Andy is progressing. He is eating solid foods and sat for a short time in a large chair yesterday. The chair was quite uncomfortable and completely exhausting...but he did what was asked of him. The MRI is done and the second surgery is scheduled for Tuesday. The goal of the surgery will be to fuse the two shattered vertebrae to the nearest good ones, above and below, to secure and stabilize his spinal cord. Once that is done and healing, Andy will be allowed to start the real intense physical rehab practices. He's very anxious to get to that point.Andy’s parents arrived yesterday safe and sound and Andy was very glad to see them. He reached out to hug Mom with both arms--that's no small feat for him. He's already been introducing his Dad to everyone and telling the staff how much having his father around has helped him and is going to help him.Yesterday the doctor told Andy that they had to get his caloric intake up to promote the healing of his injuries and get his body fully functioning before the surgery on Tuesday. The doctor told him if he didn't want to eat, the feeding tube could be reinserted. At that point Andy informed him that he would eat anything and everything they put in front of him all day and all night...he'd eat dirt to avoid that tube going back down his nose. I'm sworn to secrecy on whether or not Andy actually swished his Jell-o... :)Andy’s morale got a major boost when one of his buddies came by for a visit. He brought news that the rest of his unit is now safely in Italy. This is a great relief to Andy. His concern for "his men" (the group of men for whom he was "Doc", the medic) was quite obviously laced in Andy's brain these past few days. He has welcomed each new wave of visitors with gladness and some trepidation, because of course he knows that if one of his men is standing in his door, that man must also have been wounded in the fight. While Andy's glad to see them present and accounted for in the here-and-now, it's a club of sorts that he doesn't want to see any of his guys be members of.One of the best stories that Sarah had to share was about “the box”. One of the first things she had to do when she arrived at Walter Reed was to assess Andy’s belongs and go through the backpack that arrived with him. The backpack came with him from Germany and it contained some paperwork, a notepad and pen, several t-shirts, a pair of pajama pants, a small uniform-clad teddy bear with a gift card for any incidentals he needed, and a small box that looked like a necklace box. A necklace box? When she opened it she realized it was her brother’s purple heart. She said when she showed Andy he closed his eyes because he was afraid he was going to have a “random misfire” (his term for tears).
John 15:13--Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
There was no ceremonious presentation, there was no saluting--no brass band, no pomp and circumstance. Just a box.
Sarah said that years ago when the movie, Saving Private Ryan came out, she couldn't watch it because it was too much for her. However, I did catch the first and last few minutes of it and Joal filled me in on the rest of the story. She said now… she feels like she understands more of it all.