ABC's Martha Raddatz with an update on the condition of Lieutenant Colonel Tim Karcher:
LTC Tim Karcher is a man whose courage is beyond inspirational. It has been just over a month since LTC Karcher lost both legs to a roadside bomb in Iraq. I have not updated this website for several weeks preferring that readers follow the detailed updates that Tim’s wife, Alesia, is writing on caringbridge.org (enter “timkarcher”).
His recuperation has been difficult with serious medical complications beyond the traumatic amputations. He has been in and out of intensive care, with kidney, lung and heart problems.
But you would never know that by talking to him, which I just did for the first time since his injury. I have kept constant track of Tim from afar, but had not tried to visit or intrude on his recuperation since the first day I saw Alesia at Walter Reed earlier this month. Tim was clearly in no shape for extra visitors that day and Alesia was doing her best to stay strong for him and their three young daughters back in Texas.
But after reading that Tim was feeling pretty good today, and that he actually ventured out of his bed for the first time thanks to one of the incredible nurses at Walter Reed, I decided to give Alesia a call. She was at Tim’s bedside. She said, “He’s right here and was just saying he needed to give you a call!” She handed Tim the phone.
What a wonderful conversation we had! Tim started right off with a joke. “You know, every time I have felt well enough to call you, I have ended up in the Intensive Care Unit right after that, so I ‘m not sure this is a good idea!” From there, he spoke only about wanting to get out of bed, get into physical therapy and get new legs so he can help others who have lost limbs.
Not for one moment did he feel sorry for himself. This will not surprise anyone who knows Tim, but still…this is a man who has had a month of pain and trauma that would undo most normal human beings. He says he has been full of questions to the staff, “How can I swim? Will I wear the prosthetics or not? How can I run again?"
He is looking forward, not back. And he is looking at the pain of others not himself. “I worry about the younger soldiers,” he said. “Alesia and I have been married for twenty years, we know each other so well and how we will deal with these changes.”
Changes. That ‘s what this soldier calls losing his legs above his knees, and his life as he knew it. Changes. How can you not be profoundly inspired by this man.