Alive Day Anniversary Three

July 20, 2010

Sam had his quarterly evaluation a few weeks ago.  They measure strength, range of motion and muscle tone.  Sam received a 5 (highest score) for strength by the physical and occupational therapist and showed an overall improvement, especially in his right arm and shoulder.  His memory retention has improved, but he still has problems with short-term memory loss.  Erin and Sam’s therapist work with him constantly to improve his memory retention.  Sam plays UNO with the staff and other patients and his card handling is getting better.  He can pick up a card from the UNO rack (usually by himself and pick the correct card for the situation.  Erin bought Sam a large size computer keyboard that is color coded and he and Erin have been working on the computer lately.  If you haven’t done so, you can “friend” him on facebook.  He doesn’t say to much…usually short sentences, but I actually watched him myself as he typed out words on his own.  Never thought I would see him doing that! 

Erin sent us a video last week of Sam doing physical therapy.  The big news is that he was moving his left leg on his own power from left to right as it balanced on the exercise ball.  You can tell by her voice (in the  video) that his physical therapist, Kerrie, was very excited about his movement.  Erin later told me that they were both trying to be very calm and not show much excitement so that Sam would think that the movement was expected and normal for him. 

Sam moving his left leg in therapy

We’re coming up pretty quickly on the third anniversary of Sam’s injury or “alive day” which is July 24th.  Remember, on that day, four of Sam’s buddies lost their lives.  You can read about them at this link Fallen Heroes of Kilo 3/12 …there are some very nice comments from some of the Marines and Navy corpsmen who knew our fallen heroes.   You might also want to leave a comment under this blog post and wish Sam and Erin a happy anniversary.  They will be married seven years on the 27th of July.

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Warrior Legacy Foundation

August 16, 2009

warrior legacy foundation

The Warrior Legacy Foundation is a non-profit organization (filing for 501C3/C4 status) that is committed to the protection and promotion of the reputation and dignity of America’s Warriors.

 

Across every generation, at war and at peace, America has asked her citizens to protect liberty and defend freedom at all costs. No matter the terrain or political climate, America’s Warriors have met every challenge and made every sacrifice that was asked of them in order to defeat our enemies and protect our way of life. The Warrior Legacy Foundation is a passionate advocate for the preservation and elevation of the hallowed legacy of the American Warrior Class.

Join us and stand firm in defense of the heritage of those brave souls who have preserved and protected our sovereignty throughout our great nation’s history.

They have asked for nothing and have given us everything.

To learn more about the Warrior Legacy Foundation click here…

Sam’s medical status: 

bike therapy_caremeridian august 2009 Sam is having some difficult days. He is frustrated with his own disability, and some perceptions that can also be lauded as progress. When Erin leaves in the evenings, he would like to accompany her home and has even asked her why she is leaving him there. This tears at Erin’s heart and she tries to explain it to him. They have the van now, and Erin takes him on outings to break the monotony. One day he was rather upset that Erin didn’t inquire as to what he wanted as they went through the drive-thru to get a soda. (He is still on the feeding tube). We are excited that he recognizes many of the everyday tasks that he will again be able to do someday; but they seem such a challenge right now. I’ve heard men and women of God proclaim that the absence of faith is fear. I understand this as it is easy to see fear creep into Sam’s situation. Fear that he won’t recover any further, fear that one of these infections will result in a serious illness, or just fear that he is miserable in his present condition. These would weigh on any father or mother, but Jesus is speaking directly to us today when he simply says, "Don’t be afraid, Just believe." You may ask, Believe what? He is telling us to put our faith in him as Master of the Word of God. Jesus was willing (and able) then to heal all who were sorely oppressed and he still is today. He is just looking for someone to believe it. Wendy and I stand on his word and believe it with all our hearts. Sam is healed, his restoration is eminent, and we thank Jesus for his gentle reminder to be fearless while it is being accomplished..

