Iwo Gima

Iwo Gima
Marine Corps Marathon

Saturday, April 30, 2011

April 30, 2011 - The end of the month, and it is on an up side!

Today started out a bit busy, with getting the girls up (Stacy and Jackie) and fed breakfast, and then readied to head over to the hospital. We put the girls into the stroller and walked over to the hospital, and up to the 5th floor. Jason was feeling pretty good, but generally sleepy, so he dozed off. At this point, he still had not seen the girls, since that one time in the C.C.U. (I.C.U. for you non-military types), and we didn't plan on taking them in to see him today either, but more on that later. We wanted to be in the 5th floor waiting area, with the girls, so that both of us could be there, close to Jason, as it was the weekend and the activity level around the hospital (and base) was minimal, and we knew we'd pretty much have the room to ourselves. While one stayed with the girls the other would go in and see Jason. But, like I said, he was feeling a bit sleepy, so we let him sleep.

As it turned out, the folks from the Navy Casualty group had planned a baseball game trip: the Washington Nationals were playing the SF Giants, and they wanted us to go. Linda didn't want to go and I did, so I took Stacy with me, and the two of us went to watch them play - it was a good game, and the Giants won! While Linda waited for us to return she got the chance to take Jackie in and gave Jason the chance to see her. They really didn't get too close, but close enough for Jason to enjoy seeing her and really getting a chance to see how much she has grown. Also, while the game was on, Jason woke up a bit more and his doctor instructed some of the medical staff to order him some Chinese food - as much as they could order for about $20. Jason ate more of that, than he has eaten anything else.

Also, while we were watching the Giants win at the National Stadium, Bridgette was able to make it back up from North Carolina, and she was able to visit with Jason again, and this made all of us happy, especially Jason. We came back from the game and went in to visit with Jason and he was open to Stacy coming into the room as well, so she got to get up close to Jason, and that was a very good thing. She held his hand and wanted to make his boo-boo better. This is actually when I found out about the Chinese food too. He offered the left overs to me, but our refrigerator was already full of left overs, so I had to decline. It was good to see how much he had eaten, though, and on top of that he was looking great, and I think a big part of that was Bridgette being in the room, next to the bed.

One of the other exciting things that happened, was that while all the people were in Jason's room that evening, his other doctor came in and let us know that they had identified the "bug" that was causing the infection, and were now treating it directly, and it was being taken care of. This sounded much better than what we had heard earlier. In fact, there were a couple of positive reports where he is being treated with a drug that stimulates stem-cell growth on his wounds, and as a result there won't be as much of a need for Integra, and his body is generating much of its own tissue. This was all good and positive news for Jason, and I think I'll be able to sleep a whole lot better tonight.

Thank you, all for your continued prayers and keeping us all in your thoughts and in your heart.

Friday, April 29, 2011

April 29, 2011 - Another good day in the O.R.

Jason had a quick visit to the O.R. this morning. I guess I had gotten used to the pattern from when he was on the 3rd (and 4th) floor, surgery days; when I could just go to his room and be with him until he was taken to the O.R. Now that he is on the 5th floor there are some changes I need to get used too, with the biggest being that they take the patient down much earlier. In the past I would go to his room at about 6:30am, and have about an hour with him before they took him. Today I got to his room at about 6:30am and he was already gone. I asked about the time he was taken and was told they took him down to the pre-op area at 5:30am, and that after the surgery he would be going to the PACU for recovery and that we shouldn't expect to see him until sometime after 11:30am, at the soonest. I thought, "Wow! That's a change."

His surgery went well, and because his wounds aren't completely ready yet, they didn't want to put on the Integra, which is a bio-synthetic material used to aid in the healing of large wounds. There was an area that is about 3 centimeters across and about 2 centimeters deep, and they expect it will be closed on their next visit on Tuesday, and then the Integra goes on. There is also a little concern about an infection that they are trying to get a handle on, as it is resistant to the anti-biotic medicines they have been using, and there really isn't a great deal known about this particular "bug." As I learn more I will do my best to provide more information, but on the bright side, it isn't a show stopper right now. His treatment regimen will continue as it is. People have commented about how strong I am and how positive I come across in this blog, but to be fully honest with you, there are times when I am anxious, nervous and scarred about some of the things we get told. So please don't get the wrong idea about me, I get just as worried as Bridgette and Linda.

Having said that, I am asking that you all continue to support Jason in his efforts to get better by sending your prayers and asking for strength and wisdom for the doctors and strength and endurance for Jason. I know I continue to ask for prayers each day, and please understand it is only because I want Jason to get better.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

April 28, 2011 - A day to remember

Today was an amazing day, for all of us, and especially for Jason. He not only woke up on the 5th floor today, he had other great things happen. First, he was visited by the Commandant of the Marines (pictures were taken). This wasn't to deliver his Purple Heart, though it was discussed, it was a chance for him to simply check on Jason and see how he was doing. Prior to the Commandant leaving the hospital Linda and I showed up and I got a chance to speak with him. I asked him if he would come back early next week for the Purple Heart presentation, as David will be here, and that would be something important to Jason. (Actually, Jason had told the Commandant that he would like it to be done on Sunday, because he thought David was coming on that day - when I heard this I ran after him and spoke with him to give him the correct day David was arriving.) The Commandant said he would be back either Monday or Tuesday next week, to present it to Jason. And this wasn't the only big thing to happen for Jason.

A short while later, the physical therapist came in and with her team, got Jason into a chair, so that he could go out, and look around. Prior to this we had to get Jason "dressed" (yes, I was very much involved in the process). The Marines had previously obtained some special clothes that had Velcro all over it, so we could get a shirt and some shorts on him, without too much moving. Once we had him in the chair it was like an army of people escorted him out of his room, where the entire 5th floor medical staff was waiting, and they all gave him a huge applause, and asked him to ring a ceremonial bell twice. It was kind of a tradition on the 5th floor. There were lots of pictures taken, as I saw lots of flashes going off. Linda and I didn't have our camera with us, because we didn't know it was planned - that's okay, though, as we will be getting a bunch of pictures that others took. Anyway, we were off for our tour of the hospital.

We took the elevator down to the first floor. The ride was pretty good, with the only concern for Jason was going over the bumps and thresholds. You could see on his face the satisfaction of finally getting OUT of bed, to do something other than going to surgery. We went all over the building 10 lobby, and then it was decided we were going for the big one - Jason wanted to go outside. You have to understand, earlier in the day we were under a tornado watch, and the weather was pretty bad. By the time Jason wanted to go out side, however, it was nice and sunny, with white clouds in the sky, not a drop of rain to be seen. He was up for walking around for about 2 or 3 minutes, and then just wanted to simply sit under some shade and enjoy the lite breeze blowing. After a few more minutes we came back inside and went back up to his room. He was exhausted, and needed some rest. Moving from bed to chair and then back again was actually a bit uncomfortable for him, but I don't think I will ever see anyone more happy to endure that discomfort.

