Iwo Gima

Iwo Gima
Marine Corps Marathon

Monday, October 31, 2011

October 31, 2011 - Happy Holloween!

Not much to report on today, other than we made it to California safely. Jason and I are now at Balboa, in San Diego. The hospital is set up slightly different from Bethesda, so we need to get used to it, as well as all the new people. We're both tired, so I'm going to bed early. The flight was actually pretty good, though it was somewhat cramped, it only took a little over six hours.

The excitement of getting used to a new environment is always fun, so I hope you're all interested in learning more about this new place.

Thank you, all for all your support and prayers.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

October 30, 2011 - We're Leaving!

We went to the Marine Marathon today, and got there at O-Dark-30 this morning. The picture on the blog shows the Iwo monument, where Jason was to meet with Team Extreme. To make the story short, Jason had been up in his chair for nearly four hours when he realized he would not be able to stay for the presentation ceremony, and we came back to the hospital. There was more done while we were there, but I need to keep this blog post very short. I just wanted to be sure to let everyone know what has happened.

While I was taking care of some loose ends and doing some packing I received a call and Jason and I are to be leaving for Balboa, tomorrow morning - early some time. I am in a hurry up mode of packing and don't have much free time now. Once we get to Balboa, we will get settled in and then later this week Linda will be coming down to spend some time with Jason and I. While she is here, her parents - Joe and Jess Lascurain - will be jumping in again to help support her day care. There is actually an interesting story behind that, but suffice to say, "Thank you!" because without their support Linda would not have been able to do what she has been able to do, over these past several months. There are others to thank as well, like the Pleasanton/Livemore Military Families group, and SemperFi Fund, and Wounded EOD Warriors Foundation - but I can't list them all right now.

Bridgette had to take off this morning, to head home to take care of a minor emergency that happened; and, now we are set to leave tomorrow. Funny how things happen sometimes. Please keep Bridgette and the kids in your thoughts and prayers, as we all go through these next couple of days of transition. Also, keep all the families of all the military in your prayers, as sometimes it is very difficult for some of them to deal with the issues they have been dealt, and God's strength is needed.

Not sure if I will be able to blog tomorrow, so I'll say thank you, to all for all your support and prayers, and stay tuned for the next installment. TTFN -

Saturday, October 29, 2011

October 29, 2011 - It Snowed today

Today was another dressing change for Jason, in his room. It went at least as well as the first, and possibly better. We had a bunch of visitors, and because there were so many I'm afraid I'm not going to list them all. I'm actually kind of tired and I need to get up early tomorrow. Jason and I are headed to the Marine Marathon at 05:00 so I would like to get some sleep. I hope to be able to tell you more about it tomorrow, so you'll just have to check out the blog tomorrow... ;-)

Bridgette and the girls will be leaving to head back down to Jacksonville. The original plans were for them to be here until Tuesday, but their water heater ruptured and she wanted to get back to the house to get it taken care of. Jason was disappointed but understands why Bridgette and the girls need to go.

I've begun packing, and I need to get a few things shipped out, so I am hoping to have some time on Monday to do that. We get to take one bag each and a carry on item. The bag I'm taking is pretty big, and it is the same size I have for Jason, so I think I should be able to get everything packed.

Thank you, all for your continued support and prayers - we're coming to the end of our stay at Bethesda, and it feels good.

Friday, October 28, 2011

October 28, 2011

Jason had his dressings changed while he was in his room, and without anesthesia. This is a MAJOR milestone in his overall treatment, as it showed that his wounds are now healing up to a point that they are coming together and the bacterial infections are becoming a much less concern for everyone. Having said that, Jason is still on a couple of antibiotics, and that may be a big reason the bacteria is being kept under control. I was in the room while it was done, so I was able to get a good look at what his wounds look like and how they are healing. It wasn't too much of a shock to me, as I had seen them previously, and I basically knew what to expect.

A quick run down of today was simply as follows. I was over to his room at bout 06:00 this morning, thinking that they were going to be coming in early to do the dressing change. They did show up a little after 08:00, so that wasn't too bad. They were done in just over an hour, and so I was able to get him some breakfast, and then Bridgette asked me to come watch the girls while she took care of some errands. Almost immediately after leaving Jason's room, he was contacted about the flight home. We had to do some negotiating but it looks like we a couple of steps closer to knowing exactly when we will be leaving (I need to get some packing done so we'll be ready to go). Jason called me and let me know about the travel, so I was able to tell Bridgette, and she only did part of what she wanted to do. There were things we needed to get moving on, so she knew it was better to come back so I could get busy on the things I needed to do.

In my travels, I went and picked up some Taco Bell for Jason, and he had a late lunch. Actually, he had already eaten some food from the galley, and I guess he was still hungry. After eating our "lunch" Jason got into his chair and we walked over to the Fish House where Bridgette and the girls are, and delivered some gifts for the girls that I had been hanging on to. These were birthday gifts for both of the girls and it kinda felt like Christmas. Both the girls were excited about the gifts and I think Jackie was most interested in the wrapping paper and bags. We were over at the Fisher House for a little more than an hour, so Jason had been out for enough time to know it was time to get back. We came without any back up meds this time, and Jason lasted for about two hours without his PCA (the device that delivers his pain meds). I think the ride over in his chair and back again contributed to his rising discomfort, but he put up with it as well as anyone.

Once he was back in his bed and hooked back up to the PCA he was better quickly. We ate dinner and talked, mostly about the move to San Diego. Then I came back to the Lodge to get started on some of the things that need to get done. I would like to be almost completed with the packing tomorrow, and leave out only the clothes we are going to need, going into next week.

Thank you, all for all you have done and continue to do. Your prayers and support are very much appreciated.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

October 27, 2011 - White House Visit - Being a tourist

Today started at Oh-dark-thirty this morning, as we needed to get up and get ready so we could go on the White House tour that Congressman Walter Jones, North Carolina, put together for Jason. It was pretty much the same tour that every citizen can get, if they ask a member of Congress to put it together for them. The big difference for us was that we had the Marines help us with transportation, and once we arrived it seemed like every other Secret Service officer was a former Marine, and therefore they were not only willing to help, they were truly interested in speaking with Jason about his injuries. We arrived at the entrance and even though there was a long line of people, we were taken to the front, and actually the first visitors in today. We took our time and though Jason enjoyed the tour, I think Bridgette had the best time. She is a major Jackie Kennedy fan, and there was all kinds of stuff relating to her. At one point the guests are directed to climb a sizable set of stairs. Obviously Jason is not able to do this, so he and I got a little side tour of the kitchen, and a few other rooms of the White House. It was quite nice being treated as we were, and when we were through we went to have breakfast.

The tour began at 07:30 this morning, so none of us had anything to eat. When we walked out of the White House I asked one of the Secret Service officers if there was any place near enough to walk to, to get breakfast. He directed us to Old Ebbits Grill. It was a great place, to the point of fine dinning. We got to the front door and there was no way that Jason's chair was going to be able to get in through the revolving door. The manager, a former Marine (Viet Nam era), asked us to meet him around the side, so that he could get us in and take care of us himself. He not only took care of us, our breakfasts were comped. The food was quite good too, so it was even better.

Well, by the time we got back to the hospital, we were all feeling a bit worn out. Bridgette and I got Jason back up to his bed and got him comfortable. Once we were sure Jason was set and the nursing staff was looking after him, we both wanted to go take a nap too. I guess I had it better than Bridgette this time as she also had to go pick up the girls from the day care center before she was going to be able to rest. I woke up about an hour later - I don't need to take long naps - and went back over to see Jason. Besides, I wanted to get over to see Jason, as Gunny Rick was come to visit with Jason this afternoon.

The White House tour and being out kind of took a small toll on Jason, as he was tired this evening. Gunny Rick's visit was very much appreciated - for those that don't know, Gunny Rick (Brad) was the team lead when Jason was injured. Brad drove up to Bethesda, from Camp Lejeune, and then turning around and driving back down. I think the visit did wonders for both of them, and they will both be life long friends as a result of all of this.

I went over to help Bridgette with the girls, since she had to go do a little shopping, and her mom went back home today. As a result I said good night to Jason a little earlier than usual. He was nearly asleep when I left anyway, so everything worked out. It was fun playing with the girls, and I got to see Jackie stand by herself. This is really cool because Stacy's first steps were to me too! I guess I'm just lucky that way. I honestly think Jackie wanted to start walking, but didn't know what to do, so she just moved her one foot and then sat down. It wasn't a step, just a little slide, as she sat. I was pretty happy though! I told Bridgette all about it when she came back. I left a few minutes after she returned and came to take care of the blog, and probably go to bed early.

Jason will have the procedure done tomorrow, though I don't know for sure what time. I'm not even sure that he will be going to the PACU tomorrow. What I do know is that it goes a great deal faster now, only a couple hours. If he does go to the PACU tomorrow, it will be his last time.

