December 24th was the five month anniversary of Sam’s injuries. Five months of disbelief, anger, sadness, relief, prayer and many small miracles.
For the first time in five months of blogging about Sam and Erin, I’ve included a picture of Sam in the hospital. There are different reasons why I haven’t included any pictures up to this point and it’s probably best not to go into them.
For those of you who have been following Sam’s progress, and for all of the wonderful charitable organizations who have helped Sam and Erin and our extended families—I wanted to share with you the ongoing miracle that is Sam and Erin. I say “Sam and Erin” because I really don’t know where Sam would be without his loving wife.
The “miracle” starts with a young Marine who went off to war. As with all wars, the unspeakable happened. Erin received a phone call from an officer at Camp Pendelton saying Sam was severely injured and they needed her to fly to Germany right away to be with him. At the hospital in Germany Erin was told that Sam would most likely not live and that he was in a coma. If he did come out of the coma, the doctors told Erin that Sam would remain unresponsive for the rest of his life. Erin was then asked to sign a DNR form, which she refused.
Sam was in a coma for two months at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. Erin didn’t listen to the prognosis of the neurologist which mirrored what she was told in Germany. Erin took up the battle cry, “faith before fact!”.
Where is Sam now? Physically, he is at the VA hospital Polytrauma Center in Palo Alto California. If you were to walk into his room, he probably wouldn’t look at you and may not even acknowledge your presence. He is still partly in that dark fog that is traumatic brain injury (TBI) and it still takes much willpower for him to even answer a question with basic sign language.
But—take another look at that picture. When Erin is in the room with Sam, there is a connection the two of them share that goes way beyond the explainable. When she comes right up to him in his face, there is an electricity that occurs. He becomes focused and you can feel and see the unspoken communication they share—some sort of cosmic connectivity. And every time I see this phenomenon, I get a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. Love in it’s purest form?
When Erin knocked on the door to Sam’s room the other day after she stepped out for a few minutes, I witnessed the most incredible smile on Sam’s face—it just melted my heart and I saw the Sam I have always known!
Sam is with us, he is still partly in the fog of brain injury, but he is fighting back. He said his first word last week. He held his head up by himself in the gym for about 45 minutes today. He is coming back to us.
Merry Christmas (we celebrated it today) and we are looking forward to more miracles in the coming year. Thank you all for your prayers and support.