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Showing posts from September, 2011

September 30, 2011 - End of September

Today was a very important day in the treatment for Jason. He was given a special skin treatment and no skin graft. Now we have to wait a couple of weeks and then we'll know if the treatment took. There is a high degree of confidence that it will, however we are also aware of the alternate plan, if it does not. The doctors and staff here have been very good and supportive of Jason and helping him get through this, so we continue to feel that they are doing the right thing.

With that, all we are doing now is basically waiting. There are some activities we hope to do while we wait, and there is the pending promotion, so we do have things to keep us generally busy. An example of how our joint lives have been, when I left this evening the first thing out of Jason's mouth was, "Are you sure that I don't go to the PACU in the morning?" My response was, "I don't think you do, but I'll go check to make sure." Going for treatment, almost every day has be…

September 29, 2011 - Big Day for Change

Today is a day that we hope saw the final "washout" of Jason's wounds, and going forward we only see some minor dressing change activity after tomorrow. Jason will be going down to the O.R. tomorrow to have the treatment done that we are all hoping will be the way for him to avoid having to get another skin graft. Because it is in the O.R. he will be going down a little earlier than the past few days, so I might miss him when I head over there early in the morning. He has gone as early as 05:15, and I'm just not out of bed and dressed at that time... usually.

One of the other exciting things to happen was that First Sargent Barrett came in to talk to Jason about a number of things, and one of those was let Jason know that he is being promoted to Staff Sargent on Monday, or at least it looks that way. We found out a couple of days ago that Jason had been selected, and that Jason's number is a relatively low number, which means it will be among the first selected …

September 28, 2011

Today was a pretty good day for Jason. He came back from the PACU with a few new areas of discomfort, but that is to be expected from time to time. They had to use some of the Dakin solution today, and only on a couple of areas where there was some colonization noticed. Otherwise he was feeling good.

Almost as soon as he was settled in his room there were some visitors, NYFD (New York Fire Department) members came by and stopped in to see some of the wounded warriors. There were six of them, with two of them being retired. When they found out about the date Jason was supposed to join they were very impressed how it came to pass. They said they come down about every 6 weeks or so, and that the next time they come down they would like to take Jason and I out to dinner. I thanked them, and said I hope we are not here the next time they come down, but if we are we'd be happy to go to dinner with them. They left the room and within a minute, maybe 30 seconds, Marines Helping Marines c…
Okay, I took a bit of flak from some folks, about the hat I was wearing on the boat. I'm a SF Giants baseball fan, and not Atlanta Braves. As you can see from the picture, the weather was actually pretty nice and much sunnier than what I expected and I needed a hat. Of course Atlanta didn't do much better than the Giants this year, so I guess it really doesn't matter that much. The SF Giants will be back next year, so I have that to look forward to. Okay, on with the rest of the blog... ;-) Today was a nice day for Jason, as he was able to get down to the PACU a bit earlier than what has happened in the past, and that means he was back a little earlier. I got to his room just a few minutes after 10:00 this morning and Dr. Malone was in there already talking to him (but I didn't miss much). She let us know that things were still progressing nicely and that Friday was still the day for the next big effort to get those wounds closed. The difference this time was that she…

September 26, 2011 - The one that didn't get away

Today was an awesome and excellent day for Jason and I both. We went fishing with a few other folks, and caught fish. We were fortunate enough to be invited to go along with a small group of out-patients (Jason was the only one still "in-patient") and there were two boats chartered for this event. I guess I was a bit on the anxious side as I woke up at about 4:00 and couldn't go back to sleep. I finally got up and was over to see Jason before 6:00. Actually I would have gotten there sooner, but it seems there has been a change in the parking rules and I had to go to a different garage, and as a result the move from one garage to the other took a few minutes and then I had to walk farther and that took a few more minutes. I wish they would let us know when a change like that is going to happen.

