BOSTON (CBS) – Many survivors of the Marathon bombings are frustrated they’re not recovering faster. They want to reclaim their lives and their independence as they struggle with serious injuries. We recently met a Nashua couple going through all of this together. Alvaro and Martha Galvis worry that their lives will never be the same. They’ve each had multiple surgeries. Doctors had to amputate Martha’s ring finger, and every day she has hours of therapy. Alvaro was just a few years from retirement and says he probably can’t work again. All because of what happened in a terrible instant at the finish line.
“I shouted to my wife, oh God, they planted a bomb, let’s run,” says 62-year-old Alvaro Galvis. He and his wife Martha were honoring their 40-year tradition of attending the Marathon when the first bomb went off. “As we ran across to seek shelter in a building, the shrapnel skimmed behind and the dirt and the sidewalks were moving in waves,” he remembers. “Then it hit my wife in three places in her leg, and totally destroyed her hand. And she was bleeding so profusely that I tried to stop the bleeding and I was trying to get my belt and put on a tourniquet, but I couldn’t because I was bleeding and I was powerless,” he says. Alvaro screamed for help. An EMT scooped up Martha. “I was afraid I was going to lose her. She had lost so much blood,” he says.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital relaxed its’ rules and let the couple share a room where they met First Lady Michelle Obama when she visited Boston. “I’m thankful that I’m alive, that my wife is alive,” says Alvaro. Today Martha is at Spaulding Rehab in Charlestown. For 22 days she couldn’t get up. That changed this week. “She took the first couple of steps. She made me cry. Oh God that was, that was very nice,” says Alvaro. After extensive therapy Martha should be able to walk, but no one knows if she’ll be able to use her hand. Alvaro says he’s exhausted from the ordeal. “The mental toll is too much. The physical, the financial aspect of it also,” he says.
Despite all he and his wife have been through he says he isn’t angry with the bombers. “The judicial system will take care of that, and a supreme being will take care of that,” he says. But he wonders about the reasons behind the attacks. “If there’s a chance to be face to face in a hearing with him, I’d like to go up there and ask him why he did this,” he says.
Alvaro says he and his wife will not return to watch the Marathon. They’ve decided to avoid crowds in the future. “I just want to go home. Be with my wife, be with my neighbors, my family,” he says.
A special fund has been set up to help the Galvis’ through this difficult time: The Galvis Fund