Iwo Gima

Iwo Gima
Marine Corps Marathon

Sunday, November 29, 2015

November 29, 2015

These past few days have been kind of crazy busy, with guests coming in and visiting. Some staying over night. Some were relatives and others family, yet all were great to have around. On Thursday - you remember, Thanksgiving Day, we had 9 dinner guests. I cooked a 25+ lbs bird, so there was enough to go around, just not much left in the way of left overs. Jason was able to come  out and join us, and that was a very good thing. He was only able to stay out for a couple of hours (longer than I thought he would), then had to get back to the bed. The girls were totally enjoying all the new people and getting to show them around the house. Let's see if I can remember everybody - Linda's parents, Joe and Jessie, Loretta, Steve and Tina, Jason and the the girls, Stacy and Jackie, and then Linda and I... I think that's everybody.

The rest of the days consisted of family and friends coming over. Our nephew Jeff (Major Jeff Lascurain, USAF) came by with his wife and daughters. Actually, Joyce, Jeff's mom brought them all over. We hadn't seen Jeff and Kitty (his wife) in a couple of years, as he is living on the other side of the country. We had a great talk, and he was able to spend some time with Jason. They are only about a year apart in age, and growing up they spent a good amount of time together. Funny how their lives took such radically different directions, yet they both ended up with military careers.

Yesterday, our son David and his wife Miriam came over with their two boys, Dylan and Ethan, so we were able to spend some time with all four of our grand children. What was particularly nice was that they were able to spend several hours with us, and David was able to help me with some of the "chores" around the house. Actually, at one point, all the grand kids were involved with helping us... and we still managed to get somethings done. Dylan, Stacy and Jackie picked a bunch of avocados from the two trees that are still producing. The quality of the fruit is pretty low, but it was still fun for them to work together.

Even today turned in to a special day as another couple, long time friends, came by and visited. We have been hoping they would be able to come down for a visit, and now it has happened. They were one of the first families we got to know, after we moved in to Livermore, all those years ago. Our youngest, Sean, wasn't even a year old yet. There youngest son, and our son David became friends and we've all stayed close over the years. They are now retired and get to do some of the things we all would like to do, like take day trips and weekend trips, and even week trips, whenever they want to. We are hoping to be able to do that soon - okay, maybe another year or two.

Next week begins December, the last month of the year. Hard to believe this year is coming to a close. So much has happened, and no doubt will just simply continue. Jason continues to gain a little more mobility, every day, so we're all optimistic with his progress. I think we've possibly found a new church home, though it is a little different from what we've typically attended. We have been going to Presbyterian churches these past few decades, and now we're looking at an Evangelical church. The interesting thing is that they aren't that far apart. The girls seem to be happy there as well, so we'll give it a little time and see how it works out. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

November 22, 2015

For those that haven't noticed, I have been a little irregular in my blog posts, and I would like to take this time to let everyone know, that the present pattern will be continuing. Jason has been able to heal up a little more and he is now off the wound-vac, and unless something drastic happens, he will remain off the wound-vac. Over the coarse of time I will be making fewer and fewer entries, until I get down to the point of maybe one a week, though honestly I don't see that happening for quite some time.

Linda has been working to get things ready for Thanksgiving, and even getting some things ready for the Christmas Holiday. Speaking of the Christmas Holiday, we were contacted by the "Fire Club," from the Palomar Community College and they asked if they could come and put up the Christmas decorations, on the house. They also want to present Jason with a nice REAL tree. Heck, we have the room in the house for a large tree, so we're going to be getting one. Like many of the other things that are a part of Jason's life, the decorating is going to be covered by some local news stations. If I can get the information out on the blog, about which station will be covering, I will.