Thank you, all for all your continued support and prayers. Jason had a wonderful day today, and over the next few days we will be packing our stuff up so that we can get on our way to San Diego. Please, I hope that no one sends any more mail our way, though if you do I am putting in a forwarding request. Once I have things set up in Balboa I will be sure to publish the new address.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

October 26, 2011 - Night Out With The Group

Jason has had his last visit to the PACU and anesthesia for his dressing changes. He went today and they didn't use anything, other than his PCA if he needed some pain meds, and he was okay with it. He actually got back to his room at about 08:30 this morning and said he was feeling good and hungry. I went down to the galley and picked up a couple of bowls of oatmeal and raisins. When I first went over to his room I was thinking that I wasn't going to be eating and then I decided to grab a bowl for myself, once I saw how good it looked. It was good to eat breakfast with Jason anyway. After eating I took off to get over to the congressman's office to pick up our pass for the White House tour tomorrow.

Because of me taking off in the morning - I got back at 12:10 - there wasn't any other time to get down to the MATC. The afternoon was filled with some visitors, both Marine and Army. There was a group known as the Mountain Marines (sorry no names at this point) and they left Jason and I a couple of hats (baseball caps) for our use. Then General Smith, from the Army, came by and got to visit with Jason, Bridgette and me. They left Jason with a coin and then gave Bridgette and me a pin that we can wear on our shirt or wherever we want. The design matched the coin.

Finally tonight was Jason's going away dinner, sponsored by the folks in PT. There were several people there who were nurses and not connected to PT, and that just made it that much better. Barbara and Tim Brown drove their van and Jason and I rode with them. Bridgette drove herself, so we did end up with a couple of vehicles. It was at a very nice Italian restaurant and the food was pretty good. A few of us had a glass of white wine, though we didn't drink too much. Jason still can't have anything stronger than root bear, so it wouldn't be fair, though he does talk about getting that "next beer." Most of them did their best to talk us into not going, but it didn't matter as we were ready to head to San Diego.

After the dinner Jason got back to his room and I helped him get back in bed. He was able to stay out for about three hours, and that was really good. Especially considering the White House tour tomorrow. I'm guessing that one could last four hours or even longer. I will be bringing some pain meds for him, just to be safe.
Anyway, he was back in bed and all of us were tired. Bridgette was with him when I left the room, and I'll see them both in the morning.

Thank you, everyone, for all the prayers and support and caring that you continue to send. We are staying positive and good things are beginning to happen.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

October 25, 2011

The procedure I discussed yesterday was done today, and Jason got through most of it. You have to appreciate the situation to fully understand. There is still a large portion of his wounds that are, for lack of a better word, raw, and sensitive. Jason was able to get to the "new" table and in the prone position without any issues. He was able to deal with the removing the bandages, along with being moved around from time to time. When they got down to staples, you know the metal ones that are used to hold things in place, after surgeries, well they had to remove a bunch of them and IT HURT! They used anesthesia to finish their work and got all the staples removed. The doctors came by Jason's room, later in the day and said they would like to try it again, if Jason was up for it. Jason, being the Marine, said to do it and that he was ready. It should be considerably better tomorrow, and I am confident that Jason will get through the procedure with no difficulties, or unreasonable pain. Then he won't have to even go back down to the PACU again and it will be done in his room.

Lots of visitors today. We had a Lieutenant General come by, with his aid. I got some pictures and they signed the Red Book. The General also gave Jason another coin (me too this time) and he remembered coming in to speak with Jason and I in the past. There was a Lieutenant Commander, Nurse Corps of the U.S. Navy who stopped by. The reason she was so important is because she is going to be seeing Jason again after he arrives at Balboa. She left us with her contact information, so if anything should come up she is a good point person to go to with questions. Along with these visitors, there were a few other Wounded Warriors who came by, just to stop in and see Jason. It was one of those "Brother Marine" moments and I think Jason did his best to make them feel welcome, just as they were doing their best to provide positive feelings. It was good for both of them. Finally, Bridgette came by this evening, with the girls and spent a little time with Jason. They stayed for about 30 minutes and then the girls were showing signs that they were tired, so Bridgette wanted to leave to take the girls back to the house (FH).

Speaking of visits. I had asked a member of congress, Congressman Walter Jones of North Carolina, what I needed to do to get a tour of the White House. It was arranged through his office and we are going to be going there on Thursday. It will be a self guided tour, and we can take as long as we want, and on the other hand we have to be careful not to exceed Jason's limits.

We went down to the MATC today and Jason did a little work on transferring from chair to table and back again; and, then he worked on the hand-crank machine. We were there for a little over an hour and then he was ready to get back to the room. Otherwise, not much else done today. Oh, then I almost forgot - Sgt Linderman came by and dropped off some large sea bags (duffel bags) so that I could begin packing up Jason's things - Looks like I am going to be needing to ship a few things home as well. Right now I don't know how much I can take on the plane, so I need to pack as efficiently as possible, and then ship home what doesn't get packed... sorry Babe, you're going to see a couple more boxes... ;-)

Thank you, again for all the prayers and support that you are providing.

Monday, October 24, 2011

October 24, 2011

Not much new today, so I'm going to make this a shorter posting... I think.

Jason had a pretty good day in the PACU, and both went in early and came back early. I was over to see him in the morning and when they took him down I picked up his laundry and took it to be washed. I need to be sure that he has enough clean close to get through the rest of the week. I may have to do laundry one more time, just before we leave, but that's okay. I took the clean clothes back over to his room a couple of hours later and while putting it away got the call that he was on his way back to his room. Once in his room I asked him if he wanted anything to eat and he said he would enjoy a Big and Toasty from Dunkin Donuts. Not sure what he see in those, as I think they're a little greasy, but he likes them.

No visitors today, other than Bridgette, her mom and the girls, and the medical staff coming in and out frequently. Dr. Malone did stop by, later in the morning and told us a little more about the flight to Balboa and what to expect. That was all good, but the real interesting thing was about Jason's visit to the PACU tomorrow. She said that today he looked better than he has ever looked (she was talking about his wounds and how they were healing) and the doctors all agreed that it was probably a good time to try a change with the dressing process. Tomorrow they will not be using any anesthetic and see how Jason does. If the discomfort is too great he will be given some anesthetic and do as they have done in the past. If he is able to deal with the dressing change without anesthetic then he won't have to come to the PACU again. They will start doing the changes right in his room AND he won't have to miss any more meals. Jason was very much in favor of doing this so I'm a little anxious to see how things turn out tomorrow.

Not much else going on, and I am a bit tired so I'll call it quits for the day. Thank you, all for all your continued support and prayers. It seems we have made it through the very worst and now we can truly feel like Jason is going on to the next steps in his recovery.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

October 23, 2011

It has been a nice quiet day for Jason. I went over to see him early this morning and found him fast asleep. I just let him sleep, as I figured that he must have been tired, otherwise he wouldn't have been asleep (how's that for deductive reasoning). The nurse came in at about 08:30 and said the PACU had called for him, so they needed to get him ready to go down. Jason woke up a little and wanted to know when he was going to be able to get down to the PACU. I told him they just called for him and he said, "Oh, okay, good." Then went back to sleep. I told him I loved him and would be back to see him after he came back. He simply said, "I love you too" and squeezed my hand, and didn't even open his eyes... kind of cute actually.

He was back before 11:30 and he called me to let me know he was back. I asked him how he was doing and if he wanted me to bring him anything to eat. He asked for an Arby's sandwich, so that's what I went and picked up. I got a small one for me too. We ate our sandwiches and then I asked him if he wanted to get out in his chair today, and he said he did. About that time the nurse came in and I asked her about Jason's schedule of I.V. meds. He needed to get an antibiotic that needed to run for two hours, so we would be delayed getting out at least until then. That was okay, we just relaxed and watched some football. The 49re weren't playing so we just watched for the entertainment of the game.

Bridgette, the girls and Yvonne came in a short while after the I.V. was going, and were able to stay for about an hour for a visit. Stacy was eating some McDonald's chicken nuggets and Jackie was just as happy as could be. Jason's girls are a couple of the cutest little girls you'll ever see and they are always happy. Of course I might be a little biased in their favor, but hey, I'm Grandpa... ;-) When they started to show signs of needing a nap Bridgette said she would take them back to the Fisher House (FH)

After the I.V. finished Jason was able to get into his chair, and there was only a minor issue with discomfort, and he was able to deal with it. We first went down to the Red Box and picked up a couple movies - Jason wants to watch them tonight - and then we went down to the basement and to the galley. We picked up our dinners and then sat down in the dinning room and we ate our meals there. It would have been better if there were more people around, so I could have gotten a picture or two taken. The place was almost empty.

