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Aimee Copeland agrees to painkillers following skin graft surgery despite previous refusal

5:50 AM, Jun 19, 2012   |    comments
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(CBS News) Aimee Copeland's pain has been so severe as she recovers from a flesh-eating infection that she is now taking painkillers despite her beliefs against it, her father said Sunday

Initially Copeland had refused medication during dressing changes for her skin grafts because of her "personal convictions." She has been battling against necrotizing fasciitis since a May 1 zipline accident. The 24-year-old's masters' thesis at the University of West Georgia focused on using holistic treatments and meditation to treat pain.

But in a Father's Day blog post from Andy Copeland, who has been tracking his daughter's progress for the public, he said a surgery Aimee needed on Friday caused pain far more severe than any dressing change. The pain was so bad that even if Aimee had refused, doctors would have administered the pain relievers - such as Morphine - in an intravenous drip. Fortunately, Aimee did not say no.

"Please believe me when I say that Aimee's refusal to use pain medication has ceased following her most recent surgery," Andy Copeland wrote. "She is now requesting it ahead of schedule."

Andy said his daughter's pain previously had been focused on her amputation sites - a wound on her left side and her right thigh - which had been used as a skin donor site for skin grafts, procedures which take skin from another area of the body to transplant it over a wound. In her latest surgery, doctors were forced to take muscle from Aimee's abdomen to create a flap over the iliac artery in her groin for a skin graft. The procedure resulted in major pain in both those areas so severe that she cries from it.

"She says that she feels like a patchwork quilt, because her body is a collection of skin grafts and bandages," he wrote. "If I could take that pain away from her I would do it in a heartbeat... If she needs anymore 'muscle flaps,' I am going to demand that they take it from me. I so much want her to move past this stage of her illness."

Aimee has also had trouble keeping solid foods down, and the vomiting causes her even more pain.

"Amazingly, although she is suffering immensely, Aimee's presence of mind is sharp," Andy wrote. He said his daughter despite all her pain wished him a Happy Father's Day and he had to resist the urge to hug her because he didn't want to cause her more pain.

"To all those other fathers out there, hug your children and savor them," Andy Copeland wrote. "Help them to grow into fine examples of humanity for everyone around them."

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