Iwo Gima

Iwo Gima
Marine Corps Marathon

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May 31, 2011 - Happy Birthday Jason

Today is Jason's birthday, and it was a day of reflection for all of us. To think that just 28 years ago, our son was born and then quickly grew to be a man. Sometimes life just moves too fast, and now here it is another birthday for Jason. It started out with a special breakfast for Jason (Chocolate Chip Pancakes) and visits from a bunch of the medical staff, who all kept asking if it was his birthday. Jason's cousin Eric, and his wife Nina and their kids had put together a package of decoration that we were finally able to use. I think it was originally supposed to be used for St. Patrick's Day, though Jason was down in the ICU still, at that time, and we couldn't decorate. Anyway, we had his room looking festive and green, and Jason was pleased with how it looked.

After breakfast and decorating we just visited with Jason until his EOD brothers came up from Camp Lejeune. They actually arrived late in the afternoon and brought Jason a gift that could not be wrapped. It was the gift of friendship and camaraderie. They were able to stay for a couple of hours, and then had to return to Camp Lejeune, since they have to work tomorrow. We actually gave them a little "private" time, so that they could talk amongst themselves and not have to worry too much about Jason's family. The other gift they brought Jason was a ukulele, so he could "exercise" his fingers, and that is actually something the occupational therapy people have been wanting him to do.

Bridgette, Stacy, Jackie, Yvonne and Jeff came over in the afternoon, a short while after the guys from Camp Lejeune showed up, and that allowed us to have a little party, including cake, ice cream and the famous George Town Cup Cakes. We all enjoyed each others company until the guys had to leave, and then Bridgette had to get the girls back to the Fisher House, so they could get some dinner. Bridgette came back later and stayed with us until Jason went to sleep, then we all finally left for the day.

Thanks, again to everyone for your continued support. Jason has surgery in the morning and it is important for this to go well if we are to be finally considering leaving this hospital for his next treatments.

Monday, May 30, 2011

May 30, 2011 - A slow day - the way we like it

Jason received a few visitors today, one of which was the assistant to the Commandant of the Marines, and his wife. They came in and had a nice visit with Jason, and as it happens, we(Bridgette, Stacy, Jackie, Mom, Dad, Yvonne, and Jeff) all were there, and Bridgette and the General's wife seemed to have hit it off pretty well. Again, we took pictures and got their input into Jason's famous signature Red Book. They stayed for a few minutes and even had time to play a little with the girls, Stacy and Jackie.

In general, Jason is feeling pretty good. He has gotten to the point where he is the director of his own medical treatment, so-to-speak. He tells his nurses what to do; when to do it; and sometimes even how to do it. I am still the number one, when it comes to moves and positioning in the bed, but for just about everything else he is doing it more and more on his own, which makes us all pretty happy. It shows that he is knowledgeable about what his needs are, and that he isn't holding back when he sees them doing something incorrectly.

We ordered out for Chinese food tonight, as he wasn't too satisfied with the hospital food. I let him decide what was to be ordered and I called it in. They delivered right to the hospital, and considering today is a holiday, it really didn't take too long to get here. We didn't stay too late tonight, so that we could get some things ready for tomorrow, and Bridgette was able to stay later with him tonight (for those that are wondering about tomorrow... it's Jason's birthday).

Thank you, all for all you have done, and please continue to keep us in your hearts and in your prayers.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

May 29, 2001 - Quick Post

Just a quick post to let everyone know that Jason is doing well today, and that we have had a busy day. Some visitors and then Linda and I went off to the Memorial Day concert at the Capital Building, at 8:00pm. The show went a little long, and then the bus driver got lost on the way home (he used his GPS in stead of going the way he knew how), so we got back late (this post is coming at just after 1:00am). I'm tired so look for another post in the morning. Good night...

Thank you...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

May 28, 2011 - A good day

Jason is doing better today, and the line into his left side has been removed. As you can probably imagine, after having 2 1/2 liters of fluids removed from his chest there probably wasn't much left to remove... and you'd be right. The funny thing is, when the doctors saw that there wasn't anything more coming out the first thing they thought was, the line must be placed wrong. So, they took him down to have another examination and discovered all the fluid was gone, and then they removed the tube. The process was a bit uncomfortable, but Jason was happy to see it gone, and with the fluid gone he felt MUCH better. To give you an idea of how much better he is feeling, he asked me to go to Taco Bell and get him some food.

He was pretty much back to his regular self today, and making wise cracks to some of the staff, and even the visitors who came in. He felt good enough to spend some time with his girls, and Stacy (his oldest) gave him a kiss to make him feel better. Don't get me wrong... Bridgette has been giving him kisses too, and she wants him to get better, but Stacy was just very cute about it (maybe its the grandpa in me... ;-)) Besides family (Bridgette's mom, Yvonne and brother Jeff have come in for a few days) visiting with him, and a couple of friends, he had a visit from Miss Delaware. She is a nice young woman who is going around and visiting with the injured guys. We did get a picture, and I know I said I would be posting them today, but I just got back to put this posting in, and I'm tired. So I'll post the pictures tomorrow - I promise.

Not much else to report about for today, and I think that is a good thing. He is getting stronger everyday, and we all appreciate the support and prayers that are coming our way, from all of you, so thank you.

Friday, May 27, 2011

May 27, 2011 - more healing

Today was a continuation of yesterday, with some extra challenges for Jason to deal with, and a demonstration of his inner strength that gets us all through this. They found fluid around his left lung so they had to put in another tube to help drain it. Besides the obvious benefit of the removal of the fluid (he could literally breath better) he was also relieved of some pressures that had built up in his abdominal area. When he was taken down for the procedure they only had to give him a local, so he was pretty happy about that. By the time I had left his room they had removed over 2Lt. of fluid and he felt so much better.

"Rolling Thunder", came by the hospital today, and a group of them came up to visit with the patients. I'm not really sure how to describe them, other than a movement. It is a group of motorcycle enthusiasts who have gotten together to show their support for the men and women who put themselves in harms way, so that we can enjoy our freedoms. The group that came to Washington, D.C. this year was about 300,000 riders, and very impressive. The five that came into Jason's room brought along one other person, a singer, and I'm embarrassed that I don't recall her name. She is a tall, attractive young woman who also lost one of her legs in a terrible car accident. She is showing the guys that there is a future. The others in the group talked with Jason and encouraged him to stay strong and gave him some keepsakes. Then finally, there is another blog that I think everyone should take a look at -

http://drawger.com/victorjuhasz/?section=articles&article_id=12350

You will see some amazing drawings that were done of Jason and other wounded warriors, that are destine to go into the Smithsonian.

Thank you, all for your continued prayers, God's strength is carrying us through.

