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Showing posts from August, 2011

August 31, 2011 - Back out of the ICU

Jason started the day in the I.C.U. (a.k.a. - C.C.U.) and was on a clear liquid diet. To say the least, he wasn't a happy camper. Fortunately they changed him back over to "regular diet" before the morning was over and he sent me off to get him some REAL food. Within a couple of hours of that change he was back on the 4th floor, back in his room, where he was able to relax and eat as his heart desired. The reason he was in the I.C.U. was precautionary, and it made perfect sense to me, its just that Jason and every other patient that is fully awake, does not want to be there any longer than they absolutely have to.

He got back to his room in the new bed, and had to wait until a little later in the day to have the trapeze re-installed. Actually it was quite impressive how the trapeze was put back on the bed. It comes in several pieces, with some of them bigger than others, and from my perspective it was a bit daunting. The techs came in the room with one of them obviously …

August 30, 2011 - H.O. Surgery

Jason had a tough day today, but a good day! He started off the day very early with the prep for going to the O.R., and Linda and I were able to be with him for the full time. Normally they take the patients down to the PACU prior to surgery, and they almost always have to spend a good portion of the time just sitting and waiting. To say the least, it is kind of boring for them. Jason didn't have to do that this time, and we were glad. What he did do though, was to have all the preparation done in his room, and he was able to have us as company while he waited. Once they came to take him down to the O.R. it happened in a rather rapid manner. During the waiting period he had visits from several of the doctors, just to make sure he understood what was going on, and to see if he had any questions. It was a nice change, to be sure.

Once he was on his way down to the O.R. Linda and I went to find some things for his room, that we have been wanting to get for the past couple of days - t…

August 29, 2011

Jason's visit to the PACU was actually shorter than I had anticipated, and that was a good thing. Yesterday, we found out, late in the day, that he was going to be going to the PACU, and therefore he had to be put on the schedule. This meant that he would not be going first, and we thought he would not be headed down until probably 9:30am at the soonest, though we also knew it could still be early. Linda and I got up early and walked over to the hospital (because of the construction parking around here is kind of tough, especially in the morning) and actually got to Jason's room before 7:00am. Jason was still there and we got to have a nice visit with him. About the only thing that wasn't good was his bed, as one of the inflation cells didn't want to work right and it was making him uncomfortable. One of the techs. from the bed manufacturer came out, but that was later in the day and I'm jumping ahead just a bit. While we were talking with Jason (we'd been ther…

August 28, 2011

Today Jason got out on his cart and did five laps on the 4th floor, which totally seems appropriate, since he did four laps on the 5th floor. He was feeling pretty good today and we had a pretty good time visiting with all the folks and looking to see who, if any, were the new people on the floor. MGnySgt Todd came by again today, only this time he wasn't in uniform. At first I didn't recognize him, and would have walked right past him, but then took a second glance. He helped with getting Jason back into his bed, after Jason was done with his laps. Because we are oriented in the room a little differently Jason gets out on the other side of the bed, and when he did today it was much easier for him, and it worked the same getting back in.

The orthopedic doctor came by again today, to discuss the procedure on Tuesday and to let Jason know he wanted to have Jason come down to the PACU for a dressing change on Monday (tomorrow). It would allow him to have a better look at his wou…

August 27, 2011

Today was a very interesting day for all of us, and especially Jason. It started out a lot like other Saturdays, and aside from Mom being back, it was pretty much just the same. I got tired of him not having the ability to change the channel of his TV so I went down to the store and bought him a universal remote, and batteries. When we got back to his room (side note: the hurricane hasn't started bothering us yet, at this point) it took me all of maybe two minutes to have it functional (that includes the time it took to open the packages). Jason felt much better once he was able to control the TV, and what he watched. The next thing we want to figure out is how he will be able to play a video (DVD).

