Tribute to our Nation

September 21, 2007

Sam’s medical status: When I called Erin on Wednesday, Sam was in the middle of his physical therapy session.  He’s doing a really good job responding to the request of the physical therapist.  When requested, he lifted his right arm up (by himself) about eight inches.  Thursday Julie said he was lifting his arm up more by himself.  To tell you how much of an improvement that is, when I was there on Sunday, he was just starting to move his arm a little.  This was all done with his right arm.  His left arm and fingers seem to be healing at a slower pace.  He’s also starting to really get animated with his mouth—he keeps opening his mouth like he really wants to say something.  I’m sure once the tracheotomy tube is removed, he’s going to have quite a bit to say.  I can’t wait to hear his first words!

It’s so incredible the progress Sam has made in recent weeks.  I get so many emails from people in my church, Eric’s church, Greg, family, friends, Soldier’s Angels, and many others.  The miracle continues!

And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.

Matthew 8:13

Meeting the neighbors:  On Tuesday Erin and Julie met Derrick and Nichol.  Derrick is a Marine recovering at the VA hospital after an IED exploded near him while serving in Iraq in April of this year.  He was in a coma for 58 days.  Erin met them while walking down the hall.  Derrick was another one of the guys the doctor said wasn’t going to live…he still has a long road ahead, but he’s walking down the hall and doing really well for himself.  

I don’t think there is an official word on how long Sam was in a coma—as I said, there really wasn’t a moment when he just “woke up” from the coma.  But—if you count from July 24th until the doctors in Palo Alto said he was no longer considered in a coma (September 15th) that would be 55 days.  

More Blog changes:  A couple of people have asked me for Sam and Erin’s new address in Palo Alto.  I did update their address and you can get to it by clicking on the “About Sam and Erin” menu tab at the top of the blog—but, since it’s a little hidden, I’ve also included it as a “widget” on the right hand column of this site under “Sam and Erin’s address:” where it’s much easier to find.  I’ve also added a “search” widget to the site so you can search on a particular word and all the blog post with that word will appear.

One more reminder on changes to the blog—If you click on the “Palo Alto VA Hospital” menu tab next to the “About Sam & Erin” tab, you’ll be directed to a page that gives you directions and a couple of maps to the VA hospital in Palo Alto.  I talked to a couple of the people that work at the hospital and they say the directions I’ve given are the best, even though when you look at it on a map, it doesn’t seem like the most direct route.  But—I’ve been told it is the best route to miss most of the bay area traffic.  With moderate traffic, the I-80 to 680 to 280 route takes about 2 1/2 hours from Citrus Heights. 

Kilo Battery Homecoming:  The boys in Kilo Battery (Sam’s battery) are coming home in October.  Let’s continue to pray for their safe return.  I’d like to dedicate the video in at the end of this post to the guys in Kilo.  You are the keepers of the flame that stand for liberty and freedom and for everything that makes this nation great!

A video is worth a thousand words:  I’ve been meaning to share this with you closer to 9/11, but so many important events in Sam and Erin’s lives has been happening.  But—it’s time to take a few minutes to reflect on our great nation:  This is a one minute video that was aired one time only during the superbowl after the 9/11 attack.  Budweiser aired it only once because they didn’t want to make any profit from it.  I’ve never seen it until now.  I’ve watched it about ten times now and it always brings tears to my eyes.  Erin told me once before that Budweiser is a huge supporter of the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

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Automatic blog updates

September 4, 2007

Sam’s medical status: On Tuesday Erin said Sam’s white count was high over the weekend so they were draining an abscess in his pelvis.  I think Erin said his count was around 30,000 and it should have been more like 10,000 to 15,000.  That should be the source of the recent fever he’s had.  Erin was with him before he went in for the procedure and he looked great—moving his fingers a little, blinking and even yawning. 

rss feed and email subscription

Blog housekeeping chores:  As promised in my previous post, I’ve added two features to Sam’s blog that will allow you to be notified when I add a new post.  They are the RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feed option and the e-mail subscription option. 

To use the RSS feed option, you’ll need to download an RSS Feed Reader which is a piece of software or add-on to a web browser like Google or Yahoo.  The RSS Reader allows you to view updates from many different web blogs, podcast or news organizations from one screen without having to manually check each individual web site. 

If you choose the e-mail subscription option, an e-mail with a hyperlink to the most recent blog entry will be sent to you whenever I update the web blog with a new post.   When you click on “Subscribe to Sgt. Samuel Nichols, USMC by Email“,   you’ll be taken to the Feed Burner web site where you’ll need to enter you’re email ID and then type in the random letters seen on the screen (and then hit the subscribe button).  This keep the spammers away. 

Erin_Stevie Nicks_Tony

On Monday Erin and Ali (Erin’s sister)  spent a little time in Bethesda.  It’s nice to see Erin taking a little time to herself.  She is normally in Sam’s room by 8:30 a.m. and stays until 9:00 p.m. and sometimes later.  I didn’t realize this until I came in real early the last morning I was there to say good by to Sam, but there is actually a corpsman that stays with Sam all night long.  So when Erin is not there, someone is always with him.

Family Visits:  I said last week I was in Bethesda with Erin and Sam.  Sam’s brothers were her over the weekend and one of them will be staying with Erin and Sam for a while (no return date).  My sister flew in from Mississippi on Tuesday and will be staying with Erin for a week. 

Erin’s mailing address:  I should have done this a long time ago, but here is the mailing address for anyone who wants to send a card to Erin and Sam.  They will be in Bethesda at least another three weeks.  I’ll also add this in the “About Sam & Erin” tab at the top of the web blog:

Erin and Sam Nichols
c/o Marine Liaison Office
National Naval Medical Center

8901 Wisconsin Ave.
Bethesda, Maryland 20889