Iwo Gima

Iwo Gima
Marine Corps Marathon

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November 30, 2011

Today marks the end of our first month in San Diego, Balboa Naval Hospital. When we arrived we thought we would be here through November, and into December only we didn't know for how much of December. Now, it looks like there is no solid end in sight, and it might carry on through the rest of the year. Having said that we might have a change coming up. The biggest obstacle right now is simply finding a house that Jason can live in, at least for a few months, and possibly for the entire time he is here. I have searched through about 100 listings, and we even have gone out and looked at a couple of possible places, and they did not pan out. Today I was able to identify a property that isn't ADA compliant, but otherwise a very good fit for what Jason and his family would need - and like. We will be headed out there for a visual inspection and then if it still looks good, we will see if there is money to make modifications to the house, so that it can accommodate Jason's wheelchair, and a few other needs. I have already spoken with the owner and she was agreeable to my ideas, and is even willing to let Jason have his pets there. I have also spoken to a few of the people with the different support organizations and right now it is being investigated. Truly this could be a win-win situation all. This is something new to pray for, for Jason and his family.

The only "different" visitor today was from the Hospital Chaplin, a Navy Captain. It was a very good visit for Jason, and they talked for nearly 30 minutes. Actually I was very impressed with him, as he really knew how to relate to Jason, and didn't seem to have any barriers or walls, while maintaining a solid level of professionalism (that's hard to do sometimes). He said he would be coming around again and looked forward to talking more with us.

Jason had his OT and PT today, and both were good workouts. Jason's phantom-pain is still causing him some trouble, though not nearly as much as a few days ago. For those that don't know, phantom-pain is where the patient feels pain where there is no longer a limb or appendage. For example, Jason was having some pain in his left foot and ankle. There are a number of visual treatments for this, and Jason does try them all, though nothing has helped much yet. Strange part of this is that most of the guys experience this only a couple of months after loosing a limb then it goes away over the next few months. I just hope it doesn't hinder his progress.

Not much else going on today. We are expecting some visitors though the rest of the week and weekend, so we're looking forward to being around more friends and family. Thank you, for all your prayers and continued support.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

November 29, 2011

Today was a good day, as Jason went to OT and then on to PT, and all within the Hospital (The C5 gym is in another building across the court yard). First there was talk of doing the dressing change in his room and then go to OT. Then there was talk of taking a shower, new dressing and then on to PT. Then, finally, there is what happened... Lynn, from OT, came in and said she was going to be helping Jason with his shower, and then left. I helped Jason get in to his chair, so he could get to the shower, and he went into the bathroom, and started to shave. I thought this was good, as he was starting to really need a shave, though I seldom tell him that. After he got himself all cleaned up Lynn came back and then we helped Jason get into the shower. It was actually kinda cool as Jason did most of the work himself and Lynn and I pretty much just stood on the other side of the shower curtain while Jason washed himself. The last time Jason took a shower, it was recognized that another bar was needed on the wall, so he could support himself. That bar was put in about 30 minutes before he took the shower. Funny how things get done around here, but what the heck, the bar is there now.

He got back on to his chair and then on to the prone cart, so that the new dressing could be placed back on, and then, just a few minutes after that (literally no more than three minutes) we were headed down to the PT gym, where Jason was going for his work out. Dawn came in to help, since Michelle had to be somewhere else. She worked Jason pretty good, and he was exhausted when they were done. We got back into his room and was getting ready for Jason to get back in bed when Lt. Bary came by and said she had not seen how Jason got back in bed. She had heard that it was a cool one-move swing, so she wanted to see it. Jason just sort of chuckled and reached up to the trapeze and swung back into to bed, like he has int he past. The only trouble with it was that just as he was starting to make the move Lt. Bray was called and she turned her head, and didn't see it; she was disappointed. He will be doing it several more times, so she will have another chance... and it is cool how he does it so smoothly.

Jason had a visitor today, the Honorable John R. Campbell, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Wounded Warrior Care and Transition Policy, came by. He stayed for several minutes and we talked about some of the challenges we dealing with, especially with housing, and he said he would be looking into it. He gave me his business card and said he would have his people checking to see how Jason could be helped. He also signed the Red Book and left me with his contact information.

The rest of the day was spent looking at possible housing and watching a movie. I was given access to a housing listing, from the military and Jason and I went through nearly 80 listings. Found a couple of places that we though showed promise, only to find that they don't allow pets. Fortunately, there are still over 1,000 more listings to look at, so for the next few days I will be taking some time to see what I can see. The movie we watched, after dinner, was the Pirate of the Caribbean, the last one they made. It was a silly and sometimes down right funny movie, and it was entertaining. One other thing that I was told happened today was Jason's truck was finally looked at and perhaps we can finally get it shipped out here, so we can close that issue. I'll know more tomorrow.

Thank you, all, for all the support and prayers that have been coming Jason's way. I know you're also praying for others, and that makes it even better. I will be continuing with this blog, as long as Jason is still healing, and once he gets over to the real rehab work, then I don't know if I'll be making daily entries. I suppose I will be figuring that out as we get there.

Monday, November 28, 2011

November 28, 2011

First, apologies for the late post. It has been a very busy day for Jason and I, and I am still not done. The down side is that tomorrow is going to be another busy day, and I need to get up early, or as early as I can.

Jason had OT this morning with Lynn, and she spent a little over an hour with him, working on all kinds of different exercises and skills. I got over to see Jason, and effectively watched him finish his breakfast. We then talked for about 30 minutes, and then he needed to get ready to head over to the gym. Lynn wanted him to stay up on the floor, and use the smaller gym, to save some time, and make it easier for Jason to get to and from the gym. Once Jason was done Michelle (PT) came in and worked him for another 45 minutes, to the point that he was very tired. Jason was still demonstrating his determination of healing and getting as much of his life back as he can, so he puts his all into everything he does. Once he was back in his bed it was getting close to lunch for him, and I knew he would be going to sleep. Well, I had a couple of personal things I needed to take care of, so I told him I'd be back in a short while.

When I came back he was sitting up in his bed, playing his video game and just relaxing. I asked him if there had been any visitors, and he said only the YMCA came by, and otherwise there was no one. I was actually glad to hear this, as I was gone longer than I wanted (almost 3 hours) and I like to monitor his visitors, so that he doesn't get over worked. Dinner came and I guess they did a great job of getting it right this time, as he was pretty happy with what he got. I asked him if he would like to watch that final movie (the Pirates of The Caribbean movie) and he said he would. Problem with that one though was that about 20 minutes into the movie he started experiencing lots of different "hot-spots", as Jason likes to call them, along with phantom pain. Bottom line is that they had to give Jason some pain meds and he needed to lay flat, so that meant the movie would have to wait until tomorrow. I hung around until I was sure he was comfortable and then came back over to the Fisher House, as I had laundry to do anyway. I just finished the laundry a few moments ago, and that's why I have a late entry, so sorry to all those who wait up to see this.

Tomorrow should be another busy day, but not as busy as today... I hope, and besides the laundry is done... ;-) Thank you, for all your continued support and all the prayers for Jason and all the others who are in need.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

November 27, 2011

Went over to see Jason this morning and he was still having his breakfast. After breakfast he needed to get ready for PT, so that he could get some work on his arms and shoulders. I have to admit, I was not particularly happy with the efforts of the woman who did the PT today, as she seemed to be very low in energy, and without much concern for what got done. I will speak with the regular PT folks and ask that Jason only have better people on weekends, in the future.

Anyway, after PT I asked the nurse to check out some of the dressings that were in need of some attention, so she did and asked the on duty doctor to come by. He did, and said that they bandages did look a little more colored than usual, and that they should place additional padding on, as the dressings were going to be changed in the morning anyway. I said that, that was all I wanted in the first place, but I needed to have one of the medical team do it. Tomorrow, prior to the new dressings going on I believe Jason is going to get a shower, and that is something he is really looking forward to. You always feel so much better after a shower, and there is some real healing done when you're clean.