Jason was awake and waiting for me to help him finish getting ready. Most of the medical staff was about as anxious as I was to get Jason out. We were going to be out from about 06…

September 25, 2011 - Sunday Brunch

Jason and I went out to Sunday Brunch, at the Double Tree hotel today. He came back from his PACU visit, where it went pretty much normal, with just a washout and no new issues identified (the way we like it). About an hour after getting back to his room I saw the nursing staff moving pretty quickly to insure we were able to get out. It was great! Initially I thought it was only important to Jason and I to get out, but as the time approached the nurses were doing things without me asking, and making sure we were going to get to the hotel. I've attached a new picture of Jason eating at the table, with a few other folks from Walter Reed/Bethesda (a.k.a. WRNMMCB) and then one waiting for the bus to take us back to the hospital. This was the first time that he had gone for a ride, with the new seat on his chair, and it worked soooo much better than the old one. I think we'll keep it.

Actually, the brunch adventure was a nice prelude to us going out tomorrow, for the fishing trip. …

September 24, 2011

Today was one of those laid back kind of days, where there really wasn't much planned other than the PACU visit. He went down early and was back by 10:00 today, no update other than to say things were looking good, and we're still moving forward. We had a few visitors, one of which was the Governor of Indian, Mitch Daniels, and then also a couple from Patriot Riders. They came by and gave a coin to Jason, and spent a little time with us to thank Jason and let us know that if there was anything we needed they would do what they can to help. Governor Daniels was not what I had expected, as he came in and was very relaxed and spoke to Jason and I like he was almost apologetic for intruding on us. Not sure that makes any sense, but that is how it felt.

Jason got out on his prone cart today and did some laps for the 4th floor, and then decided to stop in on one of the other EOD Marines. SSgt Travis Green, and his wife have been here for a couple of weeks, and it was very good to ge…

September 23, 2011 - Happy Birthday Stacy

Today is Stacy's 3rd birthday, and Jason did get the chance to wish his little girl a happy birthday. She had a nice little conversation with daddy, and it made him feel better than any medication. Jason is so looking forward to the chance to see his girls again, and hopes it isn't too far down the road. Otherwise, Jason had a good day in the PACU and at the MATC, and had a few visitors come by, with some of them being people he knows and others being people he now knows.

At the PACU he went in pretty early, just a few minutes after 07:00, and then he got back to his room just a short while after 10:00; so, he was only gone about three hours. I was back at his room by 10:15 and he was already there, and then a few minutes after that Dr. Malone came by to give us an update. She let us know that the wounds are looking better than they have and we are all feeling pretty positive with how all of this is going. The schedule is to get the grafting done next week, as long as nothing …

September 22, 2011

So this is what an autumn day looks like... at least on the eastern side of the U.S. I don't have much to report about it, other than it was over cast and cloudy most of the day and rained for some of it. Funny though, even though it really wasn't very warm out, it was still kind of muggy and humid.

Jason had a good day in the PACU, even though they did have to remove a small amount of tissue from his wounds. Not like they were doing before, this was just a small trimming of some of the skin that wasn't helping the healing. When I saw him in his room he commented on the fact that they had wrapped his bandages a little tighter than yesterday, yet it felt a little better. Then, again, maybe that was what was needed to bring a little additional comfort.

We didn't go to PT today, though we did go "visit" the 3rd floor gym. Both of his PT folks were out today, and when they are gone Jason is not allowed to be down at the MATC - a safety issue. Like I said, we we…

September 21, 2011

Jason had a good day today, and we were able to get several things done. But, before I go into that, there is something that I generally don't do, simply because there are just too many to recognize in this blog. These are a group of inspiring folks who have their own challenges, and yet make time to remember Jason. With that, I would like to acknowledge a group of supporters, from the Diamond Learning Center, who have been cheering Jason on for a long time now. A big THANK YOU, goes out to them, and to all the other people who have been continuing to send their support our way.

