Iwo Gima

Iwo Gima
Marine Corps Marathon

Sunday, February 7, 2016

February 7, 2016

These past couple of days have been quite busy for the Ross household, here in Fallbrook. On Saturday we went down to Balboa to be a part of the Gary Sinise Invincible Spirit celebration. He comes to Balboa, each February, to provide a day full of fun for the military families of both those who are supporting the Wounded Warriors, and also the Wounded Warriors themselves. This is the third event we've been to, and each time it is a lot of fun. This years event was even more special as we met Col. James Folsom, of the Wounded Warrior Family Support Organization. They are the folks who worked with the Gary Sinise Foundation to make sure Jason got his van. He is an amazingly humble man, and really does go way out of his way to help.

We got there at about 11:00 and we stayed until almost 15:00 (3pm). The girls were with us and both of them were showing signs of being tired. Linda, Jason and I were also tired, so it was a good time for all of us to head on back home. Another interesting thing was the weather. It was almost 80 degrees and very blue skies. Winters are sure rough down here. Within a few minutes of being on the road the girls were asleep and stayed that way until we got home.

Then today Gary Sinise came over to the house to do a little filming of the family in the house, so we had another fun day. It was totally amazing how Stacy took Gary over to her play area and started to tell him all about My Little Pony toys and explained how each of them interacted with each other. She talked on and on about the different ones and Gary did his best to keep up. Then she and Jackie took him out to the play area, in the backyard and had Gary climbing on the structure. We finally were able to get him away and back into the house, to go over the rest of the environment and how it was helping Jason build his independence. Gary stayed a little longer than I think he had originally planned, but then again we always have great conversations with him. Also, Stacy gave Gary a plaque, that had a picture of Jason and the girls, and a copy of the speech she read at the home dedication. She read it again, for Gary and you could tell he was touched by it.

Gary stayed, for a couple hours and then had to get going. There was a film crew (two guys with cameras) recording everything, and it will eventually be made into a promotional film for the organization. We are just so happy that we can help, in this small way, to bring even more awareness to the needs of many of these guys who gave so much to the country. After everyone was gone we all just sat down and rested for a little while, then the Super Bowl came one. I was actually happy to see Denver win, though I have to admit I thought the Panthers were going to do much better. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

February 3, 2016

The day after Groundhog Day and the weather hasn't changed any... okay, maybe a little, but not much.

Jason is doing well, and he and Linda went down to Balboa for a visit with the folks at the hospital. He had a couple of appointments and picked up a few supplies, then they came back home. Not too much excitement, and that's probably a good thing - Jason's wounds continue to improve and he is getting more and more used to the new prosthetic. The down side is that he didn't get to see Dr. Sheu, his primary at Balboa, and Dr. Sheu is a key reason Jason even has the new device. Perhaps next time he gets to the hospital, for a regular visit we'll find the good doctor.

Not too much is going on, otherwise. We have some fun planned for this coming weekend, with a visit to Balboa Naval Hospital (this time not as a patient) for the Gary Sinise Invincible Spirit Festival. There is also going to be a car show there, and they have asked Jason to bring at least one of his vehicles to put it on display. I guess people hear about his truck and van, but they don't get a chance to actually see one of them in action. We were at Costco a couple of days ago, and were approached by this gentleman in a wheelchair. He was there with his wife and they were getting ready to go in, just as we were. He said he saw Jason's truck and wanted to see it in action so Jason showed him how the lift system works. We talked for a little while then all four of us went in to Costco, and did our shopping. It was pretty cool, and even though the guy wasn't a Wounded Warrior, there was still a bond between him and Jason. Those kinds of encounters seem to energize Jason, so I'm happy to see them happen.

Not much more to report about, right now. I have a bunch of work that needs to get done, around the house, and Linda is working to keep the inside of the house in order, all the while we're doing our best to keep up with the girls and Jason. The girls are doing well in school, and both of them are healthy, and those are all good things. We have been blessed and we consider ourselves to be very fortunate to be where we are. We even get visits from friends, from time-to-time, from Livermore. Just yesterday we were visited by Hugh and Julie Keener, and we got to go to lunch with them. They were headed back up, to Livermore, and it was nice just sitting and talking with them.

