Circle of Friends for American Veterans

November 15, 2007

Here is a startling statistic—one in four homeless people in the United States is a veteran.  Even more startling is that veterans make up only 11 percent of the general adult population. 

Many of these homeless veterans are from the Vietnam Era but the Veterans Affairs Department estimates that there are at least 1,500 homeless veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. 

This is only the beginning.  With no end in sight to our envolvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, less time between deployments and multiple deployments (some active duty troops are on their third and fourth deployments!), our veterans hospitals are being overwhelmed by veterans with PTSD.

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What we need to do is “PUT VETERANS FIRST”.  There is an organization dedicated to this very noble cause.  They are the Circle of Friends for American Veterans (COFAV).  This organization is dedicated to raising awareness about veterans issues, particularly homeless veterans, by influencing public opinion to shape public policy.  Since 1993, COFAV has worked with veterans and homeless groups, policymakers at the local, state and national levels, foundations and corporate partners, as well as individual supporters to address the plight of veterans left homeless and secure the help they need.   Please take a few moments to look through the COFAV web site.  I have a link to their web site in this blog under the heading “Veteran Support Groups”.

Medevac Units in Iraq race against time:  I read a very interesting article from NPR (the first in a three part series) on the incredible medevac system that is in place in Iraq.  A soldier or Marine severely injured in a firefight or by an IED can be in a fully equipped trauma surgery hospital in Baghdad in less than 30 minutes from the time of their injuries.  Click here to read the full story…

Sam’s medical status:

Tuesday November 13, 2007:  Sam has a urinary tract infection and fever to go along with it.  He’s taking antibiotics and Erin said he should be fine in a couple of days. 

The speech therapist, Debbie, has been working with a “communications board” that has various pictures for things like, hot, cold, in pain, I love you, need sleep.  She gave Sam a series of 10 questions to test his comprehension and ability to respond, like Do you have a sister?, is your name Sam, etc.  Sam got 9 out of 10 right.  In the past he was getting something like 5 or 6 questions right. 

Marge, the massage therapist will be doing acupressure and Jin Shin Jyutsu on Sam.  I think Erin might also get a massage tomorrow too!

Thursday November 15th, 2007:  Sam still has the low grade fever.  He’s sweating a lot and Erin thinks it’s partly because of the new bed.

The internal medicine doctor will be talking to Erin today about Sam’s left arm.  Since taking the Botox treatments last week, his right hand and forearm have loosened up but his left bicep is still very tight. 

Sam’s backside is looking better since taking the pulse-lavage treatments.  The wound care nurse should be coming in today to make the decision on whether or not they will be able to start wound-vac treatment next week.  Once the wound-vac treatments are completed, Sam will be able to sit in a wheelchair and will also be able to participate in many other types of physical therapy.

The therapy dog came into visit Sam today.  He is a black lab and his owner is a former patient at the VA hospital.  The dog’s name is Calvin.  Erin said the owner tells Calvin, “up”, and he puts his paws up on the edge of the bed.  Sam didn’t pet him, but he was very interested in touching Calvin’s nose. 

Erin’s been reading the bible to Sam a lot lately.  When she came in this morning, she asked Sam if he wanted to watch TV or listen to Erin read the bible…he indicated to her that he preferred to hear her read the bible.  Erin said it also seems to put him in a better mood.

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