We went back up to the room and there was another game on - Green Bay/Minnesota - and again, it was only entertainment for us. We really didn't care who won the game. I had been kind of busy most of the day and by 19:00 (7pm) I was ready to come back to the Lodge and try to catch up on my email, phone calls and get the blog updated. Besides Jason wanted to start watching his movies so I wanted to give him the time. I came back and now I'm almost done with this entry.

Thank you, for all your continued support and prayers.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

October 22, 2011

Jason was resting nicely in his room this morning, when I went over to see him, and he looked to be in a pretty good mood as well as feeling good. It was still early so we just talked about some of the little things that were going on. Typically weekend visits to the PACU are a little later than during the rest of the week, and today was no exception to that rule. They finally did call for him at about 09:30 and the nurses took him down. The good side is that I was able to get over to his room before he was gone, and the not so good side is that he wasn't going to be able to eat until the afternoon sometime.

Sometimes I feel funny eating when I know Jason has not eaten, and today was one of those days. I did grab an orange juice and that carried me through. When I went back over to see him in his room it was about 12:30 and there was a visitor in the room with him. It was a buddy of his from his early days with the Marines, when he was in Dispersing. I could tell that Jason was feeling good and that he had had a good experience in the PACU, so all was good, except that Jason still hadn't eaten. I asked him if he wanted something to eat and he said Bridgette was bringing him some breakfast. I stayed and visited for a few minutes and then said I needed to take off to go get something for myself. When I got back a short while later, Bridgette, the girls and Yvonne were in the room, and all was good. They stayed for a little while then Jackie started to get a bit fussy and Bridgette wanted to put her down for a nap, so she took the girls back to the Fisher House to lay down.

This was actually good because Jason wanted to get out in his chair and go surprise the girls and "visit" them for a change. Jason was able to get in his chair comfortably and in less than an hour after Bridgette and the girls left we were on our way. We walked our way over to the Fisher House and I stepped back while Jason knocked on the door to Bridgette's room. I think it was a pretty good surprise for all of them, though I couldn't see the face of whomever answered the door, because of where I was standing, but I did hear her voice. Jason and I stayed for about an hour or so and then had to get back to his room. We are getting pretty good at the transfer, back and forth from bed to chair and back again, so he was back in his bed pretty quickly.

There were no other visitors today, and it was actually a relatively quite day, the kind we like. The good news is that Jason is coming back from the PACU feeling much better now, so I wouldn't be surprised to hear that they may stop the daily dressing changes after tomorrow or Monday. Everything looks like it is healing up.

Thank you, for all your continued prayers and support. Jason is getting stronger each and every day, and progress is a wonderful feeling.

Friday, October 21, 2011

October 21, 2011

Today started as so many of them do, with me getting up and getting ready, then heading over to see Jason, before he heads down to the PACU. I figured I needed to get some laundry done, and I'd do that while he was getting his dressings changed. I was feeling pretty good about myself, thinking that I had gotten up early and over to the hospital early, to see Jason. When I just about arrived to his room the nurses all began to tell me that they had already come to get him, and he was down to the PACU. I asked when he was taken and they said about 07:15 this morning, so I missed him by about 10 minutes.

Like I said, I went over to do my laundry and actually it took me all the time needed to get Jason back out of the PACU. I finished the laundry and folded the clothes and took them all back to my room, when the phone rang. It was the hospital letting me know that Jason was back in his room and he was wanting me to come back. While they were telling me this, Jason calls me, so I am able to disconnect with the hospital and start talking to Jason. Then I receive another call and it is Linda, letting me know that she's awake - I was supposed to have called her about a half an hour ago but it slipped. Anyway, I tell Linda I have Jason on the line and she says to go and talk with him, then disconnects. I talk with Jason for a few minutes and find out that he would like chocolate chip pancakes and two eggs (over medium). The only place I know that serves that is the Pancake House, so I take off to go get the breakfast (actually more of a brunch). We each have our pancakes and eggs and enjoy our breakfast, even if it is almost noon.

While we are eating, Brother Dave, one of the Jesuit Priests we've gotten to know comes by for a short visit. He always has something positive to say and he is always lighting a candle for Jason, on a daily basis. Brother Dave only stays for a few minutes and we finish eating, and then begin to get ready for getting out and going to the MATC for some PT - Physical Therapy. Jason is feeling a bit tender in spots and when he attempts to sit up it is immediately recognized that the wheel chair is not going to be an option right now. I have to go get the prone cart and with a little effort Jason is able to get on to the cart, without much pain.

Jason wheels his way down to the MATC, with a brief stop at the Post Office, since it will be closed on our way back. There is a nice card there from one of our friends at Church (First Presbyterian). Actually, that reminds me... Please DO NOT send any more mail our way, as by the time it gets here we will be gone. If you have already sent something we will probably be able to still receive it, so just don't send anything else, until we reach Balboa. Okay, so Jason has now wheeled himself down to the MATC, and when we get there he says he is tired and doesn't need to do any of the exercises. We just relax and rest for a few minutes and talk with BO, and then we head on back.

The trip back to his room is less eventful than the trip out. We actually stopped to talk with a few folks along the way so that made the trip a little slower. Jason also did a great job of going up the ramps as we headed back. I thought he might need my help is getting along, but he just powered on through. When we got to his room we just pulled up along side his bed and then he got back in. He didn't take a nap or anything, but I could tell that he was a little tired.

Not much else going on today. We had dinner, and then I took off from his room. I had a few things to do, and honestly, he may have not been too tired, but I was and wanted to be sure I was able to get this entry into the blog. I know it is a little earlier than usual, and that is probably a good thing for some of the readers, AND it is going to allow me to hit the bed a little earlier tonight... ;-)

Thank you, all for all your continued prayers, and support. Jason is going to be going to the PACU for the next few days, so we need to be sure he gets healed up as much as he can before we head on out.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

October 20, 2011

I went over to see Jason early this morning, and decided to go a little earlier than I had in the past, because they have started taking him a little earlier and I keep missing him. Well, I got there and he was in his room, and then we proceeded to wait in his room for almost two hours - so much for my figuring out their schedule. It was good though, as he was asleep when I arrived, so I just let him sleep, and when he woke up (about 15 minutes later) we just talked about some of the things we need to do to plan our trip out to California. There is a bunch of packing we need to do and we need to decided on what goes with us, and what can just be packed up and shipped via slow mode.

Jason went to the PACU and was back again at about 11:15. I was over at the lodge, getting ready to come back over to the hospital when I was called, by Jason, to let me know that he was back. They did the usual dressing changes and then this time they put a little more padding so that he could be a bit more comfortable when he sits up. One of the first things he said to me was that he was hungry and wanted me to just go down to the galley to get some food. I got myself a salad, it was nice as I made it myself, and a nice lunch for Jason. He was happy with what I brought and he said he wanted to get out in his chair shortly after he finished lunch.

We finished lunch and started to get ready to get into his chair. Actually, we're getting much better at this and it moves more quickly, so I don't feel like we're just spinning wheels. I helped him sit up in his bed to do an initial test of his comfort level and he was good. Like I said, they had put more padding on and it looks like it worked. He is still feeling some discomfort with the doaner sites, and he was a little nervous, yet it didn't matter, we were going forward. I got him into his chair and again, he felt some of the tenderness, though it wasn't so much that he didn't want to go. We were out of the room!

We went down to the MATC, after stopping a few times to talk to different folks. Some of the people that have come in the past, had come by to say hello to Jason, and I could tell that Jason was torn because he wanted to talk to them, and he also felt the need to get down to the MATC. We visited for about a minute and then excused ourselves. They understood and we were again moving. In the past I have had to push his chair, because usually we were running a little late. Today, we weren’t under any particular schedule, so Jason pushed the chair on his own. The only time constraint was how long he would be able to remain out and in his chair. We arrived at the MATC and Jason immediately went to the hand crank machine, where he worked it for almost 15 minutes. Then he felt he needed to get back to the room and back in bed – he was uncomfortable.

Once he was back in bed and resituated to where he was comfortable he quickly became more comfortable and I felt much better too. Once he was ready, I called Linda (Jason’s mom) and handed the phone to Jason, so he could talk with her. They talked for about 15 minutes and then Jason needed to get some help from one of the nurses, so he told Mom he would talk to her later. We relaxed some and then he started watching Animal Planet and I started to work with my laptop. The network card didn’t want to work correctly so I finally gave up and told Jason that I needed to get back to the Lodge so I could get some email taken care of. He was okay with that, so I took off to get some emails read and written. Actually I am trying to coordinate a couple of trips we would like to do before we leave, and I need to send the emails out so that plans can be made. Anyway, while at the lodge I am contacted by Bridgette, who had taken off earlier to go pick up her mother, Yvonne, at the airport. Apparently the flight was delayed significantly, and Yvonne didn’t arrive until almost noon. Bridgette then needed to take the girls to get them something to eat. She came back to the base and Fisher House, and put the girls down for a nap, and after they woke she came over to visit with Jason.

