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Dear Lord.

Please hold Gina in your arms and cradle her through all the pain and suffering she may be feeling. Gina is an angel on earth, Lord, and we need more angels on earth to assist those of us who sometimes don't see or do things in your light. Gina, has been an angel for so many of your creatures. Please hold her in your arms and cradle her with your love as we are in our prayers. Amen.

Kim Carney

 

GINA IS BACK! 03-20-05

Hello dear friends,

I am so glad to see your posts and know I'm thought of with such caring thoughts! I'm very sorry I've been slow in keeping all of you updated on my progress! A year ago I tried going online with a hand and no fingers and it was frustrating to say the least! I'd made so many good friends online before the fire I was very sad not to be able to talk to them.

In the past year I've had numerous surgeries (24 all together) and now I have a thumb and index finger up to the 2nd knuckles. It's so amazing what doctors can do now! It's now much easier to type and work on the comp. It's now easier doing most everything including cooking and care of my children, both human and scaly ones! I've finally brought home what was left of my reptile collection! Unfortunately almost half of them passed away in my absence though not due to neglect. I was very lucky to have good friends who took them in and loved them like their own.

I'm due to have another surgery in about a month or when my head is done healing. I had a surgery jan 14th that didn't turn out too well. My doctor offered to put waterbags under the skin on my head and they were to add water to them slowly every other week to stretch the skin with the hair on it. They planned on using the extra skin to cover the large graft site in back of my head as well as cover a scar on my face.

They put 3 bags in. Unfortunately, my skin was probably not strong enough and the skin over two of the bags died as well as one of the bags ruptured which left one good bag but after what's happened to the other two, I've decided to just take it out. I don't want to take anymore chances. I'm holey enough! hehe!

Luckily with good care I'm healing just fine. In the surgery I plan on in 4-6wks I'll be having the remaining bag out as well as having the last 2 fingers seperated. They think it's a good idea to do one at a time so as not to cut off the blood flow too much. They've been taking the skin from my stomach to put inbeteeen my fingers.

Well, I hope I'm not grossing anybody out! I find all of this very interesting and thought you would too! And I wanted you all to know why you haven't heard from me! I think I'm starting to come to the end of my surgeries. This last one may be it. They're offering to do more but it's not really necessary and I feel it's chancy so I'll probably pass on it.

I'm lucky enough to have my family and friends and be alive! That's what counts! And I want you all to know I've read every single email and card and I'll continue to do so as long as you visit, my friends! I'll let you know how the next surgery goes!

Love Gina Gauvin

AN EMAIL FROM RENEE 3-17-04

Hi Ronnie,

Thought I would give you an update on Gina. She is doing great. Her attitude is still unbelievable! Gina had surgery in January on her hand and face. She has a thumb. Great for picking up things or as Heather said good for pinching. :-) She was in the hospital for about 5 days. Gina insisted on going home rather than my Mother's house. Not a surprise.... She missed the kids ands just wanted to be in her own house. I believe she'll be go back in UMASS on April 8. For more surgery. The doctors will be working on her face, hand and elbow. Its hard to believe how far she has come. I couldn't wait for the year to pass. It has and her strength leaves us speechless. I want to thank you, Gina's other friends and the kindness from strangers for keeping her in your thought and prayers.

Sincerely,
Renee :-)

AN EMAIL FROM GINA 7-07-03

Hi Ronnie,

Hope your doing well. I'm doing very good. I'm wicked slow typing, so not able to do too much on the comp yet and it'll be a little while before i'm able to do everything i want.

I'm so glad to be lucky enough to have such supportive and loving friends and family to get me thru these tough times and I can't get over how much work you've all done for me. I wan't to give everone big hugs. It's mean't so much to me. i'm typing with a pencil so forgive my spelling.

I absolutely love the site you've made for me. It's amazing and it's brought lot's of old friends back to me again. Please send a copy of this letter to the site to let everybody know I'm doing better.

I want to say hi to all my friend's, Karen Grimaldi, I don,t know how to contact you so email me thru Ronnie. Chris Jr., wow, you still have that picture. i think it's an antique now, hehe. i'd love a scanned copy online.

Of course I remember you Doreen, we had some great times and I'd love to see you again. Just to give everyone a small update, on the day I left the rehab, I was treated to a nice limo ride home, upon whence I noticed a red carpet down the length of my driveway. [I guess the stretched limo doesn't do driveways, hehe]

I spent a nice quiet 4th of july home with the kids and we saw some great fireworks. Dr's tell me they're giving me the summer off but i'll be having more surgery's in the fall,ewww. lol.

