Sunday, February 26, 2006

"He thought I was dead, and when he asked if I was all right, ," he said.I started screaming

Wayne Moore remembers almost every detail of the day almost two years ago when a roadside bomb in Iraq nearly took his life.

The 28-year-old Clatskanie resident still doesn't have full mobility of his left arm. Two pink scars snake up and down nearly the full length of the limb.

But he's regaining movement little by little, day by day, and he's healing his mental wounds by working on a hot new car --- and remembering that he shouldn't have survived.

It was dusk on May 31, 2004, and Moore was an Army gunner riding atop a Humvee in Iraq. As he scanned the road to the right and left, he noticed a 10-gallon fuel can on one side of the road. In the few seconds it took for him to realize it might be a roadside bomb, it blew.

The Humvee was just a stone's throw away. Although he wore the required protection -- a vest, helmet and protective eyeglasses -- his arms and face were unprotected.

The remotely-detonated bomb nearly blew off his left arm above the elbow, severely injured his right arm and also injured the sergeant sitting below him. When he regained consciousness, his sergeant was talking to him.

"He thought I was dead, and when he asked if I was all right, ," he said.I started screaming

He was taken to the outpost where doctors stabilized him. Then he was shipped to Baghdad where he had the first of eight surgeries.

After a short recuperation, he was sent to Germany, then to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. After more surgeries, he was transferred to San Antonio where he recuperated for four months. He's been home in Clatskanie since October 2004, though he's still undergoing physical therapy.

Now retired with a medical disability, he still is undergoing physical therapy. The mobility and sensitivity of his arm is improving.

"My arm is very sensitive," he said. "Everything feels like sandpaper against my skin, and if I run a fingernail along my scars, it feels like a razor blade cutting into my skin."

He's also recuperating from psychological injuries. He said he had flashbacks for about a month and even considered suicide.

"I had reactions, but now it's just a memory," he said.

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