Monday, September 17, 2007

Lance Update, 9/17

From Dori, sent this evening. . . .

Hello Family & Friends,

After a very long day with many delayed and missed flights we finally arrived in Augusta, Georgia. A Major from the Army met us and escorted us onto the base. He told us that Lance had a serious infection with a 101-degree fever. Apparently, soldiers who return from Iraq have some funky bacteria on their skin that wouldn‚t be much of a problem unless it enters the bloodstream, which happens when they have injuries. Fortunately, the Army hospitals deal with this so much that they have a potent IV antibiotic cocktail that Lance‚s body responded to immediately. The Major helped us to get on base and gave us lots of paperwork that we would need later. He also explained that Lance was in an isolated room because of „his cooties‰, and that if we touched him we would have to wash our hands really well. We finally saw Lance late last night. I can‚t tell you what that feels like to look into my son‚s eyes finally! He is still my baby boy and yet such a man! I must have stared at him and kissed his hand, forehead and knee over and over! Anywhere I could touch him without hurting him! Then of course when we left we had to wash our hands.

This morning they got Lance up and he was able to sit and then walk a few steps toward the door! That was huge! He was not successful at it yesterday or later today when they tried it again, but he did it once so we know he will do it again!! We met the General Surgeon team that oversees Lance‚s case. They have called in a team of four other specialty groups including an orthopedic back specialist, an ear/nose/throat specialist, a neurosurgeon and a social worker.

The social worker talked to him about what to expect and how to get help. The Major and the social workers said that the greatest thing about Lance is that he is willing to talk about everything that he has been through including the loss of his seven buddies, the trauma of the accident and memories of war. Anyway, they said that the guys they worry about don‚t talk about any of it and Lance is not one of those. Praise God he is so open in his communication!

We missed the neurosurgeon but he told Lance that his head was healing very well. The ear doctor has not been in yet to see him but we did meet the Orthopedic back specialist. Here is where Lance could really use some prayer. Lance experienced two substantial compression fractures in the middle of his back (T5 and T6). These vertebrae help hold him up straight. The CAT scan showed that there were some bone fragments that had been squished out toward the spinal cord but they were not that worried about that. What concerned them was that when he sat and stood this morning he slumped forward, kind of like an old person with Osteoporosis in their back. They decided to take him down for an MRI but they sent him right back up because of all the metal staples in his head. They decided to take the staples out tomorrow (a couple of days early) so that he could get the MRI immediately. This will show them if they need to do back surgery to hold those vertebrae in place and help him stay straight up or if a back brace that goes up to his neck will do the trick. Our prayer is that he only will need a better brace. The doctor said if he could avoid this surgery he would really like to. He said it is a dangerous surgery because it is so close to all the vital organs (heart, lungs, etc∑) and that what they do during the surgery is complicated and very close to the spinal cord. So join us in praying that he will not need this surgery but as we have learned during our prayers that God‚s will is better than our best laid plans so I mostly pray for wisdom for the doctors.

We have been blessed already this trip! It is so good to see Lance and hold his hand! I gently rubbed and scratched his back for him and then I fed him some dinner and he said he thought he might have died and gone to heaven. The Army nurse laughed and said to me, „You don‚t get nurtured or pampered in the Army!‰ This was a treat for Lance and great quality time for me.
We are staying in a beautiful and comfortable hotel that was paid for through „reward credits‰ from a wonderful couple at our church and now the Army says a spot will be opening up at the Fisher House next door to the hospital. This is a free house that holds seven families of severely injured soldiers! What a blessing! They said we could stay for free as long as our son is an inpatient. They have treated us very well and we feel grateful for everything we have been given here. Lance has a beautiful red, white and blue quilt that was handmade for all the „American Heroes‰ that return injured from war. He received a flower on his door from a local church that said they were praying for him and that they appreciated his service! We received a call today from a lady who lives in Augusta and guess who she was? Ken Peet‚s (Lance‚s youth pastor) aunt!! She has lived here forever and offered us whatever help she could. It is a very small world, isn‚t it? First our friend Matt in Germany to visit and pray with Lance in Germany and now Ken‚s Aunt living here!

I could go on and on but it is so late and we want to get back early tomorrow. Just know that all of your support is so appreciated! God is so good! Pray also for Lindsey and Luke who are flying home by themselves tomorrow. They are sad to go but they both have school and fortunately my mom will be there to care for them. Once again I thank you for your many prayers for Lance and his buddies.

In His amazing love,

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