Jason did get a chance to speak with Mom today, a couple of times actually. The first time was earlier in the morning, prior to going to the PACU and then again this evening, after Bridgette, Yvonne and the girls had left for the evening. Jason wanted to surprise Mom with a call, and he did. Problem was that she still had some of the day care kids there, so she couldn’t talk very long. I tried to tell her that it was alright, but she’s the mom and therefore it didn’t matter what I said, she felt bad that she couldn’t talk with Jason without the interruptions. Anyway, that was pretty much the end of the day here anyway, so I told Jason I needed to get back to the Lodge, and told him I’d come by in the morning.

Thank you, for all the prayers and support. We’ve been going well over 7 months and we still need the help, so thank you, thank you, thank you and God Bless.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

October 19, 2011

The crazy days seem to continue. I got up this morning and found that there was still now hot water, so I just took a cold shower (fast too) and headed over to see Jason. I got over to his room at about 07:30 and he was gone! I asked what was going on and the charge nurse told me that I had just missed him, and that he had been taken down to the PACU. Immediately I was concerned, since there was to be a video conference at about 10:30 and that didn't give much time for any issues that might come up. I then went back to the lodge and at about 08:45 I was over to the Fisher House to help Bridgette get the girls over to the day care center. It is a new center and we didn't know where it was, specifically, I only had a general idea. Turned out to be quite easy to find in building 62 so we were able to drop the girls off there, so we could got to the video conference (VC). Then I got a call from Jason, telling me he was back in his room, which was good because we needed to get him ready for the VC. I went straight up to his room while Bridgette parked the vehicle. She followed shortly after me and when we spoke with Jason he said nothing had been done, and he was to go back again after the VC.

Jason was feeling a little tender still and didn't want to go down in his chair, so Bridgette and I helped him get ready and then on to his prone cart. We still had about 10 minutes before we thought we needed to be there, so that was plenty of time. Kind of funny today, it seemed like a few new people noticed his prone cart today, and he kept getting asked if he wanted a motorized one, and he would tell them that he liked the cart he had. The conference went well, as we arrived right on schedule. They answered our questions and it felt pretty good to know that they are now expecting us to arrive there in less than two weeks. After the VC Jason headed back to his room and now we were waiting on Jason needing to go back to the PACU a second time today. The schedule has been all jumbled up. Bridgette said she needed to leave to take care of a small errand, and as timing goes, about 5 minutes after she left they came to take Jason back down to the PACU.

I asked him if he still wanted something from Burger King, because I had found where one was - at least I hoped I had. He said to get him something with a burger, cheese and bacon, so that was what I went shopping for. I attempted to take care of a couple other small tasks first, then went to BK, and picked up the burger. I thought I had used enough time but he wasn't back yet so I figured I would simply have to wait. That was okay because Denise Edwards had contacted me that she wanted to come out and visit with Jason, and she was at the hospital. She was waiting in the waiting room and we got to talk for almost another hour before Jason showed up. She wanted to let Jason know that there were other people out there, who were not famous or high ranking individuals, who wanted to tell Jason, "Thank you." She brought a couple of nice gifts for Jason, that had meaning to Marines, and both Jason and I thought they were exceptional. Denise was able to stay for about another 30 minutes, and talked with Jason about all kinds of stuff, then she needed to get going.

Jason and I had turkey dinners tonight, they were brought in by the Marine Casualty Affairs group, and it was very good and tasty. We were watching Animal Planet, so we talked about all the things that they were showing while we ate, and just relaxed. Bridgette brought the girls back over a short while after we finished eating, and spent the rest of the evening with Jason and I, until it was about 20:30 (8:30pm) when I needed to get going. Actually Bridgette said she was going to be leaving soon too, as she needed to get the girls back to bed, though she was still there when I left.

Today was another busy day, and because of the VC we were able to get some answers that we hadn't been able to do so earlier. Thank you, for all your continued support and prayers, for Jason, his family, and all the Marines and other armed forces out there.
-

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

October 18, 2011

What a day... Jason went down to the PACU a little early this morning, and was back in his room before 10:30. I got down to see him off and then took off to run a couple of errands. One of the errands was to check out a Burger King. Jason has been asking for something from Burger King for a couple of months now, and there just don't seem to be any around here. I have a gps to help me find things and provide directions, so I figured I'd just use it to get me to a Burger King. I punched in the name and five different locations came up, within 5 miles of here. I had selected the first one, and that one took me to a brick building, that had a laundry mat, a barber shop, and a dry cleaner business. I looked around and there was no burger king, though there was a Starbucks across the street. The second entry said it was only 3.48 miles so I was off and searching. By the time I had gotten to the address provided, I had traveled nearly 8 miles. Perhaps their measurements are, "as the crow fly" and not surface streets. I'm about ready to give up on BK and just have Jason wait until we get back to California, where I know I can find one.

As I said, Jason got back at about 10:30 and we were going to be going down to the MATC at about 14:00 (2PM). The only issue with that is that at 11:00 we suddenly had visitors coming into the room as if they were lined up out in the hallway. Don't get me wrong, Jason really likes to see visitors, especially when they are folks he hasn't seen in several years, like today. I just wish we had some way to space them out a little more so that we could get some of the other things we need to do, done. Tim Brown is back from his road trip, and I saw him in the hall way, though I don't thing he ever made it into the room. Two of the GySgts that Jason originally worked for, when he was in Dispersing came by, and Col. Slocum also came in, since he was back in the area. There were several of the Wounded Warriors who had come by and then there was Sherri Beck from Wounded EOD Warriors, so like I said it just seemed like it was non-stop people. I don't want to tell them to not come, as I said Jason likes to see them, I just would like to figure out a way to be able to get the visits in and also get all the PT time in as well.

Finally, I did kind of put a stop to the flow of people, and I sort of enlisted the help of one of the other wounded warriors. He came to the door and I let him know that I was wanting to get Jason out to the MATC, and that I wanted him to sort of let anybody else know that visiting was over for now. It was now after 14:30 (2:30PM) and Bridgette (yeah, she was in the room too, with the girls) and I were working together to help get Jason ready. This was the first time for Jason to be getting in to his chair, since Thursday, last week, as he was still tender in a few places. We were able to get the shorts on him okay, and by now the girls (Stacy and Jackie) were getting kind of cranky and tired. Bridgette said she had to get them to their nap, so she left and after I helped Jason get his shirt on I was going to get him in to his chair. Jason had a difficult time getting over to the edge of the bed, due to the tenderness of some of his injuries. Once he was in place I picked him up and placed him in his chair, as easy as I could. He said he wasn't going to be able to stay there and needed to get back in to the bed. Well, I picked him up, as easy as I could and got him back in bed, and got him as comfortable as I could then just let him rest a little while.

We had Popeye's for dinner tonight, as when all was said and done, the day was getting away from us. On top of everything else going on, the bed side rail broke, and was causing the adjustment controls to act a bit strange. Sometimes the bed would start moving on its own, though it didn’t cause any discomfort for Jason, just made him a little nervous at first. The nurses told us they would order another bed, so we’re hoping that it shows up tomorrow.

We will be having a conference call with the folks at Balboa (San Diego) tomorrow, so Bridgette and I will be trying to get the girls into some short term day care, during the meeting. It is supposed to be available to us, though neither of us has ever checked it out. We didn’t find out about this meeting until later in the day today, so we couldn’t get over to check out the day care center and will need to do it early tomorrow. We’re also hoping that Jason is feeling better and will be able to go to the meeting in his wheelchair; otherwise he’ll go with the prone cart. In any event, I need to get to bed so I can get up at a reasonable hour. The hot water has been stopped at the Lodge, so I may have to find another place to take a shower – I don’t enjoy cold showers.

Thank you all, for all you have done and all the support and prayers you have been passing along our way.

Monday, October 17, 2011

October 17, 2011

Today has been an exceptional day for Jason. The news from the PACU was very good; all of his wound areas are shrinking nicely; and, his wife and kids arrived today. I'm not sure things could have been better for him, except that they were. We had some visitors that were special to Jason, and none of them were of the celebrity status or political people. We had a short visit with some of the volunteers who come by to help the Wounded Warriors, and those are always fun. The two best visits though, were from Sergeant Major, U.S. Marines, Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Bryan Battaglia. He was interested in talking with Jason and learning how he could help Jason, and he got to meet Bridgette and the girls. A short while after that George Bowen, a friend from home came by. He's actually a neighbor of Jason's Aunt and Uncle out of Pleasanton. All together it was a good day for visitors, and that all made it that much easier for Jason to stay in his bed. The one thing that the doctors told us today was that they are lifting the requirement for Jason to stay in bed all the time. I am going to see if I can get him to head down to the MATC tomorrow.

