Iwo Gima

Iwo Gima
Marine Corps Marathon

Monday, December 28, 2015

December 28, 2015

It has been a few days since my last update, and I wanted to get something out there, so that no one is wondering what Jason, and the rest of the family, are up to.

Jason is doing well, and continues on his healing journey.  Because of the Christmas Holiday, there has been a bit of a disruption to all our schedules, though nothing that can't be dealt with. Not too long ago, we had to go to the hospital at Camp Pendleton because of a catheter problem. There only solution to this is to have a complete change out of the catheter. The catheter goes in through the wall of his abdomen and right into his bladder, and sometimes there are problems with it that cause him a great deal of discomfort. Because we were going about once a month they agreed to instruct me in how to do the change, so that we don't have to deal with driving all the way in, and now I can say that I have changed out the catheter, a couple of times. The things I am doing, and have done are mind boggling for me, as I never thought I'd be doing this level of care. At one time, in my youth, I wanted to be involved with the medical profession - now I am. Me being able to do this really takes a load off of Jason as well, as he doesn't want to go in, anymore than he has to, and I can address it much more quickly... I just need to be sure we have all the supplies needed.

As for our Christmas - it was very quiet. The girls are in Boston, and we won't be seeing them again until after January 6th. Linda wasn't feeling good on Christmas day, so she spent most of the day laying down, and I was basically taking care of her, too. We didn't exchange presents until the next day. It was nice and relaxed, but without the girls being here, it just wasn't the same. Christmas is for kids, and when none are around, it just feels like a big piece is missing. Next year the girls will be with us, and it will be much different.

I've been able to get in a couple of short bike rides, and it really did feel pretty good. Being back out on my bike felt great, even if I did find out just how out of shape I have gotten. I figure if I can find the time to ride just a little each week, I'll be able to start rebuilding again, and by Spring I should be able to go for longer rides and really start to get back into it.

Tomorrow is another day, and I'll be taking Jason in for his appointments, in the afternoon. These are just regular appointments, and shouldn't take too long. The roughest aspect is that they are later in the day, than we are used to. Typically we would go in the morning but because I'm working now we have to go a little later, and since Jason's truck isn't working, he can't drive himself and has to depend on me. Hopefully this will be corrected soon. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

December 23, 2015

What a wild and crazy week, so far. Because of a generous gift from the Gary Sinise Foundation, we were able to have a little family vacation.We drove up to the Los Angeles area and stopped in to see Mickey and friends (funny thing is, we didn't see Mickey or Donald, except on the parade floats), and hoped to get some serious R&R time in. We went in to this knowing that the rides were limited (only two, and for those still not sure, I'm talking about DisneyLand) that Jason could take advantage of, and those were with the Jungle Cruise and Its A Small World. Jason is not a big fan of Its a Small World, so that left the Jungle Cruise. We were even escorted over to the ride and found out that they have one boat and it was dry-docked for repairs, so he was out of luck. The next was that we could go see a show, and we wanted to check out the Aladdin show, over at California Adventure. Well, as it turned out, there were plenty of other people there that wanted to see the show and Kojak just wasn't tolerating the huge crowd. Jason decided to pull out and get the dogs to a place where they didn't feel so much stress. Bottom line is that we spent some time there, with the girls, but not much time with Jason. Fortunately the hotel was close by so Jason was able to get back to his room and at least he was able to rest comfortably there. He was very pleased with the bed, and said he was able to rest nicely, and the dogs were resting there as well.

Linda and I spend quite a bit of time with the girls and saw as many things as time permitted. We didn't have to wait in too many lines, as the Gary Sinise Foundation made it possible for us to be shown (escorted) around and that was very nice. The girls got to meet some story book princesses and Stacy even gave them each a souvenir  pin. It was a simple little pin, but you could tell that the "princesses" typically didn't receive gifts, and they were all touched by it. They gave both Stacy and Jackie a little extra attention, and of course both girls loved it. Funny thing though, we managed to get on to a dozen or so rides, and I think the one of the rides they liked the best was the DisneyLand Express, the steam train that circles the park. Both of the girls held up very well, and had energy until about 20:00, when we finally headed back in. I personally was surprised at how well they did. To be totally honest, Linda and I were pretty well worn out by then, too.

From DisneyLand, heading home, this morning, it took us less than 1 1/2 hours of driving. I was expecting a 2 to 3 -hour drive, and I don't think we slowed down to more than 60 mph at any point in the entire journey, until after we got off the freeway. This was a major plus for us, and especially for Jason, as we still want to keep him down as much as possible. We also had to get the girls ready for their next trip, with their mother, to Boston. They will be flying back to see their other grandmother, and we hope they have a good time, and I'm sure they will.

