    Olivia Hall

    By Blogger Olivia, at 1/19/2005 04:06:00 PM  

  • I left a note for you today--I hope that you got it. Blessings to you and your family.

    By Blogger English Professor, at 1/19/2005 05:01:00 PM  

  • This was sent to me--since I've been passing info along. She wanted me to share it back you you guys...

    Mike, my name is Debbie Walters. I am the wife of Mike Walters (you went
    to school together and have periodically kept in contact with each other,
    especially when you were in Wilmington -- it has been awhile!) I was just
    talking to a friend from Pegram Church of Christ, Cindy Vick, and she
    asked me if I had heard about the Winter Fest accident. When she
    mentioned your name, I said, "We know him!" She sent me two emails, one
    from you and one from Martin Pyle about the incident. I have not yet
    reached my husband, but wanted to stop and email you that your son Chris
    and the other young people who were hurt are in our prayers,as well as the
    family of young Brody who lost his life. It is really eerie; a few years
    ago when we took a group to Winter Fest from Lebanon Road Church of
    Christ, we almost had a similar incident -- we were in a caravan and came
    up over a hill to find the traffic stopped at the bottom of the hill we
    were topping. A tractor trailer came up behind one of our SUVs full of
    kids, and all you could hear was screeeeeeeeeeeeaching tires and you could
    see smoke and smell rubber burning. The SUV moved to the shoulder or it
    would have been hit. SCARED us all to death!!!! We are so glad that no
    one else was hurt in your incident and that it seems the rest who were
    will recouperate! Hope everything else is going well with you and your
    family and the work there!!! May GOD BE WITH YOU in 2005!!!

    Prayers always

    By Blogger Martin Pyle, at 1/19/2005 07:09:00 PM  

  • Mike,
    So glad to hear that Chris is doing well!! You and your family have been in my prayers over these past few days, and I will contuine to pray! My church at home is praying for your family as well (decatur church of christ). I can not imagine how hard this must be for you! You and your family are wonderful and I know that things will all be okay!
    God Bless

    By Blogger marie, at 1/19/2005 09:53:00 PM  

  • My Aunt in Idabel Oklahoma wanted me to let Mike, Diane and all other Highland families involved know that tonight the Redland United Methodist Church had special prayer for all the Highland youth involved in the accident and for the Highland Church.


    By Blogger Brian Hudspeth, at 1/19/2005 10:32:00 PM  

  • Wanted you to know that Westlake Church of Christ in Indianapolis prayed for all of you last night. You are in our hearts and definitely on my mind every day. Thank you so much for the update. Chris has a painful road ahead but as you say, pain is a sign of life. I have a problem with that very disk in my lower back. Tell him it will get better with time. Whenever my back hurts now I will think of Chris and pray for him. Love to you all.

    By Blogger Dana, at 1/20/2005 06:29:00 AM  

  • Dear Mike,
    I'm at a loss for words...
    You don't know me, nor I know you - but as a member of the body of Christ - we are family. My heart has been hurting ever since I have found out about the tragic accident that your son was in and have been in continual prayer since. Someone posted on Audio Adrenaline's message board and let us all know what had happened and I stumbled upon your blogger looking for some sort of update on the other's conditions - so I thought I'd let you know the AudioA Junkies are praying for the children and families involved in the accident. I will continue praying for your family and for your precious son and his recovery.
    In Christ Alone.
    "He is my comfort, my shelter, my tower of refuge and STRENGTH..."

    By Blogger Elizabeth, at 1/20/2005 07:57:00 AM  

  • I am on the phone with Mike. He is very thankful for everyone’s prayers and concern and wishes he could give more regular updates, but for whatever reason the hospital computers think Blogger involves porn and will not allow him access.

    As far as Chris goes, he is in ICU but has technically been released. They are just waiting for a room to come open. He is in a back brace but not a body cast as has apparently been rumored. They have also discovered he has a broken thumb, but of course the long recovery ahead will be mainly due to the broken vertebrae.

    Thanks again for all the prayers and keep them coming in the months ahead for all involved.

    By Blogger Val, at 1/20/2005 08:15:00 AM  

  • Mike and Diane,
    We are thinking of Chris and of both of you all day every day--and of Matt and your dear parents. And, as we think of you we continueally pray for all of you. You are in our hearts--and we long for you to be in our arms as well.
    With our love,
    Steve and Kathy

    By Blogger Vkls, at 1/20/2005 10:16:00 AM  

  • Dear Mike & Diane,
    I just happened to come across your blog - and read your news. Thoughts and prayers are with Chris, and your whole family.
    God bless you all,
    Penny (UK)

    By Blogger Penster, at 1/20/2005 11:30:00 AM  

  • Thanks for the continual updates. There are many spiritual warriors in STL that are lifting up prayers.

    By Blogger EBC, at 1/21/2005 06:59:00 AM  

  • Mike, Diane, and family: Our prayers for you are never ending. We are happy to hear of the progress happening there. It would be great if the docs would stop finding things to fix on Chris!! :) You would have been so touched to see all the people at Brody's funeral on Wed....touched but not surprised at the outpouring of love. We've never seen our church so full of bodies and love. We wish Chris good healing and send love and prayers.
    Your brother and sisters from Highland,
    Brett, Debra and Katie McCracken

    By Blogger debra mc, at 1/21/2005 09:23:00 AM  

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