As long as nothing goes wrong these next few days it looks like we will be leaving the hospital, here in Bethesda, on either October 31 or November 1. This is a good thing since the Marine Marathon in on the 30th and Jason would like to be there, since he is the honorary team member of Team Extreme. Actually since we have told a few people about him being at the Marathon it looks like all of them want to be there too. Well, actually that means that only about another 10 people will be showing up, but that's 10 more than before!

Our next stop will be Balboa Naval Hospital, down in San Diego. We have been told that the treatment there is as good as it is here and that the folks who are working there were trained here in Bethesda. Well, most of them anyway...

Jason will be going down to the PACU again tomorrow, early, so I will be getting up earlier to make sure I can get over to see him off. I think he likes having me come and see him off, and it gives me another opportunity to walk over to the hospital - got to get my exercise in somewhere. With him going early it would suggest that he will be back in the morning, since what they have to do is minimal. I'm hoping that he will be comfortable by early afternoon, and then we'll head down to the MATC and then I'll tell you all about it tomorrow, and even some pictures to share.

Thank you, all for your great support and all the prayers. Things are really starting to turn for Jason and we're very happy about it.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

October 16, 2011

Jason had about the best day yet coming out of the PACU, as he really did look the best I've seen, in a long time. He is still very sensitive with some of the areas, related to the wounds and graft sites, and all of that is getting better. Initially I was a bit concerned about how long it was taking him to get back to his room, but all that faded away once I saw him and figured the extra time was taken to make him just a little more comfortable. There is always a bunch of activity as soon as he gets back to his room, with the nurse and others coming in to get caught up on all of what they are supposed to be doing and making sure he has all his meds. When all of that was done we kicked back again and watched the Redskins and Eagles game. Neither of us is a fan of either team, so we watched for the entertainment value, and it was a good way to continuously catch the updated scores for the 49er game, that we couldn't watch. The good news is that 49ers won, even if the coaches wanted to continue the game afterward. The Redskins game was good to watch anyway.

Lt. Col. Mark and Caroll Tarter came by to say, "Hi" and Jason was very happy to see them. Lt. Col. Tarter had just gotten back from Germany and wanted to come by to see Jason and congratulate him on his promotion. It is all part of the EOD family and those folks really do stick together better than most groups, and support each other. They were visiting with Jason for nearly 30 minutes when they had to go, as there were others they wanted to stop and see. A little after they left Tom and Carol Hall came by with more greetings and thanks from their church and friends. They brought by some gifts that the people have continued to give, and it has really helped to lift spirits. We all talked for about 20 minutes then they had others to see.

Jason will be going back to the PACU tomorrow, and will be leaving early in the morning. That is part of the reason this post is actually coming out a little earlier than usual. I need to get to sleep so I can get over to see him prior to Jason going off in the morning. I am hoping that this will be the last PACU visit for at least a couple days, as Jason wants to get out of the room and do more, so I will be anxious to hear what they have to say.

Thank you, for all your continued support and prayers, we truly appreciate it.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

October 15, 2011

Today Jason had an uneventful day in the PACU, and there was nothing new to report. I was up early to go see him, but they had already taken him down, so I didn't see him until later in the morning. He will need to go down again tomorrow. With it being Sunday I am guessing that it will be a little later in the day, so I should be able to see him before he goes. I think he likes it when I get to see him off so I do try to get over there. It is now kind of late in the day and I am a little tired. There wasn't much done today, other than Jason and I watching football on the television.

We had some visitors and there was a luncheon provided, and other than that not much was going on. Perhaps that is a good thing. Sorry that there isn't much to write about for this post, yet I do want to thank you all for all your continued support and prayers. I hope you all have a pleasant evening.

Friday, October 14, 2011

October 14, 2011 - Final visit to the O.R.

Jason had his final visit to the O.R., while he is at Bethesda. He was taken down early this morning where the doctors did some work with the skin graft and then brought back to his room by late morning. I was able to speak with his doctor and was told that everything looks good and we should be able to be out of here in the next two weeks or so (there's a little wiggle room depending on how things go over the next several days). The only down is that he has to remain in his bed for the next two days, and really can't move much. Jason wasn't too happy about that part, but we are looking forward to seeing Bridgette and the girls tomorrow, as they are supposed to be coming up for a visit. They will be talking about what they need to do to make their next move towards Jason's rehabilitation.

While I was waiting for Jason to get back from the O.R. I spoke with one of the volunteers at the hospital. She told me that there was another family who had recently arrived (about two weeks ago) whose son, another Marine, was injured due to an I.E.D. and his injuries were very similar to Jason's. She asked if I would be able to go speak with them, to try to help them through some of the worries they are dealing with right now. I told her I would, and once Jason was settled in his room I went to go speak with the family. Actually there was another procedure that had to be done with Jason, while he was in his bed and room, so I took that time to go speak with them.

They were very appreciative for me spending the time with them, and talking about some of the things they can expect. I also let them know about some of the things their son will be doing with his rehab, as well as some of the new developments I have become aware of with prosthetic development. I probably spent a little more than an hour with them, and was introduced to their other son who is also a Marine, and invited him to come and speak with Jason, Marine to Marine.

Not much else to go over today, I did leave out some of the detail, but then I leave out some detail each day. I want to thank you, for all your continued prayers and support. We have almost gotten through this, so please stay strong and see us through the transition to the next step.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

October 13, 2011

Today was an amazing day. Jason got out in his chair today, and went down to the MATC to get some aerobic work in, and a little weight training, all of it being from the chair. But, actually, I'm getting ahead of myself. Since Jason's last visit to the O.R. I noticed a bit of bacterial growth on his left side. I pointed this out to the Doctors and there was a decision made to wash it of with a special solution, with Jason just staying in the bed - this was yesterday. Today they looked at it and said that it looks better and wanted to wash it out again, then tomorrow they will be taking some scrape samples to the lab to confirm what it is exactly. This was all done in the morning, after breakfast, and actually just a little prior to us going down to the MATC. I was concerned with the attention to this area it was going to be a bit of irritation and Jason wasn't going to be able to get into his chair. He was a little uncomfortable, at first, then gradually got comfortable in the chair.

After we got back to Jason room, about 15:15 (3:15PM) he was ready to take a break. I was actually surprised at how long Jason was able to stay out in his chair, since he really didn't have that much in the way of pain medications prior to leaving. I think he is trying to get less dependent on the drugs, as he has been taking them for over seven months now, and his system is becoming more tolerant of their affects on his body (in other words it takes more to do the same thing sometimes).

We had a couple of visitors early on in the morning, with the Retired Marines coming by and a visit by the Red Cross volunteers. These people are pretty amazing in that you almost always see them here, and they are all doing their best to see if the patient (or families) need anything, and they are always friendly. Then later this evening we got a real treat as Congressman John Garamendi came by to visit. Actually I had contacted his office a couple of days ago and in just two days he pushed his calendar around so that he could get over to visit with Jason. I had actually met Congressman Garamendi in the past, though he wasn't a Congressman at the time. When he came in the room he did one of those double takes when he saw me and said, "I know you." And I said, "Yes we've met before." So that kind of made it a nicer visit. They stayed for about 30 minutes and we talked about all kinds of stuff, and I think that made Jason feel pretty good. YES, I did get them to sign the Red Book and we took a few pictures that I'll get posted later. I was very happy to see them, and feel that Jason was please as well.

It has been a long day, and tomorrow Jason goes in for another surgery. I am hoping that it is the final surgery, at least before we head out to rehab. The last O.R. visit went well, and I believe that this one will be even better. Thank you, all for your continued prayers and for keeping Jason and all the people in harms way in your hearts.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

October 12, 2011

Jason was busy today, though he didn't have any distinguished visitors. We started the day with a small procedure while he was in his room, where the doctors put some extra dressings on some of the exposed areas. Jason wanted to get out in his chair today and because those areas are a bit tender he wanted to get a bit more coverage on them. Actually, when it came to the time to get out on his chair he found out that there were still some issues with him sitting up so he switched over to the prone cart. Funny thing is that I think the prone cart worked better. Jason was able to do several laps of the floor, head down to the 3rd floor to visit with Physical Therapy, and spend some time with another patient to let him know some of the things to expect.

The trip around the floor was pretty normal, except that the wife of the Vice President came to the hospital today, and there were some extra people in the hall way. We did get to see her, though we didn't get a chance to speak with her. I guess since we made it known that Jason wanted to get out early this afternoon he wasn't put on the schedule of patients to visit. That's okay, Jason really needed to get out of his room today, he was getting a bit stir crazy. After making the laps we headed down to Physical Therapy to return a plate to MJ. As it was she was headed over to see another patient, so we delivered the plate but didn't visit with her too long. Karen Noel was there (another therapist) so we visited with her a few minutes longer. The next thing was to go see the other patient who has similar injuries as Jason, as it was requested that Jason talk to him and maybe answer some of his questions. I think it was a good visit and it made him feel better when Jason was explaining things. The funny part was that when we got to his room, it was the same patient that MJ was going to see. Funny how things happen like that sometimes.

