War wounded spend a day outside the hospital
It's a vacation-style outing, but with a serious purpose.
Once a month, therapists at Naval Medical Center San Diego gather up a dozen or so patients for a trip to the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, Horton Plaza or another fun place crowded with civilians.
The goal is to give the patients — most of them wounded and traumatized by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — a break from the rigors of medical appointments and other rehabilitation sessions.
But along with the fun, therapists hope it will help ease the transition back to civilian life. A recent trip took a dozen patients on the Coronado ferry, San Diego trolley, and then to a bowling alley/restaurant.
"It feels good to be out," said Marine Cpl. Michael Fox, who lost both legs in Afghanistan. "You don't feel like you're the only one with problems."
— Tony Perry in San Diego
Photo: Marine Lance Cpl. Chris Van Etten, 21, who lost both legs in Afghanistan, enjoys a game of bowling during a recent outing with the "community reentry" program at Naval Medical Center San Diego.
Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times