Jason wanted to get out on his chair today, so we were able to get everything together and him in to his chair in just a few minutes. Now, you have to understand that the only way Jason is able to get around in his chair, and not have his med-tree follow him around, is to get a "p…

August 26, 2011

Jason went to the PACU today and they did the wash out and dressing change. Because of the H.O. there was an effort to provide additional padding of the bandages, on the area that is closest to the H.O. It seemed to have helped as Jason wasn't experiencing as much discomfort as he has in the recent past, and his spirits were up a little more, than they have been in the past few days. When he went to the PACU he went down a little later in the morning, so as a result he ended up coming back to his room a little later than typical. It all worked out pretty good though as I had made a Taco Bell run and brought him back some food, and I got to his room about 10 minutes after he did (it usually takes about 10 minutes to get him all set back up when he get back in his room).

After he was done eating his lunch we got him ready and in his chair so that he could head down to P.T. He did almost all of his exercises from within his chair, working on his trunk and arms, and "walking&quo…

August 25, 2011 - Only 4 months until Christmas

No, there wasn't anything going on today that would, or should be connected to Christmas, its just that when I saw the "25th" it reminded me that Christmas really isn't that far away, and we've been here a long time. Linda and I arrived on March 9th and spent that evening at a Marriott hotel, and then on the 10th we were brought to Bethesda, National Naval Medical Center as we found out that Jason would soon be on his way back to the U.S. and Jason did arrive on the 11th.

When he got here we were all still pretty much in shock and doing our best to deal with how he was and his injuries. Not until a couple of weeks later did we actually start to think about how he was going to be healing up and for how long. We found that Jason had about the best doctor in the hospital, in our (and many others) opinion, and she was very willing to talk to us about small details about his wounds. When she told us that we needed to be prepared for a marathon and that his healing wo…

August 24, 2011

Today was a day of getting used to the new surroundings on the fourth floor (or fourth deck as they call it - Navy hospital still). Apparently the IT folks need to get something corrected, though I don't know what specifically it is, so that the TV's will begin working with a remote. Otherwise the new rooms are pretty good, and the HVAC seems to be working more efficiently now.

Jason was dealing with the pain of the H.O. on his right side, and they will be taking him to the O.R. on Tuesday next week. About the only thing he can do right now is to make sure the he is setting correctly in the bed and work the pain meds to stay ahead of the pain. The PT folks came to his room to allow him to do his exercises and balancing practice from his bed. He did a pretty good job of everything and then he showed them that he was gaining other balance and strength. He would hang from the trapeze bar and hold himself parallel to the bed for a 3 second count, and did this several times. Once …

August 23, 2011 - Hole 'lot'a shaking going on!

Today was a little different for Jason, as he did have to go to the O.R. this morning, and the work done there was more than just a good cleaning. They also applied the a-cell treatment and think that he is doing very well with his progress. If all goes well with this new treatment he won't have to go through another skin graft, and that means he would be just a little more comfortable during his healing progress. He went down at about 8:00 this morning and got back to his room at close to 14:00 (2pm), so you can see he was gone almost 6 hours, twice the time for his PACU visits.

Once he got back to his room he was feeling a little uncomfortable and tender in some areas, but due to the treatment it is understandable. The challenge with this today is that there is a big move, later in the day. This meant that the final packing of his room had to take place and I had to make sure I didn't forget anything. Jason was feeling the affects of his meds so he was falling to sleep freq…

August 22, 2011

The day began with another visit to the PACU for Jason, and when they brought him back to his room he was still asleep. I guess they used a little more in the way of sedation, to avoid any chance that he might wake up before they were finished. The PACU dressing change went as well as they could have hoped for, and whoever did the bandage wrap this time sure did a nice job. In the past they have always had to use some extra adhesive tape to keep the bandages in place. This time there was still some tape, but only a minimal amount, and it looked much neater this time.

We got to speak with the head of Jason's treatment team and she told us that things are really looking good and that Jason's wounds are healing up more all the time. In fact because of the success of the a-cell treatment there does not look like he will be needing any skin grafts. There are some other small area(s) that will be getting more of the a-cell treatment, and that is a good thing. I (and Jason) would ra…

August 21, 2011

Jason went to the PACU early today - well, actually he went twice. The first time they came to get him it was a little before 6:30am and while they were moving him he told them that he didn't think there were any people down at the PACU yet, and that it was just too early. When they got there, there wasn't anyone around, so they took Jason back up. A short while later the trip was made again, and this time there were some folks there, so Jason stayed down and the procedure/dressing change was done.