Not much else going on today. We did have a couple of visitors today, two nice ladies from the Wounded Warrior group, Doreen and Barbara. The difference is that they came while Jason was down at PT, so we didn't have the Red Book with us, so they didn't sign the book. They did leave us with their contact information, and said they would help in locating a house for Jason and his family. We'll get them to sign the book next time they come by - in about a week or so. Otherwise Jason and I watched some football (well, actually only a couple of quarters of two different games); Jason played a video game that he plays on line and I did some web searches for a rental property. Finally, we watched The Green Lantern (the movie), and when it was over I took it, and Super Eight, back to the Red Box. We still have the fourth Pirates movie, and we'll watch that tomorrow.

Overall, I'd have to say it was a good day. The weather has been excellent, and we are both feeling good. We have visitors coming this week, from home, so it is going to be a good week. Thank you, for all your prayers and the continued support.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

November 26, 2011

We got up early this morning and I went over to pick up George, so that after breakfast we could just go over and see Jason. We had breakfast at the Fisher House, and then we finally went over to the hospital. It was probably better that we ended up going a little later in the morning, as he was able to get his PT work in, before we got there, though Jason was a little tired from the work out. So we visited for a while, and then noticed he was starting to fall asleep. Linda and George (III) had to head for the airport, as their plane was leaving early this afternoon, so perhaps it was better that Jason was getting tired at that time anyway. We all said our good-bye's and then I took Linda and George to the airport, and Jason went to sleep.

They got off okay, and though they are gone now, we will probably be seeing Linda and the girls in another couple of weeks. Actually, if all goes well, we'll be seeing Bridgette about the same time as the girls, so it could turn into a three-way reunion, and Jason is looking forward to seeing them all.

When I came back to Jason's room, one of the first things he said was that he would like to get out and go around in his chair. We did a little tour of the campus, at least more than we have done in the past. We even went over to building 26, where I showed him where the Marines had an office, and we got to see what one of the rooms there look like. We have spoken with the doctors about Jason possibly moving to one of the rooms, if a house isn't ready. Unless they are going to be doing some serious remodeling or reconstruction, there is no way that his current bed will be able to get into one of those room. Just makes it that much more imperative that we find a house so the family can all be together again.

This evening, Jason and I ate some pizza and watched a movie - Super Eight - one of the three that he got out of Red Box. It was one of those movies that he wanted to see over these past several months but just haven't been able to, and we'll probably watch another one tomorrow (not sure which one). The pizza was good, but not the best we have ever had, so we will continue to look for a good pizzeria until we find the one we really like. Anyway after that I could see that he was getting tired again, so I told him good night and headed back over to the Fisher House to end the day and update the blog.

Thank you, for all your continued prayers and support.

Friday, November 25, 2011

November 25, 2011 -

Today was a day of mild activity and more family visits for Jason. We started by going over to the hospital and finding out that he had already gone down to work with OT, over at C5. With that little tidbit of knowledge we (Mom, George, David, Miriam, Dylan and me) all headed over to see what was going on. There were some conditioning things OT was doing with his arms, and then the focus went to his hands, and wanting to get them stronger. As it was, it was the perfect things to be doing because Dylan wanted to help Uncle Jason. It was great watching Dylan put the pieces of wood in place so that Jason could use the tool to pick them up and place them back in the container. I think Jason would have rather just used his hands to pick up the wooden blocks, but then they wouldn't have given him any of the exercise that was intended. Jason was able to get through all the blocks (or pegs, if you like) and he got a good work out of his right hand. Along the way we got a bunch of pictures and we may have gotten our first video to be posted on the blog (won't get posted until tomorrow, at the soonest). The session took a little over an hour, and because of the need for the dressing change there was no PT today.

Once we got back to his room we got things ready for him to have his dressing changed out. The wounds are looking better, though there is still some areas that need to get in better shape. Talking with the wound care nurse, she told me that they wanted to place more treatment on the open areas, because they are being so stubborn, and I am glad to hear that. I'm also going to be asking Jason to get a little more aggressive with the use of the prone cart, as that should help with the healing as well.

Not much else going on today. David, Miriam and Dylan had to head back home this afternoon, and Linda and George will be doing the same tomorrow. Tonight we had dinner with Jason, and watched a couple of silly movies, and also finally did some catching up on some mail that arrived recently. Mom read it to Jason, and when there was something to show, she would show it to all of us. Jason agreed that he needs to write some letters to these folks, as he doesn't want them to think he is being rude, and doesn't care. Its just that writing isn't something he does well right now and he wants to do the writing, rather than dictating it to me.

Thank you, to everyone for all their continued support and continued prayers. They are very much appreciated.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

November 24, 2011 - Happy Thanksgiving!

You might say we got off to a slower start today, as Jason woke up, ate breakfast and just visited with family this morning. There really wasn't much going on until noon, so he didn't have to hurry and do anything. David and Miriam got in early this morning, with their son Dylan, so now Jason has two of his brothers here, along with Mom and Dad. Sean, his youngest brother, called him this afternoon, so he was able to at least talk with all his brothers. And he was able to call Bridgette and talk with her for a nice phone visit. The girls were asleep so he will have to wait until tomorrow to get a chance to hear from them.

We all visited with him and basically talked about how he was doing; some of the things he was expecting to do over these next few weeks; and, what was going to be happening today. This took us up to about 11:35, when the nurse came in and wanted to be sure we were all prepared for today, and that she was ready to call whomever we needed her to call, to make sure that our transportation was here. I thanked her for the offer, and then assured her that I wasn't too concerned as the folks at the Armed Services YMCA contacted me a couple times already, and I was sure the bus was coming. Then, Jason started to get ready for the event. It is really great seeing him basically get dressed on his own now, with the only real help I provide is to help him get his shirt on. I expect even that to end soon, as he continues to get stronger on a daily basis, and I won't need to do anything.

The driver called me, just as Jason got into his chair, and wanted to let me know he was down stairs, and I told him we would be there in just a few minutes. It was a small bus, and we (our family) were the only people on the bus. It didn't take too long to get squared away, so we could get over to the restaurant, and see if there were going to be any celebrities there (besides Jason). We arrived and saw that it wasn't really what we had expected. There was a line of people out the door, about 100 long and the interior was packed with people. Fortunately they were expecting us, and we had a reserved table all set up for us, so we just sat down. Originally they told us that Jason was to be served and the rest of us needed to get in line to get our food. Linda, being the experienced lady that she is, simply said to the server, "So, Jason is supposed to eat alone while we stand in line?" I guess that question made the server think a bit, and then said we could go sit down and they brought all of us our food -- Served it pretty fast, too.

While we were seated Junior Seau came over and sat down with us (sat with Jason actually) and visited for a couple of minutes. I got some pictures at the table, as did David and Miriam, and for a little while we felt like celebrities... I knew there would be some. After he left we were offered desserts, multiple times, and I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, so I took a few, and so did everybody else. We finally had to start turning them away, as we were all pretty full by the end of our third dessert.

Jason was able to deal with the trip, the meal and all the excitement there at the restaurant, and we stayed for nearly two hours. When we finally did start to make our way back to the bus I could tell that Jason was feeling a little tired and worn, so I don't think we could have stayed much longer. Jason got back to his room, and back in his bed and I think he felt much better. It was still afternoon, so we all decided that Jason had the best idea and we headed off to our respective "rooms" to take a nap.

After the nap Jason didn't want to get back out, and was happy to just eat his dinner from the galley, in his room, and just wait for the 49er game (the outcome of the game was a bit disappointing, but that's another story). We kind of shuffled back and forth between the Fisher House and the hospital until it was getting late, and then said good night. We'll be seeing him in the morning, and then David and Miriam, with Dylan, will be headed back to their home. George (III) and Linda will be staying one more day, and have to head back home on Saturday. As crazy as it was, I think that this is what a family get-together is supposed to be like, lots of love and support being shared by everyone.

