Independence Day Reflection
“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” –Thomas Paine
Dear Friends and Family,
I hope everyone had an enjoyable Independence Day weekend. Ours here in San Antonio maintained many of the key traditions that make every July 4th so special: food, family, and the celebration of the fact that we live in the greatest country on earth. Moreover, being around Brooke Army Medical Center, and Greg for that matter, was a solemn reminder of the old adage that” Freedom isn’t free.”
Nonetheless, the day was a pleasant one. Julia, Tom and my father were here to visit, making the occasion that much nicer. In the afternoon we attended a celebration with other families at the Warrior Family Support Center where they had food, music, and even patriotic trivia. That trip also marked Greg’s longest journey outside the hospital to-date (about a 5 minute walk/wheelchair ride across the installation).
Julia and Tom had actually come down at the end of the previous week, so Greg really enjoyed spending time together with his siblings. For those who hadn’t seen him in a while it was great to see the progress he’s been making.
As of a few days ago Greg is now not only “wireless” but also “tubeless.” He had the last drainage tube removed from his back, which is a big step (especially since it was extremely uncomfortable for him). The doctors have also steadily continued to remove staples and stitches from his body (I know we keep saying this, but trust me, there were A LOT). Perhaps more importantly, yesterday the orthopedic surgeons removed part of the external fixator on his right arm, which will gradually allow Greg to regain some range of motion. Just how much he will be able to bend his arm long-term no one knows; only time will tell. If it were left up to Greg’s spirit and determination, he’d be rock climbing next week…but there will likely be limitations, in terms of pure physics, on what that arm can do. Of course we will work harder and achieve more than anyone expects, but I just want to keep everyone’s expectations realistic.
Greg continues to impress everyone, including me, with his positive attitude and will to succeed. Trust me; there are plenty of tough moments to go with the triumphs. With someone you care about so much, sometimes the feeling of helplessness can be suffocating or the images so surreal that you just need to mentally detach yourself from the situation in order to remain strong and steady. Oftentimes it’s something as simple as Greg and I alone in his hospital room, and he’ll turn to me and say with a sigh (half joking, half serious) “I can’t believe I got blown up.” To which I can only reply, “I know brother, I can’t believe it either.”
Best wishes to each and every one of you.