At the time of this writing, Greenwood native Lora Lea Rice has spent 87 days in the hospital battling H1N1 flu, double pnuemonia and ARDS. The first 40 days were spent in ICU in Ft Smith’s Mercy Hospital. Lora was then air lifted to St Louis, Missouri to the Mercy Hospital there and spent another 24 days in ICU. Lora was on a ventilator and in a medically induced coma much of this time.
On February 28th, Lora was air lifted back to Fort Smith and admitted in a long term acute care hospital which specializes in weaning patients off of the ventilator. Lora has surprised all of her doctors with the progress that she has made. She was able to come off the ventilator, which was replaced with a Tracheostomy collar with a speaking valve, and after passing a swallow test was able to eat and drink on March 11 for the first time since December 26th.
Currently, Lora is now receiving oxygen through a nose cannula and has begun taking a couple of steps with the help of a walker and a therapist. After 84 days inside a hospital room, Lora was able to take a wheelchair ride outside to enjoy the sunshine for a few minutes!
Lora and her family have been so blessed with friends, church members, people from the community, and kind strangers, who have prayed for Lora and supported her and her family in many ways, including a 24 hour long prayer vigil.
Lora will be moving to physical therapy sometime next week, and will begin the long process of building her strength back. It will be some time until Lora is able to work again, and her friends have scheduled a fundraiser on her behalf on Saturday, April 5th. It will be held on the square in Greenwood beginning at 8 a.m. with a yard sale and bake sale, and going all day with entertainment, baked potato bar, car war, cupcake war, and an auction starting at 4:45.
In addition to the day of fundraising, monetary donations can be made at any Arvest bank by referencing the Lora Rice Medical Fund Account.