Thank you, for all your continued prayers and support.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

November 23, 2011

Jason was fitted for his new seat today, and that should be a major step towards being able to really get into his rehab.

We went over to see him this morning and we brought George (III) with us this time. George came in last night, quite late (he must have been on the last flight in for Southwest), so needless to say he got to bed late too. Funny thing is, he is very much like me when it comes to sleeping. I get to bed late and still wake up early, and so does George. I had just gotten out of bed this morning when he called me and wanted to know when we were coming over to pick him up... He wanted to go see Jason!

I told him that Mom and I had to still get up and get dressed, and then we'd be over. When we got to the hotel he was waiting outside, so we basically just stopped to let him get in and then we were off. As it turned out, Jason had already gone to PT and was just getting back when we got there. Fortunately I had told Jason that we would probably be a little late, since I knew we had to go pick up George and that would add significant time to our regular schedule.

As I said, the main thing that was done with PT was the creation of the seat, and that took most of the time and energy for Jason. The only concern is that it could take up to six weeks to get it back. There were some challenges with creating it, and we knew there would be, so we'll see what they are able to do. If all goes well, and we hope everything does, this should also allow for a more effective prosthetic for Jason, and perhaps they would be able to create that device a little more quickly.

The rest of the afternoon we spent with Jason, and we all had a very nice lunch in his room. The food was brought in by one of the groups supporting the wounded warriors and their families, so we were all very appreciative of all that was brought in. Tomorrow is going to be another good day for getting food, and we will probably get much more than we did today. Jason is going to be going to a restaurant with us and then after, we are all coming back to the Fisher House to have more food. We might even get a chance to watch some football - The 49ers are playing the Ravens, and it should be a good game.

There is much to be thankful for, and we are so happy that we get a chance to be here with Jason, and the rest of the family that is here. Thank you, all for all you do and for all your concerns and support, and especially for the prayers.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

November 22, 2011

Well, things are starting to really fall into place now. Linda and I took Jason down to the Healthy Back to select a bed for his new bedroom. Actually, it was kind of funny, when you think about it. The folks responsible for putting everything together so he can move into a new home have been putting mild pressure on us to pick out a bed, because it takes a few weeks to get it ordered. Well, we got to the point of ordering the bed and was told we can't order a bed until we have an address - and we don't have that yet as we are still waiting on those same people mentioned earlier. As soon as we do get a final address we'll be able to quickly order the bed and it should arrive shortly after we have moved in. Another thing that has come up is the creation of a custom seat for his chair, and possibly for his prosthetic, when that is finally built. Tomorrow they will take an "impression" of Jason's bottom and create a seat that provides the best support for him. I think this is probably one of the best things he's heard about in a long time. The seat he currently has helps some, but does not provide a good foundation that he can sit on for prolonged periods of time.

Jason also had some time in the OT and PT gyms (they're actually two different sets of equipment, in two different locations). PT seemed a little upset with OT as she let it be known that she didn't want to see Jason tired out again, and especially tomorrow, since that's when the seat customization work is going to be done. Jason spent a couple of hours at the two respective gyms and had a great workout. He was truly tired and when we got him back to his bed he just wanted to take a nap. The timing worked well though, as he was able to sleep a full two hours before the ride showed up for us to head out to the bed store.

George, Jason's oldest brother, is coming in tonight, to have Thanksgiving with us, and I'll need to head over to the airport to pick him up. Then tomorrow David, Miriam and Dylan will be coming down for the same reason. The sad part is that Linda's parents won't be able to come down, as they seem to have picked up a cold or something, and have decided it would be best for them to not get around Jason right now. Jason was disappointed when he heard, and he understands, just doesn't like it. Sean is not able to get away from work this year, so he won't be here, so we'll have to rely on a phone call with him too.

Thank you, for all your continued support and prayers for Jason and the others.

Monday, November 21, 2011

November 21, 2100

Today was a pretty good day for Jason, as he started the day out with his breakfast, and then took a shower. It was the second shower he has taken, and despite our best efforts, it went more smoothly than we could have expected. There was a great deal of confusion as to what the schedule was going to be, since there were a number of things that needed to be done. 1-Shower, 2-Work with OT, 3-Work with PT, 4-Coordinate other activity with the medical staff. Well, the PT person called in sick so that goofed up the plans a bit, and then OT had to go work with another patient, so then she was going to have to come back. Actually her coming back was going to be better, as it gave Jason a little time to get ready.

The shower must have been wonderful for Jason because once he got in to the shower he sure didn't hurry to get back out. Once he did finish and then get dried off he had to have a new set of dressing put on his wounds. I took a good look at them and they are all starting to look pretty good. This made me feel very good. They even started to talk about getting the PT folks to begin working on his customized seat. They really can't do that until all the wounds have healed completely, and this is the closest we have been. Once that happens it opens a door to so many new areas, and Jason can begin to work in a much more aggressive manner towards his rehab. So stay tuned for the continuing excitement here.

We also had the housing people come by (they actually do other things, but because they control the housing for Jason, that's how I refer to them) to let us know that we can begin looking for other possible homes for him to move into with his family. They let us know that they are also going to be doing some work on another house to see if that will fit the bill for Jason, so things are beginning to look good there as well. We hope to have a house identified for Jason, Bridgette and the girls within the next couple of weeks.

Jason had a visitor today, Mark, who came in with prosthetic legs, and there was some mud on them. They also looked different from any that I had see previously. I asked him if he had been "off road" and he said he had. He had been hiking up some of the trails, and the legs he was using were designed specifically for this function. He also had two hiking polls, just like the type anybody else would use, and he used them to help keep his balance. It was pretty exciting to see him and get a chance to talk with him about this activity. I could tell Jason was interested in what he was saying, and that he might want to possibly do that in the future sometime.

Not much else going on today, other than the usual hospital operational stuff, and it looked like Jason was pleased with the day, when we left him tonight. Thank you, for all your continued prayers and support.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

November 20, 2011

Not much to report on today. Jason went to PT, later in the morning. Still working on his balance and doing some strengthening moves. Then he headed back to his room, where he stayed the rest of the day. We originally talked about getting outside for a little today, but then it started raining, so we stayed in side. Funny thing is, a movie came on that seemed appropriate, at least a little bit, "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs." We also watched a little football, Jason played his video/computer game, and slept.

Along with all that he did have a visitor, Patrick, from Okinawa. Well, he really wasn't from Okinawa, that's just where Jason and Patrick originally met, when they were both attached to the EOD team there. Patrick is now with the Fist EOD Company and out of Camp Pendleton. It was a nice visit, and though I think Jason enjoys Mom and Dad being there, I think he enjoys even more when he sees one of his fellow EOD brothers. They tend to speak a different language, and it does give him someone else to just talk with.

Tomorrow will get us going back into a more set schedule, at least for a few days, and then we begin the holidays. With that I am going to say, "Thank you, to everyone for all the continued support and prayers."

Saturday, November 19, 2011

November 19, 2011

Today was another Saturday, much like last Saturday. Got up and had breakfast; talked a little and then went on to PT, weekend PT that is. The philosophy (I think) is to be sure that Jason gets a chance to do something, other than just lay around in his bed. This is fine, except that the PT person brought in to work with Jason is unaware of what Jason's needs are, and so far they have not taken the time to really familiarize themselves with Jason's file, or what really should be worked on. Don't get me wrong, the weekend team is trying to do what's right for Jason, and at no time is Jason in any danger of being injured, its just that the same basic questions get asked, and it feels like we just go round and round, over the same material. Jason is cooperative, and goes through the exercises, mostly because its something to do, and the sessions don't last much longer than 30 - 45 minutes anyway. And that's how we started the day today.