We managed to get some things done this weekend, and eliminated a few more containers (boxes), so we're very happy about that. Jason is showing some patience in all this, as we both know that he would like to see the garage emptied of most of the storage things... To be honest, I would like to see them out of the garage, also, it is just going to take some time. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Friday, November 20, 2015

November 20, 2015

I haven't posted much in the past couple of days, mostly because there wasn't much to post. I wasn't sure if that is a good thing or not, or just a natural development of Jason's overall progress. Then I got to thinking (I try to do this once in a while) and it occurred to me that I hadn't mentioned much about Jason getting away from the Wound-Vac. He hasn't had to use the wound-vac for a few days now, and both he and I are much happier about that. He is much more comfortable and I don't have to deal with the complexity of dressing changes. When he can just use the Hydraphera-Blue and basic pads I can get the dressing change done in a matter of just a few minutes. The wound-vac, when it has to be changed, is much more complicated. Anyway, it is also a reflection of the fact that they wound is doing much better.

Today, we had a special visitor, two actually - Joe Mantegna and Dan Ramm stopped by for a visit, on their way to the Wounded Warrior Marine Corps Ball. Joe was their MC, and it took place (actually still happening at the time of me writing this) in San Diego. For those that don't know, Joe is the main guy with Criminal Minds, and Dan is his personal assistant. Joe first met Jason and I back in 2011, when Jason was still at Bethesda. Come to think of it, that is where he met Linda, too, only that time was his second visit to Jason. Anyway, since he is an ambassador for the Gary Sinise Foundation, and we've gotten to know him a bit, it seemed appropriate to have him come by and see the new house and visit with Jason. One of the more interesting bits of information we learned with his visit, is that he and his wife also just celebrated their 40th anniversary, only their's was three weeks earlier than ours.

This weekend is a general clean up weekend, as we attempt to get ready for the Thanksgiving Holiday, next week. It really is going to be the only opportunity for us to get some of the heavier things moved, since I am working during the day. I feel like Linda and I are getting more settled in to a new routine, and that life is starting to come back to a more regular (normal?) pace... I just hope it continues that way. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

November 17, 2015

I struggle to write a post that is interesting and tells you, the reader, something new. Jason has been in his bed, for the better part of 3 months, and is still in a very strong and positive mood. His hair and beard are getting pretty long, and he has no intention of cutting either of them - at least not at this time. I have been spending more and more time working, as the job is getting busier and busier, so that means Linda is doing more and more to take care of the girls and take care of Jason's needs, as they come along. The good part is that she has that "Mother" gear already from when she raised all our sons, so this is kind of an extension of those years... the house is just a lot bigger.

I did get a chance to walk my garden today, and most of it is doing well. The winter squash seems to be struggling a little right now, so I need to keep an eye on it. Everything else is alive and there is even a bell pepper on the vine - a little one. I would like to get some cages around the tomatoes, so that they have something to grow on, so I'll see about taking care of that this weekend, and the lettuce is doing great. The garden is to allow the girls to watch the plants grow, and see the cycle of nature at a level they can understand, and next year we'll take a look at growing other things, with the girls doing the planting.

Tomorrow, Jason will be going in to Wound Care, and Linda will be going with him. I suspect they will tell him that the wounds are doing better and continue to heal, slowly, and that the wound vac will still need to be on for another couple of weeks. I'll be sitting at my desk, working on the computer and staying home. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Monday, November 16, 2015

November 16, 2015

We came home a little earlier than originally planned, due to a message we received from Jason. Apparently he was experiencing some difficulties with the catheter, again, and this time he was ahead of the discomfort. He wanted to go into Camp Pendleton Hospital and get it corrected. I think he would really rather have gone into Balboa, where they are much more familiar with him, and would have been able to address anything else that might have come up. As it was, nothing else did come up so he just had to deal with the ER staff again.

