This is the second Leap-year since Jason's injuries, and tomorrow is the fifth anniversary of him stepping on the I.E.D. This coming weekend we're planning on a celebration, marking the 5-years of life, after the "bad-guys" tried to kill him, and failed, so I thought I might do a bit a recap of what happened, for those that have not been reading the blog from the beginning, and a little reminder for those that have been.
Jason was on a patrol with five other guys. One of those guys was the squad leader, as well as a good friend of his, "Gunny Rick", and as it turned out, he and Jason were the only two injured in the blast. Jason was thrown several feet up, in the air, and came down hard, which broke both of his hands - though they might have been broken as a result of the blast and the fall back to Earth only caused more damage. Both his hands were also badly burned, with most of the finger nails being burned off. He also sustained a deep gash in his right arm, below the elbow that almost caused him to lose that arm, but fortunately the trauma surgeon said to leave it and give it a chance to repair (which it has done). One of the many amazing things that happened was that Jason was wearing this Timex watch and it sustained the blast and kept on working. He still has it, today.
Jason was wearing all his protective gear, so other than a small cut on his chin, there was virtually no damage to his head and face. There were other injuries to the body, such as his left lung collapsed and other trauma to internal organs, and then the major damage to the lower portion of his body, where he lost both legs and ultimately a portion of his pelvic bone. And, despite all this trauma and injury, he remained awake for almost all of it. He was still directing his team to watch the perimeter and where to be looking for other possible shooters. He remained awake and active until he was put on the helicopter, where the doctor on board, put him out. He remained out until he was brought out of his coma in Bethesda, at the now, Walter Reed Hospital.
I was standing in my kitchen, getting ready to head off to a new job when the phone call came in and my legs nearly gave out, when the Marine on the other end of the phone told me why he was calling. I asked him to stop and immediately went to get Linda, so she could hear the news at the same time I was hearing it. Both of us were in shock. Fortunately we have good friends close by who were able to come over quickly and help us out. The first 48 hours were very critical and soon we were on our way to Bethesda, Maryland where we saw Jason come in and we both stayed with him for the next several months. Linda eventually had to return home, because she had her business going, and though the company held the job open for me, for another month, I told them that I would not be coming back soon. From that point on our lives took a totally different direction.
Since then, Jason has undergone over 240 surgeries and procedures, and as it turns out, he is not done. In fact he will be undergoing another procedure a little later this week. It is an exploratory type where he won't have to stay in the hospital, over night, but he will be gone for most of the day, and Linda and I will be there for most of that time. Then, after he gets back home, we'll be discussing the final preparations for his 5-year anniversary, and what we will attempt to get done by this weekend.
The funny thing is, we've been doing lots of stuff already, and there still seems like there is much to be done. I have been working on the 2 1/2 acres, clearing weeds and brush, just to provide room for parking. Jason even bought a new "weed mower" to help get this done. I got about half way through and broke it. I will be attempting to fix it over these next couple of days. It has rained a little, and is supposed to rain again tomorrow, and that might make the clean up a little more challenging, but we have learned to just take each day, and do what we can.
The people we have met along the way have been mostly wonderful. Some of them have been more amazing than others, like Gary Sinise (The Gary Sinise Foundation) and Col. John Folsom (Wounded Warrior Family Support). Also, some of the foundations and organizations like EOD Warrior Foundation (Sherry Beck) and Semper Fi (Dawn Van Skike, and June Cartmill), that made the first impacts a little less traumatizing to our family and I know to many others. The medical people have all been solid supporters of Jason, and have all expressed an amazement at how he has been able to do so well and remain so positive. Jason has even been asked to speak with other patients, to attempt to bring up their moods and attitudes. Dr. Malone, was Jason's initial trauma surgeon, that we met in Bethesda. I would have liked to have been able to meet some of the medical team(s) who worked on Jason prior to Bethesda, but that is not likely. After arriving at Balboa Naval Hospital we met others such as Dr. Pao, and Dr. Sheu, and there is also Dr. Salt and Dr. Shumaker. Actually, there are so many that I won't be able to list them all, and now we're coming in to contact with other medical teams at the VA.
Today, I had to take Linda in to the Urgent Care center, at the Scripps Hospital, because she hurt herself, while attempting to help Jason. Jason had dropped a item and she went to pick it up, only she wasn't in a good position to do so. As a result she pushed herself and apparently cracked a rib or tore a muscle, and now she has to go through the long process of letting it heal. The doctor was pretty confident that she would be feeling better after about six weeks, though that is a long time, when you're on the beginning side of the six weeks.
Tomorrow is supposed to rain, and that means I won't be getting much done on the yard, and on top of that Jason wants to go check out the gym at the Wounded Warrior Battalion at Camp Pendelton. I am all in favor of him going and working out, and it also gives me a chance to get some specific exercise in, it should be a fun time, and since I won't be able to do much around the yard, a good use of my time. Not sure what else is going to be happening tomorrow, but like I said earlier - - - we take one day at a time. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.