Instead of going back to his room Jason and I just continued on down the hall to the elevators, and then we went outside. It was relatively nice, and we didn't go anywhere in particular, just stayed down in the courtyard area. We also went over to the Red Box, to see what, if any new DVDs were out, and we didn't see any from the last time we checked it out, besides, neither of us had our wallet with us. It was just a goof-off kind of day, and that's what we did. When we were finished we came back up to the room.

Jason and I talked about nothing, but it was good just to talk. Mostly it was about the dumb stuff we were seeing on T.V., and wondered who came up with this stuff. It was just about time for his lunch and I asked him if he would like to have anything special, and he said, "sure." With that I offered to go get him a milkshake, and this time it was coming from Baskin Robins. Linda and I went out and found one of their ice cream shops and I ordered a milkshake for him and me, and Linda had a double scoop of rocky-road ice cream.

Not much else happened today, as we had dinner, and then a short while later we came back to the Fisher House. Because of the similarities of the days, I am thinking that I might begin to cut back on my blog posts, unless something else happens on the weekend, and only post during the week. Let me know your thoughts on this...

Thank you, for all your continued support and prayers for Jason, and please keep in mind all those who have placed themselves in harms way, so we can live the lives we do.

Friday, November 18, 2011

November 18, 2011

Another building day for Jason, as he went early to the gym with the OT therapist. She isn't very big (can't weigh more than 100 lbs.) yet she can get Jason working and sweating pretty good, with some simple routines; and, she is supposed to be the lighter workout person. Jason was on his way to the gym at about 08:30 this morning, and he went over on his prone cart. There are some benefits to being on the cart, as it allows him time to lay face-down, exposing the wounds to a little more air, and it gets the pressure off of them for a little while. The real good aspect of all his workouts and moving from bed to cart (or chair) and then to the gym, is that he is getting better and smoother with each attempt. The OT work lasted for well over an hour, and then PT came in to the picture. She made the comment that next time she wanted to get Jason before he was worn out. She could see he was already sweating pretty good when she got there. The efforts that she wanted to work on with Jason was on his balance, so it was good that we brought along his chair seat, as that is about the only thing that we currently have that allows him to almost sit up straight. They still need to make him a new seat, but that isn't going to happen until his wounds are done.

Once the gym work was done we headed back over to Jason's room. Almost as soon as we got back into the room and settled, one of his case worker came in and wanted to know if a decision had been made on the house. Well, the good news with the house is that it was more accommodating for Jason's needs, though it still isn't going to work out for all his needs. It is a two story dwelling, and as a result, just isn't as safe an area for them to have the family, and ALL of Jason's needs. He will be taking his bed, the one that he currently is sleeping in, so wherever he ends up going, they will need to have extra wide doors. The chair is one thing, but the bed is another. The bed needs a doorway of 40-inches minimum, in order to get put into the room. Even the rooms at building 26 (the on-site suites for the Wounded Warriors and their support person) are not wide enough for the bed, so we'll see what happens.

Once he is out-patient, he will be need to be able to come to his appointments, so he'll need transportation that can accommodate a wheelchair, and ultimately the rest of his family. Actually, he has already stated that he would like to have a truck set up for this, and not have to go with a van. Many of the guys go with a van, as it is the "best" vehicle for that, but he wants a truck. All of these things (bed, vehicle, housing) take time to get together and we're coming up on the holidays, and that complicates things even more.

Believe me, Jason would love to get out of the hospital, but there are a few things left to be taken care of, prior to that happening. In the mean time, we are getting to know the medical staff here, a great deal better, and they are getting to know Jason (and me). Our comfort level is gaining every day, so the feeling of "we made the wrong move" is steadily going away and being replace with confidence. Progress is happening on the home front, and Jason is getting anxious to see his wife and kids again, and is looking forward to seeing them next month. I think one of the things that he would like to experience with them, is simply all sitting down together as a family, in their own place, so that is a high priority for him, and that is why he works so hard. Stay turned for the progress and all the developments that come.

Thank you, for all the prayers and the continued support.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

November 17, 2011 - Showers are nice

Jason's day started out a little different than other days. Not because he had breakfast with Mom and Dad - which he did, in his room; and, not because of special visitors - which he had. It started differently because right after breakfast, his OT (occupational therapist) came in and said she wanted to work on some different skills today. Well, the different skills turned out to be learning how to take a shower. The plan, originally, was to get dressed and head over to the gym with OT and then later work with PT and come back to his room. What happened was that the wound care team came in and said they wanted to do a dressing change, and that is what we did. As it turned out, I did all the bandage removal, and that went well. Then one of them, I really don't know who, suggested that Jason should consider taking a shower today, to help with the healing. We all, including Jason, though it was a good idea so OT did an immediate change of plans, and started working on Jason taking a shower.

First, when doing a dressing change Jason if more comfortable with being on the prone cart, and that is where he was when this started. Now he needed to transfer over to his chair. We had to get his chair set up, so that he could comfortably sit on it, without all his bandages (that is...padding). We placed a sheet on the chair and Jason sat directly on the sheet. We then had to move the bed, so he could get to the bathroom and shower, and that took a few minutes. Once in the lavatory he needed to figure out how to get to the shower. There was a special chair put in so he would be able to get all showered up, without worrying about his chair or seat cushion. I was working directly with OT, so I would know more about what needed to be done in the future, because Jason would no doubt want to take another shower someday (they are now scheduled every Monday and Thursday). Jason felt really good after the shower, even though he also felt very tired. It was a great deal more work than what he is accustomed, and that's okay because he slept really well after we were done.

Linda and I went off to take a look at a second possible house, and this second one does look better, so we're anxious for Jason to see it. I think it may be a little bigger than the first out we saw, though I didn't measure the house the first time. The previous house had placed that would not work for Jason, and it was generally uncomfortable. The second house may also have some tight places, but while we were there it just seemed to be a better house, for Jason's needs. We need to get Jason out to see the new house, and once that has been done, we will know what Jason wants to do.

There were a couple of special visitors for Jason today, Brigadier General Dana, and his Chief of Staff, Colonel Hollahan. Both of the men knew Jason from Afghanistan, and saw Jason before he came back to the United States. They were both wanting to know more about how Jason was doing, and just get an understanding of how he was progressing. There visit lasted for nearly an hour, and we had a great discussion. The General said he was headed back out to Bethesda soon, and would look up a few people for us, and let them know Jason was doing well. We also talked about some of the challenges we were dealing with, with the biggest being Jason's truck, and getting it out here. We told them about how his truck suddenly stopped working so the Colonel offered up some names and contact information of people that can help to get the truck running again. I will be contacting them tomorrow, and hope that helps Bridgette, so she doesn't have to worry about it any more. She has plenty of other things to get done and should be able to just not have to deal with the truck too.

Thank you, for all your support and continued prayers for Jason and all the Wounded Warriors.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November 16, 2011

Today was a very busy day for us, again. At least the first part of the day was. Jason and I had breakfast, early this morning, and then within a few moments of us finishing eating we began to get ready to go to PT. Actually there were a few medical interrupts that needed to be taken care of first, and then Jason started to get dressed. It is very rewarding to see him nearly dress himself now, with only minor assists from me, and he does it very quickly. The doctors have requested that Jason lay prone more, so we took his prone cart to PT. The cool part was how he was so easily able to slide (transfer) from his bed to the cart, and even better was that he has now also figured out how to get back from the cart, into bed. This is way cool...

Jason worked with his physical therapist for most of the time at C5, and then spent a little time with the occupational therapist. Again, he worked on strengthening his body, with a emphasis on his back and arms. The OT work was more on getting the flexibility of his hands to a level that they are happy with. All total, he was working for nearly two hours at the gym, and that is the longest he has been able to go so far. After the gym we went outside to the "fair" in the courtyard, where we were able to see some of the activities and opportunities available to the wounded warriors. We actually saw some folks we know, and I took a few pictures, then Jason needed to get back to his room.