He looked good this evening when I went to go see him tonight, I'd even say he looked great! He was eating a little bit and getting ready to call it a night. He has to go to the O.R. tomorrow, and it will be another washing of the wounds. A little bit back to the old routine, but I think from this point on he is going to be moving full speed ahead.

Thank you, all for your support and prayers, and please do continue. He has a great deal of work ahead of him, and he is going to need all the strength he can get. Also, please remember the family, as they would like to get their son, husband and daddy back as soon as possible, and as healthy as possible.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April 27th, 2011 - A day to remember

Jason started the day on a rough note, with his pain level bouncing around a bit, and there seemed to be somewhat of a struggle to get it on an even keel. By late morning he was doing a little better, and his doctor came in to speak with Jason, and since we were there, with us. She said that Jason was now pretty much no longer "sick" and that all of the infection was gone, and his wounds were showing real strong signs of healing up, just like they should. Up until now, he had an NG-tube going into his stomach, as well as a feeding tube going down just past his stomach. The doctor wanted to remove the NG-tube, and Jason agreed to doing this. (A little side bar - Jason was kept involved with just about every aspect of his treatment and any time anything happened they would discuss it with Jason first, and seemed to only do it if he agreed to it). The decision was also made to move Jason to the 5th floor, and he was to go back to the room that has been held for him, for the past several weeks. Can you imagine what the costs would have been if he were to have been in a private hospital, "occupying" two rooms?

Anyway, He was moved there this afternoon and the move was a nice boost to his morale. The next step is to get him out of his bed and into a first step chair, so that he can get outside. It won't be a chair as you typically think of, but it will be kind of a cross between a bed and a wheelchair. The primary purpose is to let him get outside the hospital, FINALLY, and this should help with his first steps towards rehabilitation. There are still other things that he needs to do, and there will be skin graphs done, but these are things we already expected, and compared to what he has already been through, will be relatively easy.

Please continue to pray for Jason, his wife and kids, and for Linda and I as we continue on this journey together, and thank you, for all that you have done.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

April 26, 2011 - Another day done

It is beginning to look like progress is coming along, though it is at a price. They were able to go in and quickly do a clean out of his wounds. The down part is that they did have to remove some tissue this time, though it was more precautionary than anything else. Jason has had a continued "redness" in one area, and though the doctors did not find any infection it was felt that they needed to remove a small amount and see if they could find out why there was an obvious irritation there. Otherwise it all went as expected. After the surgery Jason had to deal with the pain again, and they decided they wanted to try acupuncture. Jason wasn't too pleased with it, but it does seem to have helped with pain control. Over the next couple of days his doctor wants to get him to start eating a bit more, and start to work his way away from what they call TPN (nutrients going directly to the blood stream).

Jason's mood was still a bit subdued when I was with him this afternoon, but then he hadn't been out of surgery too long. Later this evening he was able to relax a bit more by listening to some of his music, and even enjoying some of the CD/Books we got for him earlier. Tomorrow I'll get over to see him early in the morning, and make sure he's doing okay, then get his girls over to their day care. I think the regularity of the day care is good for the girls as well as a benefit to us. Both Stacy and Jackie seem to be very happy there, and have adjusted to that schedule very well.

Please continue to pray for Jason, and ask for strength and patience, as I know he is getting very tired of being in the I.C.U.

Monday, April 25, 2011

April 25, 2011 -- A nice quiet day

Today was a different kind of day, in that Linda and I took Stacy to the White House for their annual egg roll. Stacy had a great time and wore us out pretty well. We did get to see the Obama family, though only from a distance. They had all kinds of costumed characters around and Stacy was having a ball. The Marines arranged for our transportation to and from the event, which I was glad to see, as I really wasn't looking forward to driving in Washington, D.C. On the trip home I did my best to keep Stacy awake, but she finally succumbed to fatigue, but not until after she got to speak with mommy for a couple minutes.

Linda went to go visit with Jason, after we got back and I took Stacy to day care, where Jackie already was. When I finally made it over to see him he looked pretty good, and was dealing with the pain, even though at times he was very uncomfortable. I think he really enjoyed the fact that he didn't have to make a visit to the O.R. today, and it gave him an extra day to recover. Tomorrow he will be going in for a wash out of the wounds and a few more steps towards closing. There is also a chance they will use a bio-synthetic material to help with the closing, but that might have to wait until Friday - all depends on how things are.

Thank you all for your continued support and prayers, and please continue to focus on the need for the doctors to use the best skills in helping Jason going forward.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

April 24, 2011 - Easter Sunday

Today began with a 6:30am visit with Jason, and I found him without the breathing tube. The day had begun on a good note. I stayed and visited with Jason, for a couple of hours, and I believe he was happy to have me there, even though he was still unable to speak. It takes a day or so for the effects of the tube down your throat to wear off, but none-the-less we were able to communicate. His swelling has gone down considerably, all over, and that was one of those things that the doctors were waiting to see. He had also been taken off some of the pain medication and he was able to remain stable, though he was a little uncomfortable and experiencing some phantom pain. A little later in the morning mom was able to head on over and spend a little time with him too.

Easter Baskets filled with thoughtful gift cards, toys and goodies came in a couple of days ago, from the Livermore/Pleasanton Military Families Organization; Linda's parents sent a couple of large stuffed bunnies; and, Stacy even got a new Easter Dress (she refused to have her picture taken - we took some anyway). I made a nice little dinner for us, and we ate on the patio of the Fisher House (the place where Bridgette and the girls are staying). Stacy was having a great time with a ball and bubbles that she received in her basket, and we even got a chance to see our first cardinal, in all its red splendor (Linda wanted/tried to get a picture but the bird didn't want to cooperate). I then went back over to see Jason, as I promised him I'd be back to watch a National Geographic program with him. It was very interesting, but I think it would have been better if nurses didn't have to keep coming in checking on stuff - it was all needed though... and that was pretty much the end of the day.

Tomorrow we'll take Stacy to the White House Egg Roll, in the morning, and then come back here. Linda will spend most of the time with Jason, as I got to have most of it today. Since the girls will be in day care, and I'll be basically on my own, I will be focusing on fixing my gmail account, and hopefully clean up the remnants of being hacked. I apologize for all the spam email going out, and hope to correct it tomorrow.

Thank you, for staying with us, and showing the support we have seen. We continue to receive packages, cards and letters (even from his elementary school teachers!)and they all help to bring his spirits up. Continue to pray for strength and stamina, for Jason and skill and knowledge for the doctors. He has surgery on Tuesday, so he gets an extra day off, and that alone, I think, made him happy.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

April 23, 2011

Today was a restful day for Jason, though he is still sedated and has a breathing tube still in place. There is a need for his breathing to become stabilized, and when there was an attempt to get him off the breathing tube he became very anxious and they realized that they had moved to quickly. The decision was, continue with the tube and attempt to remove it more slowly, once he stabilizes again. Talking with the doctor about this I found out that the time frame is really pretty much up to Jason, and how he reacts to them removing it. The real good news is that there is no sign of pneumonia in his lungs, and his temperature has been stable as well as normal.