Take carre.

GINA

 

GINA RETURNS HOME AFTER 133 DAYS! 7-03-03

Visit this link for an article in the Providence Journal that cover's Gina's return home
http://www.projo.com/extra/2003/stationfire/content/projo_20030704_gauvin4.f0ba.html

GINA'S LATEST UPDATE 6-30-03

From Ronnie: The day we have all been waiting for is almost here! Gina is finally well enough to return home to her children as her status gets changed from in-patient care to out-patient care with the rehabilitation hospital on July 3rd!

I don't want this website to give the false impression that Gina is returning home to the same life she had before the fire and that everything is fine and dandy. Yes, she's being released from the hospital to out-petient care but her rehab and recovery is far from being over. In many ways the hardest part of Gina's recovery lies in the months and years ahead as she learns to compensate for her injuries, cope with the pain, and live with the memories. Details of Gina's condition have come out over time with bits and pieces of info scattered throughout the updates so I felt it might be worth giving a brief summary at this time.

Gina received burns to 70% of her body and 30% of her lungs which required a respirator for life support for almost 3 months, the first two of which she spent in a medically induced coma. She has suffered through 18 skin grafting surgeries (with more to come starting again in September) and ultimately lost her left arm below the elbow and all of her fingers on her right hand at the first knuckle to skin infections. Those same infections and lung injuries almost cost her her life on several occasions.

I know everyone is very excited to learn Gina will be back online with us again but as her friend I have a request to make. Tons of people have responded to Gina's website with letters, cards, donations, prayers, and guest book entries. All of us can't wait to see Gina's screen name pop up on the IM or see Ornatesky in our in-boxes. With the exposure this website has received there are thousands of us that will want to "just take a second to say hi" when we start seeing her again. Please try to refrain from doing so for a while and allow Gina some time to get back into the flow of things and contact everyone at her own pace. She is very grateful for everyone's support and is still overwhelmed by the response the reptile community has shown but lets respect her arrival home and give her time to spend with her children and family members first, then we can mob her =0)

One last thing I'd like to mention that I feel is of the utmost importance. This is the time where all of your donations (almost $10,000 to date!) will make a difference in Gina's life. Insurance only goes so far and, as you can imagine, Gina's list of needed items is both long and expensive that includes everything from contractors modifying a new home to accomidate her needs, ongoing medical expenses, providing for her 3 children, and a million other things that most of us take for granted every day. Thank God for friends like Cheri Smith that played a big part in getting various benefits for Gina that have, and will, continue to help relieve the financial burden but, there are still so many items that needs to be purchased it's almost unbelievable. This is the time where your financial support is needed the most so please keep your donations coming.

Thanks everyone, for all of your support!
Happy Herping!

DAY ONE
2-21-03

It saddens my heart to tell you that my good friend Gina Gauvin (OrnateSky), single mother of 3 (Joseph 5, Shayna 7, and Heather 18), was caught in the tragic fire at the Great White concert yesterday in Warwick, RI. Gina has received burns to more than 60% of her body and is in the hospital on a respirator for life support. Gina's brother says the next 72 hours are critical but the doctors are "hopeful" and that she is doing better today than last night.

Many of you know Gina from various internet sources where her time and knowledge has contributed greatly to helping reptile owners around the world. For years, she has taken the time out of her busy schedule to help anyone that needed it and never asked for anything in return. Her selflessness and kindness is responsible for saving the lives of countless pets with the information she provides, and the animals she rescues to rehab then adopt out to a loving home, mostly at her own expense. She has never asked for anything in return, she does it for the love of reptiles. It's rare to find people with this level of dedication and the herp community will surely miss her until she can return.

UPDATE 2-22-03

Hello this is Gina's sister Renee. Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness! We have been to the hospital again today. Monday will be the first of many surgeries. We just need to pray. They said she has a strong heart and that is a plus. She has a long road a head of her. She will be in the hospital for a long time. They said with her lungs she has 70% burns. It is usually 1 day for the percentage of burns. So thank you again from all of us!

Renee

UPDATE 2-23-03

Gina is doing well considering her condition: she is heavily sedated with a ventilator to assist her in recovery and she will be in that state for 3 weeks to 2 months to speed the healing process, she has burns over 60% of her body with 1st degree on her face and neck and 3rd and 4th degree to the rest of her burns. I know it sounds horrible but at least we have a chance to keep her with us where other families didnít, we can thank the quick response of firefighters/police/emt/common people for their quick actions.