The dressing change was just that, a clean out of the wound area and new dressings applied to the wound. For the most part he was comfortable, though he is still dealing with H.O. (heterotopic ossification) and will be for a while longer. It is where the body generates a calcium buildup to help compensate for bone loss. It will continue with this until it runs its course and then the doctors can remove it. I don't believe it will have a negative impact on the overall course of …

August 20, 2011 - Nice Day to get out

I got over to see Jason a little later today, but it was still before 8:00am. He was working on his breakfast so we just talked a little, about how he was feeling and was there anything special he wanted to do today. I asked him if he'd like to get outside today, and maybe ride around a little bit. He said sure, since the day was a pretty nice one, we wanted to get going and enjoy some of the weather. We set 10:00am as the time to get out and then a let him finish his breakfast. After breakfast he said he wanted to shave, and try to get himself to a little more presentable level of appearance.

While he was shaving (it is an electric razor) we found out that the Major General for the 1st Marines, from San Diego, was here and the Sergent Major was also with him. Jason said it was a good thing he was shaving, and was actually able to finish before they came in to the room. If nothing else, it made Jason feel a bit more comfortable. The two of them came in and talked with Jason and I…

August 19, 2011

Jason went to the PACU for his dressing change and they took him down a bit later than originally planned. I understand there were some new patients brought in, and they had to do some quick changes. Please keep these guys in your prayers, as it isn't over yet, and we still have Marines and Soldiers (and Airmen and Sailors) in harms way. As a result of the late start he got back to his room a little later than we thought he would, but that was okay, as I had a couple of errands to take care of, and I was able to get everything done in time to be there when he came back.

There is going to be a big move soon, with all the patients moving from their current location to the new rooms, that have just been completed, and there is some extra activity going on right now. Like with any change, there is some good and some not so good associated with it, but overall I think this will be a good thing for Jason and everyone else. We have been told they will have better IT tools for the doctor…

August 18, 2011

Today was a fun day for Jason, even with the issues of that phantom pain coming back every now and again. He got out on his prone cart and did some laps around the 5th floor, and there were several people in the hall ways to make it interesting. He was doing a good imitation of a slalom sledder, going down a trail. Most of the people he went by knew or at least recognized him, and kind of cheered him on. A few of them stopped him to talk with him and I think it made him feel pretty good. There was one of the other patients, another EOD guy, that was in his chair and Jason stopped to talk with him. They talked for only a moment, but it was the social interaction that Jason needed. We kept on going after that and made four rounds of the floor. As it turned out, the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Dunford, was also on the floor and Jason came upon him as well (actually a couple of times). He spoke with us for a few minutes and we totally enjoyed speaking with him. Once …

August 17, 2011

Today started a little different for us, as when I got to Jason's room this morning he was already eating his breakfast (french toast), and looking pretty good. We talked for a while and actually worked on some paper work that he has been wanting to get done, and that took us up to almost 9:30am. That's when it dawned on me, I was supposed to call Linda and get her up (I'm her wake-up call). Well, as it turned out, since I was 30 minutes later than usual, she was scrambling to get ready for the day, and didn't have time to talk. I did get to say, "Happy Birthday!", and then that was about the end of that conversation. Jason and I went back to finishing the paper work and that didn't take long, and then the phone rang. It was Linda!

This time we were able to talk with her for a little bit longer and Jason and I sang Happy Birthday. I think that was one of the better birthday presents she was able to get. She then talked with Jason for about the next 10 min…

August 16, 2011

Today was a busy day for Jason, with it starting out with me coming over to finish up the packing of things in his room, so that we'll be ready for the move to the 4th floor next week. We ended up with a bunch of boxes of stuff that he has accumulated over the past 5+ months, and we had it shipped out to California so he won't have to deal with shipping more stuff later on. After the packing was done he wanted to get out on his cart. He is getting more confident in being able to move around, going from his bed to the cart, and that is a big step for him. It shows that he is more confident with his balance, and in his ability to move himself. I think he would have liked to have gotten several laps of the floor, and he did do four laps, but the challenge is that for some reason today was especially busy with people, and they all seemed to want to hang around in the hall ways. Okay, maybe that is a slight exaggeration, but the hallways did have more people than usual. With more p…