Tomorrow is Easter; We thank the Lord for giving Jason and us strength while we are on this journey. We miss attending our Livermore First Presbyterian Church and being with our family and friends. Right now we really don't have anything planned, other than to spend some time with Jason, Stacy and Jackie. Pretty much the same as today. Funny thing is - today went by pretty fast. I think the weather is going to be a little better tomorrow, as today began with rain and ended with sun shine, and warmer. Well, I guess if I'm beginning to talk about the weather, so it is time to call it a post.

Thanks, again to everyone for the support and prayers, I hope you all have a great Easter Sunday, and enjoy your families and friends.

Friday, April 22, 2011

April 22, 2011 - The Big Move

Jason had another surgery today, and without trying to marginalize, the results were pretty much what was expected and the surgery itself was relatively quick - about 2 1/2 hours. They again washed out the wounds and checked all the areas with everything looking good. The big differences today was that because of his lungs and his dislike for the breathing mask, they left him intibated (breathing tube). It was either that or he would have to again wear that mask. His lungs are opening up more all the time, so they don't want to slack off on the treatment, and they want him to start taking the big deep breaths they know he used to take, prior to his injuries. We were able to have our, almost daily, talk with his doctor and she again assured us that all is going well, and that as long as Jason continues with his recovery as well as he is, he should be headed off to his next level rehab in about a month or so.

The other big difference for today was that when he left for surgery, he left from his 3rd floor room, and returned to his 4th floor room. All of the C.C.U. (I.C.U. in the non-military world) was moved today to the 4th floor. The challenge was for us to be able to find him again. We walked around the hospital, and spoke with a couple of the "blue" coats (people who are supposed to help with directions) and they had us walking in circles for a while. Finally, Monica happened to cross our path, she's a C.C.U. Nurse, and helped by taking us directly to Jason's room and ultimately, Jason. As I mentioned earlier, he came back with that tube in his mouth and throat, and because they want him to be as comfortable as possible, he was sedated.

It has been a good day, and Jason has made more progress, and all of this is good, so please continue with keeping him in your thoughts and prayers, and I thank you all for doing this for us.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

April 21, 2011

Today was one of those days where I would like to say Jason had a good day, as there were no "new" issues to deal with, but just dealing with the things he has had to deal with today would probably have been more than most of us could have dealt with. His pain medications are being changed, and it is hoped that he will be able to work his way off the drip type medications and make up for it with oral medications. This sounds pretty good and balanced, except that they removed a major pain medication and COULDN'T start with the pills because he has surgery in the morning, and besides they don't want him taking pills just yet. His pain level rose from a 2-3 range up to 6+ (most of us would have collapsed at his 5). By 10:30pm the Ketamine had been turned back on, and once again it was working its magic.

On top of this he has had continued issues with his lungs. Fortunately he doesn't have a pneumonia problem, though he has been unable to fully inflate his lungs, like the doctors would like him to. They have been working with him, via a number of exercises but he really hasn't been able to get very far. The solution to this is to use a breather-mask (very similar to the type they use for folks with sleep apnea) that blows a constant flow of air into his lungs. Most people can be comfortable at the 2 - 3 setting, and they have Jason up to 5 - 6. The problem is that the doctors want him to be at 10 - 12, and this is for an hour constant. Jason hates the mask, and the procedure but it is needed for his lungs.

He has surgery tomorrow morning, and it is expected that it will be relatively quick, and only require them to do a "wash out" of the wounds. They doctors want to be able to do more closing of the wounds as well, and how much they can get done depends a great deal on how Jason is. I guess well find that out after the surgery tomorrow. I am asking that you continue to keep Jason in your prayers and ask for strength and endurance for Jason. This is really starting to wear him down. The good news is that they are talking about surgeries going to two days a week again, and barring any problems it looks like it is going to go that way.

Thank you, for all you do, as your support and prayers are appreciated by all of us.

April 20, 2011 - Late Posting... again

Well, for all those who were wondering what happened - apparently there is still a network inconsistency out here, where for whatever reason the wi-fi in the Lodge (where we are staying) goes down. I suppose it could be related to the construction that is going on, but I'm not sure; anyway, on to the blog post.
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Jason had a very good surgery, in that they went in, washed out his wounds and he came back out. The surgery only took a couple of hours, which was much shorter time period than they had scheduled the O.R. for. When we spoke with the doctors we were told that his wounds looked the best they have looked so far, and they were very encouraged with his healing. Having said this, Jason is still in a pretty high level of discomfort and pain, so from his perspective he would just like to see all these surgeries be over. The other issues of infection and pneumonia seem to be under control, and his fever has been normal, floating around 98 degrees.

Bridgette had to head back to Jacksonville (home) to take care of some personal business that she and Jason had to get done. As a result Stacy and Jackie are staying with Grandma and Grandpa for a couple of days and the first responsibility of the grandparents is to spoil the grand kids. ;-)

Found out Wednesday that Jason, who is now on the 3rd floor will be going back into surgery on Friday, and when he comes back he will be going to the 4th floor. The entire C.C.U. (I.C.U.) is moving on Friday. The surgery is going to be pretty much the same as Wednesday's surgery and it is hoped will be another quick one. His doctor talks about how Jason's recovery/healing will suddenly start moving more quickly, and I am hoping that Jason has turned that corner. That would be a major boost to Jason, and the rest of the family, so please keep him, the family and the doctors in your prayers.

Thank you, for all your prayers and continued support, it is much appreciated, more so than we will ever be able to express.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

April 19, 2011 - More challenges

Tomorrow Jason will be going back into surgery, as they need to find where the infection is coming from, as well as the continued washout of his wounds. The good news is that his wounds continue to look good, and they are healing. The challenge that seems to be continuing to pop up is that there is a persistent infection that is causing Jason to run a high fever. If they can get that under control, and I expect them to do just that, he will be able to go to the Monday/Thursday schedule and actually get more rest. We are looking forward to the day when they come and tell us that he is going to the 5th floor, but until his infections are under control that time is going to continue to push out. Funny thing is, they do seem to be dialing-in on his pain control, and that is also a big factor for moving to the 5th floor, and at one point, I thought it was all we needed to deal with.

Tomorrow will be a day to take care of some personal issues for all of us, and kind of force us to get out side, for at least a short while and enjoy the sun shine - and we'll actually see some tomorrow (I think). Once Jason is out of surgery he will take a few hours before he will be ready to see anyone, and that is when we can get things done. Please continue to keep Jason and the rest of us in your prayers, and also ask for more strength for Jason, and guidance for the doctors hands and the rest of the medical staff.

Thank you, all for your prayers and keeping us in your thoughts, it is appreciated.

