A Vietnam Veteran Resists Temptation

The two irresistible temptresses:  I wanted to share Erin’s comments that she left on the blog a few days ago after meeting a Vietnam Veteran at the Palo Alto VA hospital:

Yesterday I was reminded that God does know what He’s doing, even when we’re not so sure.

I was sitting outside reading when a spinal cord injury patient, Rusty, an Air Force veteran from the Vietnam War rolled over to chat. I asked him what he was in for, and he regaled me with the tale of his injury. Rusty lived in San Francisco in the late sixties and early seventies, 2 blocks from Haight and Ashbury. A fella could get into a lot of trouble in that time, at that place; and he did. I’ll spare you the details, which he didn’t spare me, but for the last 11 years Rusty has been clean and sober and running a “clean-house” in Hawaii.

Rusty divulged that his biggest weakness is a beautiful woman, and such a woman showed up one day with heroin and was willing to share. Against his better judgement, but faced with two irresistible temptresses, he was ready to throw away 11 years of sobriety. The needle was primed, and he was ready when he heard a siren. In retrospect he says he should have just flushed the heroin and stayed calm, but the adrenaline rush of what he was about to do had a firm grip on his mind, and he bolted. He lived right on the water and as he aimed to run down the beach, he fell four feet off an embankment. He awoke the next day in the hospital with no feeling in the left side of his body.

When he finished his story, clearly embarrassed, but still a little proud of what he knew to be an interesting story, I asked him to clarify something for me. “So if I understand the timeline correctly, you’re still clean right?” He answered, a little relieved, “Yeah, I guess I am.”

God is good; even when we can’t see it.

Erin Nichols

Sam’s medical status: 

Monday December 10th, 2007:  Back in the gym again today.  Erin said Sam’s neck is getting stronger since he’s having to be more upright, so he’s holding his neck up more and not needing the wheelchair’s neck brace as much. 

Sam was prescribed Oxycodone for the headaches he’s been having in the afternoon.  Erin thinks the biggest contributor to the headaches is the afternoon light coming in his window, plus the overhead florescent lights.  He’s been on Oxycodone for three days and Erin said his headaches go from about a 3 on a scale of 1 to 5 to a 1 after about an hour when he takes the drug, so it’s really been a great help to him. 

Sunday December 9th, 2007:  Erin came back from Church this morning to find that Sam was taken to the gym for therapy. When she got there she found him fast asleep.  The therapist said he did manage to spin the stationary “arm” bike by himself for a while before his nap. 

Saturday December 8th, 2007:  Sam did the arm bike today in the gym.  The bike does have a motor to assist the patient, and he was also strapped into the bike so he wouldn’t fall.  He was able to spin the bike a little on his own with his right arm.  Sam told Erin he felt stronger after the therapy session.  He was in the wheelchair for 1/2 hour today.  They’ll extend this to a longer period once he gets more accustom used to being upright.


One Response to A Vietnam Veteran Resists Temptation

  1. Uncle David says:

    Hey Sam & Erin, I get on to the web site to find out how you are doing. I may have missed something. Has the VA hospital gone as far as they can with treatment? Is that why Sam going to a new facility? Sam you are doing so good. Keep up the good work. You have a great partner in Erin to help you. Lots of LOVE to you both.
    Uncle David

    P.S. Tony , Thank you for this blog.

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