Sam’s medical status:
No physical therapy for Sam on Sundays. All other days of the week the therapist come in and work with Sam. Of course, Dr. Erin is there to take up the slack and makes sure she puts Sam through his paces keeping him limber.
Erin said Sam is now lifting up his arms up by himself. The last time I mentioned his arm movement a few days ago, he was only able to lift his forearms. He was able to lift both right and left arms, but his left hand and fingers are still having trouble keeping with the the progress of his right hand and fingers.
When Erin was working Sam’s legs on Sunday, he kept trying to sit himself up more in a upright position using his shoulders and abdominal muscles to help himself up.
Sam was given a sedative Saturday night around 9:00 PM and that made him sleep all through the night. He woke up around 9:00 AM the next morning which is perfect for Erin who usually arrives at that time. He took a long nap from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM and was wide awake again when we talked to Erin around 7:00 PM Sunday. Hopefully with a few more days like that, he will be back on a regular sleeping schedule and will be awake more for visitors.
Sam’s eyes are continuing to become more active. On Monday Erin said his eyes were more responsive and equal. She also noticed he was starting to move his eyes up and down versus from side to side. She said he kept looking up and down through the day, sort of like he just figured out he could do it, “hey, I can move my eyes up and down!”. Sam kept mouthing words to Erin much of the day. She thought he was mouthing the words “I love you!”. I’m sure he was…what else would he be telling her!
Putting words into action: Last week I was Googling links associated with the Palo Alto VA Hospital and came across the link for the Blue Star Riders. As I read through their web site, I felt proud and humbled by who they are and what they do. Here is a quote from their “information” link:
“The Blue Star is a symbol that represents those who serve in the Armed Forces and are defending our country, the United States of America.
We chose the name “Blue Star Riders” to express our support for those brave men and women who are serving today in Iraq and Afghanistan.
While we have unwavering respect for our troops serving in harms way, we have chosen to ride primarily for our wounded heroes. They really have no one to honor them exclusively, to express to them America’s gratitude for their sacrifice to our great country. We honor not only those heroes wounded in today’s war but those injured in all wars”
Wow—It’s so easy to say you support the troops or support this or that cause, but it’s another thing to put your words into action. The men and women of the Blue Star Riders are doing an incredible service to our wounded troops.
As I was looking through the photo section of the Blue Star Riders web site, something occurred to me—we all know Sam is so lucky to have a dedicated wife sitting by his side holding his hand and loving him and urging him back to health. I would bet my life that one of the biggest reasons Sam has come so far so fast is because Erin has been by his side the whole time. But, not all of those wounded Marines and Soldiers have a wife, or even a wife that can quit her job or leave their children for a long period of time and be with them constantly. How much more difficult it must be for those soldiers and marines to be in a hospital by themselves with only an occasional visit from a family member or friend.
To the members of the Blue Star Riders: you have my gratitude and utmost respect. I hope to meet some of you in Palo Alto soon. And to the rest of you supporting Sam—if you see a Blue Star Rider when you visit Sam in Palo Alto, thank them for what they do.
And by the way—you don’t have to ride a motorcycle to be a member of the Blue Star Riders. You must only be willing to give your time and support to their mission statement:
- To honor those who have been wounded during a time of war. To support the Armed Forces of the United States of America, their families, and it’s veteran warriors.
- To assist and participate in ceremonies which honor ALL our fallen and wounded warriors, including our nation veteran warriors.
- To uphold the American principles of freedom, justice and equal rights for ALL.