Jason was on the prone cart for over three hours, and didn't take any extra pain meds. I was very pleased with this, and felt that he is deciding to cut back on some of the meds so he doesn't have to fight with it later on. The only thing we didn't get done today was an MRI that was requested by the doctors, and when I was getting ready to leave Jason's room we found out they wanted to do the MRI this evening, sometime after 23:00 (11:00PM). I'm not too sure about how happy Jason was with this, but he understands that it needs to be done.

Not much else going on today, Other than a visit from the CWO (Chief Warrant Officer) that Jason worked with when he was in dispersing, over in Okinawa. The visit was very much a surprise, and in a very good way. I think Jason was more impressed that the guy remembered him than anything else. It took Jason a while to recall working for him... kinda funny actually. They visited for about a half an hour and then he left. I took a couple of pictures and had him sign the Red Book, so Jason will be able to find him again, if need be.

Well, thank you all again, for your prayers and for keeping all of us in your thoughts and in your hearts. Things are getting better and we can see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. God Bless...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

October 11, 2011

Today was a very good day for Jason down in the O.R., as they were checking to see how well the skin graft took. I was hoping that we would get as much as an 80% take of the recent grafting. Dr. Malone said she felt it was 85%, so as far as I am concerned it was exceptionally good news, and that things are going very positive for us right now. We will have another update on Friday, when Jason goes down again, and if it is another positive report we may be looking at a departure date being set up real soon.

Well, the only "high" profile visitor Jason had today was the Congressman from the 3rd District in North Carolina, Walter Jones. The 3rd District is where Jason and Bridgette have their house in Jacksonville. Anyway, it was a nice visit and the Congressman said that if there was anything that Jason needed to let him know. Right now I'm not sure what we might ask of him, but it is nice to know that he is willing to help if it is needed. Sherri Beck from Wounded EOD Warriors Foundation also came by for another visit, and it is always good to see her. She and her foundation is also letting us know that they are there to help us, and all we need to do is let them know how they can help.

Actually, not much else going on today, aside from the regular visits from the medical staff. Tomorrow Jason has said he would like to try getting out of bed and moving around some. This is a good thing, and indicates that all those tender spots are beginning to feel less painful and he is willing to push it a bit. Not sure what all we will do, though I'd guess one of the places will be the MATC and going to a few of the other guy's rooms to visit. We understand there is another patient, an Army guy, who has wounds similar to Jason, and the doctors would like Jason to go visit him to help him see that there is a positive outcome from all the treatment that he will have.

Please continue to pray for Jason's recovery and that the grafting continues to show signs of improvement. Thank you, to all for all that you have done - it is appreciated.

Monday, October 10, 2011

October 10, 2011 - Meeting with the President

Well, I'm sure you all noticed the new picture. It is President Obama signing our Red Guest Book. I wish I could have taken a few more shots, but it just didn't feel right at the time. President Obama had his own photographer with him, and they told us they would be sending pictures to us - though I am guessing it is going to take several weeks before we will see them. Anyway, the big thing is that the President came and saw Jason. Well, me too, but Jason was the reason he came to the room, not me. It was a nice, though short, visit and I would have liked to have had more time to talk with him, but it just wasn't going to happen. He had three Purple Hearts to present and I was told he visited 43 other Wounded Warriors. All this was accomplished in a matter of just 4 hours. That really doesn't allow much time for any one of the guys. Still the President did show sincerity and compassion when he spoke with Jason (and I assume the others) and I appreciated it.

Otherwise, most of the day was spent just sitting in the room waiting for the President to show up. Jason didn't feel like getting out yet, because he is still uncomfortable due to the latest skin graft. He will be headed down to the O.R. in the morning, and we're hoping to hear that all is looking good and we can finally get a more solid date as to when we might be leaving Bethesda. Of course there is also the possibility that the news will be that the grafting isn't going well and we will be here another month or more. So please pray for Jason's healing and that the grafting has taken hold like the doctors want... and we want!

Jason had another visitor, Theresa Sareo, who came by with a couple of her friends, Ellen and Robia. Jason actually remembered meeting Theresa back in May, and that surprised us (even me) because of all the meds Jason was on back then. Theresa is a singer/performer who you can find out more about if you Google her name. She is in the area doing a concert for an Army organization (yeah, I'm bad... she told me and I forgot) that is local. She contacted me to see if Jason was available for a visit and I told her to come on by. She brought along her friends and they all stayed for a nice visit.

Thank you, for all your continued support and prayers for Jason and his recovery. We are looking forward to the day when we can say Jason is on his way to rehab.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

October 9, 2011

Well, today is going to be a relatively short posting, as not much happened today, and there really isn't a bunch to report. We had a few visitors, though they were all people who have been by before, so it was good to see them. The Marine Mom's (Katie) came by to let us know they were serving lunch down at the staff lounge. She told us all about her trip out to California and what a great time she had. She was down at Balboa, where Jason is planning on going, and she said we are going to really enjoy it there. Mark, one of Jason's EOD buddies (sorry I don't remember his last name) also came by and visited with Jason. Actually he came in at the same time Katie did, so when Katie and I walked back down to the lounge Mark stayed and visited with Jason. He was still there when I got back with the food (sandwiches) and excused himself as I walked in. He said he didn't want to interrupt Jason's lunch, and he is right, it would have delayed Jason eating, so I truly appreciate his recognition of the need for Jason to eat.

Actually, prior to Katie and Mark showing up, Jason and I were playing electronic Battleship. It was kind of fun, as we had never played a computerized version of the game in the past. We had gotten about half way through when the visitors showed up, and we didn't think too much about it, but one of the "features" of the game is that if you don't interact with the game for a certain amount of time it goes to pause, then shuts off it you still don't use it. We didn't know this at the time, so we'll never know who would have won that game. I suspect Jason would as he was using a better strategy than me, but that's okay, I'll take a tie... ;-)

The last visitor we had was Melisa Jarboe, whoes husband, Jamie was also injured in Afghanistan, is now at Johns Hopkins Hospital, because of the special care he needs. Melisa, during her first 3 or 4 months at Bethesda got to know Linda and I and she would come around when she needed someone to talk to. Because they are in a different location now she doesn't get to see us as often so when she had to come back to Bethesda she wanted to stop by, and I think Jason appreciated the visit. She and her brother stayed for about 20 minutes and then went on to visit others. She asked me to say, "Hi" to Linda.

The rest of the day was spent either sleeping or watching football. Typically Jason watches Cartoons or Animal Planet. I was in the mood to watch something different, and I knew there were games going. I really didn't care who was playing (thought I would have been happier watching the 49er's - it wasn't showing out here). Jason really isn't much of a sports fan, at least not as much as I am, so after the half time he fell asleep and slept for a couple of hours. I think it was as much a need for his system to rest, as it was boredom of the game. We were watching because he knew I wanted to... He lets Dad choose sometimes. Anyway, that was the day and tomorrow I promised to be over there early, so I need to get to bed and get some sleep. Stay tuned for the next exciting installment of the blog, and don't forget, I will be changing the name to SSgt Jason Ross next week.

Thank you, for all your support and prayers.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

October 8, 2011

Today was considerably better than yesterday, as the pain level was kept down to a minimum and Jason got some extra rest. With the new graft donor site on his back and the grafted wound site he isn't going to be able to do much moving around for the next couple of days, so its good that it is the weekend. The challenge is that he still needs to "adjust" his position in bed every now and again, and to do that does cause a little pain and discomfort. I've watched Jason do this a couple of times and I can tell it hurts when he does it, though it seems to be more of an irritation or nuisance than a pain that has to be dealt with. The good news is that in a matter of another day or two it won't be bothering his anywhere near as much.

We had a couple of visitors today. Dave the cookie guy and his wife came by, and they had cookies for Jason. They both commented on how big Jason was getting and that he was really starting to build some muscles back up again. Jason really is gaining much of his strength back, and it is good to see it happen. Jason is anxious to get back down to the MATC, and get more into a regular workout routine and pattern. He is still very much a Marine and wants to be in as good a shape as he can be. Another visitor was the Command Sergeant Major who came by to see how Jason and some of the other wounded warriors were doing. He is Army, and it kind of felt very special that he was offering his help, should Jason need it, and you could tell from his manner and the look in his eyes that he really meant it. I am probably several years older than the Command Sergeant Major and I still felt like I was talking to my elder or something.

Otherwise, Jason and I did a few things on the web - yeah, sometimes Jason wants to take a look at a few things on the web and check his email. We had lunch; it was brought in by one of the support organizations; and then we had dinner. I went down to the galley and picked up a couple things for Jason and I to eat. Afterward we watched a movie - The Conspirators - a movie about the post Civil War and the assassination of Lincoln. Very interesting and good movie. After the movie I told Jason good night and came back to the lodge where I am able to do the blogging, as I am right now, and then I'll go to bed.

