Iwo Gima

Iwo Gima
Marine Corps Marathon

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

February 8, 2017

Over the past several months (almost a year?) we have been talking with Jason about him needing to get out and get some exercise at a gym. Well, yesterday he went to the gym ... the gym on Camp Pendleton that is connected with the Wounded Warrior Battalion. It was very good in that it gave him the chance to do some specific exercises, on specific equipment, that was designed to help him with his shoulders and back. He also worked on his core muscle group, and was very pleased with himself afterward.

When he was finished with the gym he went over to see some of his friends at the EOD Company and even brought them a gift - a large bottle of his mead. Unfortunately the mead didn't make it. As he was entering the building he hit a bump and the bottle, which was resting on the power chair, fell off and broke. Needless to say, he was disappointed - as were the guys at the EOD company. He still had a good visit and will be bringing some mead again on the next visit (probably tomorrow). They all had a good time and Jason was there for over an hour, then came back home.

Funny thing is, when he came home I helped him with his shower and then he got back in bed. Within a matter of just a few minutes he was asleep. He slept for a few hours and finally woke up in the evening and was in time to have dinner with the girls.

Tomorrow Jason wants to get over to the gym again, and this time I will be going with him. I'm going to be doing a little of the exercising too, but just not sure what. The gym has been set up for the Wounded Warrior Battalion and I'm not sure how many of the machines and pieces of equipment are available for me to use. That's okay though, as my lower back has just recently started to feel closer to normal (I have been told that I have arthritis in my lower back and left hip and for a while it was uncomfortable to move around much. I've been working on it and making some progress).

Otherwise, not much more going on. The girls are growing and Stacy has gotten involved with the Drama Club at school. She really enjoys being on the stage and being in front of a bunch of people doesn't seem to bother her much at all. She and Jackie are becoming more affectionate with their daddy, and Linda and I are very happy to see this. Jason likes to read to them, and tell them stories, just before the go to bed. It must be the right kind of stories because they both sleep through the night and are waking up ready to start the day.Thank you for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January 31, 2017

Over these past several days, our household has been very busy, to say the least. Amazingly it all came together and we were able to get up to Livermore to pay our respects to the Ferea family, as they had to deal with the death of Ron, the head of the family. Jason was able to get some time with one of his closest friends, Matt, and I think it was really good for both of them. We also spent a little time with Margie, Ron's wife, and their daughter Megan. Linda and I (mostly Linda) had a special relationship with the family, as both the kids, Matt and Megan, were in Linda's child care, and then Megan even worked for Linda for a couple of years. Matt and Jason were in Scouts together, so that was another connection and we seemed to always have things going on with them. Ron will be missed by many.

We flew up to Livermore, courtesy of Veteran Airlift Command (VAC), in a Pilatus aircraft, and it was a very smooth flight. After we landed, Jason made the comment that it was much smoother in the plane than on the ground (In the ground's defense - there was a great deal of construction going on). We had a rental van from the Oakland Mobility Center, and they provided us with a wheelchair accessible van at a low rate. It too, was comfortable and large enough for all we had, plus the two dogs. A great big thank you, goes out to George and Jane Bowen for being there to go pick up the van and bring it to the airport for us. It would have been a very difficult situation otherwise.

We stayed up in Livermore for just the one day, and came right back down. We did get to see a couple of friends and do a little visiting, which gave Jason a chance to connect with a couple of folks he had not seen in awhile. Linda and I think that it would be good to get that same type flight and van so that we could visit for about a week. We talked to the pilots and they said it shouldn't be a problem, just need to coordinate with the folks at the VAC.

Tomorrow Jason and I will be heading to Balboa for his regular Wound Care visit, and attempt to get a few other things done, like get the Mustang in for service. He is also making some progress with his mead production. Maybe "production" is too strong of a word, as he really isn't making that much. These are more like experimental steps at trying to figure out how to make it taste the way he wants it to taste. He does have a name - Wolf Head Mead - and a business card (His brother Sean helped with the logo, a wolf's head). I see it as something he is doing and he enjoys doing it, so it is good.

I will do my best to get some pictures up tomorrow, but for now you'll have to simply enjoy the text. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Friday, January 27, 2017

January 27, 2017

It looks like things are coming together so that we will be able to head up to Livermore, again, this weekend - Sunday to be specific. We will be returning on Monday, in the afternoon or early evening, so this is simply going to be a fast trip. The reason for the trip is so that we can pay our last respects to a friend of ours, Ron Ferea, who passed away a couple of days ago, and his funeral is going to take place on Monday. It was important for Jason to be there.