Finally, tonight Linda and I had a chance to enjoy a Date-Night. We had hoped to do these on a more regular basis, but reality is that we only get to go out about once every other month. We went and saw a movie, Finest Hours, and really enjoyed it. The fact that it is based on a real event made it even better. When we went in to get the tickets we found out that it was in 3D, and that kind of surprised us, but that was okay. We relaxed and enjoyed just being there. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

January 30, 2016

Well, another month has just about gone by and, I don't  know about you, but it sure seemed like it was a fast month. We managed to get several things done, for Jason, and we still have several more to accomplish, and I'm sure we'll always have somethings to do. The team from Cal Poly came out this morning to gather more information and do some measuring. They took SEVERAL pictures of his chair and even made a 3-D computer model of the chair and of Jason. Apparently Microsoft donated an X-Box 3-D imaging device for this project - - - I thought it was pretty cool to watch how it is used. They said they might even make an action figure of Jason with the model, though I think they were just kidding when they said it.

After the Cal Poly team left (they were here for almost 2-hours) I was able to get a couple of things done, small things, and then Joselyn and her son Bobby came by. Jason had asked them to come over and they helped him with a couple of tasks he wanted to get done. Bobby and Jason have several similarities, and they get along very well. They talked for hours while they were here and Jason even got up to visit in his chair. Fortunately he didn't stay up too long, but it was noticeable that he was tired by the time they went home. Even Joselyn made the comment that he looked a little tired. Of course Jason said he wasn't, and he just relaxed and watched a little TV after they left. I fixed him his dinner and in a matter of 30 minutes or so he was sound asleep.

I managed to get a short bike ride in, and look forward to getting a schedule together that allows me a regular amount of time to get out and ride. I really miss going for those longer rides and just enjoy being out side. I'm guessing, and as long as the weather permits, I will be riding more by Spring. It is important for Linda and I to stay as healthy as we can, so that we can help Jason and the girls continue to grow and improve.

Linda will be coming home tomorrow, from Salt Lake City. She has been up there visiting with her sister Lisa, and Lisa's husband Michael. They went out and played in the snow and Linda told me that they all went tubing, for the first time. I can imagine that they all had a great time and probably all got very wet and cold (funny how that happens when you play in the snow). Obviously they made it back to the house okay, because Linda called me and told me all about it. I'm anxious to see the pictures and to learn more about this adventure. I am very happy that Linda was able to go as I know it sure made Linda happy. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

January 27, 2015

It is late, but I still wanted to get at least a short posting out.

Linda left this morning, after taking the girls to school, for Utah. She is visiting her sister and her husband, in Tooela, Utah (its just out side Salt Lake City). Apparently they have some snow up there and the two of them plan to go play in the snow... at least some. It was a little crazy this morning, as Linda had to finish packing, while still finding time to get up and take care of the girls, AND get them to school on time - which she did. Jason had some errands he wanted to take care of also, and he went to the DMV to get the tags for the truck figured out, so about 10:30 this morning I was at the house all by myself. Well, I was on a conference call most of the morning and really didn't do much to help, until later in the day (I fixed lunch and dinner).

Not until later this evening did Linda finally get up to Utah, as she had a stopover in Phoenix, so it was a longer travel time than when we all flew to Colorado. When she called home we could hear all the craziness going on, in the background, and it sounded like it was going to be a good stay. Linda and I talked a little later and she said even their dogs seemed to have remembered her, from the last visit.

Jason and I had a simply lunch and dinner, and we even watched a movie, Black Mass, together. I thought it was a good movie, and from what I am aware of, it was a pretty accurate depiction of the Whitey Bulger story. I thought Johnny Depp did a very good job of being the main character. I am, however, glad that just Jason and I saw it, as Linda really doesn't like those kinds of movies - too much violence.

Things are still going well with the new device, and we expect to see continued progress as Jason continues to use it. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

January 24, 2015

We are headed home tomorrow, with Linda and Jason flying out via an ambulance flight and I will be flying commercial again. I'm glad that Linda is able to fly with Jason, as it is an experience I think she has earned, and Jason likes having at least one of us with him, and the trip back to San Diego and finally home is going up to Fallbrook and Jason's home. I will be following a few hours later and I hope to be back in the house before 22:00 (10pm).

Today we got out for a breakfast, at I-Hop, and then we went shopping for a couple of small items that we needed. When we were all done and headed back to the hotel, Jason had been up in his new Ride Design seat, or Wearable, as Linda likes to call it, for about 3-hours, and he was feeling uncomfortable. To the point of not wanting to be up any longer. The good news is that it appears to be helping with the healing, and progress. The not so good news is that his ability to be up in his chair is still not much more than it was before. Our guess is that because he has been sitting improperly for so long (about four years) that it is going to take some time for his body to get back to the way it should be, so the time in his chair will grown longer and then he can do more. One of the first things we're going to be doing, after we get back, is getting with his primary doctor and discussing some of the discomfort issues and basically asking if they would like to take a look with an MRI, or something, and see if there is something we're just not aware of, right now. In this case we can work with either the Naval Hospital at Balboa or the VA Hospital in La Jolla. I'll be providing more updates, as we get them.