Thank you, all for your support and continuing prayers, Jason misses his wife and kids and hopes they get to come up and visit soon.

Friday, October 7, 2011

October 7, 2011 - Final Surgery (I hope)

Jason's time in the O.R. and then recovery was much longer than originally anticipated and then, while in the PACU he was experiencing some significant pain and discomfort. As a result they had to control the pain with some extra narcotics. Well, he has been receiving these same type meds for seven months now and as a result he has built up quite a tolerance to them. Since he had such a high level of pain and since he has such a high tolerance they had to give him so much that he almost stopped breathing, or at least breathing normal. The normal healthy male will have a resting respiration rate of between 12 and 20 breaths a minute. Jason was down to 3 or 4 breaths per minute. His oxygen levels and blood pressure were all fine, it was just his breathing. This rate concerned the doctors quite a bit, I'm not going to say what it did to me. When I go to the PACU to see how he was doing I found two nurses and three doctors in his room. The nurses were taking turns telling Jason to breath, anytime his rate dipped below seven. Actually, Jason's lung capacity is such that he can comfortably handle a rate of 8, without any problem or concern.

They were finally able to get the pain under control, and then slowly allowed him to totally wake up, and then took him to the I.C.U. for a few hours, just to be sure. We finally left the I.C.U. at about 22:15 (10:15PM) this evening, and we got him back to his room. To say the least, today has been a long day for me and I am quite worn down. I will be heading back over to see Jason in the morning, to make sure he gets his breakfast and then I'm off to renew the contract for the rental car that I've been using from the Yellow Ribbon Fund. They let me use the car at no cost, but there is still a monthly contract. Actually there is a little more to it than that, and some day I might tell you all about it.

Jason's grafting went well, and the additional durma-layer that was applied all looked good. They are going to let him heal up for a few days and then early this coming week they go and check on how it is progressing. Otherwise there really isn't a bunch more to tell about what happened today. The Lucases brought some lumpia (not sure if I'm spelling it right) for everyone (they only made about 600) and I got a few for Jason, as well has having some for myself - they were excellent. Carol Tarter was also helping with this, and they all came by to see how Jason was doing, and both Jason and I really appreciate it... especially the lumpia. I am going to sign off now, as I am tired, and I want to be able to get up early tomorrow.

Thank you, all for your continued prayers and for all your support... It is very much appreciated.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

October 6, 2011

Today was another good day for Jason as he went to the MATC and had some work done on his hand and arm by way of electrical stimulation. They determined that there was probably damage with the ulnar nerve and that he would probably be looking at surgery in the next couple of months to get it corrected. Of course that surgery won't be a factor in when we leave this hospital, it's just good to know that he will be needing surgery again in the near future. Speaking of surgery, tomorrow Jason will be headed down to the O.R. where they are going to be doing some skin grafting as well as applying some of the durma-layer on his wounds. If this all works then it will be the last surgery he has to have before leaving Bethesda. If it doesn't work then all bets are off and we could be here for another few weeks.

Today at the MATC Jason did some work on strengthening his core muscles, with a big focus on him learning his balance, or I should say his new balance. We need to get working on his ability to transfer from bed to chair and chair to bed, and anywhere else he is going to need to transfer. The challenge is associated with all the stuff that is still on going with his wound recovery. Once they have the wound vac removed and the bandages either gone or at least down to a minimum, Jason should be able to move around much more easily.

As far as visitors today, we saw a few folks from the different support organizations, and it is always good to see them. Especially when Sherry brings by some of that zucchini bread she makes. There was one special visitor today, and he was a Sergeant First Class, from the Army. Some of you may recognize the name Leroy Petry, and know why he is considered a special visitor, and for the rest of you who don't, he is a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. It was awarded to him in July of this year, for actions that took place in 2008. He lost his right hand and part of his arm as a result of his actions (along with other wounds) and it saved the lives of his men. He is actually a pretty cool guy and came in to visit Jason with another friend, named Jess. Jess is also a double amputee from above the knee. The three of them had a bunch to talk about since they all have things in common. The picture at the top of the blog is the three of them a few moments before they had to leave.

Because Jason is going in early tomorrow, for surgery I probably won't see him, as they tend to take the guys into surgery earlier than when they go to the PACU. Thank you, for all your continued prayers and please keep the doctors and all the other medical staff in your hearts. Ask for guidance and knowledge to do the right things.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

October 5, 2011 - Fish Dinner

Today was a nice busy day for Jason, for multiple reasons. There was a medical procedure done; there were several visitors; and, he had appointments with a couple of PT areas. The good side was that it made the day go by more quickly, and the down side was that we kind of missed lunch.

Jason and I had oatmeal and raisins again this morning, and I brought over my dirty laundry to wash (the hospital actually has a new washer and dryer available for the families to use) along with washing some of Jason's clothes. The doing of the washing wasn't really much of an issue, except that I had to keep track of the time so that I didn't tie up the machines needlessly. On the surface that doesn't sound too bad, except that once I got started it seemed to send out a signal that visitors needed to start coming by. Br. Gen Tom Jones (ret.) came bay and stopped to have a short visit with Jason. Right after he left another group of retired Marines came in and spent a little more time with us, and then as they left we got another group who just wanted to stop and say, "Hi!" Finally, after that one of the medical teams, who is responsible for the "pic"-line that Jason has came in and said they needed to get a new one in place.

Actually this took us right up to about 12:30 when Jason needed to start getting ready to head to the MATC and get some work with the new therapist there. Her name is Bo and she runs a pretty tight ship, so we didn't want to be late, or at least no later than we had to be. I helped Jason get dressed as quickly as we could, and then in to his chair. Fortunately when we arrived at the MATC she was already working with another patient so she just sent us over to a mat-table to get set up. Actually she was pretty busy, because once she did come over and worked with Jason for a few minutes she handed him off to Bob, so she could go yet to another patient. Anyway, Jason had a real good work out and worked on a couple of new exercises to help him learn his new balance. I think it will also be something he eventually uses as he learns to transfer from his wheelchair to other things like a bed or car or even a chair. Jason was pretty worn out and it was just about 15:15 (3:15PM) when we left so you can see Jason was out from his room for a few hours.

Once we got back to his room, and in to his bed I asked him if he would like a sandwich or something. He said he would so I took off to go pick up a couple of sandwiches, as we were both getting hungry by now. When I came back there were about 10 Marines and one woman (she turned out to be the wife of one of them) standing outside Jason's room. One of the Marines was Dennis, one of the EOD guys Jason had worked with previously, and he brought all the others down to visit with Jason. They talked about getting Jason and taking him back to the "shop" but I guess I was the wet blanket on that activity as I told them that he wasn't able to be away that long without special preparations so he could stay out longer. It was probably one of the better visits Jason has had, as it was like a return to a shop that Jason was familiar with. Jason and I still ate the sandwiches while they visited, and then didn't have dinner until almost 19:00 (7pm).

Our dinner was the fish that we had caught last week. The two nurses that agreed to cook the fish, brought it in today for us to try. They said they cooked it African style, though they cut back on the spices a bit. Both Jason and I liked it very much, and from my perspective, I'm glad they cut back on the spices. It was spicy enough for my tastes. The good thing is that we have plenty more for tomorrow, that we can have for lunch. That was pretty much the day, with the rest of it being Jason relaxing in his bed. That's when Bridgette (Jason's wife) called and they talked about whatever they talked about, and Jason got a chance to speak with Stacy (his little girl). We're hoping to see Bridgette and the girls by this weekend, so hope things don't get in the way as life sometimes does.

Thank you, for all your support and prayers for Jason, he's getting stronger all the time and all we see on the horizon is positive direction.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

October 4, 2011 - Pictures have been posted!

Okay, I finally sat down and took the time to figure out what I wanted to do with the photos. I did a test and it worked for me, but then again, I am the owner. Please check it out and let me know if you were able or unable to get to the pictures. The photo album is immediately below the pictures on the right.

Today was a good day for Jason in the PACU, where he had his dressings changed. He came back a little uncomfortable, as there was an attempt at changing how they had some of the bandages, and it seems to have back-fired. Actually, I think it will be just a matter of time before he gets used to it, as he is considerably more comfortable than he was this morning. Dr. Malone came in to visit with Jason this morning and the conversation quickly went to how the staff was doing and taking care of Jason. Jason provided some feed back and pointed out a couple of places where he thought improvements could be made. As it turned out one of those "places" was a bit of a hot button for Dr. Malone and she went out to find out who and why things had happened to Jason (since it was in his room, it was something that happened to him as opposed to the entire floor). It took a little time, but not much, and then Dr. Malone was back in with an explanation about what happened; the person who was "guilty" of the activity; and, importantly, an apology for the actions. It was much more than what Jason had expected, as he was only attempting to help improve the professionalism. I'm not going to talk about what happened to cause the action, the purpose of this little explanation was to show how important it is to the staff to make sure things are right.