Ron and Margie were married for almost 40 years, and they have two children, Matt and Megan. Matt and Jason basically grew up together, and whenever you found one of them, you found the other. Ron and I even took the boys to Japan to hike up Mt. Fuji - it was a part of a Boy Scout adventure (High Adventure at that), and just one of the many times we all did something together. I even had the pleasure of working with Ron on a construction project (Vacaville Kaiser Hospital), where he was one of the contractors working on the escalator being installed.

The challenge of getting there, really wasn't that great. I simply contacted Veteran Airlift Command,
www.veteransairlift.org and let them know what was needed. Jason and I were able to take advantage of their services once before, when we traveled up to get Kojak, his second dog. This will actually be a shorter trip, so everything should be easier on Jason. We'll be staying overnight in Livermore and then flying back out the next day, a couple hours after the services. The difficulty was simply finding a wheelchair accessibly van. Between Linda and myself, I'm sure we called every agency in the area, and some of them twice. Linda finally was able to make the connection, and everything is just about all taken care of. There are still a few loose ends to be taken care of, then we can totally relax.

One thing that did happen today was a visit to the girl's school, because of Grand Parents Day, and a talent show they were both in. The girls got to escort us around the school and then there was the talent show. Stacy sang and Jackie got to do some of what she felt was marshal arts, on stage (she has never taken any marshal art lessons). They both did an excellent job, and felt comfortable in front of an audience. Bottom line is that both Grandma and Grandpa had a fun time. All things considered, we're doing well and Jason is still in very positive and high spirits. Thank you, all for all the continued prayers and support. Take care and stay positive.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

January 24, 2017

I remember when we were in a drought, wait, that was just a couple of months ago. We are coming up on the 25th day of this year, and it has rained, here in San Diego County, 22 days. The "average" rain fall for this area is about 10.45 inches, over the year. Last year we had 10.25, and this year we've already had about 6 inches (much higher than normal). I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that we are going to have a wet year... ;-)

Things are going well, though, and we have not had any down time due to lost power, or flooding of the roads. Sometimes the network has dropped and the phones are not always working, but those are the only signs that the weather is a little more harsh than normal. Heck, we even had hail, and when that happened the girls were very excited. They were hoping it would continue and turn into snow... it wasn't that cold. Overall, the girls, and the dogs, loved the rain. The rest of us just had to deal with it and clean up the mud being tracked in.

Jason is doing well, and he and I will be heading in to Wound Care in the morning. There is also an appointment with a couple of his other doctors, but I don't think there is going to be much movement on anything else, at least not for the next couple of weeks. We're working with both the VA and the Naval Hospital to get some things pulled together, and Jason is looking to have some of his PT moved to the VA hospital, since it is closer. The challenge is getting them to allow him to have more than 8 treatments without having to get approval for more. With the Navy (Balboa Naval Hospital), right now, he can go in and receive all the treatments he wants. The problem is that it is so far away. Fortunately I think it is being reviewed at higher levels, and it will happen, just we don't know when.

If the weather holds for a few days, and over the weekend, we will probably get out and do some shooting. He hasn't taken his guns out for several months, because of weather. Neither of us wants to go out in the mud, and have him get stuck. All the shooting ranges will be muddy for the next few days... at least. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

January 10, 2017

It is already the 10th day of the year and it seems to have gone by so very fast. On top of that it has rained nearly every day, and for this part of California, that's a bunch... we do need the rain, though.

Jason is doing well, and we continue to work on better ways to make him comfortable, as well as continue to work with all the medical teams. His one wound is being particularly stubborn, and just as it looks like it is going to be closing up it starts to open up a little. When I say open up, what is really happening is that the immediate skin around the wound site starts to break down and goes away. The BIGGEST challenge is blood flow to that area. This is something we've been aware of for a few years now, and we are constantly looking for ways of making improvements. One of the ways was the new prosthetic he received from Aspen/Ride Design (also known as the "wearable"), and it helped greatly. The only issue with that though, is that we have kind of hit a limit to how much more it can help that one spot (mentioned above). That is where the folks at CalPoly kind of step in. They designed another type support system that could help in a different way, and still help to keep Jason comfortable just being around the house. The wearable is for general travel and getting around, away from the house. It is great for support but restricts his ability to reach and move his upper body. The CalPoly device is designed to allow him the ability to reach for things and move a little easier while at home.

Jon Monett, the man who effectively put that CalPoly design team together, stopped by the house yesterday, to check in on Jason. We had been talking for a couple of days and found a time that works for both our schedules. We explained to Jon some of the challenges of the new system, and he told us of some potential solutions, so we're pretty positive about what can come of this. Of course we continue to move forward in all areas, and look at this as one of the possible pieces of the total solution that could work for Jason.