It was now time for lunch, and actually, it was a little late, but we hadn't eaten yet, so we could still call it lunch. Jason's lunch was brought up (they were holding it since he had gone) and then I took off to get myself something to eat. I came back over to the Fisher House and fixed some lunch for Linda and I. I was back over to see Jason a little later and he and I talked more about what he was thinking was going to be his new life here initially and then later on once he has moved on, past rehab work. It was kind of nice just talking with him and just letting the ideas flow. We also talked about other important stuff like how well his shaver was working, and the battery life of his tooth brush.

Thank you, all for our continued support and prayers, and please keep all those who are struggling with challenges in your thoughts as well.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November 15, 2011

Jason started with a busy day of needing to get down to the C5 gym, where he was able to work on both physical as well as occupational therapy. The two therapists were happy with his results and would have liked to have had more time to work with him today, so decided to have him start even earlier tomorrow. This morning I went over and had some oatmeal with him (with raisins and brown sugar of course), just to be sure we both had some breakfast to get started. Then, just a few minutes after we finished we had to start getting ready to go on down to the gym. We didn't get very far, and then there were all kinds of people coming in to his room.

They were asking questions about his "new" house, and wanted to know if there were any other things he had questions about. Actually, that is one of my favorite questions. People ask, "Do you have any questions?" and I am sure they are being as honest with it as they can be. The problem is that the real response is, "I don't know enough to know what to ask yet." But that question does come up often enough. Anyway, we worked on making sure the right transportation was coming, later that morning; Jason asked them to begin getting the correct paperwork together for his kids, as they will be needing day care, once they get here. We also talked a little about making sure all his household belonging were going to be brought out in a timely manner. All of this was discussed as we were trying to get out of the room, so he could get to C5 and the gym. Oh, yes, one other thing... His bed was not functioning correctly and they needed to order another one.

Well, we finally made it over to the gym and he got to work on the Pilates equipment. It was stuff he had not worked with in the past, and I think he had a good time doing something different. All that w\ork was directed at strengthening his arms and working his shoulders. Then Lynn, the OT lady came over to help him in some of his normal daily living skills. As it turned out, she was wanting him to work on being able to get dressed on his own, and then found out that for the most part he already is getting dressed on his own. She saw how he was able to do most of the move, unassisted, and was both surprised and pleased.

Once the work at the gym was done, and it was actually very impressive how one thing stopped and the next immediately began; there was a driver from the Marines who was to take us over to Jason's new house, so he could take a look at it. We got over to the house and found out that Jason's chair is a little larger (wider) than most of the chairs, and he was not able to maneuver around in the house as he would like to be able to do. Jason quickly decided that it was not a good fit for his needs, and so we had to let the Housing folks know that another place was going to have to be found. This is a little concerning as we now are looking for Bridgette and the girls to be coming out very soon.

We did a little more looking around and then headed back to the hospital. We all felt that it was a good visit, and we were glad that we went. We mentioned to Jason's nurse that he had seen the house and she said she was glad he had done that. Apparently most of the patients just go along with whatever they are given and then find out they are not happy with the housing and are now short on alternatives. With us taking Jason there and finding out now, at least there is a chance that it can be corrected.

Jason rested for most of the rest of the evening, and we didn't see any visitors. Today is Linda's and my 36th wedding anniversary, so we talked to Jason and let him know that we wanted to go out and see a movie, at a theater. It was the first time I have been in a movie theater for almost a year. The movie we saw was entertaining, though I'm not going to give it a plug here. It was just nice being able to do something a little different, and knowing that Jason was okay.

Thank you, for all your support and continued prayers, I think we are getting close to the end of this portion of his journey. Also, as you can see from this posting I am doing it late, and I am a bit tired, so there are probably some errors, so I as for indulgence for that.

Monday, November 14, 2011

November 14, 2011

Today was another positive day for Jason, even if the folks down in the galley can't get is meals right. Jason was feeling pretty good and we got up and out of the room right after breakfast. By 09:15 we were headed over to the C5 gym where Lynn (Occupational Therapist) began working with Jason on his hands and arms. Michelle, Jason's Physical Therapist, came in at about 10:00 and wanted to work with Jason on his transferring skills. While he was in the gym, working with Lynn, I got some pictures, and then when he was working with Michelle there were more pictures taken. The cool thing was that the transferring skills were specifically targeted at making it possible for Jason to go from his chair to my rental car, and then back again.

The first thing that was needed was for me to bring my car up to the front of the hospital, and then Jason was brought down to the car. We soon discovered that the car I have does not accommodate wheelchair transfers very well. I am going to need to go back to the Marines and see if I can get a different vehicle, a van maybe, and then have Jason do the transfer moves. We need to be able to do this, so that when we finally get moved to out-patient status, I will be able to shuttle him to and from the hospital on a daily basis, and there is a vehicle big enough to do it. I'll know tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow. Jason is going to be able to see his "new" home tomorrow. We are all headed over there tomorrow afternoon, and then we'll have lunch. This home will be where he and Bridgette, and the girls live while he is an out-patient, and is being provided by the Marines. We're also going to see about getting Jason over to the store that is ordering him his special bed. This should prove to be another busy day, as they are all starting to turn in to.

One of the big things for today was the dressing change. He is looking better, again, and Jason could be ready to move in to his new house as early as next month - early next month. Obviously there are a couple of things that need to be in place, as well as having all his wounds finally closed up. We are working with the medical staff to get a better handle on the pain management, and that is moving along very well; we are working with the PT folks, as mentioned above, and that is working well; the house looks like it has been selected, as long it is what Jason wants; and, finally, once the house has been selected we need to be sure there is adequate furniture so we can move in. If all those things line up then we will be ready.

There was only one visitor today, State Assemblywoman Toni Atkins came by, with a couple of her team. She was very pleasant, and was there in a non-official capacity. She wasn't looking for a photo opportunity, or campaigning or anything. She was simply here as a private citizen, wanting to stop in and see the Wounded Warriors. We did get some pictures though, and we had her sign the Red Book. Jason made it a point to show her the President's signature and she commented that she has not been able to get an opportunity to meet him yet. Jason told her that that was his second time meeting the president.

There were a couple of other minor medical issues taken care of, and other than that the day was just a good day. Thank you, for all your continued prayers and support.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

November 13, 2011

Wow! What an interesting day. I got up at a little before 06:00 this morning and decided that I would still like to have some oatmeal for breakfast. Sounds great except we don't have any that I can cook, and the galley isn't open. IDEA! I'll go to the store and just pick some up, and then cook it. So the first thing I do is head off to find a Cinnabon, to get some rolls for Jason. He has been asking for them for several weeks now, and all that I have been able to pick up is those that come from different stores. I want to get him some Cinnabon cinnamon rolls. Well, my GPS takes me on this tour and gets me to a place on Broadway, and tells me "You have arrived." I don't see anything, so I park the car and decide to get out on foot and look around. It only takes me about 10 minutes to find the Cinnabon, AND THEY'RE CLOSED! It just didn't occur to me that businesses don't open that early. Well, at least I know where it is now.

So now I hope back in to the car and head off for Albertson's Grocery store. My GPS says there is one just up the street and around the corner. Yeah, you guessed it, it wasn't there. When I made it to the address there was this large open lot, surrounded by a chain-link fence and on the other side of the street was a large empty looking warehouse. So I punched in the store again and recognized an address over on University and went there. All toll it took me almost two hours to obtain a container of oatmeal. I also managed to get another 1/2 gal. of milk and some butter. BTW - I did fix the oatmeal for breakfast anyway.

Jason and I did get out of his bed today and I was really nice being able to help him in only a small way, and he doing all the rest to get into his chair. The nurse happened to come in to his room while he was getting ready to go, so she stay until he was in the chair and made a comment about how strong he had become and that it was very impressive watching him get into the chair on his own. She also made a comment about the 49er - Giants' game today. I just said, "Niners are going to win." and she said, "No way!"... I was right... ;-)

Jason and I had a nice conversation while we were out and most of it is private, though he did talk about wanting to begin working on transfers from his chair to a car this next week, so we will begin working on that either tomorrow or Tuesday. He will be getting a dressing change, and I will do my best to be a part of it. I like to get a first hand view of how his wounds are doing, instead of just listening to the doctors or nurses tell me that he is looking better. He IS looking better, but when I see it for myself I feel much better.