He was at Camp Pendleton when Linda and I pulled into the driveway, and back at the house about an hour, or so, later. He was wanting a shower and dressing change, so we got that knocked out, right away, and then he was much more comfortable, all the way around. As it was, Linda and I were very grateful for the help Jon and his wife Katie provided. The report back from Stacy and Jackie was good, and we were very happy and pleased about that. Loretta came in and took over for Jon and Katie, on Sunday, and took the girls to school this morning. She also helped with a couple other things around the house, and patio, so we felt that we were very fortunate for all the coverage we were able to secure.

Today, Linda and I picked up the girls, from the bus stop, once they were dropped off. They were very happy to see us, and both of them talked steadily for the next several minutes. The great part was that in the process of them doing the complete update, we got to find out about things going on at the school, as well as how the weekend went. We were very pleased to hear that they liked Jon and Katie, and their son Travis.

The rest of the day, today, went rather smoothly, and we were able to get caught up on some of the things going on, and some of the things we're getting more and more involved with. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

November 12, 2015

These last few days have been particularly busy at the Ross household. First there was the visit from Team Depot, and they built a new play area and garden area, and it literally took 12 hours to accomplish. They all stayed and got it all done, including the leveling of the play area with rubber material, so that if the kids were to fall, it wouldn't feel too bad. They brought new patio furniture and even an nice gas grill, that I might start using before this year is out.

Yesterday was Veteran's Day, and it was an amazingly relaxed day for us. We all (Jason, too) went downtown Fallbrook, and watched their Veteran's Day Parade, and it reminded us of some of the parades we used to see in Livermore. Very simple and a lot of support from the city residence. Linda and I were able to just totally relax and enjoy each other's company, and Jason was able to enjoy his new video game. I also planted my winter garden, though "winter" may be a bit misleading. I understand that there are some days here, where it does get down in the 40's, and that is getting cool. It just doesn't seem to ever get really cold around here.

Today the guys were back at the house to finish the watering system on the garden, and it looked pretty good when they were done. There was also the two teams of vendors working on the communication/intercom system for the house. With the new gate, that Jason recently had installed, we can now see who wants access through the gate. There are a few other minor steps to be set, and they should have that completed tomorrow. Then there was the challenge of the network and security that had to be "fixed." I work from the house, and depend greatly on the network being as stable as it can be. Today it was bouncing all over the place, and I was dropped from calls a couple of times. I was just happy these were team calls, and not customer calls. It looks like they got to be about 98% finished with that, and will also be coming back to finish that.

Tomorrow, Linda and I will be taking off for Julian, to spend a few days together to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. The Gary Sinise Foundation has made it possible for us to take a few days off, and just plain relax. Linda has been working pretty hard around here, and can use the rest, just as I can too. I have to admit I haven't been working physically as hard as she has, but I need to rest time as well.

I helped Jason with his shower today, and then did a dressing change. Happy to report that his right side is looking much better, and that he continues to make progress. I know it is getting tougher on him, having to stay down and in bed, most of the day. The good part is that because he is doing so much better, he can stay up a little longer each day, and by the time we take our "family" vacation in December, he should be able to stay up in his chair for 2 or more hours, each day. I've included some pictures, as I haven't posted any in a while. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Mike Schlitz, Stephanie Lanier, Jason and that other guy 

Team Depot taking a lunch break

Team Depot and Mike Amos with Jason Ross getting a group picture

Jackie was very happy and excited about everything

Jackie and Stacy couldn't wait to try out the swings 
Grandpa still has to help Jackie on the swings

Team Depot working to get it all done while there is still day light

Stacy trying out the "trapeze" 

Stacy seeing the world from a different perspective

Everything just about ready for testing

Some of the Team Depot are still kids at heart

Stacy testing out the slide

The girls really getting into the play area

Stacy on the other slide

Jackie sliding down for more fun

A couple of group shots of Team Depot, at it is finally done!

Another group shot of Team Depot

Monday, November 9, 2015

November 9, 2015

Jason's wounds are continuing to improve and because of Veteran's Day, on Wednesday, he will be going in to Wound Care, at Balboa, tomorrow. I suspect that they won't be making many changes, and that the wound-vac will continue, at least for another couple of weeks, and then possibly get back to the previous wound care, and not have to deal with the vac anymore.