Otherwise things are continuing to go well for the family, overall. The girls, Stacy and Jackie, are both enjoying their school, and in fact, Stacy is in a "talent show" later this week. We'll be going to see the show and cheer her on. Jason has gotten much more involved with their schooling and does all he can to make sure they get all the support that is needed, and that includes anything that might be considered special.

Linda and I are staying busy, and still make time to stay in touch with the rest of the family. We have five grand kids now, and the family continues to grow. Every now and again we try to get up to the S.F. Bay Area and visit with both Sean and George, or make arrangements for them to come down and visit with us. Fortunately David and his family are close enough that we can visit with them a little easier, though they are still over 130 miles away. Since this is 2017 now, and we have the entire year ahead of us, we're looking forward to an exciting and productive year. Thank you all, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

December 31, 2016 - Happy New Year!

Actually, I guess I should say, "Happy Old Year" since the new one doesn't begin until tomorrow. Actually, Google pointed out that on the Gregorian calendar, December 31st is also known as the Old Year Day... but I digress, as that isn't what I intended to cover with this post, but it is kind of interesting.

Anyway, we have had a few busy days recently. We have a new grandson, born on December 28, at 4:00 in the morning. He weighed in at 8lbs 5oz., and his name is Noah Alexander Ross and he is the third son of our 2nd son, David and his wife Miriam. That makes five grand kids now, and we're very happy. Both Mom and Dad are doing well, as well as their other two sons, Dylan and Ethan. Linda and I spent a couple of days up in the lovely city of Glendale, so we could be close to them, and to celebrate a "second" Christmas with the boys, Dylan and Ethan. We actually got home yesterday evening and found that Jason was doing well, and all was as it should be.

While we were gone we had help from a couple of friends, Leisa and Joselyn. They both came in and helped Jason with the girls, and with his needs, and from the sounds of it, they all had a good time. As it turned out, it was one of the most relaxing times Linda and I have had in a few years, and that was particularly nice. Don't get me wrong, there have been other moments of relaxation, its just that this time was particularly nice.

During the time we were gone, Jason went down to Balboa for his regular visit and the wounds on his right side are looking better and continue to make improvements. He is getting around a little more, though not too much. We want to limit the amount of "up" time he has, so that the healing can continue and we can work towards that next step... we're all looking forward to this coming year, for multiple reason, and all of the family is in good and positive spirits.

From the Ross Family, to all of you - - - Happy New Year! May God bless you all and all of you have a wonderful year full of experiences. Thank you, for all the continued prayers and support. Take care and stay positive.

Monday, December 26, 2016

December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Well, actually, I had planned on making this post yesterday but I was just too warn out, so I'm getting it in today (tonight). We have had a very good and exciting past several days. First with George, our oldest son, coming out for a visit. I think this was a good visit for him, and a very good visit for us. It was good to see the brothers get some time together again, and even tomorrow they're planning on a movie outing, in the morning. The reason for the early showing is that George will be headed home in the evening. Something about the need to get back to work... ;-)

The family has enjoyed the Christmas celebration, and we even had a double Christmas dinner. First it was Linda's parents who came, on Christmas Eve, and we had a more traditional turkey dinner. It was an exciting and fun time for the girls, as well as the adults, as they always like to see their Nana and Tata. They stayed well past dinner and we even asked them if they would rather stay the night, than drive home. They chose to head home and called when they got there. The good part was that they also told us that there was very little traffic, so the drive was easy. Then on Christmas Day we all got up and celebrated the birth of Jesus, and we opened a bunch of presents. The girls were again very excited because they got some really fun things, with the camera being Stacy's favorite and Jackie getting a full set of Petkins (not sure about the spelling), and she felt like she had the best Christmas ever.!

After most of it was cleaned up we began working on dinner and getting things ready. Anthony and Angelica were coming over, and we were going to have tamales and other Mexican style foods for dinner - a little less traditional. Jason was up for most of the day, and it was really good fun time for all of us. Jason was also VERY tired when it was all done and within a minute of getting back in bed, he was asleep, and slept pretty soundly. One of the appetisers, before our dinner, was this item that Jason prepared. It was tritip, mozzarella and spinach, all wrapped in a tortilla and then baked. He made about two dozen and most of them were eaten before the end of the night (the last four were eaten this morning for breakfast).

 Because of the past two days being as busy as they were Linda and I got to bed and were out, also within a minute or two, and we slept pretty soundly for the next 8+ hours. The beauty of letting the girls stay up a little later than usual was that they also slept in this morning and that made it a more gentle beginning to our day. Overall it has been a very enjoyable holiday, and on top of it all one of our other sons is about to have another child, and that is supposed to happen at any time (we're going to be going up to visit with them very soon).  Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive. Merry Christmas to all, and have a prosperous New Year in 2017!!