We have the Christmas Holiday this week, and then next week there is the New Year. In between I will be working, and then after the New Year, we will be getting ready for another trip to Colorado. Jason is being sent out there to work with a special team of engineers to develop an alternate seating solution. We're not sure if it will work, but we don't turn down any thing that shows promise. He continues to heal, and even though we have been busy for these past several days, he continues to improve. Tomorrow we will have some guests from Balboa Hospital over for dinner, and socializing with Jason. They will be from the Wounded Warrior Battalion. Then on Christmas Day we expect the same from Camp Pendleton, from the other contingent of the Wounded Warrior Battalion, though we really don't know how many to expect, from either place. We're hoping to provide a little "home" time for the guys, especially those that have no place else to go. On top of that Jason will enjoy spending some time with other Marines.

Anyway, in the event that I don't have time to make another post to the blog - Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

December 17, 2015

Just wanted to get a quick update out there, so that it isn't another week before any information comes out. Jason is doing well, and continues his healing, and being very dedicated to getting those pesky wounds to heal. He has been up, on occasion, when he has had a chance to socialize a little, friends have come over for short visits and such. He also has been up a couple of times when there was a business need, such as when both Gracie and Kojak got bathed (Jason had a dog service come to the house to bath the dogs). Jason had to go out and basically stay while Kojak was washed, and though I really wasn't happy with Jason being out in the cooler temps, Jason was happy, even if Kojak wasn't.

I went with Jason, on his most recent trip to Balboa Hospital and it was worth the extra effort, on my part, as I was instructed on how to take care of the issue that has caused Jason trouble these past couple of months. Now, if it should happen again he won't have to go in to the ER to get it taken care of, and I will be doing it. As I have said, it isn't life threatening, it is something that just causes Jason a great deal of discomfort, so I don't mind taking care of it.

The girls will be back with us this weekend, specifically Saturday evening, when we will be heading up to the Los Angeles area, and taking the girls to Disneyland. This is a surprise for them, so I haven't even wanted to put it in the blog. Now that it is getting close, I am comfortable that they won't find out from anything I write here. We'll be going up for four days, though only two of those will be at the park, and the other two are basically slated for travel. This is something that Jason has wanted to do for the girls, and with the help of the Gary Sinise Foundation, it has finally come true. Because of their connections and partnership with Disneyland, we will be receiving a special gift once we arrive, and we will be staying at the Grand California Hotel. The special gift is a VIP package and tour guide of the park, though Jason's time at the park is limited and he will still need to be down most of the time. The guide will be taking us around, with the girls, and Jason will do his best to meet up with us, as he can. The Gary Sinise Foundation continues to do things for Jason and us that is both wonderful and helpful. They really do go the extra mile when it comes to helping. If you are looking for an organization to donate to, please, PLEASE keep them in mind.

I think I should be able to get another post out, before Christmas, and we will be back home. The week after Christmas is going to be spent taking care of some errands, and maybe doing a little catching up of some things around here. Linda has been doing an amazing job of staying on top of the different chores around here, but with it being a "holiday" week, I should be able to put some time into helping her, at least some (I will be working that week, also). Thanks, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Friday, December 11, 2015

December 11, 2015

This has been a busy week with continued preparations for Christmas, and some shopping that got accomplished. We also had a dental visit (both Linda and I - I need to go back one more time this year) that we both needed - the good thing here is that with me working again, we have insurance. The cool thing, though, is that Dr. Salgado and his wife Stephanie said that they would help with our dental needs even if we didn't have insurance, and they have in the past. I'm happy that we can pay them for the work, as it is their livelihood.

On Tuesday this week we had an important conference call, with the VA, with regard to a planned trip out to Colorado, for Jason and I. We will be going out there to get some help with a special seating solution that should help him ride in his chair more comfortably. This is not in conjunction with the work that is going on at Cal Poly, and it looks like Cal Poly is making some progress with their efforts as well. We will be visiting a company called Ride Designs, and this is all being done through the VA, and their Physical Therapy efforts. We will be in Colorado for a eight days, which is one day longer than I first thought was going to happen. They are flying us out in an air ambulance, and returning the same way.

On Wednesday Jason had PT, Wound Care and a truck that decided to stop functioning - well, the lift system stopped working properly. The medical visits were good and uneventful (the way we like them), and the drive home was without incident. The problem showed up after he pulled into the garage and attempted to get out of the truck. The lift system just didn't want to operate the way it is designed to operate. Unfortunately I was not at home, as I had taken the car to the service garage to get an oil change and basic service. When Jason and Linda left for Balboa I was working and they didn't return until several hours later, and I was off work by then. Our car needed service and I was home alone, so I thought it was a good time to take care of it. Fortunately Rondra (Jason's health aid, and yes, that's how you spell her name) is big and strong enough that she could help, and she needed to lift him (Jason weighs roughly 175 pounds) out of his power chair which was about 3 feet off the ground while Linda secured the manual wheel chair and they safely transferred him. We were grateful that he wasn't alone. Funny thing is, though, I got home a short while later and I was able to get the lift system to work and got his chair out.

Jason called the Ability Center and they sent out a tech. He checked out the system and said there were some serious issues with it and Jason should not use the truck again until it is repaired. For the time being, I am his driver again, and Linda has said she is going to learn how to operate the van. It really shouldn't be too difficult for her, as it is actually smaller than the van we had prior to her coming down from Livermore. The hands-operations is the part that she will need to learn, and just get used to it being there.