Monday, April 18, 2011

April 18, 2011 - Another hurdle to get over

Jason had a pretty good day today, as the surgery was quick (as his surgeries have gone) and when we spoke with the doctor, she told us his wounds were doing quite well. There were no signs of any of the infection or fungus found, and they were taking some steps to close the wounds more. All this was good and we were happy to hear it, however, she did say that Jason now has pneumonia and that is the reason he has been running a high fever for the past few days. They took a culture and are determining exactly which anti-biotich they need to use to clear it up. Jason has been running a fever at around 102 - 103 degrees for the past three days, and due to a simple mistake he actually spiked at 105.4 (more about that later). He says he has been feeling a little achey all over, but otherwise he has felt fine, and you can carry on a pretty good conversation with him, so his mind is working well.

He is also eating a little better now, though it is still a clear liquid diet for the next 24 hours, and then they want him to begin working on more solids. All of his internal organs seem to be working correctly, and they would like to keep it that way, and therefore the reason for him to eat more. As soon as he can eat a substantial amount of solid foods they will take off the I.V., and that will be one less set of "hook ups" on him. They did have to reopen the incision on his stomach, as there was a concern for infection there, but it seems to be okay, and they want to leave it "open" for another day, and then probably close it back up on Wednesday, during the next surgery. Yes, that was surgery on Wednesday, rather than Thursday. Because of a potential infection they want to have him back in surgery on Wednesday, instead of Thursday. Now, the caveat is that if the "infection" should go away tomorrow, then they will switch back to the Thursday schedule. We'll just have to wait and see what happens tomorrow and hope for the best.

Along with the information we received on Jason, Linda went in to have her eyes looked at, as she has been having problems with vision and just not feeling well. The eye doctor did some tests she has not had done before, and they determined she is getting some extra pressure in her right eye, and want her to come back in a few weeks. The difficulty is that they don't have a base line to go with so they will use today as a starting point and check it in a few weeks.

We also learned today that Jason will probably be here (NNMC- Bethesda) for another six weeks or so. It will be that long before they are ready for him to consider moving to a wheel chair, and he won't be able to move on to his physical therapy until he can get around in a wheel chair. If you extrapolate that out - we (Mom and Dad) won't be back in Livermore until sometime in June, at the earliest. As for where Jason is going to be going for extended physical therapy, well, it hasn't been decided yet, and actually not even something he has been talking about yet. Right now there are still too many variables. On a positive note, Bridgette has really learned how to make him smile, just like it should be, and when she went over to see him this evening she did an excellent job of doing just that. She went over, and put on the protective things we all wear when we see him, including the mask. Well, both Jason and Bridgette are big "Young Frankenstein" fans so when it came to the time of saying good night they spontaneously did the elbow rub, and had a good laugh (now you all are going to to have to go out and get a copy of the movie, just to see what I'm talking about).

Thank you, all again for all your prayers and keeping Jason and his family in your hearts. If you would also continue with prayers for Linda, too, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you all and God Bless you all.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

April 17, 2011

Today was a restful day for Jason, though he did have to go in for a CT scan, and that took about an hour. Otherwise he got to just rest in his room with only the three of us (Bridgette, Mom and Dad) as visitors - and the medical staff of course. His temperature was up a couple of times, but the medical types didn't think it was anything to be worried about. They have their ways of keeping him cool, just as they can warm him up when he is cold. His spirits are pretty good and he is able to communicate quite well, as his throat has fully recovered. The down side is that he is going back in for surgery tomorrow, and they will again have to use a breathing tube.

Not much else to talk about today, so I'll just sign off with a big THANK YOU, to everyone and stay tuned for tomorrows blog. Keep those prayers coming in, and please keep Jason in your hearts.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

April 16, 2011 - A short visit to the O.R.

Jason had a short procedure in the O.R. and it was a pretty simple procedure, where the doctor pretty much just needed to clean up a couple of things, and he was only there for about an hour. Once he was out it took a couple of hours for the medications they gave him to wear off. He was not put under General Anesthesia and we were pretty happy about that, and so was Jason. Between Bridgette, Mom and I we were were with Jason for a good part of the day, though we did give him some time to just sleep. The down side of the procedure today is that his temperature went up again, and it seems to be that way each time he goes into the O.R. They did check him for infection, and ran other blood work and didn't find any reason for him to have the fever. We were told that it would probably be gone by tomorrow, and even if it should still be around it will be greatly reduced.

They have begun taking more steps to get him off the narcotics and have him taking his medications orally. It seems to be working pretty good, as the number of machines controlling the different drips has been reduced. I know he is anxious to get things going with his physical therapy, while still understanding that he has some healing that needs to get done. His right hand is still very tender, and they are keeping it splinted as he really can't do much with that hand. However, his left hand is really doing well, and he holds his own drinks and is even learning to sign his name with a pen - He's right handed. We figure that by the time he is all healed he will be ambidextrous.

I haven't said much about the weather, since starting this blog, so I thought I'd mention it now, since today has been pretty interesting. Since being here we have had snow, cold days, rainy days, clear and cold days, and even clear and hot days. Today, however, we had some pretty good thunderstorms and it rained quite a bit. I guess this is typical of the spring weather here and the trees are all starting to sprout their leaves, with a bunch of them with blossoms, especially the cherry trees. Something else I haven't mentioned much, is the amount of construction that is going on. The ICU that Jason is staying in was only two months old when he first got here, and the rest of the campus is still being worked on. There is this parking garage very near that is probably one of the largest that I have ever seen. I think it is going to have 12 levels, though they are not done building it yet, so it could go higher, but not likely. One of the biggest complaints around here is the lack of parking, so everyone is anxious to see it open. The reason for all the construction is that Walter Reed Medical Center is being transferred here, and is supposed to be all done in a matter of a few months.

Right now Bridgette is over saying, "Good Night," to Jason, and we're with the girls. Linda and I got a chance to say the same earlier. So, with that I will be signing off the blog tonight. I want to thank you, for all the support and prayers. Please continue to pray for all of us, and especially for Jason and the other Marines and the military men and women who are defending our rights. Take care and God Bless.

Friday, April 15, 2011

April 15, 2011 - A Taxing day...

Okay, the title of this blog entry is a bit of a pun, but there were some challenges Jason had to deal with. In general he had a good day because he didn't have surgery! Bridgette, Mom and Dad got to spend the better part of the day with Jason, but in shifts. The only challenge he had to deal with was that his temperature went up to 102.4 and the medical staff didn't know why. Obviously when you have a high temperature you don't feel particularly good, and you aren't interested in seeing too many visitors. But, when Jason is running a 102.4 temp he's cracking jokes and had the nurse call us up, early in the morning and tell us to come on over because he just wanted someone to talk to (the good side of that is that we were already on our way). A couple of other folks came by and he was happy to talk with them, too. One of them, a Marine, came on official business and said he needed a signature. As soon as the medical folks heard him say this they jumped all over him and pretty much sent him away. They let him know that as long as Jason was on narcotics he would not be legally able to sign any documents - at the time Jason was on four narcotics.

Later in the day they brought in a "new" bed. It is a water bed that is specially designed for guys with injuries like Jason's. It allows him to be positioned more comfortably so that he can rest. The bed he had before was okay, but this one is way cooler, and much more comfortable. There isn't a good way to adjust the angle he sleeps, so I suggested they just lift him a little and I pushed a foam wedge in behind him, to support him. They were otherwise going to have to pick him up and readjust, and Jason didn't like that idea. He liked what I suggested, and it worked. Some of the nurses had not seen this new type bed, so it was a novelty for a few of them.

