Iwo Gima

Iwo Gima
Marine Corps Marathon

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Today was one of those days where things just didn't go quite like you would hope they would go. We had plans to follow the appointments and take care of a couple of other things - like go get some milk and bread, but the day had other ideas.

It started with a formation for Jason that turned into an unannounced drug screening. It struck me a little odd that they would want to test even the guys like Jason, who are on heavy narcotics, but apparently what they screen for would still be found. It would be another of the illegal substances out there that the government/military want to keep away from the guys. The problem with the screening though was that it through our schedule way off. Jason was late for his first appointment, and fortunately there was no PT/OT scheduled for today. The rest of the day was simply going to the other appointments, trying to play catch up. That's the way it was until almost 14:00 (2pm) when we finally got back to the suite. You really can't be too upset with the folks doing the testing, because if they announced the testing was going to be happening it wouldn't be anywhere near as effective.

One thing that did happen that we hadn't been aware of was that they came in and made some changes to the suite. They upgraded some of the plumbing and fixtures and at one point I came back to the suite to pick up some things and there were eight people in the kitchen and living room, that I had not seen before. They were all construction guys, and one Navy escort. It would have been nice if they had let us know prior, that the work was going to be done, but in our particular case, they were gone before Jason got back. Heck, I was only there for a few minutes anyway, and wouldn't have seen anything, if I hadn't needed the A-B-D pads for the wound changes. I like the new faucet in the kitchen, the old one was getting loose, and the rest was to improve Jason's bathroom. The biggest thing he'll benefit from is a new shower head.

I did get to head down to the store and pick up some lettuce and bread, so I can make some sandwiches and stuff. Maybe we'll have soup and sandwiches for dinner tomorrow night, or over the weekend - maybe both. Thank you, for all your continued support and all the prayers being sent our way. Take care and stay positive.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Good day today, but maybe that was because Jason really didn't have any scheduled appointments. We were able to get a few things accomplished that we've wanted to get done. We went up to 4E to pick up a couple of simply things needed (easier than trying to go through having them ordered - especially when only one or two things are needed). Then we went over to the inpatient PT room, and stopped by to see some of the folks that had worked with Jason in the past. It has been awhile since they had seen each other so it was kind of nice, almost a reunion of sorts. After that we headed on down so that Jason could get his hair cut. I guess since I got mine cut he wanted to get his cut too...;-) okay, maybe not, he just needed a hair cut.

On our way over to building 62 we happened on Sherri Beck (President of Wounded EOD Warriors) and so we stopped and visited for a few minutes. She was actually on her way over to 62 as well, so eventually we all walked over to the building together. She was getting ready to buy lunch of a bunch of the guys, and their families, or NMAs, so we told her we would join them later. Jason had some business up on the 2nd deck (floor), and that didn't take very long. We went back down to have lunch with Sherri and there were several other people there also. I was happy to see Jason talking and joking with the other guys, as it helps me to realize that his mental and spiritual self is healing up very well, and our focus is to continue to work on the physical aspect of his healing.

Speaking of his healing, Jason did take a shower today and we changed out the bandages, and the area was looking better. I'm pleased with the progress, in just the short time I've been working with him, and I hope it continues. We will be headed up to more appointments tomorrow, so I'll get a chance to ask more questions and perhaps put more information into this blog, tomorrow. Take care and stay positive - Thank you, for all your continued support and prayers.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Jason has finally gotten more into his normal schedule and appointment flow. We started with his PT and OT appointments and they went well, followed by wound care. Everything there was looking good and progressing nicely. Finally we went over to the general medicine area where they removed his pick-line. The funny thing is that we thought the pick-line was going to be the simplest step, and then found it was the one that took the longest. Jason was glad to get it over with, and now we can move forward.

After his appointment we went and finally got the care signed over to me, so now its all legal and one less thing to worry about. I'm guessing the rest of the week is going to be smooth and we'll simply run through the appointments, and as I gets a chance I'll be speaking with the doctors about anything else we can expect.