Jason went to the PACU for a dressing change, and they went back to the wrap style that they had been using previously. Jason and I both felt much better about his moving around and doing PT, and not worrying about the bandages being secure. The results of the wash and change were positive, and it looks like in a matter of days he will be getting a skin graft, as long as there are no build up of bacterial …

September 20, 2011 - A turn

Jason went to the O.R. today to get checked out and treated and then to receive skin grafts. That's not what happen. The doctor, who is probably one of the best in the world when it comes to "plastics", said Jason's wounds were not ready for the grafting to be done, and needed to wait until next week; and then probably towards the end of the week. He came in and talked to us and told us why he made the decision that he did, and it was simply that if he had gone ahead with the skin grafts there was a very high probability that the grafts would not have taken, and then we would have had to start all over again. He wants to be sure that the area is ready and will provide the highest probability of success. Starting over again would be an unacceptable "delay" for Jason, as that would mean a much longer time than just another week.

This isn't really a set back, so much as a turn in the road to recovery. It looks like it may be adding another week to Jason…

Setember 19, 2011

Jason had a good day today. The PACU visit was relatively uneventful and he was back in his room before 10:00, wanting something to eat. We didn't do much of anything else until about 1:20pm (13:20) when we started to get ready to head down to the MATC for his daily PT. He did the arm crank for 10 minutes; the rowing machine for 10 min; the rope pull for 5 minutes; and then some arm presses in his chair. Well, by the time he got to the arm presses he only did 1 and was too tired to do much else. I tried the rope pull and only got a few minutes in and decided I'd had enough, I wasn't able to keep up with him.

The real nice thing for today was his chair. Pete, "The wheelchair guy" made some changes to his seat and to the back of the chair. Now, when Jason is sitting in the chair he is much more straight up and down, and his back support is much better. He commented on that when he was doing the exercises. He said that as long as he is comfortable with the chair he…

September 18, 2011

There were visitors today, with most of them being Marines. Lt. Col. Tater and his wife came by for a nice visit. Actually they popped in a couple of times, as they ran into another couple of visitors and redirected them over to Jason's room. The second set of visitors were friends of Maj. Steve Lucas and they came by to say hello, and to deliver some cigars - I guess they heard that Jason enjoys an occasional cigar, though it has been over a year since he has had one. We didn't get a chance to speak with any of the doctors today, though that really wasn't much of a surprise. There were several more Marines brought to NNMC and the medical teams were all very busy. It did cause a delay in Jason getting down to the PACU, though he made it there this morning, and was back to his room before 2:00pm.

I still was up early this morning, to go see Jason, thinking he was going to be going in earlier. As a result my initial schedule was tossed out the window, and I simply played it…

September 17, 2011 - Ten Years!

Today is Jason's 10 year anniversary with the Marines. He was supposed to join on that infamous day - 9/11/01, but the Twin Towers were hit, and the rest is history. It caused a delay that turned into six days, and even with what has happened, I don't believe he has any regrets for joining the Marines. He has had a couple of conversations with the current Commandant, and even other generals in the Marines, and they all say the same thing, "If you choose to stay in the Marines there will be a place for you." That makes Jason feel pretty good.

He didn't have a trip to the PACU today, and there were no particular problems with anything, other than an interesting turn with the food service. He called in his lunch and had a simple order of grilled ham and cheese, french fries, a cup of soup, a brownie, and a coke. Well, the order that was delivered first was a brownie, a protein shake, and a coke. Then the delivery guy came in and asked if he had gotten his lunch yet,…

September 16, 2011

Today started with me heading over to see Jason, early, just prior to him going to the PACU. As it turned out, when I got there he was still asleep, so I just let him sleep, as they weren't coming to get him yet. After about 30 minutes I guess I bumped one of the little trays we bought and it was enough noise to wake him up, and we said good morning to each other. Then less than 5 minutes later the nurse came in and said they had called, and he needed to get ready to go down to the PACU. I helped get him ready and walked him out of his room, then told him I'd be back when he got back. Then we sat out in the hall way for about 5 minutes and the transport team showed up. I was actually a little surprised, and also pleased that we didn't have to wait too long, and he was off.