May 26, 2011 - Roller Coaster

Apologies for the lateness of this post, but because I was attempting to do it from Jason's iPad I was not able to make type-o corrections, and there were a few. Any, it is posted now, and I'll have another a bit later today - right now I'm finally getting some sleep... Peace...
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Today was a day that Jason will want to remember, and forget. He started the day with abdominal problems, and a great deal of dis comfort. Dr.s didn't know what was going on, and it seemed like know one else did either. The biggest problem with this, is that the doctors process of figuring things out sometimes takes hours, and unfortunately this was one of those problems. The answer finally did come, but literally not until just a short time ago, so Jason had to endure the discomfort for the entire day. He has been given some medications and they feel that he will be in much better shape tomorrow, but in the mean time he has asked me to spend the night, so I'm here for him. It was a physically challenging day, and he made his way through it.

So why the title? He also had a visitor stop by, that made him feel better. Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds) the actor, stopped by. Through the coarse of the conversation he invited us to lunch the next time we're in Los Angeles. As it turns out he knows some of David's (Jason's brother) neighbors and said we could all have lunch at his restaurant. Jason thought this was a nice gesture, and it took his mind off his pain and discomfort for at least a little while. And, yes... We did get some pictures, and he signed Jason's Red Book. We will also see him this weekend, as he has invited us to the Memorial Day Celebration, going on in Washington. Jason won't be able to go but Joe promised him that he would see us on TV, if he watched.

Thank you all, for keeping our family in your hearts and continued prayers.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

May 25, 2011 - A visit from some friends

Today was a good day, though it started off a little rough. Jason was scheduled to go into the O.R. by 10:00 this morning, and that means they were going to take him from his room at about 9:00. As it turned out when they came in to get him ready for transport (that's what they call it) the corpsman unplugged his bed and the battery backup didn't kick-in. The inflation device was only off-line for about 30 seconds, but that was way too long for Jason. Considering what happened last time there was a problem with his bed I think he actually held it together pretty good. Apparently the batteries that are supposed to supply power to the bed, when there is no "wall-power", had failed somewhere in the past and there is no indicator that the batteries were bad. Well, it took them about an hour to figure out what to do, and we finally got him transferred to another bed and then they took him to the O.R., pretty well sedated. When he came back, he had a brand new bed... again. It was explained to us that the folks in the PACU (the area pre and post O.R. visit) had failed to plug the bed in, and the batteries simply wore out as a result. It sounds a little weak, but that's what we were told.

Just prior to going to the O.R., while they were still attempting to set up plan-B, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy came by and asked if Jason was open for a visit. He said he was, so she came in and spent about 10-12 minutes talking with Jason. I got another picture (new pictures will be posted this weekend) and had her sign the welcome log, so when Jason leaves this place he is going to have a bunch of names to look back on and say, "Did I really talk to them?"

After he was back in his room GySgt John Hayes, and his wife, came by and visited for about 30 minutes. He has injuries that are similar to Jason's and so they have some extra things in common, besides being married and in the Marines. He had some photos of him wearing his prosthetic legs, and talked about the advances that are happening all the time. He also talked about some of the challenges Jason and John, will be facing, because there really aren't very many guys with his type injuries. John talked about the level of dedication the prosthetic engineers and technicians have, towards finding solutions to the needs of the guys with the most sever type injuries; and, that because it is military they have generally greater resources to draw upon. It was a good visit for all of us.

We spent the rest of the day, and into the night just sitting with Jason and talking with him, and watching movies. He was feeling the affects of the anesthetic from the O.R. still, and kept falling asleep, and that's a good thing. Anyway, it was a long day today, for me anyway, but over all... it was a very good one. Thank you, to everyone for your continued support and prayers.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May 24, 2011 -

Well, Jason really didn't have many visitors, other than a nice gentleman who has offered to commission the building of a commemorative cane. When he came in to speak with Jason, he said he recognized that it was something that Jason would probably not be using, and that it was just something he and a couple other retired military folks were doing for the wounded warriors (the actual build of the cane was going to take place in California). Jason provided some information about what he wanted on the cane, and the man thanked him for his service and left his contact information. Otherwise it was just the medical folks who came in to visit.

Jason did get out on his chair again, and he is getting better at driving around the hospital. One of the things we have discovered is that if you lower the seat you can make the chair go faster. Jason put it all the way down today - he still didn't go "fast," but it was faster than he has gone in the past. We also went out side, and it was actually kind of funny, but just about every corner we turned there was someone that knew who Jason was, and Jason knew who most of them were, though not all.

Not really much else going on, so not too long of a post tonight. This also gives me a chance to get to bed a little earlier, for a change. Thank you, all for your continued support and your prayers - God Bless you all.

Monday, May 23, 2011

May 23, 2011 - A visit to Main Street

Today was a good day for Jason, and also a little sad. He got up in his chair this morning, a short while after breakfast and wanted to go visit Main Street (an area in the hospital that has different types of retail, restaurant, and service businesses), as he wanted to go do something different. It started out a little bumpy, as the chair didn't want to function properly, but once we figured it out we were off to the elevator. He made his way through the crowds - well, okay, there weren't that many people there today, so it was a good day to venture out - and looked around. We stopped at the post office again and picked up some mail and then headed back.

On the ride back we got into the elevator with a couple of gentlemen from the security detail for Robert Gates (Secretary of Defense) as he was coming to the hospital to visit with some folks. I'm not sure if Jason recognized them or what, but he just started talking to them, about the detail he was on, for when President Obama was inaugurated. They didn't talk much, but I think they enjoyed Jason talking. Anyway we got back off the elevator, on the 5th floor and went back to the room. A short while later there was a knock on the door, and a young man came in and announced Mr. Robert Gates would like to come in and visit. Jason said to come in, please.

The visit was very nice, and even though I am sure Mr. Gates is a busy guy he took the time to talk with all of us, and we even talked about Boy Scouts, since many years ago he was head of Eagle Projects for all of Scouting, and Jason IS an Eagle. We asked him to sign the Red Book and we got some pictures, and it was a very nice visit. There was a general with him as well, and I found out later, another general standing outside Jason's room door (not sure why he didn't come in, other than it might have started to get a bit crowded). The general spoke with Jason, too, and I am a little embarrassed that I don't remember his name (though it is written in the book, and the book is with Jason).

After that visit we took the time to eat our lunch, and the Occupational Therapist (O.T.) came in to work with Jason. Right now she is the one who makes him do exercises, and Jason is getting better for it. Then it started to get close to the time that Larry (Jason's Uncle - Linda's brother) had to get going (this is the sad part of the day). Jason has enjoyed having him here, as did all of us, but with Jason it gave him another level of confidence and motivation. Larry was able to encourage Jason to do more of his breathing exercises, which is not one of Jason's favorite things to do.

Jason has another day tomorrow, without any visit to the O.R. Then on Wednesday he will be going back in. Once again I am thanking everyone for all your support and for all the prayers you've been sending. Jason can now open and hold and read his cards and letters; this alone is a big milestone for him. I will continue to thank you, and ask you to keep them coming, for as long as it takes.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

May 22, 2011

Jason had a nice day today, and got out in his chair. He didn't go out side today, and simply rolled around the 5th floor. He said he plans to get out again tomorrow, so that he can get down to "Main Street" (an area in the hospital that has services such as the Post Office, a barber shop, the Credit Union, and fast food). We watched a couple of movies (that Jason's Uncle Larry bought for him), and we all ate in Jason's room, though this wasn't the first time for that. His doctor came by and visited with us for a little while, and I think that made Jason feel good.

