Brain Injury Association of America Caregivers Conference

BIAA_caregivers conference logo I received a very nice email from Anna with the Wounded Warriors Project. Her organization is sponsoring a small number of caregivers to attend the Brain Injury Association of America’s Caregiver’s Conference held in Dallas Texas June 6~8. They are going to pay for Erin’s trip (registration, travel and lodging). The conference is a great opportunity for family caregivers to take part in discussions about the issues of caring and supporting someone with a brain injury and also gives them a chance to meet and network with other caregivers.

Prayers for Air Force Families: I’d like to ask for prayers for some other military families. My brother-in-law is an Air Force Reserve pilot instructor stationed at Columbus AFB Mississippi. On Wednesday one of the other flight instructors along with his trainee were both killed while taking off in a T-38 Talon trainer. The student was 25 years old and has a wife who is 28 weeks pregnant. The instructor has a wife and a two year old son and a six month old girl. Both families need lots of prayers in dealing with their loss. You can read more about the accident at this link to the Air Force Times.

From Sam’s Dad, Eric after his visit on the 25th:

What an incredible privilege it is to visit and hang out with Sam and Erin…to be in the very presence of the Holy Spirit who is working constantly on Sam’s and Erin’s behalf. You have to come away from there not wanting the cheer and great vibes that are given off by these two. This is just not measured by Sam’s progress, but also by the peace and contentment that is displayed by Erin…She is excited by his achievements and encouraged by his efforts to practice all that is becoming available to him…Please take a close look at the pictures and notice the exchange by these two…Neither let a little thing like a wheelchair nor a brain injury come between their almost electric like conductivity…they exchange more love than most healthy couples that I know…

Erin bought some walkie-talkies this week and has been challenging Sam’s coordination (using the switches) and using his words vocally at the same time…She’ll talk to him and ask for responses and “checks” on him to ensure he is using them correctly…All I can say is, “Creative and Brilliant”…She has been doing “Mad-libs” with Sam and although silly, they are quite funny…Ask the closest 7 year old if you’re unfamiliar with them…Ha! Sam has completed an entire page of them with either him vocalizing the words or spelling them out on an alphabet board of Erin’s design…Yesterday morning he spelled out to the physical therapist that he was hungry…I see that as real progress! Ha! He asked again if I would take He and Erin home as he must be getting bored as he is becoming more cognitive…Boy does that ever tug at the old heart strings…Erin is quick to inquire if he is ready to walk out of there and it reminds him that he still has work to do. He is resigned to getting better so that he will achieve that very goal…

Sam likes to pray with Erin and I, and says he prays without us as well. He also said (in answer to Erin’s questions) that he would like to travel and tell his story to other brain injured patients, (especially other Marines and Soldiers) when he is able…He included that he would like to meet and tell his story to all those that have and are continuing to pray for him…I’m not sure what wells up faster; the Father’s pride or the tears that are produced by listening to this noble young man of immense character.

I wanted to get this update in the mail this morning as I am going to be unavailable for the next 10 days, literally running from airport to airport…busy, but missing Sam and Erin…Sam has an infection of colonized bacteria that the doctors have told Erin he may have for the rest of his life…Erin and I are in agreement that it is in error…and we intend to pray that bacteria away…won’t you please join us in that accord? We say that bacteria has no chance against the healing power of God brought about by the prayers of the many…(and that is YOU!!!) Thank you and God Bless….
Much love,

P.S. Notice the “thumbs up” Sam is flashing in the pic [FLICKR Photo]…and in one Sam is “tickling” Erin’s cheek…

sam tickling erin_4_25_08_kentfieldSam’s medical status:

4/22/2008 – Erin likes to play a game with Sam’s brother Donny and his girlfriend Brandy called Mad-libs. It’s one of those games where you make up a story by each person adding words to a frame work of half sentences. I hope that makes sense. Anyway—today Erin said she was playing the game with Sam and he was adding words using the alphabet board. She said he created some pretty funny sentences (the object of the game) with worlds like “Fudruckers” the letter “O” for “something round”. He made about twenty words in the game they played today.

Sam and Erin took a field trip today back to Marin General for a CT scan. Erin thought he might be having petite-mal seizures because he occasionally goes off into a blank stare. The trip only took about 45 minutes total and then they were back at Kentfield doing Sam’s physical therapy.

4/28/2008 – Yesterday when my wife spoke with Erin, she said Sam had a fever of 103 and was being put back on antibiotics. Hopefully this won’t be as serious as the last fever he had.