We had stroganoff and broccoli for dinner and it turned out pretty good, considering when I started I found out that we had no seasonings in the house. I had to go get some so that the flavor wasn't bland. I did get some from the cafe' and tomorrow we'll need to go to the store to buy what we need. Like I said, it worked out okay, so we had a nice dinner.

Well, that's it for now, take care and stay positive - and Thank you, for all your continued prayers and support.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Jason and I had a relaxing day at "home" today. We really didn't go anywhere until later this evening, when we went to go see the Hobbit. Jason slept a good portion of the day, and I'm guessing that was related to all the activity from this past week, and he simply needed a good rest. I spent the day taking care of little odds and ends around the place and kicking back and relaxing a bit, too.

His wounds are looking like they are trying to heal up a bit more, and that's a good thing. Doing the dressing changes has really gotten down to a pretty quick activity now, and only takes a few minutes to get everything done. Tomorrow he has a couple of appointments, and I have one more errand to take care of, with regard to the van (need to get my name and signature on the contract). The RideAway people have been very good about giving me the extra time needed. Other than those couple of things, we'll just be staying home. Tomorrow I'll be making stroganoff, over rice, with broccoli and maybe a simple dessert, though the dessert will probably be something that Jason will make.

Thank you, for all your continued support and all your prayers - it is appreciated.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Jason and I had a nice day today, though it was still pretty busy. We went shopping to replace a bunch of the stuff that seemed to have disappeared, and we're still in need of a vacuum cleaner, but otherwise we're doing okay. I was hoping that the building would have vacuums for the rooms, but apparently they don't. We don't want to get a big one, just something that will get us through the next several (few?) weeks, then we can donate it to someone else who needs one.

I did four loads of wash, and helped Jason make his bed. It was kind of fun, in helping him rather than doing it myself. Just as we got to the last corner (he was putting it on) he looked at me and said, "we put it on inside out." I looked at it for a minute and said, "Oh well..." and we went on our happy little way. The rest of the time was spent just cleaning around the apartment. The only thing left is the floor, so I hope we can get that done tomorrow.

We might head out to the movies, since he said he wants to see a couple of them, I'll let you know if we actually get there, and what we see. I plan on cooking dinner tomorrow night for the first time here. I was going to do it today, but we had a big (and late) lunch, so there really wasn't much of a desire to have a dinner. Besides he had some left overs and that was plenty for him. Take care and stay positive...

Thank you, for all your continued prayers and support - we are going to get past this new challenge and be that much stronger for it. God Bless

Friday, January 25, 2013

Okay, I didn't notice yesterday, but it was my 550th post on the blog... wow, I had no idea that I would be putting out so much information about Jason's recovery. Today is another day where he made some progress, and we hit a milestone, along this journey. We also got some new snow, and it turned into quite a cold day. I've asked Linda to send me my boots (along with a few other items), since I didn't come with anything more than tennis shoes. They're okay when the weather is warmer, but right now they just barely provide much protection. My guess is the boots should get here in about a week or so.

Our first appointment today was with the group that talks about driving. Where Jason will be allowed to drive his own vehicle, and be able to get around. Now it is still a little premature to be considering just what it is that Jason is going to be wanting in a vehicle, but it sure was exciting to think about him with that much independence again. There was another Marine, who had some injuries that were similar to Jason's, though not as high, and he has two vehicles - a custom van and a Corvette. We talked about vans and trucks mostly, but I could tell that the idea of a Corvette was very intriguing to him, and to be honest, it was to me as well. I don't think Jason ever considered a car like that, but to think that he would be able to get into something else besides a truck or van really gave him something to think about.

The other appointments were pretty much the same, with the day coming to a close at close to 14:00, where we came back to the room. I had an errand to take care of - get the van changed over to my name, so I went to do that and then we just kicked back for a little while. We were encouraged to go to the dinner being put on tonight, so we did, and it was enjoyable and fun. The social interaction was good and we got to meet some new people. When it was over we came back to the room, and now I'm working on the blog. We both had a busy week and I'm glad that the weekend is here so that we can both sleep in. Jason's antibiotics are all done, and he doesn't have to take his first meds until about 09:30, so we can actually sleep in quite late. Thank you, all for all your continued prayers and for all the support you have continued to send his way.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Jason had a great workout at the MATC today, with his new PT Mike working him pretty hard. I think it did a great deal to helping Jason feel better, since it did cause him to work up a good sweat. On the other hand it caused me a little concern since we had a good snow last night and I didn't want him to go out in the cold being all sweaty. After the PT workout he had a couple other appointments, in the hospital, so we didn't have to go back outside and he was pretty dry when he was done, so it all worked out.

