A Monumental Recovery

Aidan Sims Is On the Mend

Posted November 14, 2008 at 4:25pm

In the five months since he was struck by a car outside his parents’ suburban Maryland home, Capitol Police Officer Aidan Sims has stayed full time in two hospitals and relied on a team of nurses to help him do even the

most simple tasks of eating, brushing his teeth and getting dressed.

A Capitol Police officer for just a year before he was critically injured June 21, Sims was recently discharged after three months of inpatient care at the National Rehabilitation Hospital. Sims, 22, had a series of surgeries on his legs and skull, and he now wears a Capitol Police baseball cap to cover the question mark-shaped scar that lines his head.

But Sims, the son of two long-serving Capitol Hill staffers, is unwavering in his ultimate goal of returning to the Capitol Police force. And his goal has become a family effort.

Dave Sims, Aidan’s father, is on leave from his job as a House photographer to care for his son, who returned home Oct. 21. Dave Sims drives his son to NRH twice a week for physical, occupational and speech therapy appointments. Gretel Lauro, Aidan’s mother and a longtime staffer for Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), only recently returned to work part time, and while she appreciates the support of her colleagues, the time away from her recovering son can be difficult.

“When he was in the hospital, my mind was always split between there and the office,” she said. “Now we’re just waiting for him to get better.”

It will be a long road for Aidan Sims, who recently had a second surgery on his right leg to repair torn ligaments and has very limited use of his left arm.

But he has made great strides since June — he can walk on his own, though the steps are slow and shaky. His skull is completely restored, and in a telling signal of growing strength, he is back to cracking jokes and laughing. The day Sims was released from the hospital, he put on his Capitol Police baseball hat and headed to the Hill to thank his colleagues who became close friends over the last five months.

“It was very good for him to come out of the hospital and have that warm welcome,” Lauro said. “It makes you feel like you haven’t been forgotten.”