On Thursday we will be having a conference call (Skype) with the team at Cal Poly, and be discussing some of their ideas, and seeing just what they think they can accomplish. My concern is the technology side of the call, as the network and signal strengths around here are sometimes pretty poor (thanks, AT&T). We really don't have any other options, at this point, so we're effectively stuck with them as a provider.

We've been busy with a number of things, and look forward to a little bit of a rest this coming weekend. We will be heading up to Julian for our 40th anniversary, and doing our best to get some good old fashion R&R. While we're gone, we'll have a couple staying with Jason, and helping him however the needs arise. Jon and Katie, are a couple we met, through our travels with the Navy health system, and they are anxious to help out. As a bonus, Jon is a corpsman, so he has total comfort in working with wound dressings, and Jason is comfortable working with Jon... and that makes us comfortable.

Jason has been staying down, as much as he can, though somethings that come up will get him up and moving. Like today he went to a parent-teacher discussion, and it was great seeing him wanting to be the lead on this. He was gone for a bit more than an hour, and so it wasn't too difficult for him. As soon as he got back home he was back down. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Friday, November 6, 2015

November 6, 2015

Just a quick update on Jason and the family, so that you'll all  know that he is doing well and that we're all continuing to have faith that things are going in the right direction. Jason is doing well, and even getting out of bed every now and again. He usually isn't up for more than a few minutes; its just nice to see him moving around, and he doesn't have an appointment to go to.

I think that I might get out on the bike tomorrow morning, early, and see if I can get in a few miles of easier riding. The main highway, that is close to the house has been under construction for expansion, since we have been here, and about a year or more, before we arrived. They made a major "lane change" yesterday, and effectively closed off the old road. I saw this today and said, I need to get out on my bike and ride that road; especially since I shouldn't encounter any traffic, other than maybe another bicycle. The road work is to help straighten the highway, and to widen it. They are supposed to be completed with it in another year and a half. I'll be glad to see it complete.

We have some general clean up tomorrow, and I'll be doing some work around the house, and Linda will be doing some work inside the house, but before that happens we will be taking Linda's parents to the Lawrence Welk Resort for a tour in celebration of her mom's 80th birthday. Her parents were big fans of Mr. Welk, so this is something that is very exciting for them. Linda and I went there today and it looks very nice, though I hope Linda's parents aren't disappointed. I guess we'll just have to wait and see. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

November 4, 2015

Yesterday was a busy day, and ended up being a bit of a stressful day. Yesterday actually ended early this morning, but like I often do, I'm getting ahead of myself.

For the most part, yesterday was a nice comfortable day that saw rain and me scrambling to make sure nothing left outside would be damaged by the rain. We had pulled a bunch of stuff out of the  garage, to reorganize and identify exactly what it was (Holiday items, donation items, things we would like to keep, etc.). We had the help of a couple of Marines, in getting it out of the garage, but now it was looking like rain, so I wanted to get it back into the garage, and still leave room for Jason's truck. I managed to do it, though I had to leave some things out side. Those things were primarily plastic boxes, that sealed up, so the contents should remain dry. Jason's truck in in the garage, and he can easily and safely get into his truck, and that was the goal. Even though the things were in plastic containers, I still wanted to make sure they were covered, so I used a tarp and covered them, and it seems to have done the job.

This got us to the end of the day, and it was raining pretty good for a short while. I was happy to see the rain, since we really need it - I just wish it had been timed a little better for us. Since all of us were tired, and the girls were already in bed, we decided to got to bed. I was just about to that point of deep sleep when my phone began to ring. It took me awhile to figure out what was going on, and then I saw it was Jason calling. I answered and he told me he needed to get to the ER. I got up and in a matter of a few moments, I was ready to go. Jason had Linda take care of the dogs, and so she did, while laying on his bed, in his room. Kojak makes noise, howling and crying, whenever Jason isn't around. With Linda being there he was much quieter.

