Rescued Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch talked to her parents twice today by phone from her hospital bed in Germany, and though the world hungered for details about her capture and imprisonment in Iraq, the family was finding reassurance in the mundane.
They talked about a hairbrush. They talked about the color of her new casts -- pink -- like the one she had on her right arm in third grade. And they indulged in running family jokes.
"We talked to her before her surgery, and we talked to her after the surgery, and she's doing good," her mother, Deadra Lynch, 40, said afterward. "I told her she was a hero. She told me she had gotten some flowers -- and I told her we had a porch full of flowers."
But, she said, "our basic conversations have just been about home."
Doctors completed successful back surgery today on Jessica Lynch, 19, to repair a fracture that was pinching a nerve and causing her to lose feeling in her feet, the family said.
On Friday, doctors are planning to repair fractures in her right arm and in both legs, they said.
While offering few new details, the family did contradict initial reports that Lynch was shot and stabbed after her unit took a wrong turn in the Iraqi desert March 23 and was ambushed.
"We have heard and seen reports that she had multiple gunshot wounds and a knife stabbing. The doctor has not seen any of this," said her father, Greg Lynch Sr., a self-employed truck driver. "There's no entry [wounds] whatsoever."
Rescued Tuesday from an Iraqi hospital, Lynch fought fiercely and shot several enemy soldiers after Iraqi forces attacked the Army's 507th Ordnance Maintenance Company, firing her weapon until she ran out of ammunition, U.S. officials said this week. Family and friends who know her here said that such accounts matched their memories of the scrappy, petite "country girl."
The parents said that they did not know how Lynch suffered the broken bones and that they had no other details about her treatment by her Iraqi captors. "They have no idea what caused [the fractures]," Greg Lynch said in recalling his conversation with a doctor.
After spending most of the day with Pentagon officials discussing their daughter's return from Iraq, the couple spoke from the front of their simple wood-frame house at the end of a bumpy rural road and long gravel driveway in this small mountain town. Here, signs saying "We love you Jessica" seem to have sprouted everywhere. The banner headline on the local newspaper was "Saving Private Lynch."
Although Lynch is expected to be transported eventually to Washington, members of her family said they are considering a trip to Germany to visit her. The timing of the trip would be left to Lynch.
"The best therapy is when she's ready to see us," Greg Lynch said.
Greg and Deadra Lynch said they are proud of their daughter and consider her a hero. They beamed with pride at times, in sharp contrast to their drawn faces during the harrowing days of her disappearance. Today, they seemed determined to savor the details of family life.
Recalling that he and his daughter often joke about his desire for an Army Jeep, Greg said Jessica had joked today, "I know where there's a bunch of them we can find." The owner of a Fairfax-based car business said he was giving Jessica Lynch a new sport-utility vehicle and was sending a new pickup truck to her parents.
Mostly, Deadra Lynch said, her daughter spoke of simpler things.
"She was asking for a hairbrush and things that girls want," the mother said.
The Lynches have been asked repeatedly for details about their daughter's capture and captivity. But after the days of worry that she might never come back, the parents said it was her voice and normal conversation that they cherished more than anything.
"We know how she should sound," her mother said beaming, and then affirming, "That's our Jessi."