For Sean Adams, the passage of time has been like “waking up” to one major moment after another.
“It’s like I woke up and I was in basic training and ... then I woke up in combat and (the bomb explosion),” he said. “And now, it’s coming down to the point where it’s all going to be over soon.”
Adams, 20, reflected this past weekend about life in the year since a roadside bomb in Afghanistan nearly took his life, but severely altered it nonetheless.
He was leading a patrol with other Marines on Feb. 9, 2012, when he stepped on the homemade device. In an interview last year, he said he remembered the explosion throwing “me up in the air, and then I landed on the ground.”
Adams, a 2011 graduate of Chestatee High School in northwest Hall County, suffered a shrapnel wound to his left eye and bruised lungs, but his legs took the worst of the explosion. Doctors ended up amputating his right leg above his knee and his left leg past his knee.
He is still in rehabilitation at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., mainly as doctors work to fit him with prosthetic legs. He anticipates he may need up to six months of therapy.
“He’s doing pretty good. He’s not as far along as he had hoped to be,” said his mother Tina Adams, who lives off Trudy Circle in West Hall. “He’s had a little trouble with his shortest leg. That hip has given him a little bit of trouble.”
Otherwise, “he has a pretty good attitude,” she said. “He’s doing pretty good on that end.”
She and her husband, Hugh, were awakened at home the morning of Feb. 10 to news about their son’s injury. She was never happy about her son’s enlistment, and the phone call confirmed her worst fears.
“All parents have fears, but mine was one I just knew something bad was going to come from it, and I couldn’t make anybody understand my fears,” Tina said in a July interview.
One year since the injury doesn’t make life easier.
“I’m having a rough time,” Tina said. “I know it’s going to be hard on him. I’m hoping he’s going to get through it.”
Sean’s sister-in-law’s brother, Mathew Smith, has been in Bethesda since early December serving as Sean’s caregiver.
“I’m helping him, getting him back and forth to his appointments, sometimes cooking for him and washing his clothes, stuff like that,” Mathew said.
He and Sean returned this weekend to visit with family. Sean also used some of his time working on his other passion, turning his 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS into a muscle show car.
Sean, a lance corporal, said the past year, which included receiving a Purple Heart from President Barack Obama, has been “really hard, overwhelming at times.”
Before joining the Marines, he had envisioned a 20-year career, retiring as a master sergeant.
“And now I’m ending it ... as a corporal,” he said. “It’s been all so crazy, so fast.”
The Marine “mentality is not to show pain or worry, but sometimes I just can’t hold it,” Sean said.