Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A hero amongst us

Hero is sometimes an overused word. Often, we use it to describe movie stars, TV personalities, sports figures or celebrities of some sort.

Instead, we should limit the use of hero to teachers, law enforcement officers, parents, troops or anyone who's actually made a positive influence in your life. And then there are heroes in the true sense of the word.

One definition is someone who is "distinguished by exceptional courage."

Here's a story that epitomizes that description.

Shane Neal serves aboard the USS Louisville, a Los Angeles class attack submarine. During a recent visit to Okinawa, a tropical storm hit the region as the boat was leaving port.

"A sailor was about to be dragged and held underwater by some very heavy cables," the USS Louisville's commanding officer wrote in a letter to Shirley. "Your son quickly recognized this dire situation and cut the sailor's safety harness with his diving knife that enabled the sailor to escape without injury.

"About 30 seconds later, a large wave hit the ship and washed another sailor overboard such that he was between the ship and the pier. The sailor did not have any protective equipment on and was about to be thrown into some metal beams under the pier where he would have undoubtedly suffered a lethal blow to the head.

"Your son immediately dove into the water and pulled the sailor to safety moments before another wave came."

Shane was injured, and he could have gone below deck. But he stayed at his post until the boat was safely under way.

I don't think there's much to add, except that the Louisville's commanding officer is right. Shane is a "true hero."

I think I can speak for the family here when I say that we're all proud of you, Shane.

I'm attaching a copy of the letter so everyone can read it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Good news; bad news

The bad news is that Patsy had a heart attack. The good news is that there was no damage to her heart, and she's expected to make a full recovery.

This all started a few days ago when she checked herself into the hospital because of chest pains. She had been feeling tired a lot lately, but I don't think anyone had any idea it was because two of her heart valves were 99 percent blocked.

After tests in the hospital Sunday and Monday, they figured out that she had suffered a "silent heart attack." So on Tuesday, doctors performed a catheterization and inserted two stents. She was groggy all day Tuesday, but she was feeling a lot better today.

I just got off the phone with Gary who came down to stay with her during the procedure. They just left the hospital, and they're headed to her house to pick up a few things before heading to Lindenhurst. Patsy is going to stay with Gary and Julie for a few weeks, and she's going to receive some outpatient therapy while she's up there.

I think everything is going to be fine. She knows she needs to change her lifestyle some, especially diet and exercise. I think that because she's never had heart problems in the past, those things didn't seem as imminent as they do now. She promised to follow doctors' orders.

So give her a call or send a note or email. Or leave a message here, and I'll make sure she sees it. Plus, say a little prayer for her.