Finally, towards the end of the evening, they found that some of the connections on Jason weren't working properly, and actually might have been the reason for his high temperature. One of his doctors came in an suggested that a procedure, not a surgery, needed to be done to correct the issue. It wasn't urgent, but the longer they waited to do it, the longer Jason would be uncomfortable. The doctor asked Jason when he wanted to have it done, and since it was making Jason uncomfortable he said do it tomorrow. It is a relatively simple procedure, and should go fast. Bridgette will be going over early in the AM to be with him in the morning, and Linda (Grandma) will be going to watch the girls (Grandpa will probably be going too). This will give Jason the rest of the weekend to relax, and that's a good thing.

Thank you, all - The number of folks following this continues to grow, and we have received cards and gifts from all over the country. The support is wonderful and the prayers are very much appreciated. There have been other Marines brought in since we have been here, so I ask you also to keep all the service men and women in your hearts and in your prayers. They go in harm's way for the rest of us.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Milestone has been achieved - April 14, 2011

Today was a good day for Jason. He had surgery, and it was a little longer than first anticipated; and, that is all the "bad" news there is today. They got everything done they wanted, and actually you might say a little more. His wounds are all healing up just as they should be and everything looks good, going forward. His mood is a little more up beat, and he was allowed to get ice chips this evening, and that made him happy. They seem to be getting better control of his pain and that is a very good thing.

So, what is this Milestone? His next surgery won't be until Monday - the longest he has gone between surgeries so far. In fact, the surgeries from now on are going to be set for Monday and Thursday, so he is only going to have to deal with that recovery twice a week, as long as they don't run into any problems, and I don't think they will. Jason was obviously happy to hear this, and I think this is what helped to bring his spirits up a bit more today. On top of that Bridgette said she was so happy with being able to talk with Jason today, because it was the longest conversation they have had since this started over a month ago. Now we need to continue with Jason's progress so that he can move on to physical therapy and occupational therapy, because with that he will be able to move to a wheel chair and then start moving around more, and even getting outside - but that's a little ways off.

It looks like he will be receiving his Purple Heart in about two weeks, and I am afraid that that is as good a date as I am going to get until it gets much closer. I am guessing the ceremony will be on a Tuesday, but it could be on just about any day of the week, so don't hold me to it. As I learn more I'll be putting it in the blog, so rest assured he will get it - we just aren't real certain as to when.

Thank you, to all of you for your cards and letters (and packages), as it is still amazing me just how many we are receiving. We still haven't opened them all, because of all the other things we're doing; and, we have agreed to focus on getting to them by this weekend. Thank you, also for your continued prayers and keeping us in your hearts.

April 13, 2011 - A little better day

Apologies for the lateness of this post, but last night there seems to have been a problem with access to the internet, all over the base. Not sure specifically what it was, but anyway, it is working now... on with the post.
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Jason had a little better day today, though he still had to deal with pain and therefore, with the meds used to help control the pain. Some of them caused some hallucinations, and bad dreams, but for the most part it wasn't too bad. He is going into surgery again tomorrow, to make a small adjustment on the pin in his pelvis, and to bring more closure to his wounds; and, we're hoping that this is the beginning of the faster recovery. We have been told to expect another couple of weeks of these kinds of surgeries, with the caveat that things can always go better and sometimes worse, though I'm focusing on the better.

This week has been a special week for Jason, as he has had several visitors, to many to list by name (though I will list some of them). There is a log book in his room, so that any visitor that comes by is asked to write their name in the book for Jason to see later. The visits from his EOD brothers, most of them from Camp Lejeune, has helped to bolster his spirits, and the continued visits from Bridgette and Mom and Dad are always good (and to be honest, I think he would rather see Bridgette over everyone else). His brother David and his wife Miriam came in this week to spend some time with him again, as did Bridgette's mom Yvonne. The real special visitor though, that he was surprised with was from his Nina (his Godmother), Yolanda Camarena. She brought a smile to his face, like she always did when he was a little boy. The sad news is that by Friday, it will again be back to Bridgette and the girls, and Mom and Dad here, as the others had to go back home - oh, and the occasional Marine buddy.

The challenge now is that we need to be sure to manage/control the visitors, and perhaps the amount of time WE are spending with him. He needs simply some time to be alone so that he can fully rest, and then we need to be spending quality time with him to let him know we are there, and he isn't alone in the challenges he is facing. I believe that all the support and prayers that have been coming our way have been having a positive affect on Jason and he truly is getting better, so please continue to keep him in yours, and thank you for keeping us in your hearts.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

April 12, 2011 - Another tough day

Jason was to have received his Purple Heart today, but early this morning they had to take him in to emergency surgery, due to problems with his bowels. There was an obstruction (scar tissue) that needed to be removed. It was the culprit that was causing him so much discomfort. It was a short surgery, but one where they had to open him up again, and as a result he was very uncomfortable, and experiencing some significant pain. Because of this, it was decided that he wasn't in the best of conditions to go through any ceremony, and when we spoke with him he was in agreement to delay the presentation.

By the end of the day you could see a marked improvement in his condition, and perhaps if the presentation had gone on tomorrow, he might have been able to go with it, but that is a mute point right now. The next presentation is set for a couple of weeks from now, and by then he should be in much better shape for it. On the bright side, with the correction to his bowels, he should be able to SLOWLY begin eating again, and not become uncomfortable or backed up. That is a terrible feeling and any time any of us visited with him we couldn't help but feel like we wanted to do something, but couldn't do much except try to make him a little more comfortable.

Please keep him in your prayers, and rest assured, we are letting him know about all the good things coming his way, and that once he is able, we have a bunch of hugs for him. Thank you, all for your continued support, believe me, it is appreciated.

Monday, April 11, 2011

April 11, 2011 - A Good Day

Today was a good day for Jason, in that he had a successful surgery; they were able to remove the "Ex-Fix" support; the wounds were healing up well, better than anticipated; and, the pins went into his pelvis area. The real surprise was the healing of the wounds, in that there was significantly more healing than they though they would find. All this is very positive, as it allowed for the first closing of the wounds. This was all positive, especially since Jason didn't even know he had gone to surgery, when we spoke with him in the early afternoon (after the surgery). All he knew was that he was still feeling some pain.

That is the down side of the surgeries, in that each time they have to make some "adjustments" with the wounds, afterward he has an increased level of pain. It takes up to two hours for the pain to get back under control, and the good news is that it does seem that there is a bit more control for the pain. Like they have finally found a "formula" in how to deal with his pain. Now we just need to figure out when his next surgery is... I was told by one source that his next surgery, after Monday, would probably be Thursday; and, today I was told that they might want to take him back in on Wednesday. Personally I would go with Thursday, but it isn't my decision. I'm just happy the progress seems to be going in the right direction, and his wounds are healing up.

