The Chance To Walk Again
November 4, 2007
If one reads the newspapers or listens to the news, all we hear are stories about how are Troops are killing and injuring innocent Iraqis. We never hear about the caring and kindness displayed by our Troops, even though it’s something that occurs on a daily basis. We never hear about the medical missions that our Troops daily conduct to provide health-care to the Iraqis, or the food and water they provide, or the simple acts of kindness that they display. I believe that these stories provide a clearer understanding of the men and women who are serving our country in the nations Armed Forces. These stories paint a much different picture of what our Troops are doing and a much more accurate one. There are thousands of stories about the acts of kindness by our Troops towards the Iraqi people. Because the media, looks the other way when it comes to these types of stories, I feel it’s my duty to ensure that our readers are made aware of them.
Thanks to the kindness of strangers, strangers from Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd HBCT, 3rd ID, a young Iraqi women will finally be able to realize her dreams. Everytime she puts on her shoes and walks to the market or chases her cousins around the house, Soham Hassan Ka-Naan will remember her 19th birthday and the kindness of those strangers.
Soham Hassan Ka-Naan, a 19 year old double amputee, gets help standing from her brother, Khalid Hassan Ka-Naan, in their home in Al Arabia Oct. 30th(Photo by Sgt Natalie Rostek, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs).
Three years ago, when an insurgent rocket attack hit her house, Soham was left with her left leg amputated below the knee and her right leg amputated near her hip. Despite efforts to repair her wounds by Iraqi doctors, the remnants of bones in her legs caused her considerable pain when the rubbed against her skin.
On October 31st, her 19th birthday, Soham underwent surgery to correct her two amputated legs at the 28th Combat Support Hospital (CSH) in Baghdad. The surgery will allow her to have a comfortable prosthetic fit and will enable her to walk on her own. The day before her surgery, the shy young Iraqi woman was quiet, but not nervous.
“I’m excited,” she said through an interpreter. “My only dream is to walk on my own. No crutches, no wheelchair, just walk. I’ll be able to do that soon.”
While conducting a raid, Soldiers from Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment discovered Soham. They decided that they would go back to help her. Initially, she was brought to the 28th CSH for a prosthetic fitting. She was fitted with her left leg prosthetic shortly after that, but it felt uncomfortable and caused her pain, due to the rigidness of the bones in her legs.
Troops checked her progress regularly. Captain Troy Thomas, commander of 3-1 Cav. Regiment, visited her again and on October 30th brought her to the Baghdad hospital again. This time, she visited with Lt. Col. John Tis, a surgeon with the 28th CSH. Lt. Col. Tis reassessed her amputations and agreed to perform surgery that would round out the bones in her legs and stretch the muscles.
“This surgery is the beginning of her entire future,” said Chris Cummings, a prosthetic clinical advisor, 28th CSH. “With the surgery, her prosthetics will have a healthier fit.”
After the surgery, Soham spent two nights in the hospital and will have an approximately 3 week recovery period. She will then be fitted for prosthetics once again. She will then begin the process of learning how to walk on her new legs.
“Everyone is different, but in three to six months, she will be able to walk on her new legs. In nine months she should be completely recovered,” Tis said.
Everyone has high hopes from Soham, including Captain Thomas. Soham’s brother accompanied her to the hospital. According to her brother, Khalid, she is in for a huge welcome home party, when released from the hospital.
“She’s a strong girl,” said Captain Thomas. “Her mother reassured me that she does her exercises like she’s supposed to. I think she’s going to recover just fine.”
The 3-1 Cav. Regiment has been deployed to Iraq since March of last year. I’m sure, before they leave the country, they’ll have made several more visits to Soham, to ensure that she’s recovering well. I can imagine the delight that they’ll feel, when they’re able to see Soham walk for the first time on her new legs and how good they’ll feel about being able to do something to make a difference in this young woman’s life. I’m sure that Soham, will never forget the kindness of these American strangers and the difference they made in her life.