Monday, June 25, 2007

Darkness, Imprisoning Me

For democracy, any man would give his only begotten son:
TAMPA, Florida: He lies flat, unseeing eyes fixed on the ceiling, tubes and machines feeding him, breathing for him, keeping him alive. He cannot walk or talk, but he can grimace and cry. And he is fully aware of what has happened to him.

Four years ago almost to this day, Joseph Briseno Jr. was shot in the back of the head at point-blank range in a Baghdad marketplace. His spinal cord was shattered, and cardiac arrests stole his vision and damaged his brain.

The 24-year-old is one of the most severely injured soldiers — some think the most injured soldier — to survive.

"Three things you would not want to be: blind, head injury, and paralyzed from the neck down. That's tough," said Dr. Steven Scott, head of the Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center at the Tampa VA Medical Center, where Briseno has twice been hospitalized for extensive care. In recent days, Briseno was hospitalized yet again, this time at the Washington, D.C., VA Medical Center.


He has had other trials: surgeries, procedures and medications for bladder problems, high blood pressure, the opening for his breathing tube, dead tissue on his tongue — even an ingrown toenail. The latest is the bone disease, osteoporosis.

He can respond to questions by grunting or grimacing, and occasionally can say "mom" or "go," but not consistently. He often opens his mouth.

"We believe he is very frustrated because he wants to say something. Those are the hardest times for us, especially when he's sick or not feeling well. He just lays there. We don't know what's wrong with him," Joseph Briseno said.

They pray that he will continue to improve, not get worse. And they hope to move to Tampa, where they believe their son can get the best care.
These are always and everywhere the spoils of war.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home