He is supposed to be receiving his Purple Heart tomorrow, so we have a few things we would like to do for him. I have been able to help him shave a couple of times, so I'll do that again, and we can set the bed up, so that he looks a bit more presentable, however, he hasn't had a shirt on in well over a month now, and he would really like to wear one for the ceremony. David, his brother, brought a shirt that we think we can get him to wear, and still not have to deal with too many of the wires that he is hooked up to. We think it will work, and Jason is all for it, but we haven't tried it yet, so we're not sure. I guess you'll see via the pictures that come back, so stay tuned.

Thank you, again - and I'll keep on thanking you all, as long as I see that people are following this blog. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers and ask for strength for all, as we go forward.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

April 10, 2011 - A second day without surgery

Jason had a second day today, without surgery, and I think he was pretty happy about that. Jason asked for more books to listen to, so he sent me on an errand to find some. I first looked for a library, and found one (sort of). It had the address of 2100 Monroe Avenue, Rockville, MD. Now this is all well and good, and I'm sure it is a real nice library, but my GPS doesn't "know" of a 2100 Monroe Avenue. There is a Street, and Place, but no Avenue, and therefore I couldn't enter that address. I suppose I could have written down the directions, from Google maps, but I was too tired and decided to just go to Barns and Nobel and purchased a couple of "books" and brought those back to Jason. One of them was a collection of Mark Twain's works, and he seemed pretty happy about that. The other was by Dean Koontz. Bottom line is that he has more books to listen too.

The medical team is still trying to figure out how to get Jason's digestive track working right again. So far it has been pretty slow and it gives Jason discomfort. It isn't pain (he gets that from other areas), just uncomfortable. We're hoping they figure it out soon, as we don't like to see him hurting and uncomfortable. He was a little more awake today, but because of how he was feeling, he wasn't too talkative. Even when he got a visit from Mom or David and Miriam. He did get to spend some time with Bridgette, but it was decided that bringing the girls over today probably wasn't a good idea. Tomorrow morning is another surgery, and hopefully he will feel up to visiting with the family in the afternoon. We plan to keep the number of visitors down to two or three at a time, as we don't want to crowd the room too much.

Thank you, all, again - and I suppose I will continue to say thank you, for as long as I write this blog. The amount of support we are receiving is wonderful. We really don't know what we would do if it were not for all of you wonderful people, who do all that you are doing. We are blessed with so many friends, and even from people we have not yet met and don't know. It has been said that God works in some strange ways, and I believe that is true. Please continue with the prayers and positive thoughts.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

April 9, 2011 - Our Second Month at NNMC

Jason had a more restful day today, as they are getting a better hand on his pain control, AND he didn't have to deal with any surgery today. His diet is still liquid, with the change being that it doesn't have to be clear liquid. His nurse today, Pat, ordered him a chocolate milk shake. Okay, it wasn't your typical milk shake, as it was made with Ensure, but it was different, and probably the most substantial thing that Jason has been offered in several days, and quite frankly a nice surprise. The hospital kitchen had sent him some chicken broth, and Jason called it "chicken flavored salt water." So I went out and bought him some chicken stock from one of the grocery stores, and he was much happier with the taste. He is still having some difficulties with the digestive process, but it is getting better.

I spent the morning with Jason, and then called Bridgette and asked how she was doing. That's where Jason got his second surprise today. Bridgette was feeling much better, and the kids were both feeling good, so she asked me to watch them while she went to got spend a part of the afternoon with Jason. This was a big boost for Jason, and I'd like to see him get as many boosts as he can get. Bridgette went back over to see him again, early evening and he was asleep, and that is another good thing. We would really like to let him sleep as much as he can right now, as I know he hasn't gotten a lot of rest in the past.

Tomorrow Linda(Mom) comes back, along with David and Miriam, and another special surprise, Yolanda, his god-mother. We all will be spending time with Jason, and my guess is that we will be doing so in shifts, as we don't want to over whelm him with too many visitors at the same time. I suspect that tomorrow will be pretty much a carbon copy of today, until the evening - when everyone gets here, and that is a good thing, as it isn't too much of a load on Jason.

Thank you, to everyone for your continued support, thoughts and prayers. Over these next couple of weeks I believe Jason will be making a transition with his healing taking on a faster pace, so please continue to ask for strength and stamina.

Friday, April 8, 2011

April 8, 2011 - moving forward... slowly

Jason had a good day in the O.R. today, with a relatively quick turn around in with the surgery, where they did find some bad tissue that had to be removed, but it wasn't much, and the doctors have told us that it was the best that his wounds have been yet. Originally there was to be a pin set, in his pelvic bone today, but due to a few minor complications they decided to delay until Monday. They could have still done it today, but then Jason would have been in surgery for a much longer period, and instead of a short visit to the O.R. it would have been a long visit, and they really just didn't want to put him through that. They will be doing that work on Monday, and feel that with the progress Jason has been making with the wounds, he will be in better shape to have the pin put in place, and allow them to get some of the closing done, and that is a big step. We think the doctors are doing the right thing, though to be honest, Jason is really looking forward to the day all these surgeries are over; at least the surgeries that happen multiple times a week.

Jason was in good spirits again today, though I think he would really enjoyed a visit from Bridgette. He understands though that with her fighting the flu she really does need to stay away, as the LAST thing he needs is to get sick. Heck I've even curtailed my visits to her and the girls, as I don't want to get sick either. I just wish there was something I could do to make it a little easier on her, as she is also taking care of two little girls, and that has got to be tough on her. When you're thinking about Jason and praying for his strength, please remember Bridgette, Stacy and Jackie too. Jason has the weekend off, and I'm glad - he's glad too! From what I understand the surgeries are going to slow down a bit now and he may only have to endure two a week, rather than three.

Thank you, for being there, and for the comments that you have been leaving. Even if they are only a few words, it still shows the thoughts are there and it does provide a little lift to the spirit. Also, all the cards and packages that have come in are very much appreciated too, and it has begun to dawn on me that getting all this stuff is great, but we're going to have to ship it home one these days too. What I'd like to request here is that in the future, please consider only sending cards and maybe a picture and/or letter, or something along those lines. I believe that Jason and the rest of us out here are really appreciative of all the prayers and support, it is helping, so please continue.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

April 7, 2011 - Kind of a slower day

Jason had a relatively good day today, though there were issues with some pain that had to be dealt with. He was emotionally down a bit today too, and I think for a couple of reasons. First, he is just flat tired of the surgeries. Since the incident he has gone through 20 surgeries already, and that's just over a period of a month. That has got to be taxing on the body, even with the use of the new medications they are using. One of his comments, after one notable surgery, after being asked how he was feeling; his reply was, "I feel manhandled." He seems to be tolerating all this and I don't think it will break his spirit or stamina, he just doesn't like it. The second thing is that he misses seeing his wife and kids. Bridgette and the girls are sick with the flue, and don't dare come see him, because his immune system is way down right now, again because of the treatments. I was over to see them, and though Bridgette is doing her best to be strong, I can see it in her eyes that she hurts almost as much as Jason does, because she wants to be with him. She also want to bring the girls by again, but it looks like that won't be able to happen until Saturday at the soonest. I've been over a few times to give Bridgette a break, but she won't let me stay very long as she doesn't want me to get sick, too. Tomorrow should be a better day for all of us.

