This past Saturday, myself, my wife Julie, and our other daughter Allison, spent the day with Sam and Erin. We continue to see improvements in Sam’s condition so it is always reassuring when we get a chance to be with them in Palo Alto. But—the visit also seem to take a lot out of me.
We arrived at the VA hospital around noon so we spent some time with Sam and then took Erin out to lunch. It’s a little more difficult to be around Sam in the afternoon because he tends to be less animated and responsive. In the morning he gets a lot of attention from the various therapist, doctors and nurses and is pretty worn out in the afternoon. I have to keep reminding myself that Sam is improving on God’s time and not mine.
But—being the father of the little girl who sits by Sam’s side every day and cheers him on, I get so overwhelmed with emotion and thoughts. Why did he go back to Iraq? Why was he in the vehicle that got hit? Why did he get injured so badly? Why isn’t he improving more quickly? Does Sam have the willpower and strength to persevere and continue to improve? Is Erin ok? Does she have the strength and faith needed to carry this burden? After a while, I have to just stop asking the questions.
I walked out of Sam’s room into the hallway to gather my thoughts. A few tough looking “vets” in hospital garb passed me by in the hallway. Both looked to be around 18-19 years old. One of them was pushing the other who was in a wheel chair. Both of his legs were amputated at the knees. O God…
This morning I got up early and took a walk at a local park near my house. There is something about walking early in the morning that enables me really get in touch with God. I watched the sun slowly lift up over the Sierra Nevada mountains. The clouds began to take shape and change into brilliant shades of red and orange. I watched the colors change minute by minute as the sun rose through the trees. A new day is dawning—God is alive! It reminded me of the recessional song we sing in church during the Easter season every year.
“Sing your joy, proclaim God’s glory! Rise and sing, the morning has come! Bless our God and praise all creation; Song of the earth, and light from heaven: God is alive! Alleluia!”
Sam’s medical Status:
Friday October 26th, 2007: The suture that was left in Sam’s trachea after removing the trach tube was removed today. When the evening nurse came in, she asked Sam what was the worst part of the operation. She asked if it was removing the suture (and he signed no) then she asked if it was being anesthetized, she he signed “yes”. Earlier Erin asked him what part of the Ellen show he likes best. She asked if he liked the dancing at the beginning of the show, and he signed “no” (two fingers). She then asked him if he liked the jokes the best and he signed “yes”, or one finger. I wanted to write all of that information down to let everyone know how much he is communicating with us, even though he isn’t actually talking.
Saturday October 27th, 2007: We spent the day with Sam and Erin. It’s interesting how I get daily updates from Erin on Sam’s progress and feel so close to the situation but being there and experiencing Sam in person is very different.
Sunday October 28th, 2007: Big visit from Kelley’s family today. Grandma was happy to see Sam for the first time since his injury and she was pleased with his progress.