Jason had an appointment with a hand and nerve specialist this afternoon. We were able to get there at just about the exact time of the appointment. We had to coordinate with Trista, his occupational therapist, since she set up the appointment. She was there ahead of us, and effectively checked Jason in so we just walked right in. The guy we saw was a Lt. Col. and I honestly don't recall if he is a doctor or just a VERY good therapist. He was going over a bunch of different things about Jason's hand and explaining what he thought needed to be done. He is working with the other doctors (the guys Jason will be seeing on Thursday) so that he will get the results and prepare a treatment specifically for Jason. There is good news in that he was saying similar things about the prognosis of his right hand getting better, and that was good news.

There was some talk about a slight change in what might happen with Jason's treatment and wound healing effort, and it isn't solidified yet so you'll have to wait to find out what that possible change is. Hey, we're having to wait too, so don't let it get to you... ;-)

Today was a good day for Jason, despite the elevated pain levels earlier in the day. He is sleeping well now and is continuing to heal. We don't have the PACU in the morning, so we'll probably get out on the cart, and maybe the chair, and head on down to the MATC for some vigorous PT tomorrow. One last thing, I had a talk with Jason and he said he would rather the blog stated Staff Sargent, so in the next few days I will provide reminders that the name is changing, and then next week it will go to http://SsgtJasonRoss.blogspot.com. Thank you, all for your continued prayers and support, and please keep all the others in your hearts as well.

October 4 - Picture Update

Sorry for the delayed post, and the lack of photos. Due to a few technical difficulties I was not able to get them to the blog yesterday. Will work on it today. The new picture on the blog is me and Lt. Col. Tarter's wife (she was there representing him) pinned the new rank on Jason. Lt. Col. Tarter and MGySgt Todd are out of the country, so were not able to attend.

October 3, 2011 - Promotion Ceremony

Today was an exceptional day for Jason, with all the attention that was given him for being promoted to Staff Sargent. His ceremony was today and his room was packed (we didn't have any other place set up for doing this, so we just did it in his room). Sgt Linderman got him a blouse (that's what the Marines call their uniform shirts) so he could have the rank pinned on. None of his own uniforms are here with him, so even though it was a borrowed uniform it worked for this purpose. Jason and I went down to the barber, where he got a hair cut, because he wanted to look like a Marine for the pictures, and he did. The room was packed, as I said earlier, though none of his EOD brothers were able to make it, since we weren't able to let them know with enough time to get here. On the plus side, Col. Tarter's wife, Carol, was here so she pinned on one of his new chevrons and I got the honor of pinning on the other. Lots of pictures were taken, and I hope you are able to see them on my Picasa account, along with some other photos.

Today started with me coming over and Jason and I having breakfast. He wanted to get his hair cut, so this morning he got into his chair and we headed down to Main Street, where the barber shop is located, here in the hospital. We then headed over to the uniform shop where he picked up his new rank chevrons (he wanted to be sure he had some) and then we headed on back up. At this point we still had not heard for sure that the ceremony was going to take place today, only that it would probably take place. I had asked a couple of the liaison Marines to see if they could follow up and let us know, so we could plan something. Shortly after we came back to Jason's room we were given the notice that it was today, and that Lt. Col. Wall would be coming over to present it to Jason.

That's when it got kind of weird... about every 15 minutes we were getting visitors who were just stopping by and asking if it was going to be today, and where. We kept telling them that it was and would be in this room. Even when the PT folks came by to discuss future routines with Jason, and worked with him to allow him some PT today, we still had visitors popping in. Dr. Malone even came by around this time and we were glad to see her, as it wouldn't be the same without her. She was able to give Jason a big hug after he was promoted, and I think Jason liked that. Lt. Col. Tarter's wife, Carol also gave Jason a big hug, and she did even more. I had called Carol a little earlier and told her that it was going to be a 16:00 (4PM) ceremony, so she showed up at about 15:40 (3:40PM), and helped me to help Jason get ready and prepared.

Once everything was over Jason and I were kind of tired, so I went down to the galley and picked up some dinner. Then at 18:30 (6:30PM) there was an "Ice Cream Social" put on by the folks from the Wounded Warrior Project. I went down and picked up a couple of sundaes and Jason and I enjoyed them. Then he went to sleep for a couple of hours. Like I said, he was tired. Anyway, he woke up and we just enjoyed each others company, and then I started to work on this post, and to get some pictures loaded up (I hope it works).

Thank you, all for all your continued support and prayers, and now Jason has a greater responsibility so he will need prayers for that as well, as he moves along in his career.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

October 2, 2011

Today was a nice relaxed day for Jason, as there was no real plan for us to do anything, other than get out on his prone cart, sometime today. My daily routine, for the past few weeks, has been to bring a few bottles of water over to Jason - he still likes bottled water over their "filtered" water, and then, if he's in his room, go get some breakfast for the both of us. Today I went down and got some oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar, same as yesterday (the oatmeal here is really pretty good).

After breakfast, Dr. Malone came in and had a nice little visit with Jason and a quick check to make sure he was doing okay, and to answer any questions if there were any. No questions today, so she only stayed for a few minutes and then went to go see another patient. Shortly after she was gone I asked Jason if he would like to get out on his cart, and get some exercise. The funny thing about getting ready for either his chair or his cart, something always comes up that extends our stay in the room, and today was no different. Once Jason was dressed and comfortable I went out to get the prone cart, and asked one of the staff to assist in helping him to get on to the cart. The great thing is that Jason is just about totally independent about getting on to the cart, and all we (there are always at least two of us holding the cart) do is just stand there, making sure the cart does not move.

Jason took off for his 5-lap tour of the fourth floor. There were a few other folks on the floor, though none of them ever were in the way of Jason's progress. On the first few laps of the floor I noticed this one patient, who was in his room, by himself, and looked like he was bored. I asked Jason if he would like to stop by and visit one of the other patients and he said he would. We stopped by and asked if he would like company and he said most definitely. His name is Colonel Slocum of the Virginia Air National Guard, and he was in because of an injury that was being corrected. We stayed and talked for about 15 - 20 minutes, exchanged some contact information and then we went on our way. I came back a few minutes later and had him sign the visitor log. We got Jason back in to his bed and got him hooked back up to his PCA, as his pain management needed to get taken care of. The big difference for this trip was that Jason went out without his usual "push" of pain meds, and he did alright. I was quite happy about this...

Another visitor was CWO Timberly Palumbo, another EOD tech. She had just gotten back from Afghanistan and Col. Tarter's wife wanted to bring her around to visit with some of the patients here. She and Jason hit it off pretty well, since they both speak EOD, and had Afghanistan in common. They stayed for about 20 minutes and then needed to get on their way, and yes I got a picture and had her sign the Red Book. Right after they left a visitor from the UFC came by to visit, so we had back to back visitors today. The fighter's name was Stephen, and he was here with his trainer. I had them sign the Red Book, and I got pictures of them with Jason, and then Stephen asked for Jason's contact email, so he could stay in touch. He wanted to know that Jason was doing okay, and that if there were anything that Jason needed, he wanted to be able to help with it, if he could.

For lunch today we had food from the galley, and then for dinner Jason wanted Popeye's, so I went off and bought it for him. It worked out because I also needed to go pickup some bleach for washing anyway, and Popeye's is real close to the Target that I go to. After dinner, Jason went to sleep, and slept pretty well, as he had a very active day, especially for a Sunday. Tomorrow is a big day for him and we need to get down to the barber shop early, so him going to sleep a little early is probably a good thing.

Thank you, for all your continued support and prayers.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

October 1, 2011

Not a great deal going on today, as there is no schedule visit to the PACU, or the O.R. I got over to see Jason early this morning and we had oatmeal with raisins for breakfast. It was actually pretty good, once we had the brown sugar mixed in. There was a large selection of other things at the galley, but neither of us was much in the mood for anything else.

We had the usual visitors from the medical folks and they all came in to make sure he was doing okay, and that we didn't have any questions. At this point the biggest question is - "When is this going to be over?", and we're already aware that the answer may be two weeks out, or it could be longer. We just have to wait and see. There were a few other visitors as well with the most notable being "The Tick", or at least the actor who played the tick came by. He name is Patrick Warburton and he has also been on a number of other shows and movies (on the new Honda commercial, too). It was kind of a fun visit, finding out that we actually know some common people. There was also a group from one of the support groups who came by and gave Jason a nice gift bag; and then Michael Fay, the illustrator, came by with two other illustrators for a nice visit. It was Anelle Miller, Director of Society of Illustrators and Dennis Dittrich, President. They brought some gifts for drawing and sketching and painting, for Jason to use and to practice and play with. Actually that reminds me, we took a couple of pictures and she asked me to send her a copy, I guess I'd better get that done... ;-)

Thank you, for all your continued support and prayers.