Thanks very much
Vince Catallozzi

More info provided by Lori Stiwalt:

I was in contact with both Gina's brother, Vince, and her sister, Renee, tonight via the internet. I am passing along information that they gave me. Renee wants us to please remember Gina in the months to come, and continue to send cards to her throughout her recovery. They both are very, very appreciative of the support that everyone is giving.

I asked if I could share our conversation, and Renee said yes, but she wants everyone to know that there is much hope and that they are positive that Gina is going to recover and get past this. Gina is in a medication-induced coma, and will be for the next three weeks to possibly two months. She has not been conscious yet. Renee states that when Gina's family members are in the room, that Gina's heart rate slows, like she is calmed by them being there. She also states that the broncoscopy that was done on Gina showed that her lungs are in better shape than they at first thought. She does have burns on her face. Renee said that they are going to get to put headphones on her hopefully next week, and they are excited about that. Renee is really upbeat and wants everyone else to also have those positive thoughts. The surgery tomorrow is to have the ends of Gina's fingers amputated. They are going to have to remove from the tips to the first knuckle of each of her fingers due to severe burns. Renee credits the fast response of the first doctor that treated Gina in saving all of her fingers except the ends. Gina should have full use of her hands once she is healed. Vince states that he knows that the amputation sounds horrible, but he says that at least she is here with us when so many are not. He wants us to know we can thank the quick response of the firefighters, police, EMT's, and bystanders for her being here today. Renee said the first thing she wants to do for Gina is get her a laptop, she wants Gina to be able to get in touch with all of her friends when she is able to do so. If anyone can help with that, please let me know. We have a couple months to work on that.

I also asked about Gina's reptiles, and Vince said that he took a personal interest in making sure that the reptiles are being well cared for and are for the time being in a temporary home, until Gina is able to care for them again.

Renee again stresses for everyone to please send cards throughout the recovery process, as this does so much to let Gina know that we are thinking about her.

As I said before, both Renee and Vince are upbeat and hopeful, they want us to also be that way. The next few months will be rough, but Gina is giong to do just fine with all of our support.

UPDATE 2-24-02

From conversation with Heather: Gina did not have surgery on her fingers today, because the doctors are hoping they can save them without surgery. This is a possibility, only because of the quick initial treatment to the deep 3rd degree burns on her hands. She is having some lung problems-they were coated with paint from the building, and did collapse after 36 hrs. They were able to get a lot of the latex out, but since Gina was a smoker, her lungs will need some extra time to heal. The doctors say she is doing a bit better since the latex was removed. However, the ventilator is still helping her breath, giving her body time to heal while she's maintained on life support. Her blood pressure and other vital signs are stable. Her facial swelling has gone down by about an inch, that's encouraging. Today, she did have surgery to debride some of her burns, and she used 15 units of blood. Gina doesn't have enough healthy skin of her own, so she has had at least one skin graft so far. She has many surgeries to come. Even if you can't give any money, or be there physically for Gina, please please please go out and donate blood. You'll be helping Gina and other people in need!

UPDATE 2-26-03

From Gina's sister Denise: Gina will be going in for another surgery tomorrow(Thursday) around 2:30pm for more skin grafts on her back. As long as there are no signs of infection on her skin they will proceed but if they believe that there is an infection they will put off surgery till another day.They did not do the surgery on her fingertips yet-they are waiting to see how much or how little needs to be taken off. There is no danger of skin infection regarding her fingertips because its basically dead tissue on the tips of her fingers. She is doing much better than the doctors anticipated but they also warn that it is still to soon to tell which way she will go but the doctors as well as us are very optimistic and we feel that she is strong enough to pull thru. Their major concern right now is infection and they are keeping a very close watch on her as are we.

From Gina's daughter Heather: i saw my mother today... i can't make this e-mail long but she is going in for surgery tomorrow to do more debriing..she has a skin infection which might put off the surgery... the doctors have woken her up and made her wiggle her toes and SHE DID! they are only doing it once in a while to check nuerological stuff...i will get back to you soon ...

