Andy's waking up post-op and Mom and Dad talked to him on the phone for just a bit this evening thanks to the generous cooperation of a very sweet nurse in Germany and an Army information officer in Virginia. (Isn't technology grand?!) He is pretty groggy and worried about the other soldiers in his unit...and how much of an imposition this is going to cause his family. Typical Andy stuff.
Mom asked if he was in pain and he said "No, the drugs are good."
The doctors said they pulled a 3" long Russian-made sniper round out of his neck. The doctor said that this is the kind of round that pierces brick buildings...so it's no small miracle that Andy's still here. There's extensive damage to several vertebrae and while they are not for certain yet what the outcome will be, it's likely he will have limited use of his legs. Swelling, infection and other factors will determine the extent of the damage over the next few days. I guess you could say that we are trying to prepare ourselves to deal with the worst--seeing him permanently injured--while still expecting healing and complete recovery as a gift straight from the hand of God.
Whatever the case, God is God and Andy is Andy and when the two get together...mountains move.
Daniel and I had a long talk tonight about all this and came to the conclusion that Andy has--since very early childhood--operated under the belief that if he wanted to do something, he could do it. He could find a way...call it what you will...stubborness, determination, strong-willed, bull-headed, whatever...he's always been that way. Andy is 5 years younger than Daniel but Andy has always believed that he could do absolutely anything Daniel could do--even when Daniel was ten and Andy was 5 and the height/weight difference was decidedly in Daniel's favor...I digress. I think these traits will serve both of them well in the coming days.
At the last report Andy is likely to be on a flight from Germany to Walter Reed Army Medical by Sunday afternoon. It is my plan for Daniel and I to be there in time to meet Andy's plane. I simply can not abide the thought of him arriving without someone to meet him. I'm hoping to fly (there are a few direct flight options from Nashville to DC) but if I have to, I will drive. I am the closest to DC (Daniel is in Texas) geographically...I intend to be there.
On his last leave back in the spring, Andy ordered a custom motorcycle helmet (he really does have a big head, even with the Army's haircut) and had it shipped to Daniel to keep for Andy when he got home. The helmet arrived last week. Daniel's bringing the helmet when he comes and I'm taking a new pair of motorcycling (is that a word) gloves. It's symbolic, I suppose, about an unwaivering belief in him and his future. Andy's not in the habit of not doing whatever he pleases and we expect no different of him now....one way or another.
I'm rambling...Please forgive my spelling mistakes...I'm working on my second 2-liter of Diet Coke...I've been up for almost 30 hours.
I did happen to find this article on the military news site about the attack on Chosen Company. Our prayers are with those 9 Chosen Company families who received a very different kind of call from the Army. Our hearts ache for their losses and we morn for them and with them.