I went and ran a couple of errands and got some breakfast. When I saw that it was after 10:30am I headed back to his room, thinking that he would be there soon. Today was a very nice Fall day (I know, te…

September 15, 2011

Today was a busy day for Jason, in that he had non-stop visitors in the morning, people who were both military and non military, who wanted to just stop by and see how he was doing. Actually, it almost got to the point that because of the flow of visitors I almost had to cut it off, so that he would be able to have his lunch before he was to go to PT. Two of the visitors were the specialists who were to work with Jason in building him his customized seat for his chair, and they spent a little bit of time with him, getting to know the different pressure points he was going to need supported, so that he would be comfortable. Prior to this, I didn't realize just how much of a science this has become, it was quite impressive.

His visit down to the MATC today (that's where he had his PT) was particularly good because he got to meet some of the guys down there who were over coming their own challenges, and it allowed Jason to see what was ahead of him. He got a chance to talk with …

September 14, 2011

Jason had another uneventful day in the PACU today, and that is good, for a couple of reasons. First, it meant a quick and easy dressing change, and those are always the best kind to have. Secondly, because his wounds were looking particularly good he doesn't have to go back in tomorrow, so he gets a day off from the PACU. Actually there is a third benefit, but it is more for me... I don't have to get up so early to got see him in the morning. I can sleep in until 7:00am... ;-)

There are some interesting challenges that are facing Jason right now, and one of them is clothing. Because of his injuries he will be needing to get some special type clothes made, and today a rep from Under Armor came by, with another gentleman who specializes in prosthetic design. But I'm getting ahead of myself here. Jason was to go down to the MATC (some day I'm going to figure out what "MATC" means) for his PT work, and then it was communicated to us that the Under Armor (UA) guy…

September 13, 2011

Today was a day that didn't have too much different associated with it, than yesterday, and that was pretty much what I expected. He went down to the PACU this morning, and when he got back to his room he was wearing the wraps around his wounds, like he had before. He was generally comfortable, and he was hungry. Once he was settled in his bed he called the food service and ordered his lunch - well, actually it was his breakfast, since he hadn't eaten anything yet. I waited around for about 15 minutes and then went down to the galley and picked up some lunch for me. Today was particularly good (for me) as they had baked salmon, and it was tasty. Jason isn't a salmon kind of guy, so he had ordered a roast beef sandwich and some chicken tenders.

Just as we had finished eating, Dr. Malone came in and spoke with us, and said that he had another few visits to the PACU, before they would have the bacteria fully under control, as the way they want, and then we will go on to the …

September 12, 2011

Jason had a very interesting day, and visit to the PACU. When he left this morning I was told I would be called when he came back, and as I was walking out the door to head back over to the hospital, they called. Strange how things work that way some times. When I got to the room, Dr. Malone was there talking with him, and she said that there was a little bit of a set back, with the infection, and that as a result Jason was going to be going in for dressing changes for the next few days, until they got the bacteria all cleaned up. It isn't a big thing, just another delay in Jason getting out of Bethesda, and maybe getting back to California. We just need to take one day at a time, like we have been doing, and keep that positive attitude. Otherwise the procedure this morning went well, and they put the bandages back on, and I think that made Jason more comfortable - I know it made me more comfortable.

Jason was able to get out on the chair today, and we went back down to the MATC, …

September 11, 2011 - Ten years later/6 months later

Today is the 10th anniversary of when Jason was supposed to initially join the Marines, and then the attack on the country happened. 9-11, as it is now commonly called, caused all the transportation centers to shut down and therefore Jason was not able to travel down to San Diego and had to delay his joining by 1 week. Then his career as a Marine began. Six months ago he arrived here at Bethesda, and we are still here, recovering from the injuries sustained, while in Afghanistan. One of the first things we talked about was 9-11, and then his being here for six months. It is still amazing that he can remain so up-beat for so long. He truly is a Marine's Marine.