Much Love,
Eric

We celebrated Sam’s 25th birthday on August 12th.  We had a party at Sam’s house on Monday and then another one at the CareMeridian facility.  The 12th was very special because it was the first time Sam has been back to the home that he grew up in.  Erin asked him if he knew why they were back at his dad’s house and he said, “for my homecoming”.  It was bitter sweet because the next day at CareMeridian, he asked Erin to take him back home.  She, of course, gently reminded Sam that he must still remain at CareMeridian so that he could continue to get special nursing care. 

bowling trip_july_2009 As Eric pointed out above, it can be painful at times seeing Sam progress and become more aware of his surroundings.  Last week, Erin took her mother, Julie, to see a San Francisco Giants game as they are both big fans.  When Sam got up in the morning, he told the nurses that he wanted to see Erin.  They told him that she was taking the day off to go see the Giant’s game and wouldn’t be in that day.  Sam, who really hasn’t had the ability to show much emotion since he was injured, began to cry.  Sad—but also good that he was able to show such strong emotion for the first time!  This morning when one of the nurses was in Sam’s room, she made a noise which woke him up abruptly (which is also something pretty new since he can be very hard to wake up).  The nurse said that when he awoke, he turned his head back and forth to survey his surroundings, then motioned the nurse to come over to him.  He held out his right arm and then gave her a big hug.  When Erin arrived, the nurses were talking about his new sense of awareness….the picture is from a bowling trip Sam and Erin took in July.   

Peace and Love to all,
Tony


Who do we idolize?

July 23, 2009

I happen to be the same age as Michael Jackson, so I grew up listening to the Jackson 5 and to a lesser degree, Michael Jackson as a solo act.  I thought he was a very good singer and dancer, but I never bought any of his records or went to see him in concert.  I only bring him up because it frustrates me to no end seeing how people idolize celebrities as a whole.  There is still nightly news cast about all the controversy surrounding his life and death.  But where is the news about our military as they continue to fight and die in Iraq and Afghanistan?  These are the men and woman who have volunteered to put their lives on the line to fight for our country.  They continue to get wounded and many still die on a daily basis.  They don’t have a fancy glove on their hand or do the moon walk.  They only pledge their lives to their country and many give the ultimate sacrifice.   There is usually a small article in the local newspaper or a 30 second blurb on the local news.  Our national and local news media are letting us down.  They spend hours filming Michael Jackson’s hearse as it makes it’s way through bumper to bumper traffic in Los Angeles, but has little to nothing about a soldier who gave his life for our country.  And to the general public– Michael Jackson is much more interesting.

 

sam at kinseys 1st birthday party

Sam’s Medical Status:   A few weeks ago Sam was able to go to the 1st birthday party for Kinsley who is the daughter of Amanda and Brian.  Amanda has been very close friends with both of my daughters for over 20 years and she has been like a daughter to me.  Sam arrived in a wheelchair accessible van and stayed at the party for about four hours.  Kinsley is so good with Sam and loves it when he tickles her feet.  As you can see, she is absolutely gorgeous.

We hope to get Sam out more often as it seems to really stimulate his brain.  When Sam officially gets discharged from the Marines (yes, he is still a Marine assigned to the Wounded Warrior Battalion out of Camp Pendleton) he will receive a new wheelchair accessible van from the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.  Until then, Erin is being supplied with a van from the Wounded Warrior Project.  She took Sam out for a ride this morning along with one of the therapist from CareMeridian.

Sam was released from Sutter Roseville Hospital yesterday morning after being admitted last Friday with Drug Resistant Pseudomonas in his lungs. His temperature soared to nearly 106 degrees.  He remained in the hospital for five days after being put on IV antibiotics which he will remain on for about two weeks. His temperature went down after a couple days, and he is now feeling much better.  He is happy to be back at CareMeridian where he can be out of his bed and in his wheelchair spending time with Erin and the staff and residents.