Linda and I spent most of the afternoon with him, in his room. There were no other visitors this weekend. Actually, I think Jason is starting to get to the point where he would like to go do the visiting, and get out of his room more. This is a good thing, and it shows progress. However, if you want to come visit he won't shut the door on you. He did receive a phone call from Bridgette today (actually a couple of them) and got to talk with the girls. It looks like Bridgette is going to be able to get out here before Christmas, and then they can have a family Christmas together. We're all excited about everything coming together. It has been a long road for all of them.

Thank you, for all your continued support and prayers. We are getting to that time of year when folks think more about what they are thankful for, and we have so much to give thanks for, that we sometimes forget others are still in pain. Please keep all of them in your prayers and in your hearts.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

November 12, 2011

Today was an interesting day for Jason. I began the day with fixing him breakfast. I made huevos con papas y chorizo - That's chorizo and eggs, with potatoes. There were also refried bean and tortillas to make it complete. Linda and I went over to see him with the food and we all had breakfast together (I think I ate too much, but it was good). After we sat and talked about what he wanted to do, since it is Saturday and on top of that a holiday weekend. Jason said he would like to get out in his chair and just cruise around the hospital a bit. Then we all sat back and relaxed a little.

Well, actually Mom fell asleep... Jason said he was ready to get going so I helped him get dressed, and then I had this clever little idea, that right after Jason got into his chair, he would go over to Mom and wake her up. I thought it would be a nice way for her to be woken up for a change and a nice little surprise. Okay, best laid plans - Jason got himself in to the chair, all by himself, and then just as we were getting ready to spring the surprise, the PT folks knocked on the door. Apparently there is a small PT crew on this weekend and they planned to work with Jason, they just forgot to tell us about it. Anyway, the knock on the door work up Linda and the surprise was blown. That's okay, she was still happy to see him in his chair, and Jason now had something to do. He went over to the gym and did some cardio and arm strengthening exercises and that was about it. After the gym time was over Jason still wanted to get down to the courtyard and stop at the Red Box to pick up a couple of DVDs (I really don't remember what the titles were, but I do remember they were comedies).

The real big aspect of what Jason did today was that he got into his chair on his own (I had to help him back in to bed because the height of the bed is about 9 inches above his chair), and he did all of the exercises and then down to the Red Box, all without any additional pain meds. He has been getting away from the meds more and more each day, and today was about the best I've seen him do so far.

Not too much else going on today, as there were no visitors, and there were no other activities planned. Linda and I went out to target to pick up a couple of TV trays, just like we had in Bethesda, so we will be able eat a little more comfortably, when we have a meal with him. Not sure what tomorrow is going to bring; we spoke with the PT guys and they said they were not going to be coming tomorrow, so well just take it as it comes. Maybe we'll get another chance to wake up Mom, providing she falls asleep again... ;-)

Thank you, for all your prayers and support - it has been greatly appreciated.

Friday, November 11, 2011

November 11, 2011

Today was a good day for Jason, and he even got to go to PT earlier than on the past few days. The PT guys came by and said that because it was a holiday weekend that the schedule had changed and that Jason could go down a little earlier. Of course this all happened after he had his breakfast, so it was a win. The only thing about the early start that didn't work the way he wanted was the fact that he couldn't get down to the C5, and he had to go with the smaller gym on the 5th floor. He was still able to get all the exercises in that he wanted to and he felt tired, like he likes it.

The wife of the Secretary of the Navy came by today and as things usually turn out, Jason was still at the gym when she came up to the floor. He did get to shake her hand and talk to her, while she was here, but otherwise we didn't get a signature in the Red Book, or a picture. It was nice to see her here though.

Another couple of visitors that came by were Jake and Katie Marrow. Jason was very happy to see them, as it is always good to see family (Katie and Jason are cousins) when you have been away for a while. Katie walked in carrying a couple of plates of brownies for Jason, and also provided him with a "book" (something she put together these past few days) about places to eat, with a strong focus on Taco Bell. I think Jason really enjoyed seeing it, and appreciated the humor that went along with it. Jason also had a good conversation with the both of them, because Jake is a physical therapist, and was a captain in the Army. Jason felt more comfortable telling them about some of the things he had done within EOD, that he might not have been able to go over so easily. Jake and Katie had to leave later in the evening, as they needed to get back home, and said they would be coming back down again, probably in a couple of weeks.

Thank you, for all your prayers and support - go out and have a great weekend.

November 10, 2011 - More Technical Difficulties

Again, I have run in to technical difficulties with my network connection, and therefore I was not able to post until this morning. I will be heading down to AT&T to get them to diagnose the network card I have.

Anyway, Jason had a pretty good day, in that he spent some time down at the C5 gym and then had a dressing change. There was also a retirement ceremony and Marine Birthday celebration, so it was a very busy day here. One other thing that happened was that Linda and I were able to go down to the store that will be supplying Jason and Bridgette with their new specialized bed. It was very interesting to check it out and assuring that Jason will be taken care of after he leaves the hospital.

The dressing change went well, and relatively quickly. He is getting so much better now with his wounds, and they are almost fully healed up now. I would guess that he will be in-patient for another couple of weeks, and then move to the house. Of course I will be moving to the house, initially, with him, and then as Bridgette, and the rest of the family, get here, make my plans to get back to Livermore. If all continues to go as it is right now, I would suggest that I will be back home no later than the first of next year, and then possibly sooner.

Thank you, all, for all your continued support and prayers.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

November 9, 2011

Today was a pretty good day. The weather here is nice - not too warm and not too cold. I generally go out with a lite jacket (more a windbreaker actually) and then I'll just wear it most of the day, kind of loosely. I'm still wearing shorts most often, though I will wear my jeans if I think there is a need, and then finally I wear tennis shoes, as I really don't have anything else to wear on my feet. Okay, I didn't mean to start out with a wardrobe discussion, but that's what came out first. So, how is Jason doing?

Jason started the morning with his breakfast as usual, and then we just sort of sat around and talk about anything that came to mind, and watch whatever he is watching on T.V. Sometimes we both just sort of sit back and will take a cat nap, as we wait for the PT folks to come in. Today sort of turned into one of those days. Jason is no longer taking his pain meds via the I.V., and the nurse came in and said she was asked to give him one of the meds an hour before he was to go to PT. Well, as you might predict, the meds worked wonderfully, and Jason fell asleep. The physical therapist came in and asked me to wake him up in a short while so he could go to the gym, and then quickly left. I think she wanted me to wake him so she didn't have to. Well, I did wake him and helped him to get ready, then we went down to the gym first, again to work on balance, then onto the bigger C5 gym. The C5 gym isn't quite as large as the one at Bethesda, but it does have more out door things for the guys to use, AND a pool. Jason stayed there for a while then back to his room.

That was pretty much the big activity for the day, and there were no visitors other than Mom and I, and of course the medical staff. We did get a call from Katie, our niece, and she and her husband are going to be coming for a visit. Jason is looking forward to it, as he hasn't see Katie in a long while, and Jake (her husband) is also a physical therapist, and since Jason spends most of his time with those types they should have lots to talk about. Actually, Linda and I will be glad to get a chance to see Katie and Jake too.

Not much else going on tonight, other than the fact that I did find the closest Taco Bell tonight... ;-) I'm going to be attempting to get these posts out a little earlier from now on, so that those of you who wait to see what is happening don't have to wait so long. Though, I do thank you, for continuing to follow.

Thank you, for all your prayers and continued support.

November 8, 2011 - Technical difficulties

Apologies to all the folks that read my blog on a regular basis, as last night there were a few technical glitches with my system and network connection. Still running slow, but at least I am now connected again.