Another visit for Jason, today, was a General and Sargent Major of the Marines. Both of these men spoke with Jason in a very positive and supportive manner; and because both of them had been to Afghanistan, were able to discuss some specific details about what happened, and where. They stayed for 15 or 20 minutes and we took some pictures (I'll post tomorrow) and had them sign the Red Book, and then they were off to visit with others. These kinds of unplanned visits are the best visits for Jason, as I think it makes him feel more connected with the Marines.

Tomorrow Uncle Larry heads back to California, and I'm not sure who is going to miss him more - Jason or me and Linda. Uncle Larry has really gotten involved with Jason's care and helps me to move and/or adjust Jason, when he needs to be repositioned in his bed, or his chair. In the past I have always been a key person to help Jason, and with both me and Uncle Larry doing the work you can really tell that Jason is much more confident in the moves. The medical staff does help, but because it seems it is always someone different, the consistency of having the two of us has been good.

Not much else to post today, so I'll simply say, "Thank you!" to all of you for your continued prayers and for keeping us in your hears.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

May 21, 2011 - Sun is shining and the weather is great outside.

Today was another great day for Jason to enjoy. He had a couple more visitors come by and spend some time with him; he got outside to enjoy the sun shine; and, his uncle Larry bought him some sushi! Dr. Malone came by and talked with us for a little bit, and she let us know that Jason was doing great, and that the healing process was moving along just the way we want it to. It won't be too long until the rehab becomes a little more aggressive, and then, as soon as Jason has the strength he needs (in his arms), he will be moving on again to the next level rehab. We have been talking about this for months now, and finally it seems like it is actually going to be happening. Where he will be going hasn't been decided yet, but that will be done within the next couple weeks.

Its always nice to get visitors, especially from the Marines who have a connection with Jason, and they can all start to talk "shop." It tends to leave some of the rest of us out of the conversation, but that's okay. I really like how it makes Jason feel, and look. The expressions on his face when the other guys are there is absolutely priceless.

His ride in his chair today was one of those where he really didn't go far, but he did go outside, and kind of parked under a tree where he simply enjoyed the sun and wind blowing softly. Some birds flew by, and of course the always present geese. He didn't want to stay out too long, as the sun was very bright and warm, but it was long enough for him to tilt his head back and close his eyes to just feel the sun on his face, even if it was for just a couple of moments. This was one of those times when you know that he is going to get through all this and be doing more than any of us could ever imagine.

Thank you, for all the help, support and prayers for Jason, AND his doctors it is so much appreciated you will never know.

Friday, May 20, 2011

May 20, 2011 - Visitors from Afghanistan

Jason had a good day today, despite the bumpy start. He was scheduled to go to the O.R. this morning, by the doctors, but for some reason the folks who work the O.R. schedule forgot to put him on it. He had to wait a little, but it turned out okay, as he didn't have to wait TOO long, and he was back in his room by early afternoon. Besides that his Uncle Larry has come out to visit, and that was a nice surprise for Jason, to see someone from home. Once he was back to his room he quickly got over the affects of the anesthesia and either he is getting stronger, or they are using weaker doses of the stuff. I knew he was going to be hungry when he came back, so I had asked him what he would like to eat, once he had returned. He wanted Chinese food, and it arrived shortly after he did... good timing for a change.

Another surprise was that some of his buddies, from Afghanistan had come by to see him and in fact, most of them were there waiting for Jason, when he came back from the O.R. We stayed in the room long enough to deliver the food, take some pictures, and meet the guys, then we left them in the room alone to visit. It was great seeing Jason laughing and smiling again, as they were all pretty happy to see each other, and they all thought that Jason looked much better than they thought he would.

One of the best things, personally for me, was getting to meet GySgt Rickabaugh, the man who saved Jason's life. He was there and we talked briefly. He was quite humble about what he had done on the battle field, but to us it is, and always will be, nothing short of amazing. We are so grateful for the prayers and support that we continue to receive, and believe God has a purpose for Jason.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

May 19, 2011 - A quiet day

Jason had another quiet day today, and not much went on. He did get some visitors, and we captured their names in the log book, and found out about a few more things that are being made available to him, such as travel help, and assistance with his living needs and things like that. Obviously all these things are available to him, and he could very well take advantage of them later on, when he is on to his next rehab level. Right now though, he needs to get through the rest of his surgeries, with the next one to be tomorrow morning.

That surgery should be a pretty quick visit to the O.R. and then back to his room. The doctors said they weren't planning to do much, unless there was a need and that is not anticipated. I've already spoken with him, and he wants to get out in his chair tomorrow, since today didn't work out. He wanted to get back outside and today was a rainy day with thunderstorms, so going outside wouldn't have been good for him. He had some visitors from Walter Reed Hospital, other wounded warriors, and that really brought his spirits up. It gave him a chance to see and visit with some of the guys who have already gone through what he is currently going through, only they are about 6 to 8 months ahead of him. They all looked pretty good - IMHO

His birthday is at the end of this month (31st) and he is already received a couple of birthday cards. I think they kind of surprised him, and not just because they're early. They came from people he really doesn't know, and it reenforced, again, just how much people are pulling for him. God has given him a challenge and we are here to help him get through this, so that he can move forward with the rest of his life.

Thank you, for all your continued prayers, Jason is appreciative as are the rest of his family, extended family, and friends.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May 18, 2011 - Lots of rain today!

I guess I was lucky this morning, as I got up early and walked over to the hospital, to see Jason, and didn't get rained on. Linda came over later, riding the shuttle - she didn't get wet either. Jason was in pretty good spirits today, and feeling like doing a little more. Shortly after getting there he said he wanted to go out for a ride in his chair, so I went down to the PT folks (they're pretty much in charge of him getting in and out of the chair) and let them know. When I told them , they responded with, "Cool, we were just getting ready to come down and ask him if he'd like to go for a ride in about 30 minutes, so the timing was pretty good.

Jason went down to "Main Street" in the hospital. A place where they have some amenities for everyone who has to be in the hospital, such as a post office, barber shop, credit union, and a couple places to eat. There are also some places where you can buy different things, if you should need something, and over all the place stays pretty busy. We got down there and he met the lady who is in charge of the Operations section, where the General Delivery stuff goes. Because Jason received all those packages early on she got to know me, and told me a few times that she would like to meet Jason. After that Jason was feeling a little uncomfortable and wanted to head back to his room - so we did. Along with this P.T. work, the O.T. team are also working with him to build up his hands and arms, so they both come around frequently enough to make sure he's busy.

There were a few visitors, whom he had not seen before, so that was good. One of them was the Commander (Colonel) of the division where he is assigned, along with the First Sargent. They actually stayed and talked with Jason for a nice little visit, and just watching Jason interact with them let me know it was good for him. Sometimes he gets visitors where we stay in the room with him, and engage in the conversation; and, then there are those conversations where someone comes in to talk with Jason, and we need to leave. As long as it is all good for Jason I go along with it, and Jason knows we are there for his support. His overall healing is still progressing, and he is getting much better and mastering his pain (he is just about fully in control of when he gets his pain medication now - and it is becoming less and less, and that's a good thing.

