Help Sheila Recover from Meningitis

On the morning of Thursday, February 22, Sheila Cooper woke up with excrutiating pain from what she thought was an ear infection.  She called & asked her daughter to drive her to nearby Culpeper Memorial Hospital.  A couple hours later after arriving at the emergency room, her condition had signficantly deteriorated and she was fighting to survive bacterial meningitis.

A CT scan administered in the Culpeper emergency room revealed she indeed had a massive ear infection.  In addition to the excrutiating pain, Sheila began hallucinating, screaming & resisting medical treatment.  Her cognitive skills had vastly deminished and it had become evident that her condition had taken a turn for the worse. 

Recognizing the decline in her condition, she was sedated, intubated & flown immediately to INOVA FAIRFAX HOSPITAL in Fairfax, Virginia to receive urgent, advanced treatment & diagnosis from the ear/nose/throat team in Fairfax.

Upon arriving at INOVA, she exhibited an even greater level of instability.  She received several tests including an MRI which found the cause of the drastic decline in her condition to be that the infection from her ear had gone through her bone and into her brain cavity causing swelling & the onset of meningitis.  

Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes (meninges) around the brain & spinal cord. The swelling from meningitis usually triggers symptoms such as headache, fever and a stiff neck. Most cases of meningitis are caused by a viral infection, but bacterial infections are also (in worse cases) possible.  Symptoms can come on suddenly and progress very quickly, causing devastating effects including a wide range of problems, including cognitive issues, seizures - even death.

Unfortunately, in Sheila's case - after having a spinal tap performed - it was determined that she had  bacterial meningitis (the more dangerous variety of meningitis).

Currently, Sheila is fighting to recover in INOVA FAIRFAX ICU. 

She is receiving strong antibiotics to counter the infection and is being kept sedated.  She is on a breathing machine until the infection has been erradicated & she is strong enough to breathe on her own.  Her white blood cell count is decreasing, her color is getting better and the swelling of her head, arms and legs has gone way down. 

Doctors are beginning to decrease her sedation.  They believe that she will be able to have the breathing tube removed in the next few days.  They have drilled a hole to help the fluid from her head drain more effectively and she continues to improve.

While we don't know exactly how long it will be before Sheila can come home - or when she might be back to normal, we do know that she will be unable to work for some time and her husband also will be unable to work so that he can stay by her side & help her recover.  Between the mounting medical bills (no health insurance), the inability to work (for both her AND her husband) - it is clear Sheila & her family will need our help to pay some immediate bills, purchase medications and other expenses related to her long road to recovery.  

Let's help Sheila get back to where she used to be as quickly as possible ... a vibrant, healthy mother of two beautiful children ... a devoted wife to her husband Trevor Cooper ... and a beloved friend to many in our community.
If you can contribute anything to this recovery fund, it would be so very sincerely appreciated.  No amount is too small - and if you cannot donate for whatever reason, even sharing this link on your Facebook or Twitter account will go a long way to helping.

Frequent updates will be posted here. 

Thank you each & every person who has prayed for Sheila and wished her well.  God bless.


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Organizer and beneficiary

Gordon Humphrey 
Culpeper, VA
Sheila Cooper 
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