Wednesday, November 02, 2005

SA Project Valour-IT - Marine Team

There are many bloggers (look at the blog roll on the sidebar under the picture) who are part of this effort, and many extremely talented writers among them. One of the best is Sgt. B who is also part of the Marine Team. This exerpt is from one of the many fine essays he's written about Valour-IT.

From The Gun Line

Take a look at your hands... Go ahead, take a look...

You can do some amazing things with this construct of four fingers and a thumb:

You can:
  1. Pick your nose.
  2. Scratch an itch.
  3. Communicate (on L.A. highways it can be done with one digit.)
  4. Scritch the cat, dog, ferret, ect. behind the ears...
  5. Pat your loved one on the derriere.
  6. Caress your loved one's... (well, you get the picture...)
  7. Shoot a pistol.
  8. Throw your kid a baseball (your accuracy varies...)
  9. Write a letter.

Let's write a letter, shall we?

First you have to clear off a place at the dining room table or your desk. Then you have to figure out where the kids hid all of the pens. Then you have to find a sheet of paper that hasn't been scribbled on. Then you have to kick the cat off of the chair. Then you have to get up and find your address book. Then you have to kick the cat off of the chair (again.) Then you take pen in hand, shoo away the cat who has migrated from the floor to the tabletop and wants to help check your spelling.

And then you can actually start writing.

Takes - what?- about ten minutes...

Now let's write a letter after being hit with an IED...

First you have to get your life saved by the Corpsman or Medic while you're lying in the dust on some street in Bagdad. Then you have to get transported to the field medical facility, where they get you stablized for transport. Then you get to go to Germany, to the medical center in Ramstein, probably in a medically induced coma, or at least in the throes of some really powerful pain killers. Then you head to the United States.

Then you undergo the surgery to remove the chunks of shrapnel from your body, debrade the burns, and repair the damage to your vital organs. Then they begin to work on the remains of your limbs that have been shredded, just to clean them up. Then you get to undergo the surguries to prepare your limbs to receive prosthetic devices so that you can start doing things on your own, like go to the bathroom and zip up your fly. Then you get measured for the prosthetic. Then you learn to use the prosthetic, and finally you can try to tackle the task of developing the fine motor skills to actually write with the darned thing. (Sure, you could ask somebody else to write it, but how willing are you to divulge sesitive information to a third party?)

Figure it takes - what?- At least a few months..?


Can you imagine having to wait for weeks and weeks just to write a damned letter to your spouse, your kids, your significant other?

Let's look at a third scenario:

48 hours after the surgeons have stablized you, and decided that they can keep you on a pain management regimen that allows you to stay awake, and long before they decide that you are strong enough to endure any other surgeries, you can dictate a letter to a computer, and send it via e-mail, beginning the progress of amassing the support network that will sustain you while you continue down the road to recovery. You fire off e-mails, blog to blogs, and reassure the world, and yourself, that life isn't quite as bleak as you have first thought.


Let's make it happen...

You heard the Sgt. Click over to Holly Aho's and Git 'er done!