Otherwise, today was a nice day - almost routine in nature. Thank you, all for the continued prayers and support - It is appreciated.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May 17, 2011 - Just another day

Jason had an uneventful visit to the O.R. today, and that's the way he likes it. There really wasn't much done, other than to check out his existing wounds and to check on the Integra. About the most exciting things that happened were a move of the pick-line from his left arm to his right arm, and there was a noticed edema (the reason for the move)in his left arm - why they moved the pick-line. He is getting much stronger now, and when he comes back from the O.R. he is much more alert than he used to be, so this is all good, and we're happy about it. The real good news is that even though he is doing so much better now, he is still put on the top of the schedule for O.R. visits and he doesn't have to wait. I was speaking with some of the folks in the hospital, and they told me the reason is simple, there haven't been as many of the wounded warriors coming in, over the past few weeks. It's harvest time in Afghanistan so there is somewhat of a pulling back from the fighting and a greater effort in their farming.

Mom and Dad got to have a dinner from Guapos (a Tex-Mex style restaurant) with Jason, and then enjoy a movie. This seems to be the "routine" with Jason, so tomorrow I am going to encourage that he break up the routine a little and go for a ride in his chair. Actually, the P.T. folks asked us to do that, and to encourage him to begin to sit up a little more normally, as long as it is comfortable for him. I think he would like to get to the P.T. office and see what kind of activities he can do there, and maybe even get some more work done with his painting and drawing.

Otherwise it was a nice comfortable and quiet day for Jason to enjoy. If this is the way it is for the rest of his stay here, I'll be completely happy. Thank you, all for all the prayers and support, without it, we would not be able to get through all this. Take care and keep smiling.

Monday, May 16, 2011

May 16, 2011 - A day out of the room

Today was an interesting day for multiple reasons. Jason was able to get out of his room for over 2 hours, in his power chair; Occupational Therapy (O.T.) worked with him and gave him more exercises to do with his hands and arms; There is a concern for his shoulder, after working with O.T.; and, there were multiple medical teams who all seemed to want to speak with or work with Jason, and all at the same time. Fortunately for Jason, the Physical Therapy (P.T.) team were in his room early and began to set things up for a ride in his chair.

This is the way it went down. The Surgical team had come in just prior to O.T. and gave him a complete update, as well as discussed what to expect in the O.R. tomorrow. O.T. began working with his hands and arms, and noticed a problem with Jason's shoulders, and as a result an X-ray was ordered. P.T. showed up right after O.T. and got things going for his ride. While that was going on the X-ray team showed up and saw everything else happening and said they would come back later. We got Jason in his chair and decided to go visit the folks in the I.C.U., on the fourth floor. On the fourth floor there were a few of the people there that knew Jason, and also a number of medical staff that didn't know him. None-the-less it was a good visit and Jason had a good time. The ride took us next to the first floor where we went to visit the Marines in their main office, and this was another chance for Jason to feel pretty good. He was a little concerned about going through the door, as it was his first attempt at entering another room, and he did very well, especially with the turn around. Finally we went back up to the fifth floor and decided to take care of the X-ray of his shoulder, right after he made a quick visit to the O.T./P.T. office (also on the fifth floor). All total, he was in his chair for over 2 hours.

The rest of the day was spent just simply visiting with all the visitors who came in to see him, and to talk with the medical staff. I think Jason enjoys most of the people at the hospital; enjoys all that they are doing for him; and, hopes to be out of there as soon as possible. His spirits are strong and his attitude is very much a "Can Do" way of thinking. His Marine brothers are maintaining a pretty good focus on him, and that helps a great deal, and his family is thankful for all they are providing. We are also thankful for all the support and prayers that we continue to get from all those around us, and especially from those who are following this blog.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

May 15, 2011 - Sunday

Today was a good day for Jason. He had some issues with pain this morning, and we asked that the pain doctors (really, that's what they call them) be paged and come in and talk to us. We had a good visit with them and ALL of us ended up with a better understanding of how Jason could best control his pain, with the medications that were being made available to him. Once that was done it seemed like the rest of the day went very well. Jason still had a couple of movies that he had not seen, so we watched those with him, and in between we had a chance to just visit and talk. There were a couple of phone calls, but no visitors other than family and medical staff. Of course you might say that is enough visitors by themselves, but Jason enjoys talking to other folks once in a while.

Another "first" happened today, in that I went and bought him a Coke (20oz. bottle) to drink. He said he was just wanting a Coke, and I said I would check with the nurse to be sure it was okay, and she told me there were no restrictions on his diet, so go ahead. The bottle lasted him for a couple of hours, and he seemed to enjoy each drink, with the first one being the best. It was the first taste of Coke he has had this year.

I'm getting pretty good working with the medical team, when it comes to moving him and you can really tell his confidence level in me is pretty high. There are a few guys Jason is comfortable with, when it comes to being moved, and they all know that I take the lead when coordinating our moves. I think they are happy with that, as they simply have to only do what I ask them to do, rather than try to interpret what the patient (Jason) asks them to do. Over the last few days we have been able to provide Jason with a pretty stable environment, and that helps him to remain more stable.

Thank you, again, for all the support and prayers that are being said for Jason. He is making progress and we anticipate with each step forward his progress will be that much better, and he'll be that much stronger.

Took the time to figure it out

Okay, now that I've taken the time to figure out how to post pictures, I will be putting more of them up, a little later today. Enjoy...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

May 14, 2011 - Kind of an overcast day

Jason is getting into a more regular routine and today was a good demonstration of that. He woke up to medical staff poking and prodding him; his breakfast was brought in; lunch came around, along with more of the medical team checking his status; watched a bit of T.V. (John Wayne movie Rio Bravo was the best part); and then dinner with Mom and Dad. Yeah, Mom is back from California (and I'm glad she is!). There were a number of visits through the day, where the medical folks had to come in and check on him, take is vitals and make sure he didn't need anything. This is why I kind of push to get him out in his chair, just to help break up some of the day with something different. I think he would like to be able to do more, but weekends just don't have as much going on, so visitors are about the only thing he has to look forward to.

I would really like to get Jason out side and enjoy some sunny days, but unfortunately the weather is not cooperating very well. The last couple of days have been a little over cast, and today was described as gloomy by the hotel staff. Then, tonight is starts to rain and thunder - a bunch. I just hope we can get some good days to go enjoy the sun as Jason really likes that. I was talking with Jason the other day and told him that when we finally get to his rehab site; just as soon as he is allowed; I'm taking him fishing. We can go out on a boat, or right off the shore, I don't care (I don't think he cares either). Eventually we will be doing more and more outdoor activities.

Well, that is about all the update there is for today - Jason has had a nice quite, even day, and when we left his room tonight (he was sleeping) we left him in good hands. Thank you, for all your continued prayers and support. Some of you are still sending in cards and letters, and Jason really does enjoy seeing them - even when he hasn't met whomever has sent them.

Friday, May 13, 2011

May 13, 2011 - Friday the 13th...