To end the day, Wednesday, we (Linda and I) went to a special Toys For Tots dinner, as guests of the Blue Star Mothers while Rondra stayed with Jason. It was a very nice event and we were able to connect up with a couple of people we hadn't seen in a little while, and then I also connected with the XO of the Wounded Warrior Battalion West, Lt. Col. Mark Campaigne. The meeting has proved valuable already and we are making our house available to Marines who are going to be there, who have no where to go for Christmas. As it turned out, Jason and I had to go to Camp Pendleton today, and we ended up over at the Wounded Warrior Battalion, and stopped in and saw Mark. We got a full tour of the facilities and just maybe, Jason is going to take advantage of some of the things they have to offer, as well as make some time to help with keeping the other injured Marines up and positive. Jason is very good at bringing a positive attitude to any situation, and everybody involved with the tour today was very impressed with Jason and his attitude.

Thursday was much more laid back and though there were a few things that we needed to get done, like Christmas shopping and general cleaning of the house. We decided to just take the time and stay up a little later than normal and watched Unbroken again. The story about Louis Zamborini, and how he survived a plane crash and being a prisoner of War during WWII.  It was a good movie the first time we saw it at the theater and we still enjoyed it. It really isn't your typical Christmas movie, but we like it.

Today was another exciting day. I was up at 06:20 this morning, and was late for work. I typically can be on line and working by 06:00, but because we were up late last night with Louis, I was slow to get moving this morning. As it turned out I really didn't stop until after noon (actually 12:33) when I had to take Jason to Camp Pendleton Hospital. He was dealing with another catheter issue and this time it looks like they figured out what was causing the problem. For whatever reason, Jason is developing stones in his bladder, and they block the flow. Now we have to figure out why he is now creating stones. He will be going in to the Urology doctors to see what they can determine. We ended up being there for more than a couple of hours, mostly because of our "short" visit with the Wounded Warrior Battalion, mentioned above. We had to drive home in commute traffic, and I really don't like driving in traffic... even more than when we lived up in Livermore.

I know this is a long post, and I could have made shorter ones during the week, but what the heck. It is all here now and everyone is just about caught up. The only thing left is that Jason's wounds are doing better, and continuing to heal. Thank you, for all your continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

December 6, 2015

Well, we've got the house decorated for Christmas and the tree is up. The girls even helped with putting on some of the ornaments. We have enjoyed these past few days, and having the girls here is just an extra bonus for us. Their mom went to a football game and asked us to take the girls today, so we did, and it give us more time to be with them. Jason was with them for a couple of hours, today, reading and watching some cartoons. They were having fun and Jason was enjoying it most of all.

Jason continues to heal up on his right side, and we are still hopeful that the progress will continue. We have some traveling to do over these next couple of months, with one of those trips all the way out to Colorado. Actually, that one is one of the very bright spots for the VA, in that they are working with a specialist company that is supposed to help him with his seating solution. If they can come up with an answer to how to make him more comfortable we are all going to be sooooo happy.

Good Friends from Livermore, Karen and Mike, came down for a visit, and we got to spend some time with them. Yesterday they took us wine tasting, to a local winery, Callaway Winery, and we had a very nice time. The wineries up in the Bay Area are really nice, so it was particularly nice to find a good one down here. This afternoon they came by and we had lunch with them and were able to just sit and relax, and have a good old fashioned visit. Actually, Mike has a new job that is going to require him to come down to the San Diego area occasionally, so we should be able to see them more often. Mike is a rep for a generator company and we have one of their generators as a back up power source for the house, should we have a power loss. We did experience a power loss due to a construction crew hitting a power line, not too long ago, and the generator kicked in without a problem. It was good as it allowed us to see just what was and was not connected to the generator.

These next couple of weeks are going to be busy for us, with the holidays now upon us (another reason it is good for the house to already be decorated). We need to get our Christmas cards mailed out soon, and that means I need to finish the Holiday Letter. This past year has been eventful, so there is plenty to write about. Perhaps I'll take care of the letter at the same time I do a blog, next week, and take care of both. Thanks, for the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

December 2, 2015

Well, here it is, the last month of the year, and you have to wonder to yourself, "where has all the time gone?" Jason is doing much better, he went to Wound Care today, with Linda and everything seems to be doing better with each visit. In fact, I'd go so far as to say we're all doing better.

The girls are growing so fast now, and you can almost see them get taller with each day. I helped Jackie get dressed, this morning and she picked out a shirt to wear. I helped her get it on then told her that it was going to be the last time she wore it. It was skin tight and I was surprised she was still comfortable wearing it. Stacy isn't slowing down any either, as her clothes seem to be shrinking a little every day - - - I know, she's growing, but I'd rather say the clothes are shrinking.

The weather is still very much what you would expect to find in the San Diego area, and I have to admit, I can't complain about it. I think I'd really like to see a little more in the way of seasons, but I guess I'll just have to put up with the sun shine.

I'm going to do my best to continue with at least every other day for posting, and sometimes even that will find there really isn't much new to write about. Maybe that's a good thing, and "routine" is really a good way to go. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.