We had a good day today, as we spent it visiting with several visitors; taking a good trip on the prone cart; and, getting a chance to rest when it was needed. I began this with "we" because I was over with Jason early this morning and stayed with him the entire day, except for the run to Popeye's to get him so…

September 10, 2011

Six months ago, Linda and I arrived at Bethesda, National Naval Medical Center (NNMC) and we waited for our son Jason to be flown in from Germany. Bridgette was already on the plane with him, as he was being medical evacuated back to the United States, and he was to arrive sometime the following day, though it was expected to be in the afternoon/evening sometime. Actually, Linda and I had arrived the night before, on the 9th, and spent that night in a hotel, and that is why I tell Jason I have only been here one day longer than him, and now, looking back, it has been sometimes a difficult and painful journey and other times very hopeful and positive. There are some visitors who come to the hospital on a regular basis, though their visits are spaced out with a month or more between them. When they see Jason or me their reaction is usually, "Wow! You still here?" Well, yes, we're still here and we will be here until Jason is ready to move on to the next step, and we'll…

September 9, 2011 - A visit to the MATC

Today was another good day for Jason, and a day for firsts. He went to the PACU again this morning, and I was there to see him go, just like so many other days, so from that perspective it was no different than other days. When he came back to his room there was something very different this time. In the past he had been bandaged up so much that there was no need for him to wear anything in the way of underwear. Today he had boxers on and there were no bandages. He did have on a couple of pieces of silver material that they use to cover the wounds, and I honestly don't remember the name, other than it starts with an 'M'. Anyway, he said he didn't even know that this had happened until he was almost to the room, when he noticed it felt different and he saw he had the boxers on. Needless to say, he felt different. It was both good and not so good. He has grown accustomed to the bandages, and they provided some extra padding where he is still kind of tender. That had all …

September 8, 2011 - A night out.

Today was a day that I think Jason will remember for a long while. It started out like so many others, with an early trip down to the PACU, and then back again to his room with new dressings and bandages. The wound is looking better and the doctors are happy with its progress. He wasn't feeling uncomfortable, like he has in the past, and in fact he was feeling pretty good. There were some folks from the Red Cross and from Wounded Warrior Project, and they stopped by to chat for a little while. A couple of them had come over from Walter Reed so they were effectively new... even though one of the ladies told me she was 86 years old (I hope I'm in as good a shape when I'm 86).

We went down to the PT gym on the 3rd floor and got a chance to work with the therapists there, with Cpt. Murphy taking the lead. He is, apparently, there expert on shoulders, arms and hands, and since Jason needs some work in those areas they have asked him to assist. We were both very aware about the …

September 7, 2011 - 6 months ago...

Six months ago Jason was injured in Afghanistan, and at the end of this week, Saturday, September 10, Jason and I will have been here for six months. He has come a long, long way to healing his body, and he has remained in amazingly strong and positive spirits. To think about all that he has gone through, and still be able to make jokes with the doctors and give "pep-talks" to others who are feeling a bit down is nothing short of amazing. We still don't know how long we will be here, we just know that we are getting closer to finally healing up the wounds. With that...

Jason had a good day in the PACU today, and was only there for a couple of hours. They did the wash and new dressings, and from all accounts the wounds are doing what they had hoped they would do. I was able to get over to see him prior to him going down and was back in his room less than 1/2 hour after he had gotten back. I had some errands to take care of this morning and thought I had a full 3 hours to …

September 6, 2011 - Happy Anniversary

Today is Jason and Bridgette's 3rd anniversary, and they aren't able to spend it together, due to other issues. Jason was able to give Bridgette a call and they talked for a short while, and I KNOW he is thinking that next year it will be better. He had a good visit to the PACU today, and they did a full dressing change. There was a bit of an issue with the colonization of bacteria on his wounds, the areas that are still open, and that is causing a bit of concern. They are going to be taking Jason in to the PACU on a daily basis now, for the next few days to do a wash and dressing change, and hope that they are able to get rid of the colonization. This is also going to add a few days to his healing road, so we are prepared to do what it takes to get this done.

There were no visitors today, though the USO came by and provided a fantastic lunch. Everybody was talking about it - everybody on the 4th floor that is. There was crab cakes, shrimp, pasta and sausage, salads, sandwich…

September 5, 2011

Jason said he was feeling a bit "under the weather" today, and Dr. Malone suggested that it was simply a cold from contact with some "bug" while at Benihanas. He didn't have much of a temperature, and all his vitals were right in line with what they should have been, so none of the doctors who came to see him today showed they were concerned about it. Linda and I got over to see him early this morning and he seemed okay, just a bit more tired than usual.

