Sam’s medical status: My sister Joy is staying with Sam and Erin for a week. I called her on Wednesday to get her opinion on Sam after spending a few days with him. It’s interesting to get other peoples take on Sam since there is so much emotion involved—it’s hard to know what is reality and what is hope sometimes when we see a finger move or any eyebrow raise after saying his name.
Joy had some wonderful insight about Sam and how he is reacting to various stimuli. I’ve mentioned in the past that we occasionally see small movements from Sam, like opening his eyes, blinking and a little hand movement—but Joy is even seeing more than what I observed when I was there last week. We also talked to Erin on the phone and she confirmed what Joy is saying.
Sam’s head is normally leaning a little to his left but Joy noticed that when Erin is on his right, even with his eyes closed, Joy noticed that his eyes are trying to follow Erin’s voice. When his eyes are open she can also see that they are tracking to follow Erin—it’s real slight and slow going, but it’s happening. Joy also noticed that Sam shows frustration in his face when he is uncomfortable and needs some assistance like suctioning out his mouth (he’ll blow bubbles when suction is needed). He’s also coughing a lot more on his own which means they don’t have to push the suction tube down his trach tube as far (which makes him gag) when they want to get gunk out of his lungs.
When Joy was massaging Sam’s feet, she noticed he was pushing back a little with his toes. I was massaging his feet last week and never noticed any movement. So—there are little things he is doing to communicate in the limited way he can. Erin also got quite a surprise when Sam actually squeezed her hand once on Wednesday!
It’s interesting that although Sam is still in a coma, there are actually times when he’s more awake (for lack of a better word for a person in a coma) and times when he is more in a regular sleeping state. When he is more “awake” his eyes will occasionally be open and he will blink.
A small butterfly flaps it’s wings: There is a theory called The Butterfly Effect that basically goes like this – A butterfly flapping it’s wings in one part of the world could cause a tornado in a completely different part of the world. I don’t know if this is good science or not, but I think it’s a good metaphor for the every day things that we do that may seem insignificant to us, but may have a life changing effect on someone else’s life.
In our American culture we are constantly bombarded with “bigger, better, faster, younger, slimmer, etc.” to the point where we can get brainwashed into thinking that we are insignificant and the things we do as individuals won’t really count for much.
My daughter sits quietly and faithfully in the hospital every day—speaking to Sam, massaging his limbs, sometimes fasting, but always praying for his complete recovery. This is all very natural for her and she doesn’t quite understand the comments people make in this blog about her being special and is a little embarrassed about the attention she is getting. Erin said she’s just doing what any wife would do in her situation. In the mean time, people who come in contact with Sam and Erin are touched by their love for each other, Erin’s faithfulness as a wife, her courage as a caregiver and her strength and determination as a witness to the power of love.
I’ve heard wonderful stories of people (after reading about Sam and Erin in this blog) giving donations to the wonderful charities listed in the blogroll…I’ve heard of folks adopting servicemen who are deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, and I even heard of a gentleman who said Erin and Sam’s story changed his life around. I’m sure there are many other stories of people who have been touched in a positive way by Sam’s journey to recovery.
What is the message in all of this? Stop trying to be the fastest or greatest or biggest. Simple and ordinary acts of prayer, love and faith in God’s healing power that seem like the flap of a butterfly’s wing have the potential to move mountains and to create miracles in our lives or the lives of others. Be grateful—for the ability to get out of bed in the morning, the ability to walk up a flight of stairs, for the ability to go to work everyday, for the ability to use our lives to spread kindness and love to others…for the gift of life!
We are God’s work of art, created in Christ Jesus for the good works which God has already designated to make up our way of life.
Ephesians 2:10 (NJB)
Family Travel News: Julie (Erin’s mother) and Eric (Sam’s father) will both be flying into Bethesda Friday September 7th to spend time with Sam and Erin.