We have met some great people out here and made some new friends. What has been done for Jason is nothing short of fantastic. What the future holds for Jason is still unknown but we sure do feel much more positive with this new step. We know that over time (a couple years?) Jason will be coming back for another device, or perhaps just an adjustment to this first device. New and even more advanced things are being developed all the time, and we now know that Aspen/Ride Design is in a position to be a part of that future. As we continue to go through the recovery it is only a matter of time before Jason is back doing things we only dream about now.

The only thing we need to get by right now is the weather. There was supposed to be 5+ inches of snow dropped, and that didn't happen. What I understand is that it might happen over night and into the morning. If that happens transportation could be impacted and we may have to adjust our travel. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive

Friday, January 22, 2016

January 22, 2016

We had a pretty nice day today, beginning with a quick drive over to Aspen/Ride Design, where they wanted to do the final exam of Jason and the wearable prosthetic. We have worked primarily with Eric and today was no different. Joe, one of the owners and Noel, another of the technicians there also worked with us a few times and Joe was the one who gave us a tour of the business, prior to our leaving. The person we always saw first, going in to the building was Debbie, and she definitely has the right personality for being up front. She has the energy and personality that they want to have the customers come into contact with first. There is one other person who seems to also be quite knowledgeable about the company, Dawn, and we all got to know her as well. They all, working together, make you feel like you're apart of their family, and very comfortable.

Anyway, Jason went in and everything looked good, with only a couple of minor adjustments before we were just about done. The changes were made and then we took off for lunch. Eric wanted Jason to get out for a couple hours, to check on this "final" fit. We came back and had a great conversation with everybody. We then had the tour and finally we departed the building. Linda made a couple of new FB friends, and they got to know us pretty well over the week. All of this would not have been able to happen if it had not been for the VA getting the right people together and providing Jason with a means of getting out here. Also, we received help from the SemperFi Fund and from EOD Warrior Foundation, to help pay for hotel and transportation, while being out here.

Jason will be flying home on an ambulance flight, just like the flight he came out on, and Linda will be flying back with him. I will be traveling commercial, as the plane just isn't big enough for all of us to ride in, and to get a larger plane would cost considerably more. All of the flight preparations were made today, and on Monday we will be headed out. Of course, on Monday we check in with the folks at Aspen/Ride Design, just to make sure there is nothing wrong and then I will take them to the first airport stop, so they can get the ambulance. After that I drive up to Denver International and catch my flight. They will get home before me, but at least we all get home on the same day... Monday. Then on Tuesday I have to get back to work, early in the am.

Tomorrow we will be heading out to see Garden of The Gods and then the Air Force Academy, just so we can do some touristy things, and to give Jason a chance to be in the wearable for a little more time. Actually, this is why we check in on Monday, just in case something shows up. On Sunday we may not do too much, as I understand it is supposed to snow - - a bunch. I may just kick back and take in the football game. I understand the Broncos, a local team here, is playing... ;-) Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Januarry 21, 2016

Today started out a little differently than the past few days, in that we did not head over to Aspen/Ride Design to continue with the fitting of Jason's new wearable seating system. The way they work is that they custom build a seating solution for the patient, or client and then over the course of a few days there are some fine tuning efforts until the patient and wearable fit each other perfectly. We were originally told that we should not expect to see that until Friday, so we were very happy to see that we had all day today for Jason to be up and around in his.

We were up a little later than we had been getting up, since we didn't have to go to their offices, and it allowed us a little more relaxed time as a family. We went to a late breakfast, and then we decided to head over to a local theater to catch a movie. Jason was wanting to see the new Start Wars VII movie, The Force Awakens and Linda and I wanted to see it as well. We found a theater that reminded us, a little, of the Vine in Livermore, just a little nicer. The best part was that they had seating set up for wheelchair viewing that allowed us to watch from a center location, rather than on the sides, as most theaters have. The fact that it is Thursday, and a matinee probably had some impact on why there weren't many people there, something about having to go to work, and school.

Jason was up for close to 5 1/2 hours today, before he laid back down. The typical length of time he has been able to stay up, over these past several weeks, is more like 2 to 3 hours, max. Later, this evening Jason went to take his shower, and I did the dressing change, and I'm happy to report that he looked pretty good, and not at all like I would expect for being up for more than 5 hours. We're all very hopeful that this is going to help greatly, and be a solid next step for Jason's healing. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.