Yes, I did say it snowed last night. It really wasn't much snow, only about an inch or so, on the ground, and it did look pretty when I first looked outside. It probably could have been fun to go play in, if it hadn't been so darn cold. It was down around 18 degrees F, with a slight breeze, so that made it that much colder.

The girls are headed back to California, tomorrow morning, with Bridgette, and Jason is going to be missing them very much. I've done my best to make sure there was adequate face-time for Jason to be with the girls, though I'm sure he would have liked more. Of course the girls really don't understand what is going on, only that they are going on a trip tomorrow and that Daddy (or Grandpa) isn't coming with them. Jason and I will be headed that way, eventually, but we just don't know when that will be right now.

Tomorrow we will again have some appointments to deal with and then  I'll be moving in with Jason, so that I am in his room for the remainder of my stay here. This will be a little easier for me, so that I don't have to go completely across the building to get to him. The other positive is that he can leave his door open now, if he wants to, since she will be gone. I ask now that you please keep Jason in your prayers, and also his family, to protect them on their journey, and I thank you for all your support during these trying times.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Today was a good day for Jason, in that a few things that needed to be done were done, and are now out of the way, and he was still able to make all his appointments. Well, actually that is kind of an interesting aspect of his appointment schedule. He is given a list of the appointments for the entire month, at the beginning of the month, and as new appointments come up, they are added to the list and a new print out is provided. Today, he was supposed to be "off" with no appointments, when in fact, the folks at Wound Care and the OT and PT folks were looking for him to come by. He got everything in, and we'll be doing a similar set of appointments tomorrow, plus a couple of others. The people I've met so far have all be very pleasant and positive, and the all support Jason 100%.

At the Wound Care appointment I got the chance to speak with the nurses working on him and found out why they were doing certain things and the benefits of the dressings they are using now. When he came out here he was still using Mepalex-AG, but they don't use that now. Now they are simply placing coverings on the wounds and helping them along with ultrasound stimulation. I was told the wounds are healing up nicely so I have to take their word for it, since I didn't see them after the HO operation. Jason seemed pretty happy with their treatment, so I am starting out on an up side.

When Linda and I first came out here, it was with the understanding that we would be returning soon, and we could take care of some of the things that needed to be done. One of them was for me to get my state driver license. I had lost my driver license back in November and had gone down to the DMV, where they had given me a temporary. Well, that temporary one expires tomorrow, and I'm still here in Bethesda, MD, and I need a license, of some kind. I was able to contact the DMV and speak with one their agents, and they are sending a replacement to me, via FedEx overnight, and I'll have it tomorrow. I explained the situation to the agent and she told me what she could do... I just had to cover the cost of the shipping. I am very relieved sine there are going to be times when I need to drive Jason around. I didn't know working with the DMV could be so easy... ;-)

Thank you, for all your continued support, and all the prayers coming our way.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Linda went home today, after a brief visit here in Bethesda. I feel like my best friend has been abducted and taken away in a space ship. Well, I guess an airplane is close enough.... Jason and I will miss her very much, as well the girls, though both Stacy and Jackie were a little confused when I told them that I was going to be staying. Right now they are both pretty confused about what is going on, so I hope we can all work together to bring some stability to their lives - I know that is what Jason wants.

Jason was up for a large portion of the day today, and I don't think that is a good thing right now. The problem is that there are many things he needs to get taken care of, and can not do it from his bed. I did my best to make sure he was relaxed and when I finally did get him to stay put in his bed he went to sleep. Actually, he took a shower and I dd a dressing change and then he laid back. It was about 17:30 (5:30pm) when he laid down and then shortly afterward went to sleep. He has some appointments tomorrow and I am anxious to speak with the doctors about his healing plan. There are a couple of things I need to bring to their attention, and then find out what their thoughts are. This could have an influence on how long we remain in Bethesda, and how soon we can get back to San Diego.

