A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a lady named Debbie from Bayside Church in Granite Bay, Ca. asking me about Erin. Another friend of Debbie’s told her that Erin was from Citrus Heights and had a husband who was injured in Iraq. Deb, who is the military outreach coordinator at Bayside Church was looking for some way to help Erin this Christmas. She was also told about a Marine in Palo Alto who was severely injured and was looking to help him out. As it turns out, the two people from Citrus Heights were none other than Sam and Erin. That is the first coincidence.
Deb’s friend who was visiting troops at the VA hospital in Palo Alto told her that Erin’s wish for Christmas was to have her and Sam’s family spend Christmas with them in Palo Alto. Deb set out to see if she could raise the funds for hotel vouchers for our families. While she was on the phone explaining Erin’s Christmas wish to someone (here’s the second coincidence), she had a gentleman named George Marsh on the other line. George happens to be the Commandant of the Sacramento Marine Corps Veterans Association. George heard Deb’s side of the conversation with her other party and after she got back on the phone with him, he told her his organization was looking to help out someone just like Erin and Sam. A few weeks later, Erin had her Christmas wish granted! The Sacramento Marine Corps Veterans Association is going to pay the hotel cost for our family (Erin and Sam’s) to spend Christmas with them in Palo Alto!
I have to tell you that it’s actually pretty difficult for charitable organizations to reach out to help wounded warriors and their families in need. There are various legal and privacy issues involved that are in place to help shield wounded warriors from scams and crack-pots. These same safety barriers make it difficult for charities to find the wounded warriors that need help the most! So I am doubly grateful to Deb, Bayside Church and the Sacramento Marine Corps Veterans Association for not only the wonderful Christmas gift, but also for taking the time and effort to see it through. I am very humbled by the generosity exhibited by these wonderful people.
Sam’s medical status:
Friday December 7th, 2007: Dr. Erin has been working hard the last couple of days. She went out and bought a magnetic board and letter set on the hunch that it would be easier for Sam to spell words versus using the alphabet board the VA therapist are using. Erin said Sam has been using it the last few days and it is much easier for him to use because the alphabet board requires him to point and press his finger on each letter which is harder for him to manipulate.
Erin also discovered why Sam has been having the sweats and his temperature has been going up in the afternoon. It turns out Sam has been having migraine headaches. She asked him on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the worst) how bad his headache was and he indicated it was a 4. Erin is getting Sam pain meds and also closing the window blinds and shutting off the lights for him when the headaches occur.
Wednesday December 5th, 2007: Sam took his first wheel chair ride today! He was only scheduled to be in it for 15 minutes so they could make minor fitting adjustments for him, but it ended up being 45 minutes. The wheelchair has a head support and well has recline and tilt features to compensate for the patients limitations.
While Sam was in the wheelchair, Erin took him on a short tour of the hospital. They visited the day/lunch room where Erin told Sam he will eventually be eating when he is able to chew food. They also went down to the gym and worked with all three of Sam’s therapist. Before, during and after the ride, Sam’s blood pressure was monitored to ensure he was handling the upright position. Keep in mind that Sam has been on his back for a little over four months, and the body needs to adjust to being vertical. Erin went out and bought Sam some running shoes and warm up outfit for his rides—he’s been in a hospital gown for four months!
When I called Erin today, her and Sam were watching a DVD on a new 19″ LDC color TV that was just donated to them by Lore Weisman of the Marine Corps League. She said Sam was really enjoying the up-close viewing of the movie.
Erin said Sam is now on a scheduled “nap-time” between noon and 1:30 PM every day after all his therapies and lunch (still on a feeding tube). This will hopefully help keep him awake more in the afternoon. It will also be easier for Erin to run out and take a lunch break. Erin also had lunch with a lady from the local church she’s been attended recently (Peninsula Bible Church).
There is going to be a Christmas party at the polytrauma spinal chord injury day room on the 13th of this month and Erin asked Sam if he would take her to the party—he said yes!