2-28-03

Our hearts go out to the Suffoletto family and friends. Linda Suffoletto of Glouster, RI passed away this morning at Massachusetts General Hospital.
For more info
http://www.projo.com/extra/2003/stationfire/content/projo-20030228-hospital.13f0e60b.html
http://www.legacy.com/providence/LegacySubPage2.asp?Page=GuestBook&PersonId=811755

UPDATE 3-01-03

From talking to Gina's Daughter Heather: Gina had her second surgery on 2-27 where the doctors grafted skin taken from her right leg onto her back. She is fighting a skin infection and on 2-28 she was running a fever of 103.8 but the doctors were able to bring it down (to what we don't know). Her oxygen levels on the respirator is down to 30% now, so as soon as that reaches 21% she should be taken off life support. The doctors woke her up again to check her responses and this time she was able to open her eyes and nod her head. Heather says, "she's getting stronger and stronger" and that "she's kicking butt man!". I was also told, "She has to get better so she can beat you up for forgetting a kid!"... Yep, I'm in trouble for that one!

UPDATE 3-02-03

From Gina's sister Denise: Just to let you know that I went up to see Gina today and she's doing okay. Her Physical Therapist was there and I was able to stay while she had therapy and Gina offered no resistance which means that she wasn't in alot of pain. No fever today which was also good. She is scheduled to go to surgery tomorrow for more debriding and they are also going to deal with her hands. We are going to be at the hospital while she has her surgery so we'll be there when she gets out of surgery. I told her about all the wonderful things that you are doing for her and I think that she understood because she moved her toes when I talked about you and the kids and of course the lizards. So lets all pray for the best and I'll update you tomorrow.

Added by Denise 3-03-03: They postponed Gina's surgery today because one of the other burn patients wasn't doing too good and because Gina is still critical but stable the Doctors decided that she could hold off for a couple of more days so the new day for surgery will be on Wednesday..It's good news that she's doing well but it's very nerve racking because you get into surgery mode and then it gets changed and then you have to put yourself into reserve mode. I've never prayed so much in my whole life.

UPDATE 3-07-03

From Gina's sister Denise: The skin grafts went well yesterday She did fine through surgery and after surgery I spent some time with her and read to her the cards from a girls scout troop and also a card from the pre-k at harrisville school.Her next surgery will probably be next week some time We'll keep you posted and thanks again for your continued prayers and support.

 UPDATE 3-13-03

From Gina's sister Denise: Things are okay over here. Gina Started Aggressive Burn Treatment yesterday (Wednesday). They basically give her a shower to clean her up and to remove any dead tissue. The Doctor said she opened her eyes while they were in the process of her treatment. She gave him a foggy look. But as always she is still fighting- The nurses are saying that they know that she can hear them when they talk to her because of her reactions. She sometimes moves her mouth like she's trying to say something- but she can't because of the tubes down her throat- which hopefully they will be able to remove soon. She is okay breathing on her own- once it was 24 hours- but they had to put her back on the respirator because of another surgery for debrieing.She frowns alot when they move her around.So I guess that you can say that she is keeping the nurses and doctors on their toes. They all care about her so very much.Some of the nurses go on-line to read about her. One Doctor was away for a little bit and called to check on her. They are all so very supporting. They are so quick to answer my questions( trust me I have alot of them). Sometimes I feel like I'm asking them an awful lot but they never get flustered and they patiently explain everything. They all have awesome bedside manners- I never really knew what that meant till now.

 UPDATE 3-27-03

From Gina's sister Renee: Hi Ronnie, I want to give everyone a brief update on Gina. Sunday we met with one of her doctors. She told us Gina has made improvements. This week Gina will start to become aware of her condition. Thats when we really need to be there for her. So keep those cards coming! On Friday she is scheduled for another surgery. She is still in ICU but has been updated to serious condition. In 3-4 weeks she should be going to a rehab for a few months. I'm sure by than she'll be saying get me the hell out of here! Denise and I are heading to the hospital this afternoon. I'll keep in touch. I would like to thank ALL of you for your support! :-)

 UPDATE 3-31-03

From Gina's sister Renee: Gina is giving the nurses a hard time! :-) She had another surrey on Friday and is making progress. I saw her again yesterday. She gets frustrated because she wants to talk. (Not a Surprise) Sound isn't coming out yet because her throat is sore. I tried to understand her and I think she said-her feet were cold and she wants coffee. I told her about the OrnateSky Fund. Also that she now has 27 babies! We are meeting with her doctor this afternoon and I will give you another up date. Thank ALL of you so much for your generosity and mots importantly your time and prayers.