Well, don't let the title bother you, Jason was in and out of the O.R. relatively quickly - under 3 hours. They had to replace a small section of the Integra and do a wash out, and remove the wound vac from his belly, since it is looking better. The doctors came to talk with us later in the day and they only had good and positive things to say about how the injuries were healing up and how Jason was looking. I have to admit, his face and upper body are beginning to look much better, AND he is regularly exercising his hands more (he has a yellow and pink sponge to squeeze - he calls them Sponge Bob and Patrick)

There were some visitors from the New York Fire Department (about 5 of them) and they came to thank Jason for his service to the country. We talked about 9/11 for a few minutes, and how it affected all of us in different ways. These guys all had friends who were killed there, and you could tell they were a little emotional about it. They gave each of us an NYFD hat, and T-shirt, then left. Another visitor that came in, that I already knew, was Chris, another amputee that I had met at the Oriels vs. Red Sox game a few weeks ago. He got to through out the first pitch, and I think I mentioned him in a previous post. Anyway, he came in and talked with Jason for a few minutes. I think he did more to show Jason there are positive things to look forward to, more than anything or anyone else, so far. Chris has injuries that not as sever as Jason's, but they aren't far behind.

I learned of a patio area in the hospital, that I will be checking out tomorrow. If it looks good, and isn't difficult to get to, I'll see if I can get Jason out in his chair to take a look at it with me. I think him getting out side, even if it is just for a few minutes, would be good for him.

Thank you, for the support and prayers, and especially for the comments on these posts. Jason enjoys reading them, so please don't be afraid to just say, "Hi!"

May 12, 2011 - A day late

This post was actually written about 24 hours ago, but Google's Blogger was down and I was unable to post until now. A bit frustrating, but none-the-less, here is the post for yesterday... Enjoy.
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Well, Blogger is down and therefore I am capturing the entry for today via MS Word. The good side is that people can still see all the entries up to today, the down side is that I can’t make any new entries right now. Anyway, Jason had a very good and relaxing day. He is getting better at his pain management, with the phantom pain now starting to show up occasionally, but it only lasts for a few moments. His appetite is getting better, so the feeding tube has been removed (that was a bit of an ordeal in itself, though he is glad to have it gone). We had some visitors today that were a very nice surprise. Two astronauts, from the recent shuttle missions came by and visited for about 15 minutes, and of course I didn’t have my camera with me. I did, however, have my phone and took a picture with it. They left a couple of nice gifts for Jason and I – actually I got a pin and Jason got a few things, like autographed pictures, a flag that was flown in the shuttle and has flown 5,000,000+ miles, a couple of pins and stuff like that. They also signed our Sign-in book, so we can show who was here. The book is starting to get a few pages of signatures now.
One thing that was going on today, at the base, was a Marine Silent Drill Team demonstration. Jason was told about it and was pretty excited about being able to see them. We talked with some of the medical staff and thought we were all ready to go when the word came down from office of the Chief Surgeon of the Hospital that he didn’t want Jason to go. He didn’t feel it was safe enough for Jason and that by allowing Jason to go that far away from his primary care jeopardized all the progress Jason had made. Despite all the progress that Jason has made he is still not strong enough to be venturing out from the hospital. Jason, being the good Marine that he is, took the news in stride and he and I spent the day watching a couple of movies, and enjoying our meals together. I ordered out and got some Chinese food for dinner, which is what he asked for. One other notable visit today was from the Occupational Therapist. She came in, very excited to say that Jason was having the splints from his hands removed… TODAY! Now he can being doing other exercises and building some strength back in his hands and arms a little more comfortably.
His O.R. visit tomorrow is really just that, a visit. They are planning on simply looking at his wounds and seeing how the Integra is taking hold; doing a bit of a washout; and, then replacing the wound vacs and that’s about it. The doctor said he would be in and out pretty quickly, though he will still be under a general anesthesia. They also said that he was first on the list, and unless something came up he should be back in his room fairly early in the morning. This means I probably won’t see him early, prior to him going, as I don’t think I’ll be up at O’dark thirty… though I might ;-)
Thank you all for continuing to follow along with Jason’s journey. He is getting a chance, every now and then to read the blog himself, and the comments seem to be the most important aspect for him. One thing I need to point out is that sometimes people are putting questions in their comments and unless I know who you are, I have no way to respond, other than through the blog, and that just isn’t practical. If you want me (or Jason) to respond to a question you will need to at least “sign” your full name to give us a starting point for getting a response to you. Thank you, also for the continued support and prayers as we really do appreciate it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

May 11, 2011 - Just a day to relax

Today was a nice quite (relatively) day for Jason, and me. We had the opportunity to get out on the chair today, but Jason said he didn't want to go anywhere or do anything he didn't have to do, and just simply relax. This will be the longest he has been able to go without having to go visit the O.R. for over two months. AND, on top of that, when he does go it will be a pretty quick visit where the doctors will be taking a look at the Integra and do a simple wash out, then back to his room. Because of the sensitivity of the wounds he will still need to go under general anesthesia. but that isn't until Friday.

There were a couple of visitors, other than the medical staff, and one of them was a guy that had not been here before, or at least not since Jason has been here. The first guy to come in was multiple amputee, where he lost both his legs above the knee and also part of his left hand. He was talking with Jason about some of the things that he was currently going through, and kind of providing Jason with a description of what can be expected in the next couple of months. He has actually come and visited with Jason a couple of times so Jason wasn't too surprised to see him. Joe (at least I think that's what his name is), on the other hand, was a surprise. He is the son of one of the Pleasanton Military Families members, and he is also an amputee, though his loss is an arm, and not a leg. I was very impressed with Joe, as he was injured back in 2005; finished up his treatment; went back to school and got his teaching credentials; and now teaches in the Washington, D.C. area. A very inspiring young man.

Tomorrow Jason will be getting out in his chair, and again going without the "tree" for 20 to 30 minutes this time. Not sure if he will venture outside yet, but we are planning a trip to the CCU, where he got to know the medical staff pretty well. With that, I am pretty much done with today's post, and it isn't even 10:00pm yet! Thank you all for your continued support and prayers, and God bless you all.

May 10, 2011 - I guess even I get tired

Apologies for not having a post out yesterday, but I came back to the Lodge and made a couple of phone calls, and then just laid down for a minute. That minute turned into several hours, so now I'm posting for yesterday - now.

Jason had a good day, he got out on his power chair and road around a bit. We didn't leave the hospital this time, though we did venture out to a different floor of the hospital. This was all good, but the best part is that because they are weaning him away from the drip pain meds and going over to a pill. Therefore, he didn't need to take the "tree" with him, and got away from it for about 20 minutes. He still has a level of apprehension when he gets to the chair, though he is increasing his confidence all the time. Another good thing is that by the end of this week he will be loosing the splint from his right hand/arm, and the one off his left hand. He is showing strong signs of being able to do all the exercises they want him to do and he now has a strengthening squeeze "sponge" (not sure what else to call it - Jason called it Sponge Bob because its yellow and square).