August 15, 2011

Jason took a slightly different direction today, and though he still went down to PT, and worked with the therapy folks, he didn't go directly back to his room. Today he went down and visited with a buddy of his, Tim, who was back at NNMC for some follow up surgery. To date, Tim had come by and visited with Jason probably 6 or 7 times, coming in either in his chair or wearing his new legs. Jason wanted to turn it around this time, since Tim can't get out of bed for a couple of days, and Jason can. They talked for about 30 minutes, and then Jason had to get back to his room, as he was starting to hit the "wall" with being away from his meds that long. It was probably the longest period Jason has been out and about, and he made it back to his bed in relatively good condition.

I think the opportunity to go visit with Tim was just the right thing to have happen for Jason, as the folks in PT talked about Jason getting out and doing something off the Naval Base, like go t…

August 14, 2011 - Jason and Dad in Bethesda

Well, Jason had a good visit early this morning, from Mom and Dad. He was scheduled to go to the PACU first thing in the morning and Linda had to catch a plane back home, so we first went over to see Jason. I think he was a little surprised to see us there at 6:00am, and quite frankly I was too. Linda was up late, doing her last bit of packing, so she didn't get as much sleep as she would like, but when I told her it was time to get up she jumped out of bed pretty quickly. We were able to spend about an hour and a half in his room, and then followed him down to the PACU, and spent another 30+ minutest with him there. It was a very nice visit and since Mom was headed back home, to California, I think Jason thought it was probably one of the best visits he has ever had. We had to leave for the air port by a certain time, and it just so happened that the timing couldn't have been any better. Just as they were ready to start working on the wound dressing changes we were needing to…

August 13, 2011

Jason had a little bit of a tough day today, in that there was something going on with his wounds and it was causing him a bit more pain than usual. Usually he is able to control it with his PCA (Patient Controlled Administration) button, and today he needed a little bit extra help from the nursing staff. As a result of the extra meds he was unable to get out on his chair or his cart, so we just hung around his room and just visited with him most of the day.

He had other visitors too. There was a visit from some of the guys (EOD) who knew Jason, and one of them had also been injured in Afghanistan. He was now up and walking around and I think their main reason for visiting was to show Jason that there is the ability to walk after loosing your legs. Of course, they acknowledged that with the injuries the guys are not able to stay up for more than a few hours at a time, but that is still much better than not being able to get up at all. We were able to talk with Jason after the visit a…

August 12, 2011

Jason started off with PT early today, and they worked on his core strength and balance again. He is getting better in his ability to move around a bit more, and that is a good thing. He is also showing that he is able to stay out, and away from his bed and disconnected from his meds for a little longer periods of time. The doctor said he was comfortable with Jason being off the medications, hanging on the I.V. poll for as much as 1 1/2 hours, though Jason isn't quite that far along just yet. After his PT workout Jason wanted to get back to his room and into his bed.

Once he was in his bed and hooked back up to the poll, he soon became much more comfortable. With Walter Reed merging with NNMC there are more Army nurses and corpsmen around, and because it is still early in the merge there are a number who are still just learning where everything is. Today Jason had a nurse who was not only looking after him, the nurse was also "mentoring" one of the new Army nurses. If t…

August 11, 2011

Jason had a good day today, in that he was able to spend some time with his brother, David and his family, before they were head back off to California. This week's visit was the first time for Jason to meet his nephew Dylan, so it was a special visit for both of them. There was also a quick visit from Team EXTREME, as Jason was headed to his PT appointment. It was unexpected, and they had a dog with them, so in a couple of different ways it was a special visit for Jason. I think he will be getting another dog, just as soon as he can, and that is based on how he reacted to this dog. Of course that probably won't happen for a couple of years, though it will happen. All of the guys from Team EXTREME came out to visit with Jason and to talk with him briefly. They had read this blog, so they knew about his pushups and mentioned it to him, and let him know that now that he set that level he is know expected to do at least that and probably more each time. About the only down thing …

August 10, 2011 - Five Months

All, sorry for not putting up a post last night but due to a few other distractions I was kept from the blog, and when I finally did get to it, the wifi was having problems so I finally just went to bed. Anyway, Jason is doing well, and the visit to the PACU was a good one. They cleaned and redressed his wounds and for the most part he was comfortable. The only associated challenge to this was that for some reason a minor error happened with the scheduling and Jason didn't get to go down early, so he had to wait a bit longer than usual. They came in and apologize for the mix up and Jason was his normal gracious self with a "no harm, no foul" attitude.

