A way to say thank you to our military: Have you ever been in an airport or just walking down the street and seen one of our military men or women in uniform and wanted to thank them for their service to our country? Most of us have the little magnetic “support our troops” ribbon on our car which is nice—but it would sure be great to thank them in a more personal way. If you’re like me, you see them walk by and you hesitate and think, “no, they’ll think I’m crazy” or you just chicken out and then it’s too late.
There is a way to thank our troops…check out the Gratitude Campaign site. Whatever your opinion is on the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, keep in mind that the men and women in our military today volunteered to serve our country. They volunteered knowing they’re lives would be put in great danger. They have more or less written a blank check to our government saying, “this is my life, use it as you wish”.
New Beginnings: Erin told us on the phone yesterday that the sermon at her church in Palo Alto and also the sermon in Eric’s (Sam’s father) church were both about new beginnings. That seems appropriate and very comforting because in mid February, Sam will be moved to a non VA TBI (traumatic brain injury) facility.
We don’t have very many details yet, but we hope he will be moved to the Rehabilitation Research Center at Santa Clara Valley Med Center in San Jose which is about 30 minutes closer to Sacramento. What is really interesting and exciting is that this facility basically wrote the book on TBI rehab. According to their web page their nurses are rehab nurses, whereas the Polytrauma center at the VA hospital in Palo Alto only has a few rehab trained nurses.
You can find out more at their web site: www.scvmed.org. Click on the “rehabilitation center” icon at the bottom of the homepage. There is also a nice video introduction to the brain injury rehabilitation center that can be accessed from their “Highlights” icon on the right side of the page, or click on this link.
Sam’s medical status: Sam made some nice progress this past week. His finger dexterity has been improving lately, especially his index, ring finger and thumb which are the most important for picking up and letting go objects.
The speech therapist has been working on getting Sam to swallow (I’m assuming in preparation for drinking and eating through his mouth again). She was having him swallow and then cough in sequence but yesterday during their session, he changed things around a little and coughed and then stuck his tongue out at her instead.
This week in the therapy gym, Sam has been using the “standing frame” which is basically a chair that he gets strapped into that lifts him up into a standing position. It’s not a walker, but a device that prepares Sam to eventually be able to stand on his own.
Erin told us that lately Sam has been trying so hard to speak to her. She asked him this week if he was trying to say “I love you” and with a very pained look on his face, he signed “yes”. Can you imagine not being able to say those words? We take so many things for granted.
Erin has been taking off the side railing to Sam’s bed lately and laying down next to him. She said he really likes it when they can take a nap together. Yesterday he fell asleep with his head on her shoulder.