Otherwise we had a nice relaxing day together, watching movies and just talking about nothing in particular. There were also a bunch of visits from the medical folks, and that was expected... ;-) I think, and feel, that Jason has turned a corner on his treatment, as the Integra has been placed and now it is a matter of waiting for that to take hold, the skin grafts that are going to need to be done, and then he will be off to his next level of rehab. You can see in his face and eyes that he is determined to build his strength back up, and that is something he works on every day. It makes me feel good and very proud of him to see how motivated he is, so I know he going to be able to do whatever it is he wants to do; and I think one of the first things he is going to want to do, outside of the hospital, is go fishing.

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

Monday, May 9, 2011

May 9, 2011 - Just another Monday

Jason had a tough day today, though it wasn't a bad day. We were told last night to expect Jason to be one of the first to go in to the O.R., and that was okay. I told Jason I would be over in the morning, and if he had been taken down before I arrived, then I'd see him in the afternoon. Well, I did get over in the early morning, about 6:45am, and he was still there. I figured, "okay, he's going at 7:30." Wrong... He didn't go until just before 12:00. Going later in the day would be okay, if he could have had something to eat at around 5:00am. Having to go almost 24 hours is really kind of tough on the guy... but then again, that's the worst thing that happened, and in the big picture, that is pretty minor.

The surgery was good, the decision was to go ahead and place the Integra on, and not put him through the skin stretching; besides they didn't think it was working as they wanted anyway. The good news out of this is that he doesn't have to go back in to the O.R. again until Friday, so he gets the rest of the week "off." They're starting to talk about getting him ready for his next steps in rehab, so he is going to need to be making a decision pretty soon about where he will be going next. Its something that he and Bridgette will be talking about over the next few days, I'm guessing, so perhaps this long break is good, and will allow them time to think things through.

Not much else to talk about, so I'll end this post with a thank you, to everyone, and ask for your continued support. I'm going to post the address again, as a few folks have asked for it:

George Ross, Jr. (or Jason, Bridgette, Linda)
General Delivery
8901 Wisconsin Ave.
Bethesda, MD 20889-0001

Also, I'd like to take the time to send out a special thank you, to those that have donated to the Wounded Warrior Project and/or the SemperFi Fund. I am not going to mention their names here, unless they want me to, but based on the way the donations were made I am assuming they want privacy. You know who you are. These organizations have made it possible for Jason's family to be here, and the families of all the Marines, Soldiers, Airmen and Sailors that have been hurt in this conflict. A BIG THANK YOU, anyway!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

May 8, 2011 - Happy Mother's Day!

Today was kind of a restful day for Jason. He was on the phone with multiple folks, wishing them all Happy Mother's Day. He even wished me a happy day, too. It was a very nice day today, and I was able to walk back and forth from the Navy Lodge to the Hospital several times, and therefore able to enjoy the weather. I also got all my laundry done... but that doesn't have anything to do with Jason except that now I at least look presentable...though I probably need a hair cut now. ;-)

One of the things that has started to happen with Jason, is that when he sleeps he will start to dream, and sometimes in the dream something happens, and he "jumps." I don't thing this is really too unusual, as I do it sometimes too. The difference is that he did it the other night, while in that other bed, and because he really wasn't in a particularly good position it caused him to actually pull a muscle in his back. Now you all know a pulled muscle can be uncomfortable, so when Jason mentioned to his doctor that he was feeling a little pain/discomfort on his back, and in a specific area, she immediately ordered up an X-ray. Well, when they take Jason for an exam like this they need to give him extra pain meds, so they can move him, and this is all good. So why am I bringing this up. Well, we were going to go out in his chair today, and it was canceled (by Jason) because of the timing, and of the effects of the pain meds; they tend to put him to sleep. Perhaps we can get out tomorrow, though tomorrow he has surgery and there might not be enough time to get out after he is back to his room - we'll see. Kind of made me thing of the Butterfly Effect (for those that don't know what that is, just Google it).

Jason had some nice visitors again today. Craig and Lisa Henderson came by, along with their two boys, Ryan and Collin. They stayed for a short while and talked about different things. Even though they live out here now, it still feels like a visit from someone from back home, as that is where Jason really knew them. I think Jason enjoyed telling them some war stories and talked with the boys some on what he did (E.O.D. Tech). And that was pretty much the day. Oh, yeah, one other thing. Jason was hungry for a Taco Bell crunch wrap, so I went to Taco Bell to get one. I have not had one so I really didn't know what to expect. When I brought it back to him, he informed me they had over cooked it, and the tortilla was burnt in places. He only ate about half of it. Next time I'll know better.

Thank you, all for all your kindness and support, it is appreciated. Please keep those prayers going, it is amazing the power of the prayer.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

May 7, 2011 - A nice turn around

After the day yesterday's activities, today was a nice turn around for Jason, and it was a rather relaxed day for him. The medical folks were able to secure a new bed, and it was replaced at about 1:30 this afternoon. Jason wasn't particularly happy with the interim bed, as he was kind of stuck in one position, and wasn't able to eat like he had been previously. It was really kind of amazing how much better Jason was, as soon as he was positioned and comfortable with the new bed. He was brought up to almost the highest level and was able to eat comfortably again. Earlier in the day Bridgette had come over to spend some time with Jason, so I took the opportunity to go do a little shopping (low on a couple of food items), and it allowed them to have some private time.

After I got back from the store, and put away the food, I headed back up to see Jason and find out what the status of the bed was - it was about noon. Jason was feeling a little sore from the "emergency" move still, an was anxious to get in to the new bed that they had told us was coming. Once in the bed, as I said earlier, he made an amazing shift to being pretty much like it was before, though he was still a bit tired and sore. Since we had some time to relax now he wanted to watch a movie, and I put in that latest Silvester Stalone movie, Expendables. We watched it for a while, and then I started getting tired. He paused the movie and the nurse came in to do some work with Jason. I told him I need to go take a nap and would be back later. As it turned out I came back about 2 hours later, roughly 4:30pm and he had just woken up from a nap. He fell asleep almost as soon as I had left so we were able to finish watching the movie right from where I had left it. It was nice being with him, and not really talking much, though we did have a couple of conversations. He wanted to tell me about some of the things he and "Gunny Rick" had done, and that he is anxious to see the guys soon. We watched another movie, "Taken" with Liam Neeson, and this time we watched the entire movie, with only a couple of minor interruptions. By now it was getting late and I needed to get some dinner (Jason had eaten already). I told him I'd see him in the morning, and left to come back to the lodge. And that was the day... nice.

Thank you, all again for your continued prayers and support. Please keep us all in your hearts and ask for strength.

Friday, May 6, 2011

May 6, 2011 - An all day event

Last night I was told that Jason was to go in to the O.R. early, and that they would be coming to take him at about 5:30 this morning. That's okay, as that is the regular time, and I guess I could have used the extra rest anyway. I got over to the hospital, and Jason's room at about 8:00, to get something (David had left his camera and I went to pick it up to send it back to him) and the person in the room told me they came and got him at 7:30, so I could have come and visited with him in the morning, but it wasn't to be. He spent the rest of the day away from his room, and I took care of a couple of errands. I would have gotten more things done if I had known that he was going to be gone all day, but again, it wasn't to be.