Take care and stay positive and thank you, all for all your continued prayers and support

Monday, January 21, 2013

Well, we made it to the inauguration and we stayed for the entire event (about 75 minutes), before Jason was feeling too uncomfortable to do much more. We sat in the area set up for those mostly in wheelchairs, and their helpers (in this case me). For most of them there was on one helper, and for Jason they allowed both Linda and I to be with him. Actually it was kind of funny in that where we were initially placed the view was hampered by the extra stands set up for media coverage. Just prior to the swearing in to begin they allowed us all to move more to the right and get a better point to see from. It was kind of cool being able to see the President and not have to do it via the large picture-tron screens.

Jason was able to stay for the entire event, and we had an invitation to go to the Congressman's office afterward (Eric Swalwell), but it wasn't to be what happened. Jason wanted to get back to his room so he could lay down, and when I did the dressing changes I saw why. The areas were looking pretty "angry" and I told him that I thought it would probably be better if he just took the rest of the day off. He had been invited to one of the inaugural balls, and even had gone out to buy a jacket for the event, but it remained on the hanger. At least he is now ready for the next opportunity that comes along - it is a very nice tuxedo jacket.

Linda will be headed back home tomorrow, and I will be remaining to support Jason. My guess is that we, Jason and I, will be headed back to California (San Diego) by the end of next month. It could be sooner, but my guess is that it is going to take 3 to 4 weeks to get everything together. Linda and I have had a few discussions about the situation and we think we have a plan going forward, but it will take some effort on both our parts - more about that later, in a few days. Linda is going to need some extra support, since I'll be gone again, so please keep her in your prayers, along with Jason and all the other troops who put themselves in harms way for our safety.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Today was an active day for Jason, and we had a generally good time all day. Melissa and Kelly are also here for the inauguration, so we met up with them again, and had some fun doing some shopping. Jason decided that he wanted a jacket as well as a dress jacket, you never know when you're going to need to dress up a bit. It was good to see Jason wanting to get out and do something a little more social. Actually we (Linda and I) were a little concerned that we were going to have a problem with the camera and have to go purchase another batter, or a charger. Then I found a second battery that I had brought, and it was fully charged. I had forgotten that I had charged it up and put it in to the camera case. It kind of felt like I had won a treasure hunt game or something.

I did have to change Jason's dressings today, and the wounds are looking better, from the first time. I guess that was part of the reason he was able to get up and go out with us. We had a nice relaxed time with the girls today, and Linda was able to take them to the park and play. They loved it, and made the comment that they never got a chance to go to the park area before, so it was very special for all of us. Some pictures were taken, and I will be getting them up loaded as soon as I get to a place where there is a decent network, as the one at this Red Roof Inn is very poor, as well as slow. It takes me more than twice as long as I would expect to even make this posting, and that is without pictures, as it would with an average connection. On top of that the room and service is not particularly good. We're here because there was nothing else available... Oh well.

Thank you, all for all that you do for the U.S. Service men and women, and especially for all the prayers and support you've given to Jason and us. Take care and stay positive.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Jason had a good day today, and spent most of it just laying back in his bed. I helped him with his shower and then did a dressing change, and then he was back laying down. The reason we (he and I) wanted him to spend most of the time in bed was because of the stress he went through yesterday. The wounds are looking different from the last time I saw them, and I am going to have to watch them for the next few days, but he is telling me things are getting better. He basis it on the fact that he has gone from 3 to less than 2 full sized pads (a specialized hydroponic pads) that go on his wounds. By the end of this evening he was feeling much better and I think he will be taking tomorrow pretty easy too. Because of the inauguration Monday he would like to be in a good a shape as he can be.

We had a couple of guests today, and it helped to boost Jason's spirits. Melisa Jarbo and her friend Kelly came back, and brought along their friend Steve. The three of them spent several hours just talking with Jason and letting him feel included with the social activity. I think that some of the time he is "stuck" in his room he feels very isolated from the rest of the world, and their visit helped to change that for him.