  UPDATE 4-09-03

From Gina's sister Denise: Gina is doing better today, she ate some ice cream and she keeps looking at all the pictures that are there. When I go back up I will finish reading her the pages that I printed from the guest book. She likes to hear them. She sat in front of the window today and looked outside for a little while. She keeps getting a little better as each day passes by. Can't wait for her to be home. Hopefully in time for my wedding :-)

  UPDATE 4-23-03

From Gina's sister Renee: Gina is amazing. She knows what has happened to her and is grateful to be a live! She still has more surgeries a head. Gina remains in ICU where she has been for over two months. She has been heavily sedated and unable to speak until recently. Goes to the spray room or as Gina calls it" the Kitchen " :-) almost daily to have her injuries cleaned and fresh bandages. She still has a tracheotomy but SHE CAN TALK... That shouldn't be a surprise for anyone. We are so proud of her strength. Soon Gina will be transferred to a Rehab Hospital. Gina's return home for many reason will be a long, strenuous readjustment to daily life. We are not sure if Gina's apartment will be adequate for her.

Easter Sunday Gina's daughter was finally was able to see her Mom. They were both a little scared at first. But, it didn't take long to see how happy they were to be together. Shayn's main concerns were can my Mom still tickle and hug me!

Just 2 months ago we weren't sure if she was gonna survive. And to talk to her now is unbelievable. Her attitude is so positive. She said she never realized how many people cared about her.

Thank you for all your support and prayers. Please continue to keep her in you thoughts and prayers.

UPDATE 4-30-03

From Gina's sister Renee: I just got home from visiting Gina. She said it was OK to tell all. So if you would please add this update.

First I would like to express my sincere thank you to all for your support regarding my sister Gina. I just got home from visiting Gina at the hospital. She is going to Rehab tomorrow morning! The address is

Rehabilitation Hospital of Rhode Island
116 Eddie Dowling Highway
No. Smithfield, RI 02895-0924

Today I read to Gina the beginning of the Ornate Sky Fund. For that we owe a Great Big Thank you to Ronnie! Gina has come a long way since February 20, 2003. It has been a long road and she still has far to go. I have not mentioned the extent of her injuries out of respect for her privacy. Gina told me that it was OK to let her friends know. She received burns over 70% of her body. Unfortunately Gina lost her left arm bellow her elbow, all the fingers on her right hand were partially amputated. But still has the same smile. And hasn't lost her sense of humor. Gina remembers what happened the night of the tragedy. That is something I'll let her share with you. Gina did say she had on clean underwear! She said "she doesn't have a hand but, SHE'S ALIVE!" Gina is a talented artist and we know she'll find a way to express her art. Still Gina's attitude is very positive.

Tomorrow will be a new beginning for Gina. I know she missies all of her friends. Both human and reptile. Gina wants everyone to know that She'll Be Back! We are so proud to say that Gina is part of our Family.

Thank you again,
Renee :-)

 UPDATE 5-05-03

From Gina's sister Renee: Gina is doing great in rehab! They are working her real hard. Gina with help walked 10 feet the other day! She is tired and gets real frustrated with people doing things for her. So I know that will make her get out even faster. She rolls her eyes when the therapist and nurses are helping. Gina said she knows she could do it the right way! Her attitude remains very positive. She'll be running that place before long. I know she can't wait to get back on-line. She misses all of you. We are working on getting her a computer for the rehab. Were just not sure what she needs. She should be out by the end of June. We all know she can't wait that long to get back on-line!

  UPDATE 6-06-03

From Gina's sister Renee: Gina is doing great. Its hard to believe the progress she is making. Less than 4 months ago she only had a 20% chance of survival. Gina now is walking around the rehab and walking the stairs in the gym with just a little help. She is able to ride the bike fast enough to keep it on. She also put on her own shirt and pants. The staff is wonderful. They said she is willing to try anything. Gina will be there for about another 8-10 weeks. Unless they kick her out sooner. :-) She makes everyone cry when they see her paintings. They are beautiful! She has received so many cards from all over. It always makes her smile. She can't believe how we now know her on-line friends.

Gina misses being home with her children as well as talking to all of you. She'll be back soon. Thank you for all your support. Here is a little something Gina would be proud of. Shayna had field day and pointed out the Bearded Dragons! People were impressed with her knowledge about them!

 

*** Note from Gina's friend Ronnie ***
6-17-03

I received a very short email from Gina herself. She got her first break from the rehab hospital and was allowed to go home to visit her family for the day! It shouldn't be much longer before she's back online with us all!