Jason's day was a good one. He went down to PT at 10:00 again, and he worked on his balance more. He also worked on his arms and core strengthening, something he is going to need for transfers. In my opinion he is already strong enough to do all the transfers, he just needs to learn HOW to do them, and as soon as those pesky wounds finally heal over, he can start. When he was getting ready to go to the gym, he has to get on to the prone cart, and they do it a little differently here. They like to put him on a sheet and then lift him over to the cart - mostly due to the elevation difference from the bed. To get him on to the sheet he just grabs his trapeze and lifts himself, completely off the bed and they slide the sheet under him. When he does this, the corpsmen are always impressed with how easily he lifts himself, and is able to hold himself up. And, that's why I think he is strong enough to do it now.

Not many visitors today, though he did have one of particular importance. Vice Admiral Jerry Beaman came by. I got a picture and he signed the book, and that was all very normal, and good. The touching part was when the Admiral made a comment about the sacrifice that Jason has made for our country, and then he followed it up with the comment, that he felt he wasn't worthy to be here with Jason. He is obviously a successful military man, who has obtained the rank of three stars, or Vice Admiral. When he said that it seemed to touch Jason just a little more than when others have made comments; as if Jason if finally getting the idea that he is considered special. As far as Jason is concerned, all he did was his job, and he was simply walking back to base.

Not much else going on today, though tomorrow is going to be a little different. At Bethesda, the large PT Gym is called the MATC (I don't remember what the acronym stands for) and here it is C5 (again I need to find out what it means - actually most of the medical staff can't tell me what it is), and Jason is going to be going there today. It will provide a chance for Jason to work on some other areas that he has not worked since coming here, so I'd say he is looking forward to it.

Thank you, everyone, for your prayers and support - and today for your patients with my posting. Take care and stay positive.

Monday, November 7, 2011

November 7, 2011 - Happy Birthday Marines

Jason's day started out much like the others, since we've been here; I came over early in the morning, actually got there well before he woke up (the time change this weekend goofed me up); and, we had breakfast. Jason was feeling good and is getting used to not having that I.V. line attached to his arm anymore, and I'm glad it is gone too. He got dressed and on to his prone cart, and then went off to PT, at about 10:00. I asked him a little later if he thought he would be going to they gym on a regular basis, at 10:00 and he said he thought so.

His therapist worked with him on his balance and like usual, I couldn't just sit and keep still and just watch. I was giving some suggestions to her, and I think it might have initially been a little irritating to her, but then she saw that what I was saying was actually helping Jason to sit up straighter and improve his confidence. By the time she was done working with him she saw that I was in fact, helping. The O.T. lady came in later, and again was a little concerned that I was getting too involved, then by the end of the session complemented me on how I was able to help Jason get in and out of bed very smoothly.

I took Linda down to the galley for lunch, and she was pretty pleased with what she saw. The food selection was good, the prices were good, the food had good flavor, and the service was good. All positives, and she said we should eat here as often as we can. Then we had to take care of some personal business, so we didn't got right back to Jason's room. While we were walking to the car we had to go by a table that had a couple of fliers on it, and they were setting up for some activity in the plaza area. It is the Marines' birthday celebration today, and cake was being offered. Of course it was going on a little later in the afternoon, so we knew we were not going to be able to make it. Little did we know that the Marine General was going to be coming up to the 5th floor and delivering cake, himself, to the Wounded Warriors who were not able to make it down. It was kind of impressive, with one small caveat - the cake was a white cake with strawberries... Jason does not like strawberries, so Mom and I ended up eating some of the piece of cake that Jason got.

Later in the evening, Jason told us that he was tired, and it really didn't surprise me, considering all that had gone on today. I think that the day started with PT and he just ran out of steam by the end and just wanted to get some sleep. We left Jason's room at about 19:00 (7pm) and headed back over to the Fisher House. Actually it was a good opportunity for us to do some laundry tonight, and just do a little relaxing watching the television, while we folded clothes.

Thank you, all for all you do and for all the prayers and support that you continue to send our way.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

November 6, 2011

Today was a little different for Jason, as it even started a bit different from the very beginning. David and Miriam came over with their son, Dylan, and as usual he was excited to see his Uncle Jason (a.k.a. Uncle Cookie). They visited for a little while and then left to take Dylan to the San Diego Zoo. From what they told us, and from Dylan's reaction, it was a pretty exciting time. A short while after they left we found out that the folks from physical therapy wanted to get a chance for Jason to come down and do some work at the gym. I think it caught Jason a little by surprise, a good surprise, but a surprise none-the-less. He never got the chance to go to the gym on Sunday, while in Bethesda.

Well, because of the pending visit to the gym, he needed to get some of his work out cloths on, and both Mom and I were there, so we helped him get dressed. This was a first for Mom, and I think it was pretty exciting for her, to be able to help Jason. Well, Jason left for PT and both Linda (Mom) and I also left, so we could take care of some errands. When we got back Jason was in his room just kicking back and watching the National Geographic channel. We talked for a little bit, and then some other guests came by, Russ, Chris and Craig Greenlaw, from Livermore. Well, Craig now lives down here in Southern California with his wife and son, but we'll always say he is from Livermore. While that visit was going on, another visitor came by, that had actually seen Jason back in Bethesda. It was the Assistant Commandant of the Marines, General Joseph Dunford, Jr. Jason was happy to see him again, and I think Russ was particularly impressed with the level of visitors that come by to see Jason. The conversation eventually turned to Scouting and when it did the General seemed to want to extend his visit with Jason. All around it was a very good conversation and visit.

The rest of the day was spent just relaxing and watching T.V. and Linda and I taking care of a few other chores we still needed to get done. It was a rainy day, so that made the running around all the more fun. We now have all the things we need to make our stay as comfortable as possible, that is, until we find out we forgot to buy something... of course that's not going to happen --- Right! Next week should be a productive week for Jason, now that we have gotten a little more settled in and the medical staff is beginning to learn Jason's likes (and dislikes).

Thank you, all for all your support and continued prayers. Jason is getting better and stronger everyday, and the few that have actually seen Jason at the various stages all comment on how good he is looking now. I can hardly wait to see how well he does over these next few weeks.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

November 5, 2011

Today was a very good day for Jason, as he didn't have to deal with a dressing change, and Mom (Linda)came down to stay with Jason (and me!) through to the end of November. On top of that, David and his family - Miriam and Dylan - came down to spend the weekend with all of us. All-in-all, a pretty good start to a very good day. Then on top of all that, they were able to obtain another bed for Jason, and this time it had the trapeze with it, and it wasn't a problem with configuration or size. I think Jason was happy with this one.

There were a couple of new patients brought on to the ward today, and that is going to provide Jason with a couple more people he will be able to talk with and get to know a little better. It will probably bring a little more activity to the floor and I think that sometimes more activity is a good thing for Jason, and his healing. Along those same lines of thought, Jason got out on his wheelchair today, and was able to wheel himself around, with very little assist. I think just getting outside the hospital was a good thing for Jason. He had been in that room for nearly all the time for the past week.

When David came by this morning he had a package from his Aunt Joyce. She sent him a big sign that said, "Welcome Home Jason, To California" and David and I attempted to put the sign up on the wall. You have to understand, Joyce really had a BIG banner created and it was a pretty heavy sign. In the hospital we can not put hooks or nails or pins in the wall, so we tried to secure it with tape. Jason was asleep when David and I got started, and when we were finished we woke him and he saw the banner on the wall, and gave that "look" he gives, whenever he is surprised. It was very pleasing to see Jason smile. Tomorrow, the nursing staff is going to help us secure it a little better, so that it will stay up.

Bridgette called and she and Jason had a conversation for several minutes. I know he is anxious to have his family out here with him, and it is a matter of time until that happens now, so in your prayers, please include Bridgette and the girls, and ask to keep them safe.

Thank you, for all your continued support and all your prayers.

