Last night, just before going to bed, I was on the phone with Jason's doctor. One of the other doctors had been to see Jason and told him that he was going to be loosing what was left of his left leg. She told me that, that was not the plan and assuaged my concerns, so I went back over to see Jason, even though it was getting late. He was awake and thought I would probably be coming back. I let him know about the conversation with his doctor. I also let him know that she said she had planned to stop by early to see him, as I had asked her to. We all went to bed, a little more relaxed, it was almost midnight.
At about 6:30am I was awakened by a call from his nurse, who said, "Jason wants you to come over to see him. The doctor is talking about the removal of his leg." I was up and dressed, and over there in about 15 minutes. Dr. Malone, his doctor, was talking to him and explaining what was going to be happening and that there was no plan to remove his left leg. If there was a concern, she would bring together the doctors and Jason, along with his family support - Bridgette, Linda and I. We talked for about 20 - 25 minutes and again, she calmed down our fears. About this time Linda showed up and joined us. I had made a couple of calls to Bridgette, but for whatever reason the calls failed the first two times and then I finally got through to leave a voice mail message. Jason was then taken off to surgery. Surgery was going to be a bit more difficult this time, as they had to turn him over, and have him lie face-down, as they were working more on his lower back.
Jason got out of surgery and we were given a call that we needed to come and meet with the doctors and Jason, and it was a call I had hoped would not be coming. They wanted to remove the left leg completely. I asked them several questions about why, and how he would function in the future as well as several other questions, but the bottom line was that they felt that in order for them to be able to effectively close up his wounds and provide him with a balanced base, to sit on. Otherwise he was looking at greater discomfort while riding in a wheelchair, and at this point it was unlikely that he would be able to be fitted for any prosthetic. However, there are new developments going on all the time, and perhaps something will be available for Jason in the not-to-distant future, and his future is what I am most concerned about.
Needless to say, we were all pretty upset about this, and didn't like the idea. The decision was, and is Jason's and Bridgette's to make, and he is resigned to the fact that his life is now in a wheelchair. He took the news better than the rest of us, or at least it seems he did. He is a very strong young man, both mentally and physically. I guess the deciding factor was the fact that there was a great deal of damaged tissue, including muscle tissue, that they were going to need to replace, in order to close the wounds so that he would be comfortable. That tissue is coming from his left leg. The alternative was to take it from his back, and that is a very poor option, as it would significantly impact his upper-body strength. Because these type injuries/wounds only happen in war type settings, the military is the only place where they can work on this type injury, so all the best experience is right here at Bethesda, and we need to have faith that the doctors are doing the right thing. That is easier said than done, but we will do our best.
We need the prayers more now, than ever. For Jason, for us and for the doctors.