David and Miriam were able to spend more time with Jason, and Dylan was pretty happy to be able to see Uncle Jason again. Of course Dylan is a pretty active kinda guy so he was all over the room (and 5th floor), talking to everybody and generally having a great time. Everybody who saw him thought he was a treat and so happ…

August 9, 2011

Jason is doing well, and improving all the time. Some times during the day he has to deal with some difficult pain or discomfort, but for the most part he is continuing to heal. There seems to have been a general improvement with his infections, and we were spoken to about possible dates for when they will shut off all his antibiotics. The dates won't be listed here, as there is still some question about what they will be, and I don't want to set anyone's expectations, and then be wrong about it.

Because of some of the problems he was having earlier today he did not get to go down to PT. I think this was a little bit of a disappointment for Jason, as he tends to enjoy going there. Later this evening he was feeling much better and probably could have done his PT then, but all of the trainers were gone. He will be headed down to the PACU tomorrow; they will be doing a dressing change and washout; and, it is possible that they will be making a decision about what the next spe…

August 8, 2011

Jason enjoyed the day with his brother David today. I came over early to visit with him, and to a friend of mine, Susan S. She was able to come by early this morning, and Jason was feeling pretty good. There wasn't much going on today, other than a trip down to the PT gym. He said his arms were feeling a little soar from the pushups and wanted to know if he was going to have to be doing that again. I basically told him that it would be his choice - my guess is he will want to do it at least one more time, and probably more.

Going down to the gym, he decided to head that way while on his cart. He is attempting to alternate the days he uses his chair and cart. He wants to get the best results on his arms. When he went to the gym they let him know that he would be using the pull-up bar, and that they wanted to see how many pull-ups he could do. He wasn't feeling too hopeful, for a couple of reasons - 1)it is a different set of muscles than when doing push-ups; 2) he still does no…

August 7, 2011 - A nice quiet day

Jason had another of his many quiet days today, as he went to the PACU and had another washout done. He is in good spirits and is starting to become a bit more restless in his bed, so I would suspect that he is going to be working even harder on getting his strength back and being able to get out more. Of course "get out" means simply getting out of bed and maybe the occasional trip outside of the hospital, as he still has to beat the rest of those pesky infections. Once THAT has happened, then he is ready to truly "get out" and see the rest of the world.

On a very positive side, David has come back again to spend a few more days with Jason and this time he brought along the rest of his family. It was so great to see Miriam and Dylan (their son). We hadn't seen Dylan since last Christmas, and this is the first time for Jason, and his girls to actually meet him. Bridgette is supposed to be getting back tomorrow and then she can meet him too. When we have more o…

August 6, 2011

Today was a special day for Jason because we were all able to sit down and enjoy our dinner together, at a table, for the first time in almost a year. It was the first time in 5 months that Jason has eaten anything and not be confined to his bed. The cafeteria has special tables to accommodate wheelchairs so he was able to just wheel himself up to the table and we had the dinner from the hospital galley (a.k.a. cafeteria). We ate salad, soup, and spaghetti and it felt like a nice family dinner. We were almost the only ones in the cafeteria, so we basically had the entire place to ourselves (almost). We did not take any pictures as we just wanted to enjoy this time, besides there really wasn't anyone around to ask to take any pictures.