We went to the Dutch Embassy to have dinner tonight, and while there I received a call from Jason's doctor, and she informed me that all went well, and in fact some of the areas were even better than anticipated, and therefore weren't going to be needing to use as much Integra as they previously thought. Also, more of his wounds would be covered with his own natural skin, and this would be much better, and more comfortable for him, in the long run. The down side of this is that they do need to do a couple of things a little different, and this is going to take an extra week to get done. Otherwise it was a very good day in the O.R. for Jason, despite the late start. He didn't get in to the O.R. until almost 1:15pm, and during this time he is not allowed to eat or drink.

We got back from dinner, and I went up to Jason's room, and he wasn't there! It is almost 9:30pm and he hasn't returned from the PACU (where the patient goes after surgery, before coming back to his (or her) room - that is unless you're in the I.C.U.). I decided to wait around and Jason was finally brought in to his room at just after 10:00pm, almost 15 hours after they took him. He hadn't eaten all day and he was hungry. Fortunately I had bought him some Campbell's soups, so while they were still getting him set up in the room, I went to heat some up for him. I brought it back to the room and set it on the tray, next to the bed (it was hot). The nurse was working on getting some things finished up on Jason, when all of a sudden the pump motors stopped and the bed began to deflate. This is not a good thing, and in fact, it is a very bad thing. We started looking around trying to figure out what happened, and why did the motors just stop, and Jason started to indicate he was becoming very uncomfortable. More people came into the room. The mattress was now fully deflated and Jason was simply laying on metal cross bars with just nylon sheets between him and the bars. He was in pain! The people in the room were showing signs of panic because the bed wouldn't work and I finally yelled at them, "Get him another bed! I don't care what kind, just get something so we can get him off this one!" A senior nurse came in and said there were no other specialty beds available and I said I didn't care, he needs to be on something else. In a matter of about 30 seconds we had the other bed in the room readied for him, and moved it next to his bed. I started giving commands about what I wanted them to do, to move him (I have now been through a move about 8 times). We got him over to the other bed and the pain points were now stopped, but his residual pain and discomfort didn't go away for another 15 minutes. Total time it took to move him from one bed to the other, once the specialty bed failed, about 10 - 12 minutes, but it must have felt like an eternity to Jason. I have spoken about he pain level in previous posts, and using that same scale, it was at a 10+. They offered him some meds to help with the pain, but he said that once he was on the new bed, and calmed down a bit it was manageable without the additional meds.

I stayed with him for a short while after he was a little more comfortable, and we situated him on his bed. He still wanted to eat his soup, but just not right now. We talked about the need for me to get some rest - more him telling me to go get some sleep, as I think he is wanting to look out for me as much as I am wanting to look out for him. Please forgive type-o's and wrong words in this post as I am doing it after midnight here, and it has been a long day for all of us. Please keep us in your prayers, and please, PLEASE pray for the staff, so they don't act like the Keystone Cops in the future. Thank you, for your continued support, it is very much appreciated.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

May 5, 2011 - Happy Cino de Mayo!

Actually, I don't think Jason thought about Cinco de Mayo today, though he did get to do something that was kind of special. He was given his power wheelchair today! He road it around the hospital wing and most of the people cheered him on. I think he really enjoyed the chair, but like the first time he went out on the geri-chair, he was just a little apprehensive and therefore didn't want to go outside. He has to go to the O.R. again tomorrow morning, so he probably won't be going out with the chair tomorrow, though when I spoke with him tonight he said he would consider it. I feel like he has hit another milestone in his recovery, and this one is a pretty big one at that.

Otherwise, today was pretty much a copy of yesterday, though he didn't do any more painting. Oh, and by the way, I said his first picture was a flower, and I think I should let you know it was a thistle, and a darn good one at that. He had visitors again - some of whom he knew and some that were strangers. One of the visitors was a fellow warrior, but from the Navy. He rolled in, with his chair and spent several minutes talking with Jason, and I think it did him good, as it was just the two of them talking. The evening ended up with me sitting in the chair next to his bed and watching the movie "Goonies" with him. I finally told him it was getting late and I needed to get this blog posted - and maybe even get some sleep. I told him we'd be getting back together tomorrow, once he was back in his room.

I'd like to extend a Happy Cinco de Mayo to everyone, and hope you all had a good one. Thank you, for your continued prayers and support, and please do keep up with the blog - Jason is now getting to read the comments, so if you have a message for him, this is the best place to send it. He's reading it via his iPad...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May 4, 2011 - Today was picture perfect

Today started something a little different. Jason had his breakfast, and he wasn't sweating anywhere near what it was before. He was having a number of discussions with various people, and the visitors were coming in on a fairly steady stream, though we did not allow all of them in. He still needs his rest, and will over extend himself if we don't. All of this was well and good, and in general he is doing well and getting better. The one thing that was different was that the activity therapist came in and asked him if he would like to do some painting. It is one activity that he really enjoys (has since he was in grade school) and he can do it right from his bed. the challenge is that he is right handed and he only has his left hand to do the painting.

He started out with a flower, and even though he was doing it left handed, it looked pretty good. While the painting was going on his occupational therapist came in and was happy to see him do the painting. She wanted him to start working his arms and this was a good way for him to do it. One of the other activities he was doing was learning how to use an iPad. His EOD brothers got him one, and he is finally feeling strong enough to it. David, his brother, already uses one, so David spent some time showing him how to use it, and Jason was off and running. He even got to take a look at the blog. David had to get back home today, so now his "tech" support is going to be remote.

Otherwise it was simply a good day for him to relax and visit with family and those who dropped by. I am hoping that most of his days, going forward, are like today, and progress is steady and constant. Please continue to pray for all and thank you for all the support you've given so far.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May 3, 2011 - The good days continue

Jason had a good day today, both in the O.R. as well as when he got out. The results of the efforts of the doctors in the O.R. were less than what we had hoped, but still some progress was made. When he went in, they had hoped to place some Integra material on his wounds, but because there was still some areas that needed healing it was decided to delay. We are now looking at Friday (or maybe Saturday) as the next opportunity. Not sure if it will be Friday, because unfortunately there were more warriors brought in who needed more immediate attention, and thus it could push out the schedule for Jason, but only by a day. The sad news is that there were enough new cases that the schedule could be impacted that much. The good news is that the skills of the medical teams here, as well as the dedication, is exactly what is needed to address the need.

Jason sent Mom and Dad out on a mission today, to find some sour dough bread, as he really would like to eat some. His diet is such that he can eat whatever he wants now, and his body is handling all the food just as it should. The challenge is that the nurses (and I guess the doctors, too ;-)) are monitoring all that he is eating and counting calories. We need to be sure they get told any time he eats anything, and just how much he is eating, and drinking. I also stopped by a Seven Eleven and bought him a cherry Slurpee. It was a 32oz sized drink, and he drank it all. We also brought him some of those Campbell Soup microwavable "cans" so he could get some soups, other than from the hospital kitchen. He was happy to see all of it, especially the bread.