Friday, November 4, 2011

November 4, 2011

I need to be honest about something. When we first got here I was truly happy to be back in California, and it was great being closer to home. That was about all the positive feelings I initially had. I missed the treatment and care that Jason had received in Bethesda, and didn't feel that same level of focus at Balboa. Over these past few days though, I have begun to become more comfortable with how they do things here, and have gotten to know some of the doctors a little better. I am now feeling that even though Jason is back on the 5th floor - if you remember, that is where he started in Bethesda - he will do very well. One other little thing I need to point out is that while in Bethesda, Jason was in Building 10, and here it is Building 5. And I guess since I'm talking about some of the details, the address here is still - General Delivery, but now its: Naval Medical Center // 34800 Bob Wilson Drive // San Diego, CA 92134. If you had sent anything to Bethesda it will be forwarded to here, as I was able to get that paperwork in.

Jason had a great day today, with a visit from Joe, a former Marine that Jason worked with in Okinawa. They visited for quite a while this morning, and in fact I had to leave to go take care of an errand and they were still talking. Jason got to get out for some PT, and worked with the strengthening bands, all prior to the wound dressing change. The real good news about that is that the wounds are looking good, and they are going to go the entire weekend without another change. AND... we will be getting out in his wheelchair tomorrow. That's good for multiple reasons, but the big one is that it rained all day today and tomorrow it is supposed to be a nice clear day. Timing has worked well with this one.

Jason had more Egg Nog for lunch (I did too) and he is pretty happy with the food from the galley. The nutritionist is working very hard to be sure that Jason is getting what he wants, and that it tastes good. There is still a small challenge with this bed, and that is to be taken care of tomorrow, and then he should be a happy camper with everything. On top of all that, Mom, David, Miriam and Dylan are coming for a visit, and I also learned that there are going to be some other friends coming down for a visit. This should make this a really good weekend for Jason.

Thank you, all for all your prayers and support. We have surely gained for all the love that has been sent our way.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

November 3, 2011

First of all, I have to apologize as I meant to have the address posted, for those that would like to send something to Jason. Part of the challenge is that he will soon have an actual residence, and then you'll want to just send things there. Of course I can still send you the address of the hospital, and then you'll be able to send cards and letters to him, so part of my tasks for tomorrow is to get that new address posted on the blog. Once Jason does have an actual residence I will publish that address too.

He had a pretty good day to day, and quite busy. There seems to be a bit of a challenge with getting him a bed and trapeze, that he likes. I think he was just used to the system and bed he had back in Bethesda, and he just needs to get used to the new stuff. He did get to get on to the prone cart (yeah, he has one of those still) and went over to the PT area. The difference here is that the "gym" is just down the hall from his room, so he doesn't have to go very far to get there. The therapist is focusing on his core and arms right now, and will be doing some exercises while he is in bed. The real effort that we need to work on is transfers, that is bed to chair and chair to bed, then on to other transfers.

The Blue Star Moms brought dinner tonight, tacos rice and beans, with a salad and cookies. I hope this doesn't surprise anyone, but it was better than Taco Bell... later this evening one of the Staff Sergeants (Marine) came by and brought in some Egg Nog. I guess I had that quizzical look on my face so he just said, pointing at Jason, "He asked me to get this for him." Jason just smiled that big grin of his. I guess he asked for it while I was out of the room. I poured him a glass, and he was happy. Jason said he didn't think he was going to get such a large amount, so the SSGT said that it was smallest they had at the store. It is now in the hospital refrigerator.

The biggest thing that happened today, from a medical point of view, was that the PCA was removed, and Jason is now only taking his meds orally. The focus is to get him away from the drugs and work to a better pain management effort. It seems to be working, as he didn't complain about much discomfort, despite the moving and all the PT he went through. Another thing that got some attention was his chair. They are going to be ordering him a power chair as well as a manual chair. Depending on the activity he is going to be using one or the other, as a mode of transportation, with a side benefit of exercise with the manual chair.

Again, thank you, for all your continued support and prayers. Jason is moving along pretty well with his treatment and healing, and I really feel like he may be out of the "inpatient" status before the end of the year.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November 2, 2011

Things are getting better here, and it feels like we are starting to develop a rhythm in our activities. We were able to meet several members of the medical staff, both yesterday and today (beyond those we met when we first arrived), and they seem to be some very bright people. A big difference here is that there are fewer Wounded Warriors for them to have to focus on, and there is a definite effort being put forth, insuring that Jason and his family (me right now) are being taken care of. I will be getting a rental vehicle in the next couple of days, and like in Bethesda, I won't have to deal with any cost associated with it, except for fuel. There are several other support groups here, and some familiar ones, and that makes it a little more comfortable. Also, Jason has told the Marines that Balboa is where he would like to do his rehab, so that means he will be here for probably more than a year. With that, they have already located a home for him and his family to live while he goes through the rehabilitation, AND he can bring his pets.

Jason had several visitors today, with most of them being "new" medical personnel that we are getting to know. There were also some celebrity types that came by and visited with Jason, and the other Wounded Warriors who are here. Chuck Liddell, KJ Noons, and Dominick Cruz from the UFC were here with their manager and a few other folks (I assume they were support). We got them to sign the Red Book and Mr. Liddell's wife (she was here too) offered to take pictures with my camera, so that I could be in the photo. They also had their own photographer with them, and she was taking a bunch of shots too. For a while today, it seemed like there was going to be a steady stream of people coming in to Jason's room, and he wasn't going to get much of a break - it did stop though, after about an hour. One other visitor that Jason had today was Bridgette. Well, she didn't actually come in to his room, she called him and they got to speak. They talked for a while and it sure did make Jason happy, so I can only assume that it made Bridgette happy too.

Jason also had a dressing change, and will be getting changes daily until such time as they are happy that his wounds are free of bacterial influence. I have been in the room these past two days, when the changes have been done. I have been involved with the medical staff and provided some instruction on where they needed to focus and to apply the bandages. So far it has been very good for Jason, and the wounds are continuing to progress. Jason also did a little work with the Physical Therapist, from his bed, where she said she was going to be working on his core and arms right now, and then progress to other areas over the next couple of days and weeks. The biggest thing they want to see is Jason being able to transfer from his bed to the chair, and then back again.

That was the day, and I would guess there are going to be others just like it over these next few days. Thank you, all for all the support and prayers you continue to send. God has a plan for Jason, and we're just going to have to wait to see what it is.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November 1, 2011 - First Full Day at Balboa

Jason and I spent most of the day in his room, and he only had to endure a dressing change, this afternoon. Not too much going on, really, it is just that there are several new people we need to meet, and we need to get used to the "new" facility. We did meet several new doctors today, and for the most part they seem up to the challenge that Jason is providing them. The only time Jason left his room today was to head down to get some X-rays done on all the different areas of his body, so the doctors could take a look at how everything is doing.

I think we have a good working relationship with the new dietician and the food is good, so Jason just has to learn another new process for getting his meals, as I won't always be there to go get him food. We have begun to learn the new Marines around here, and a special treat was that we actually know a couple of them, as they came from Bethesda a couple of months ago. It is always nice going into a new area, and then finding out you actually know someone there.

David and Miriam came down from Los Angeles today, and spent most of it with Jason and I. They said they were going to be back here this coming weekend. On top of that, Linda is going to be here on Friday, so we'll have a large portion of the family here this weekend. Linda will be staying here, in the Fisher House, with me, and David and Miriam will be staying somewhere else - we're thinking the Navy Lodge, though it has not been confirmed.

Jason got a new bed today, so that he could get a trapeze, to help him be able to move himself more easily. The first bed from KCI would not accommodate a trapeze, or at least that is what we were told. The new bed has a trapeze, but Jason is a little uncomfortable with the Trapeze right in his face. We have asked them to see if there is a way to move the trapeze up 6-inches or so. We should hear about it tomorrow.

Thank you, for your continued support and prayers.