Thursday, February 19, 2009

SEAL donates sign of inspiration

(photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class(SW) Jason Turner)
Lt. Jason Redman and his wife Charlotte speak with reporters after the sign dedication at the National Naval Medical Center Thursday.
A message of encouragement was dedicated to National Naval Medical Center Feb. 11 by Navy SEAL Lt. Jason ‘‘Jay” Redman, one of America’s Wounded Warriors.

He arrived at NNMC Sept. 16, 2007 after being shot seven times the face and arms with a machine gun during an operation in Iraq.

‘‘Every night when I headed out on another high-risk mission, I accepted the risks... I did not do it blindly though,” Redman said. ‘‘I knew in my mind that if I was wounded, I would be helped by tremendously skilled medical personnel.”

Having endured 25 surgeries with at least 10 more expected, Redman’s treatment has included about 1,200 stitches, 200 staples, 15 skin grafts and one tracheotomy that he wore for seven months and two days.

Redman’s jaw has been shattered, broken or re-broken three times and was wired shut for 12 weeks. He lost over 50 pounds, spent 143 hours in surgery under anesthesia in the past 15 months and spent 73 days at NNMC. This small portion of treatment only scratches the surface of the recuperation that Redman has undergone. Throughout it all, Redman gives thanks to those who have helped him though this period of his life.

Redman was not looking for sympathy or pity. Showing his spirit and desire to get better, he posted a sign outside his hospital room in 5 East Surgical Wing.

The sign read:

‘‘Attention to all who enter here. If you are coming into this room with sorrow or to feel sorry for my wounds, go elsewhere. The wounds I received I got in a job I love, doing it for people I love, supporting the freedom of a country I deeply love. I am incredibly tough and will make a full recovery. What is full? That is the absolute utmost physically my body has the ability to recover. Then I will push that about 20 percent further through sheer mental tenacity. This room you are about to enter is a room of fun, optimism, and intense rapid regrowth. If you are not prepared for that, go elsewhere.”

‘‘The primary goal was to motivate my fellow warriors,” Redman said. ‘‘The mark of a man is not found in his past, but how he overcomes adversity and builds his future. Quitting is never an option.”

These words impressed many, including other patients, doctors and former President George W. Bush, whom Redman met at the White House last year. The sign dedication will forever inspire those in need of some motivation.

At the ceremony, surrounded by familiar faces, Redman gave thanks to his three distinct families. His wife, Charlotte, and three children sat in the front row while fellow warriors from the SEAL community came to show their support. Lastly, doctors, nurses and medical staff who helped in Redman’s recovery also filled the room.

‘‘My secondary goal is to continue to thank the medical staff from doctors, nurses, corpsman, and staff of 5 East who helped put Humpty Dumpty back together again,” Redman said. ‘‘The medical staff here, with their undying dedication are committed to a cause.”

Redman said it was like de-ja vu walking through the hospital again, but was proud and not regretful of his experiences. Once he is physically able, Redman wants to return to the battlefield.

He looked at his wife and said, it will be a discussion for a later date. ‘‘I need to discuss it with my long-haired admiral.”

Redman attributes his success over mind and body to knowing that he did his best. At the end of the day, the key is knowing that he contributed to a cause, Redman said. No matter what the cause is, it is important to have done everything possible to contribute to that cause.

‘‘I’d like to recognize the medical staff who has led by example with their exceptional work ethic and provided outstanding medical care,” Redman said. ‘‘I’ve heard rumors of walking on water and levitations. Not that these are requirements to working in this ward, but I do have firsthand experience here and I know it helps.”