updated 12:10 p.m. ET, Sun., April 26, 2009
SAN ANTONIO – His first glimpse in the mirror was largely a blur. Sgt. Darron Mikeworth had just come out of a drug-induced coma — his mind was still in a fog and he was so weak he could barely stand. Three weeks before, in Iraq, a suicide bomber had raced up to the right side of his Humvee, igniting a barrel of explosives that tore into the machine gunner’s face. He nearly died.
Mikeworth awoke in a hospital bed, thousands of miles away.
He was relieved he still had his arms and legs. He was thrilled, too, that his ears had survived the blast. But he had wounds he could not see, life-changing wounds. His wife, Dea, helped break the news: His face was in bad shape. His left eye was useless. And there was more.
At first, Mikeworth was too groggy to absorb it all. He was caught up in hallucinations of basketball players shooting hoops in the hospital, of cars on the highway floating in air. He didn’t know what was fantasy and what wasn’t — until he shuffled into the physical therapy room and stood numbly before a full-length mirror.