Jason goes in for the first part of the closing of his wounds tomorrow, and the doctor expects it to go well, and so do I. The good news is that he will have the weekend off, and then another surgery on Monday. Depending on how things look on Monday, and what they can get accomplished, his next surgery after that will probably be on Thursday, another two day break! I'm also hopeful that with a good visit to the O.R. tomorrow, and another one on Monday, that he will be brought up to the 5th floor, as that would mean his pain is under control.

Jason finished his Steven King, Dark without Stars audio book last night, and started Air Frame, Michael Crichton. I think he really enjoys this distraction, rather than watching the television. His pain killers also affect his vision and sometimes he can't see too well. That's another reason I'm hoping to get the pain under control, and a possible reduction of medications. I guess I'll just have to wait for that.

Thank you, all, for all your continued support and especially for following this blog. He has people following from all over the place, and prayers of support are coming in from so many people we really don't even know. It is so very much appreciated. God Bless you all.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Best Day in the O.R. - April 6, 2011

Today was a good day for Jason in the O.R., as two of the doctors on his team came to tell me that it was the best they had seen Jason's wounds yet. When they came out of surgery today Jason was in pain for about an hour, before they were able to get it under control, and it is something that we have to endure while it happens. They tell me that he won't be able to remember the pain, as some of what they are using will allow him to forget. I hope he doesn't forget everything, though.

I am forever impressed with Jason and his sense of humor. He is laying there, obviously in pain, and he is making jokes. The doctors and nurses alike, all comment on his ever positive attitude and strong nature. Bridgette got him a DVD player and a bunch of movies to watch, and now he won't have to deal with the TV as his only boredom relief. The good news is that there really isn't much to report on today, and that is how I am hoping it remains for the rest of the stay, though I do expect to have more extensive updates every now and again.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April 5, 2011 - An evening update

Jason had a pretty good day today. He had to go in for a procedure to make sure his bowels were where they were supposed to be, and they were - so now he can get started on clear liquids (again), and work his way up to solid foods (again). They have him on a new medication, to help with the nerve damage that happened, as a result of the blast and from the surgeries he has been going through. The good side of this new med is that it works really well, and the specific type pain Jason would feel is taken care of. The not so good side is that it can cause hallucinations and seriously messes with his vision. They initially started him off with 20cc's (I believe that's what the nurse told me) and Jason asked them to lower it, after he began to feel a bit strange. They lowered it to 10cc's and that no only took care of the pain but allowed Jason to feel a little more normal.

He spends a number of hours, when he is basically alone (the nurses are always there, or very close by) watching TV, and that gets old after a while. I spoke with his uncle Larry about this and he suggested that I get him some "books-on-tape" and a player (they're actually on CD now). Again, because of the meds his vision is not working correctly, so this seemed like a good idea. I found him a Steve King and a Michael Crichton set, as these are two of his favorite authors, and he even helped to set up the CD player. I think that made him feel better all by itself. Anyway, he has another option besides the TV, where he can just lay back and close his eyes and listen to a story.

Speaking of a story - We learned today that Jason will be receiving his Purple Heart on April 12th, and it is supposed to be presented by the Commandant of the Marines (a four star general). The ceremony will take place in his room, and right now we're planning on that being on the 5th floor. It is a fair sized room so it should hold all the people who will be there, and right now it looks like there are going to be a bunch. I'll make sure that plenty of pictures are taken so we can share them with everyone. I keep telling him he is becoming famous and I think it kind of humbles him, as he feels that he was just doing his "job" and he doesn't think of himself as any more special than any of the other Marines. I've also told him that people simply love him and feel he IS special and he is just going to have to get used to it.

Thank you, to all who continue to follow us on this journey as we appreciate all the support and prayers being sent our way. I'd like to ask for another prayer for Bridgette and the girls, as it looks like they have caught the flew or some other type bug. Because of it, they didn't get a chance to see Jason today. I held the phone so Bridgette could talk with him, and I think that made the both of them feel a little better. I'm going to sign off now - so stay tuned for the continuing saga.

April 5, 2011 - A quick thank you

All - Jason is doing well today, and he is getting some testing done on his bowels. If he comes through as well as they are expecting he will get to start eating again, and he is already asking for soup, in the way of a good stock (chicken or beef). I will provide a little more information on this later tonight.

The main purpose of this entry is to simply say, "Thank you." To all of you who have been following the blog; those that have sent get well cards; and, for the packages that have come. We have not had much of a chance to go through and open many of them, as there hasn't been a time that has allowed us all to get together and go through them, especially since Jason is still on the 3rd floor (I.C.U.). It is hoped that he will be up to the 5th floor by tomorrow, and then we can begin seeing what all those cards and letters - and packages - have in them. It will probably be a while before we can get the thank you's out to everyone too, so please be patient.

Another entry to come tonight

April 4, 2011 - A Good Day

This post was set last night - but due to a problem with my gmail account (since corrected) the posting was apparently locked out. As you can see it is back up and I will be working with Google to get this corrected. Thank you, all for continuing to follow this journey with Jason.

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Today was a good day for Jason, in the O.R., as the doctors were happy with what they found, and discovered that even some of the wounds on the right side were beginning to contract and show signs of healing. On the left side they still had to remove some tissue, but very little, and feel that it isn't too far behind the right side. All this was good news, and a positive sign for Jason. Having said that, Jason had a bit of a rough time coming out of surgery today.

Jason was supposed to go in to surgery first, but then got pushed back due to the need for others to go in. This is actually a good sign in that he is no longer considered the one who needs treatment the most. The down side to this is that they didn't tell either Bridgette or me that this was happening, and I only found out because I happened to go by his room in the I.C.U. to leave a log - more about that later - Jason was still in the room, and they were just prepping him to go. Then after he came back he was experiencing some significant pain, and it took them a while to get it under control. Part of the reason for this, as it was explained to me, is because he is building a tolerance to the pain meds that they have been giving him, so it is becoming more difficult to control. We, Bridgette and I, have again asked that we be notified should there be any kind of change with Jason, even if it is just his schedule. Dr. Malone agreed that we should have been notified and said she would insure the staff would be doing that going forward.

Thank you, for your continued support and prayers. Continue to leave your comments, and let me know how you like the blog. Bridgette and I will probably have to read all the comments to him, after he is better.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunday - A day of rest - April 3, 2011

First - Please accept my apology for not checking the settings on the setting up the blog in the first place. The blog is now set up so that anyone can leave a comment, and not have to have a special account or anything else. - Joyce, thank you, for getting me to take a look at the settings... Now on to the posting.