An Email from Samuel Nichols: I received an email from a young man named Samuel Nichols from Ramona, CA today. He was “googling” himself and came across this blog. He took the time to write me a very nice email and wanted to share a scripture (Job 14: 7-9)

For there is hope for a tree,
If it is cut down, that it will sprout again,
And that its tender shoots will not cease.
Though its root may grow old in the earth,
And its stump may die in the ground,
Yet at the scent of water it will bud
And bring forth branches like a plant…

And this is what Sam “Kenneth” Nichols wanted to share with those of us who are praying for Sam:

These are the words of God to Sam as he lies in his bed. And also, these are what may comfort all who love him, to know that God is on Sam’s side, and that when he comes back, he will thrive as if like a new bud. Like I said… I don’t know Sgt. Samuel Nichols, but I do know Him, the everlasting, hope-giving, life-fulfilling God, and He will renew Sam back to his fullest. I am praying for you all… – Samuel Kenneth Nichols


7 Responses to Brain Injury Association of America Caregivers Conference

  1. Kris Abbruzzi says:

    Well hey there Sam, Erin & Families –

    Just stopping by to let you all know that every single day you are all in my thoughts and my prayers. I enjoy so very much to look a the pics of you Sam and Erin, there is no way in creation that anyone can look at them and not SEE love. Nope, no way. It must be an incredible feeling to actually be in their presence. Sam WILL be out there someday helping others – there’s a mighty big plan for Sam, maybe that’s it! And boy to actually meet Sam, well for me personally that would be way better than meeting the President or my favorite rock star. To shake your hand – AND Erin’s – would be such an honor for anyone who gets to do it!!

    Mad Libs!? AWESOME!! I’m so happy that my daughter who is 7 is really into those. At my age (which is young, very young HA HA HA) they are the funniest things on the planet. And what a great therapy mechanism – those puppies can take boring stuff like nouns and adverbs and make them real fun!

    Stepping up the prayers that your fever is “nothing” Sam, and that it’s gone by now. As always, thoughts, prayers, support, love and LOADS AND LOADS of Angel Hugs are coming your way every day. God bless you Sam, Erin, Nichols and Neria families – may He continue to give you the massive amounts of strength, comfort and peace that you need every day. PS what a story about the “other” Sam Nichols! Funny the people that come into your life, eh? Hugs to you all.

    – Kris, a Soldiers’ Angel from RI

  2. Kris Abbruzzi says:

    And I meant to say that my thoughts and prayers are with the precious families of the USAF trainer and student who lost their lives last week. May He hold them tight and keep them under His wing during this horrific time. I’m sure no words could make their pain cease. God bless them all.

  3. Denny in Antelope says:

    Dear Sam & Erin,
    I so look forward to these updates. I am sorry to hear about the fever. I am praying and will continue to pray that the cause, and the cure, of this fever will be discovered soon. Hang tough, you guys. I love you! -Denny

  4. I have shared this before, but when I read this from the other Sam, it reminded me of that scripture, for the words of Jesus.”I am the vine ye are the branches; he that abideth in Me and I in him, the same shell bring forth much fruit, for without Me you can do nothing.”

    Someone shared this video with me yesterday, and it actually reduced me to tears, and the awe stricken praise of God. I want to share it with you. It will be the best 8 minutes you will ever spend.

    I knew that we are made in God’s image…more that you may think…check it out.

  5. I love the letter from the other Sam; it reminds me of one of my favorite verses from Jesus; I have shared it before, “I am the vine; ye are the branches; he that abideth in Me, and I in him; the same shall bring forth much fruit; for without Me, ye can do nothing.

    I also want to share a video that someone sent to me yesterday; it will be the best 8 minutes that you will ever spend.

    We are fearfully and wonderfully made in His image!

  6. Cari Nicholson says:

    Hi Sam and Erin-
    Glad to see that Sam is back on track and doing well. Saying and mouthing words is exciting progress! You two are in my thoughts. Go Sam!
    – Cari Nicholson

  7. Dana Williams says:

    Hello, all,

    I miss you so much. All Tony’s updates are all wonderful, but this one is particularly touching.

    Tony, you always do a fantastic job of conveying not just the news, but the settings, the sounds, the sights and the context.

    Eric, I resonate along with you at hearing that Sam is asking you to take him home. Heart pang! Someday soon it will be the everyday reality, and this period of hospitalizations will be the receding past.

    Erin, as usual, you are a paragon of love, curiosity, service, learning, creativity, innovation, maturity and loyalty. It’s a privilege to know you.

    Other Sam, God bless you for checking in, and for adding your beautiful images of regrowth in prayer.

    Sgt Sam, you continue to be a lion-hearted hero. You are doing an outstanding work of recovery. I look forward until the day we can meet again. It is just like you to be thinking of the other head-injured troops and wanting to help. Just tonight at Walter Reed, Cindy and I were telling some of the wounded troops there about you and your miraculous return from the brink; about the extraordinary love of your wife and family, and the prayers you have inspired, uniting people from all across the nation and around the world who are keeping you in their hearts ever since your injury. Thank you, Sam, for being an inspiration to so many.

    Until next time, sending all of you Nichols’s and Neria’s fond greetings. God bless you profoundly.


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