Jason has a procedure tomorrow morning, so he will be going down to the PACU early in the morning, and then probably back in his room around 11:00. Not sure if I will need to head out to pick him up something for lunch, but I already know I'll ne…

August 5, 2011 - He gave it his all

Jason had a competition today, against another Marine, of a push-up contest. The other Marine was smaller than Jason, and also a double amputee. We all met down at the PT gym, with Jason showing up just a few minutes ahead of his competition. The rules were pretty loose, and it wasn't really clear on how they were going to start, or even what constituted a push-up. When that was all finally determined they got ready to begin. The rules were simply to do push-ups as well as you can, going up as far as you can and down as far as you can, without touching the base (in this case the work out tables); they were to begin at the same time, and do as many as they could. They both got into position and I said, "Ready...Go!" And they were off. Jason started at a pace of about 1 push-up every second (maybe just a little slower than that). The other Marine was going at a faster pace and by the time he had reached 20 push-ups (yeah, 20) Jason had made it to 14. The other Marine stret…

August 4, 2011 - "Drop and give me 20"

Well, the title kind of tells the story today. Jason went to his PT session and they worked on a number of things, with one of the first being push-ups. He was able to do 4, which is more than they thought he would do, and therefore very exciting. Then they told us that there was going to be a little friendly competition between a few of the patients, with Jason being one of the favorites. Tomorrow they will be asking those patients to go down to PT and do as many push-ups as they can, and see who has the best stamina. It is a friendly competition, though you know how Marines are. I'm sure there is going to be one or two of them that want to be sure they do at least one more than anybody else, it should be fun.

Bridgette went to see Jason early this morning, before she had to depart. She will be returning on Monday, so that is something for Jason to look forward to. The girls are staying with us, and that means Jason will get to be with them for a few days here, and that is a good…

August 2, 2011 - A busy day indeed

Today began with a bit of a drizzle outside, and as far as I am concerned, that is a good thing. It seemed like it dropped the temperature down a good 10 degrees, and it was kind of nice walking over to the hospital this morning. I went up and had breakfast with Jason (Linda was tired, so I let her sleep in), and we both just relaxed and enjoyed each other's company. We talked about some of the PT work that he has done, as well as what he was going to be doing. He was anxious to get to PT today as I think he is starting to feel much better now and he likes the fact that he is gaining some of his strength back. Linda came in just a little while before we were to be headed down to the gym, so while Jason and I did a few things to get him ready she worked on getting his cart ready. Right now, because Jason still requires some assistance in getting from the bed to the cart, it takes up to 30 minutes before he is ready to head out the room. My guess is that in another 2 weeks we'll…

August 2, 2011 - A Great Day In PT

Jason had a very good day with activities and visitors. He started off with a visitor from the Pentagon, an Air Force Major General Kelly McKeague, who is the Assitant to the Chairman of The Joint Chiefs of Staff. He came by and asked if it was alright to come in to visit with Jason. Jason was his usual self and always welcoming visitors, so he came in. He stayed for about 1/2 an hour and he and Jason really had a good conversation. Of course we had him sign the guest book and we took a couple of pictures, so I suspect that I will have time, over the next couple of days to get some of the recent photos up to the blog.

The other big thing for today was getting out on the cart and heading down to PT to work in their gym. This is good on multiple levels as it allows Jason to simply get out of his room; it allows for him to lay on the cart so that his back is more open; he gets to work his arms as he moves along with the cart; and, he gets to do something new with the folks in PT. They w…

August 1, 2011 - Walter Reed has come to NNMC

Today was a busy day for Jason, and a good day in the PACU. The doctors told us that his wounds are looking better all the time and that his progress is moving in the right direction. They took him down to the PACU early this morning and he was back up in his room before 10:30. They wanted to take a look at the dressings and be sure that all was going well, and it was. He won't have to head back down that way until Thursday, as long as there are no other complications along the way. Linda and I went to see him right at 10:30 this morning, so we arrived at his room, just about the same time he did.

Actually, this morning I decided my foot was feeling pretty good (for those that are not aware I had foot surgery back in December, 2010), so I decided to go for a run. I guess you'd call it a "test run." I didn't go far (less than a mile), as I am way out of shape, though it was far enough to test the foot. Not sure if I'll be running every morning, and I may simpl…

January 2017

January 2017
Jason gets a visit from Gen. Jon Monett

January 2017

January 2017
With Gary at the GSF Office