To was a good day for Jason, and as a result, a very good day for the family. He had no surgery today, so he didn't have to go through that period of time after surgery, where he is feeling groggy and feeling like his brain is full of cobwebs. I couldn't sleep, after waking up at 5:15am, so I just laid there for a short while; watched the Weather Channel to see what to expect for the day; and, finally got out of bed at about 7:00am. I showered and got dressed and was over to see Jason at about 7:30am, and he was still asleep. I could tell he was dreaming, so I didn't make any noise and let him sleep. I guess the beeping equipment startled him a bit, as he made a little jump and woke up - with the first thing for him to see was me, smiling at him. He asked me how long I had been standing there and I told him only a few minutes, and I asked him how he was.

He was feeling much better, as they began allowing him clear liquids last night, and one of the nurses even fixed him a "cocktail" drink. It was water, apple juice and ginger ale. I was a little surprised at the carbonation part, but Jason really enjoyed it, and he didn't complain, so as far as I am concerned it was good. Jason then asked me to call Bridgette and asked her to bring the girls over, he was ready for a visit, and wanted to see HIS family. We talked for a short while when he asked the nurse about chap stick or lip balm. She said they didn't have any and offered Vaseline to rub on his lips. Jason didn't want this. I offered to go get some, and Jason said that would be good. So I took off, in search for lip balm - I brought some back and the nurse helped him put it on his lips, and I think it helped, as they were getting pretty cracked - his lips, not the nurses...

I asked Jason if he wanted to call his mom, and wake her up (she is now in California) and he liked that idea, so I called and held the phone for him. He talked with her for a little bit and I think both of them had a good time, since Jason was smiling and I know Linda was happy. Actually, I spoke with Linda a little while later and found out she was already up, and that's okay. Just as he finished his conversation with Linda, Bridgette came in with the girls. It was a bit of a challenge to get them into the protective gowns all visitors are required to wear (they're not designed for small people)and it only took a few minutes and a pair of scissors. Jackie is young enough that it didn't bother her to see the tubes around Daddy, and Jason was able to give her a little kiss. Stacy, was a little concerned about all those tubes and stuff and gave Daddy a kiss with a little trepidation, and help from Mommy (Bridgette). All-in-all it was a good visit for everyone.

We stayed for a short while and then Jason started to get tired, so we wanted to let him rest. Actually, I was getting tired too, and by the time we left the girls were starting to get hungry so Bridgette wanted to feed them. I came back a few hours later, because Lisa Henderson, the former youth pastor from our church, back in Livermore came by, with her husband and two boys. It was good to see her and her family. Jason was still a bit tired so the visit was short, and we left him alone. I visited with Lisa and Craig (her husband) for awhile longer and then came back to the Lodge, where I sleep.

Jason has another surgery tomorrow, and this is a very important surgery, as it is the first since he was found to be free of infection. Thank you, all for your prayers, and please continue to ask for strength and stamina for Jason, and wisdom for the doctors working on him.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

April 2, 2011 - A milestone reached

Today Jason had another surgery, and it was the type he didn't like, where he was laid on his stomach, so they could again see the wounds from a different vantage point. On top of that he had had the breathing tube down his throat for more than 24 hours again, and that is another discomfort he had to en-dour. All of this was discomfort, and things that Jason did not like, or want to have to deal with again. However, the results that came back were quite good. Not ALL the results were good, as there was tissue that had to be removed, from his left side, and that tissue was removed because the blood flow was not adequate. However, there was no sign of infection from bacteria or fungus. This is very good news, Jason's wounds are clean!

Jason won't have to go back for another surgery until Monday, and if all is still clean they will be able to begin more aggressive wound closure, and perhaps moving back to the 5th floor. We have received a number of packages and a bunch of cards for Jason, and they are all sitting up in his room, on the 5th floor, waiting for him. I think Jason really likes the people on the 3rd floor, but is also anxious to be up on the 5th. His pink lemonade is up on the 5th floor and he talked about finally getting to drink some - again.

After the surgery today, he was pretty much out of it for most of the rest of the day. Bridgette and I were kind of playing tag team so that when one of us was with Jason, the other was with the girls. Linda, Jason's mom, had to fly back home today, to take care of some of our personal issues as well as her day care. She will be returning in a week. As it turned out, and as it should be, Bridgette was the one who got to tell Jason good night before he went to sleep. We will be visiting with him again, early in the morning, and we should have a nice day for/with him. I have been humbled so much, by the demonstration of Jason's strength, and how he is able to provide strength to others, when he is the one who has been hurt. As I said, Linda had to fly back home today, and a friend of ours, Rick Edson, was there at the air port to pick her up. He called me to make sure he was at the right place, and I happened to be standing next to Jason's bed, when he called. Jason, had no problems with talking to Rick, and even chuckled a little over something they talked about. This is right after coming out of surgery! I think Rick was moved by it too...

Thank you, all - for your continued prayers and positive thoughts, it is very much appreciated. I tell Jason about it sometimes and I think he gets a little embarrassed by all the attention. Also, I have heard from a few who ask how they can leave a comment, as it isn't quite intuitive as we would like. This is what you need to do. Scroll down to the bottom of the posts and you will see where it will state a number and then the word comments (in blue). Click on the work comments and again, scroll down to the bottom, that's where you can leave a comment. Peace and Grace to all.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Another Day of Surgery - April 1, 2011

Today began early for Jason, as he was taken into surgery early toady. He typically goes early, as they consider him a priority, which I'm grateful for. The remaining bone in his left leg was removed, and they looked around the wound and found no other damaged/bad tissue, so they didn't have to take away any additional tissue. This was a good news moment, followed by... we need to take him in to surgery again, tomorrow, as we were not able to get him turned on the O.R. table to work on his back. Because of the support structure they are using to stabilize his pelvic area it is difficult to turn Jason over, and it takes extra time. They don't like leaving patients under anesthesia any longer than they have to, and this would have added too much time. Therefore they felt it was better for Jason to go back in for surgery again tomorrow.

This is when they will be able to tell if they were able to remove all the bad stuff that has been embedded in Jason's tissues. They are hopeful that they will find little or no bad tissue, and if that is the case they might even be able to begin some of the close up of his wounds. Jason's doctor spoke with Bridgette, Linda and I today, after she was out of the O.R. and did her best to give us a positive picture of what needs to be done, and she seemed quite positive that all was getting better, so you have to feel that things may be going in the right direction now. She also told us about a conversation she had had with Jason, where he said he was sort of glad that the leg bone was being removed. Because it was as short as it was it was actually causing him some discomfort when he leaned to his left, where on the other side (the right side) he didn't feel that same discomfort when he leaned to his right.

This has been a very difficult journey for all of us, and especially for Bridgette, as she has two little girls to take care of, while trying to provide support to Jason. This has been a difficult journey, and Jason seems to be mentally and emotionally taking it better than anyone else. He doesn't want pity, however, he does recognize that he is going to need help going forward. Please keep him and his family in your prayers, and remember the other guys as they continue to fight over in Afghanistan, and other parts of the world. Pray for a swift end to this conflict so that people can peacefully get back to their regular lives. And, thank you, for your continued support.