The plans for transportation still need to be worked out/finalized, but it looks like our inauguration seating will be very well placed, and then afterward we will going to the congressional offices for a reception. This should provide Jason with a chance to lay back and rest. I'll do my best to keep you all updated on progress as well as provide some pictures of the event. Thank you, all for all your continued prayers and support.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Linda and I came out to spend some time with Jason and the family and then go to the Inauguration, and while here he informed us that he and Bridgette were getting a divorce. This, as you might expect, was a bit of a surprise to us, and we let him know that we were here to support him in any way we can. As a result I will be staying here as his new Non-Medical Attendant (NMA). It wasn't what was planned when we left Livermore, but it is something that Linda and I are committed to do, and he wants (needs?) us to be here. Linda will be returning home as planned.

When we saw the girls, Stacy and Jackie, they came running up to us and they were all smiles and happy. It was really great to see them again. We did spend most of the day with Jason and he only had a couple of appointments early in the morning. He is still taking some antibiotics, and he takes care of this pretty much on his own. I will be doing my first dressing change from him tomorrow, and then we'll be moving forward from there. Basically his wounds are still in the healing mode, and there is some work to be done. Because I am going to be filling in as the NMA now I have had to again step away from the job I was doing (chauffeuring) and they were very good about it. Basically, if I want to come back the door is open, so that's nice to know.

While there we got a chance to speak with Congressman Eric Swalwell, our new Congressman from the 16th district which includes Livermore. It wasn't the first time for me to have met him, though it was for everybody else there. A few other folks came around and then Melissa Jarbo showed up (she is a friend of ours) and then we had a pretty large group of people standing around in the lobby of Building 62, where the Wounded Warriors stay. Congressman Swalwell brought us our tickets for the Inauguration, and it showed where we would be sitting. We have some very nice seats, and it looks like a natural area where Jason should be able to move to a resting area, if he is in need. Melissa heads up the Jamie Jarbo Foundation, and Jason was in the hospital very close to the same time that Jamie was there, Jason arrived in early March 2011 and Jamie showed up in early April 2011 - Jamie died 11 months later.

Perhaps it is the shock of this new change, but I really don't have much more to write about, right now. I will be going back to my daily blog entries again, at least for the time being, so be prepared to have some new reading material. Thank you, for all your continued prayers and support.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Sorry for the delay in getting this updated, I've been working a great deal lately (14hr days) and haven't had much of a chance to get to this. The job I'm doing now is driving, or chauffeuring. The work is okay, though it isn't what I want to be doing, and the income is only about half of what I was making. On the positive side, it has, along with the Ocwen mortgage restructure, has allowed us to save our home and at least continue with that part of our lives. (A little side bar here - Ocwen worked with us and finally we came up with a restructuring, or loan modification, that really made our lives so much better, so a big thank you to them for doing all this for us.). Okay, now on to Jason, as I know you didn't come to read about me... ;-)

Jason is out of the hospital, for the most part, though he has been dealing with infection again. He did have to go back in for a couple of days to take care of the infection and to have a new pick-line put in, so now he is able to fight them off more effectively. His spirits are up and he is happy having his family around him (wife and kids), though he has told us he misses us - we miss him, too. They get to act a little more like a real family again, and this "normalizing" is really good for him.

Linda and I will be headed back to visit with Jason and the family on January 17, and we'll be staying for six days. Fortunately we're getting some help from Semper Fi, so we can stay for a few days. We are going for the inauguration! We have been invited by our Congressman, Eric Swalwell and all four of us will be there. It was decided that this would not be a good event for the girls, since it will be cold, and they will effectively have to sit still for a pretty long period. That can be a serious challenge for any four year old and almost impossible for a two year old... ;-) We hope to get to visit with some of our friends while back there and we plan to have the girls spend some time with us too. Besides, it will be a good break for Bridgette and Jason, so that they can have some "alone time."

I plan on getting some pictures taken so I will do my best to get some new ones posted up. Thank you all for all your continued support and prayers. I will work to get more posts/updates going again. Take care and stay positive.