I got Jason to the ER and he explained to them that the catheter he has was apparently clogged. This was causing his bladder to continue to fill, and no way to release pressure. As you can imagine, after a few hours this can begin to get uncomfortable, and it was very. After working with the staff at the Pendleton  Hospital (it is actually the closest hospital), they were able to replace the catheter and Jason was feeling much better. I was doing my best to explain to them what was going on, and the nurse seemed very receptive. The doctor, however seemed bother that I was trying to tell him how to do his job. As it turned out, everything Jason and I had said was correct, and the doctor basically just walked away, and we didn't see or hear from him again. The nurse is the one who discharged us. The problem is, that this all took place late in the day and it was well past midnight before we got back home and I was tired.

I still got up at 06:00 this morning, and just decided to go to work. Linda had to get up also, so she could get the girls to school, and the day was on. Linda managed to get through the day, and finally went to bed early tonight. I'm going to bed right after this blog entry. Sorry for any mistakes, but my editor is asleep, so no proof reading tonight.... ;-) Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Oh, and Jason is doing well, and much happier with the new catheter...

Sunday, November 1, 2015

November 1, 2015

Wow! Where do I begin? - - We have been busy with personal, family things keeping us busy, and on top of that we decided to attack the garage, and see if we could get some room cleared. We even had three Marines come over to help with some of the heavy lifting, on Saturday, and Linda did her best to keep them busy. It actually all began on Friday, while I was working, so I came to the party late, on Friday. I think that coming late was okay, though, because there was plenty to do. Jason was even out on Saturday to look over some of the stuff that was pulled from containers and boxes, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Friday, we had a few visitors over, to discuss some things around the house, such as a patio cover that Jason is having installed. There was also a new health aid starting, and so Linda was busy with getting her "trained" and familiar with what she will be needing to do. There was also the challenge of trying to balance all the other activities, and being able to go pick up the girls from school, so it was the start of a busy weekend. Saturday is when the work on the garage got started, and Sunday Linda had a Blue Star Mothers luncheon to attend to, on top of everything else.

We found some of the items that Jason had with him, when he was injured, and it was impressive how well he dealt with it. One of the reasons Jason had asked the Marines to come over (yeah, he was the one who coordinated the extra help for us) was because he knew he had some "left over" equipment that they, the Marines, had never picked up, and it was in very good condition. He gave the guys some of the stuff that was found, and kept some as well. They all had a great time, as they basically want to help, and being able to help a wounded warrior is that much better for them. On top of that the socializing with Jason was almost as good for them, as it was for Jason.

The garage was emptied on the one side, and the other side had some things moved out. Today I focused on the rest of what was in the garage, and also targeted at reorganizing so that we would be able to get the truck back in the garage, like it is supposed to be. The van is going to have to wait a bit longer, though I am hopeful it won't be too much longer. By this evening I was able to pull the truck in to the garage and re-stack all the remaining stuff so that the organizational aspect is much better off, and the space is used more effectively. I was pretty bushed when I was done tonight, and I have to admit that it felt good getting it done.

The other thing I did was to walk most of the property, doing my best to get ride of weeds and tumble weed, before it gets to maturity. I was walking up and down hills and carrying a shovel. I think I covered about 2/3 of the property, though that remaining 1/3 is probably going to take as much effort and have about as many weeds. The joys of having a little more land are simply that taking care of it requires more time to do so. There is a big plus to this, and that is that working as hard as we have been also means that we'll sleep really well.

Halloween was quite, since we have the gate installed, and we don't have side walks for the kids to use. I wanted to buy a couple bags of candy, but Linda didn't think it was a god ideas, and it turns out that she was right - - - again. Next year Jason is looking forward to going out with the girls, and being more involved with the Fallbrook neighbors. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.