We visited with him for a couple hours then asked if he was interested in getting out on his chair. He said not today, and that he wanted to get out on his prone cart. This was a good decision, as far as I was concerned because I wanted him to get some time in the prone position to allow some of the "air" on his wounds. He hadn't done this in a few days, and it was needed. Jason was able to get on to the cart more easily than he has in the past, and when he was out Jason only did a couple laps o…

September 4, 2011 - Bridgette and the girls back home

Jason had a mixed day today. It started out with a good visit from Bridgette and then a little later Linda and I brought the girls over to see him. The girls had spent the night in grandma and grandpa's room. This allowed some extra time for Jason to have Bridgette with him, and we got some extra time with the girls. We were able to go out for a great breakfast with Bridgette and the girls, sponsored by Yellow Ribbon, at the Double Tree Hotel, and then got back to the lodge and Bridgette and the girls headed out for home. While they were here Jason was able to spend a little time with them and talk a little more with Bridgette, about the different challenges going on in their lives. She is dealing with a few things that are keeping her away from Bethesda, and she said she is going to continue to work to get more time to be with Jason. Jason would like to have her here more, and is hopeful that she is able to get everything arranged to make that happen.

After Bridgette and the girl…

September 3, 2011 - Bridgette and the girls up for a visit

Jason had a bit of a rough morning, as his pain level was elevated for some reason. He was doing his best to get more comfortable, and yet it didn't seem to matter how he positioned himself, he couldn't get comfortable for more than a minute at a time. Finally we worked together and re-situated his pads (often called chuck pads) and the nurse was able to give him a little extra pain medication; then the pain began to go down. On the bright side we were expecting Bridgette and the girls to be coming up, and they could arrive at just about any time. With the Labor Day traffic to deal with Bridgette really didn't know when she would be arriving, only that she left early in the day.

Dr. Malone came by and had a nice discussion with Jason and I, about how he was doing and how he did when we went out to lunch yesterday. His wounds are continuing to improve and she was very happy about how the luncheon turned out and said that it would be perfectly fine to start going out more; a…

September 2, 2011 - A Day Out On The Town

Today was an exceptional day for Jason, in that his visit to the PACU went well, and the doctors were all very pleased with how his wounds were healing up. There is a small about of colonization on some of the open wound areas, though none of it has shown any signs of turning in to an infection. He went in to the PACU at just after 7:00am and was back before 10:30am, and that is a nice short procedure. Jason will have the entire weekend off from any type treatment or dressing change, and in fact he doesn't have to go back in until next Tuesday. At that time he will be getting a dressing change and we are looking forward to another positive report.

Once he was back from the PACU he had a very quick and easy breakfast of cereal, and then just relaxed for a little while. It was very important that he get some relaxing in as he was to get ready to head out at 1:00pm. Today was a big day because we went out to Benihana's Japanese Steak House for lunch. This was the first time in al…

September 1, 2011

Jason had a good day today. I got over to see him early this morning and he was in a good mood, though a little uncomfortable still from the surgery. We talked about what he wanted to do today, and the only two things he listed were to get out in his chair and to head over to Physical Therapy. I asked him if he would like to get out this morning or later this afternoon, and he said it would be closer to 2:00. Then he asked me to head down to PT and make sure they still wanted to work with him this afternoon. I was getting ready to head out when Jason's doctor showed up and I always want to talk with her, to get updates so I delayed going.

Dr. Malone let us know that Jason was doing well and that they would be taking him down to the PACU for a dressing change. She also said that Infectious Disease (I.D.) doctor(s) would be there as well, as they want to check out his wounds to make sure that there was no infection. I asked about the recent blood work that had been done and there we…

January 2017

January 2017
Jason gets a visit from Gen. Jon Monett

January 2017

January 2017
With Gary at the GSF Office