The only real challenge we (he) seem to be having is his sweating. He just starts sweating so much, and they have the room temp as low as it can be set. He sits in his bed with no blanket or shirt and it doesn't seem to help much. We even brought him in a small fan to help keep a soft breeze on him. The medical folks are a bit puzzled as to why he sweats so much, but it doesn't seem to be impacting any of his other vital signs, and he really doesn't express any discomfort, other than the sweat running down his arm or on his chest or forehead. It does seem to happen more after a surgery, but not always, and it has everyone wondering why. He does drink a great deal of other liquids, besides Slurpee, so for now they'll continue with the tests, and just monitor him.

As you can see, it was a good day, in that he was able to visit with all of us, and even his little girls were able to come by, after day care. He really misses them and you can tell that he is anxious to hold them, but right now his arms just aren't ready for it. Maybe in another couple of weeks, and he has a chance to build up a little more strength, as well as his hands get a little more chance to heal. Please continue to pray for him, and the doctors, so that the healing and positive developments get even better; and, please pray for those that recently arrived, as they now have a long tough road to go down as well.

Thank you, and God Bless.

Monday, May 2, 2011

May 2, 2011 - Purple Heart!

Jason received his Purple Heart today, from the Commandant of the Marines, and it was quite an impressive ceremony. The Commandant, himself, is very personable and knows how to make you feel totally comfortable. We got up in the morning and were going through our normal pace of getting ready when we received a call from Bridgette. "The Commandant is going to be here at 11:00, not the 12:00 we were told before!" We still had plenty of time, but it felt like it was a bit more urgent now. We still needed to get over to Jason's room and set up some decorations; I needed to finish shaving him; and we didn't have a shirt ready for him (or at least I didn't think we did). On top of that Bridgette still had to get the girls over to Day Care before she could get to Jason's room. We called David to let him know of the time change, and I think I woke him up (he is still on California time).

We got over to Jason's room and put up a Marine flag we had, and a couple of other little things. We talked to Sgt. Linderman about Jason's uniform shirt (digi), and found out that it was on its way, but still needed Jason's E.O.D. (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) pin. Not a big deal because we had plenty of time, and Bridgette was bringing his pin. It was now just a little after 09:00 and we thought we could relax a little. Then came the news, the Commandant was going to be there by 10:00, and now it was an urgent issue. David wasn't here yet, Bridgette was dealing with the construction traffic (and there wasn't any parking - one of the many challenges here). Sgt. Linderman brought in Jason's shirt and David showed up. We were in Jason's room, finishing the shaving when the Commandant showed up, with a few others and we weren't ready. The Commandant (a Four Star General, for those wondering) came in to the room and actually helped us with the final touches of getting Jason's shirt on properly, except that Jason still didn't have his pin. That was okay, because MGySgt Todd was there, and he had his pin and offered it to Jason. The Commandant liked that idea, though I think it made Jason a bit nervous because MGySgt Todd is at a higher level than Jason, so it is a slightly different pin. I think the Commandant noticed and told Jason not to worry, and to consider it a temporary increase. While the Commandant was putting the pin on Jason, Bridgette walked through the door, with her father Gary, and we were now ready for the presentation.

The presentation of the medal wasn't too long, nor was it too brief. I guess they have been through this enough that they know how to do it just right. The Commandant spoke of the history of the medal, and how George Washington was the one who created it, and why. How it became known as the Purple Heart, and how it was brought back into use during WWII. The Commandant also spoke of Jason's future and how it is still a very bright future and that if he wanted to remain in the Marines there was a job for him. After he was finished the Commandant and most of the other officers that came with him, left with MGySgt Todd remaining. He stayed and spoke with Jason for a short while longer. Jason attempted to give back the pin, but MGySgt Todd told him that it was now his, and I think this meant as much to Jason as the Purple Heart.

The rest of the day was pretty much a nice calm day, with an opportunity for Jason to get out side again. I'm getting pretty good at transferring him from his bed to the chair, and I don't mind doing it, though I do look forward to when Jason can move himself. Bridgette and David worked the front of the Geri-chair, and I worked the back, with Linda bringing along the "tree" that had all the drips and drugs that are still needed for Jason. It was a nice smooth ride for Jason, and he got to stay outside as long as he wanted. The only thing that didn't go smoothly today was at the end of the day when his temperature went up over 101 degrees, though you really couldn't tell that by looking at Jason. Most of the temp increase was probably due to all the activity from the day, and it simply wore on him. David and I were able to squeeze in a Giants vs. Nationals Baseball game (second half anyway) at National Park (tickets courtesy of Craig and Lisa H.), after Jason went back inside. Linda stayed with Jason for the remainder of the evening until David and I returned from the game. Jason has surgery in the morning, so we won't get to see him until after noon sometime. That's okay as we have some errands to attend to, so as far as I am concerned, it is a good thing.

Thanks, again (yeah, I'm going to keep thanking everyone for their continued support)for all the prayers and positive thoughts. It is appreciated.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May 1, 2011 - First Day of May

Jason has had a good day today. He began with a good start and a simple breakfast - I think he is looking forward to a home cooked breakfast. Something about hospital food and the mass production aspect (basically the food in the hospital really isn't that bad, he just wants a little more "excitement"). After that he enjoyed a good visit from mom and dad who were able to go outside with him for a second time. They have a special chair set up for him, they use a special pad on a geri-chair, to help him maintain comfort. He still can't sit all the way up, but he's getting better.

After the chair ride we came back in and his lunch was ready to go. He had mashed potatoes and gravy, with a navy bean soup. They actually still have him on controlled diet, with the control being on the caloric intake, as he needs to ingest almost 3000 (It is amazing the number of calories the body burns in repairing itself) per day. He can now eat just about anything he wants, so after we went to go pick up David (yeah, his brother is back out for another visit and Jason wanted him here for the Purple Heart presentation tomorrow), we went to Taco Bell and picked him up a couple of bean burritos, which he thoroughly enjoyed. It was good to seem him enjoy eating this, though he also had Chinese food last night, so you can see his digestive system is coming back to "normal."

We are looking forward to the Purple Heart presentation tomorrow, as the Commandant has been very patient with Jason. He has come by to visit with Jason a couple of times, but because Jason just wasn't ready it was agreed to just wait until he was. We'll get some pictures, and I'll see what I can do to post a few of them here, or I might just redirect to another site, if there are too many pictures.

It feels like things are starting to get to a point of normalcy for Jason, and thus the rest of his family, and mostly for Bridgette and his girls. Having said that it is also recognized that Jason's life is now getting closer to that next important step, and that is his rehab, both physical and occupational. We don't know where he will be going for that work, yet, but it is something that he and Bridgette will need to decide pretty soon. Once that has been identified I'll be sure to let all the readers of this blog know where his new efforts will be.

Thank you, all for all your support and kind words. We have met a number of clergy since we have been here, some military chaplains and some "civilian" contractors. They come from all faiths and all show the highest level of compassion, and that is so appreciated. Even though we do receive that kind of support it is also important to us that everyone continue to send their prayers and keep us in your hearts.