Iwo Gima

Iwo Gima
Marine Corps Marathon

Thursday, April 20, 2017

April 20, 2017

I know some (all?) of you are wondering what happened with Jason's surgery, yesterday. Well, it was a little more complicated than initially expected, by the good doctor, but all was taken care of. It was all good news and after five hours of surgery, Jason was resting comfortably in his hospital room. He is in good spirits and we are expecting him to be back out of the hospital in a week (7-days) and then it is a matter of completing the healing.

All of his wounds are doing well and it looks like they want Jason back in Colorado to get a new prosthetic device, which will be yet another positive step for his mobility. All-in-all it has been a very positive past couple of days... except for the dogs. They are besides themselves wondering what happened to their master. They keep looking for him and don't understand why he isn't home.

We, Linda and I, are looking to arrange it so that we can stay closer to the hospital, for the next couple of days, and thus have the dogs closer as well. We want to do this through the weekend and maybe for the entire week. A great deal has to do with the girls and their schedules with school. I guess we could get up at 05:00 to get them to school... ;-) Okay, maybe not. Anyway, right now we are all feeling pretty good about the future. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Monday, April 10, 2017

April 10, 2017

A quick update on Jason and what is going on in the Fallbrook household.

First, we're looking at a surgery date of April 19, for Jason, and this is the big surgery that we've been waiting for. The urology doctors will be going in and repairing some of the damage and that should allow Jason the ability to urinate in a more normal and natural way. This is a very good thing because it gets rid of the SP catheter he has been using for the past 6+ years, AND it eliminates a big infection point. Over these past 6 years Jason has had several infection fights and by far, most of them have been because of the SP catheter.

His open soars have been significantly reducing in size, and making great progress to fully healing. With the combination of these two major steps, Jason may be able to finally get back in to the water and do one of the things he really enjoyed doing - - - swimming. Of course there are a number of other small steps that will need to be taken first, but we don't think they will be a great challenge. I will do my best to keep you informed on the progress.

The girls are doing well and getting bigger all the time. We recently purchased them new scooters and they spent hours just rolling around the property. We enjoy watching them race around and so far there have been no accidents or tumbles! I know if I were riding them I'd be falling down all the time... ;-)

Anyway, things are good and we look forward to a great Spring and Summer. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

March 25, 2017

Apologies to all, in that it has taken me a little longer than I should have taken to provide another update.

Jason does  not, and did not have MRSA. He has a basic staff infection (which can still be very uncomfortable), and therefore it was not as serious an issue as we initially though. A culture was taken at Balboa, and as a result of the initial treatment and antibiotics he is doing quite well. He is still having to spend more time in bed, and he hates it, and the wounds are all getting better. The big challenge now is getting him back into the wearable. Not sure how long that is going to take, but I'm guessing in a matter of a week or so.

On another front, Jason is scheduled for surgery in April, so again he will be required to stay down for healing, only this time it is elective. They are going to be able to go in and reconstruct his urethra and, assuming all goes well he will no longer have to deal with a catheter. This is something we have been looking to happen for a couple of years now. I know it is a matter of Jason's being ready for it, and being healed up enough, but it has taken a long time to get there.

In the mean time, we had George, III (Jason's oldest brother) to the house and celebrated his 40th birthday. It was a fun time for everyone, and we all dressed up in super  hero attire, as that was the theme of the party. George stayed for a few more days, afterward and then had to head back home... something about needing to get back to work... ;-) Anyway, George will be coming back down on a more regular basis and Stacy and Jackie will be able to get to know their Uncle George more.

David and Sean were also at the party, and that was the first time in about six years that all four of them have been together. It was particularly good for Linda and I, as we miss having them around. We need to come up with more reasons to have all of them here, with the entire extended family. It is always fun to see all the grandkids playing, and they all keep growing so fast. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


Things have been going pretty good for the past several days and then yesterday Jason had to get over to the ER at Camp Pendleton. Seems he got an infection from MRSA, which is a type of staph that is resistant to most antibiotics. Well, it came in the form of a cyst and simply looked like a large pimple, very large. He was able to speak with his primary doctor at Balboa and she instructed him to get over to the ER and that's where they took care of it. Fortunately it was seen before it became a major issue, and in a matter of a couple weeks we should be all done with it. The down side on this is that they had to pack it with a medicated strip, so that it would heal correctly while at the same time helping it to heal from the inside out. Tonight I had to get Jason back over to the ER so they could make the change to the packing and it was quite painful for Jason. The medical team assure him that each day it would become less painful, and that this first one was the most painful.

The timing is unfortunate, as we are also working on putting together a surprise Super Hero Birthday party for our son, George, III, as he is turning 40 years old this month and has always loved Superman. Linda has been working on this for the past few months, and it looked like it was going to be smooth sailing. Things just seem to happen sometimes, and we just have to go with the flow. Jason and I were supposed to have been out to Spring Training, in Arizona, but things just didn't come together with transportation. As it has turned out, it is a good thing we didn't go, as Jason was able to get that infection taken care of. Anyway, George's party is still on and Jason's treatments should be very manageable by the time everybody gets here.

Speaking of everybody being here. This is the first time that all four of our sons will be together in over six years. Linda and I are very much looking forward to seeing all of them in the same place. We will have all our sons and all our grandkids in the same place... that is going to be awesome. The rains seem to have stopped, finally, so we should have some good days for the party, and for the visit. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

March 02, 2017

Apologies for the lack of updates, over these past few weeks, but I have been busy with a few other things. Linda was off on a retreat, actually two, and that meant I was flying solo for a couple weeks. In the mean time things have happened, that are positive, and Linda came back feeling recharged and better - and that's good for me.

First, Jason has been going to the gym now, for a few weeks, and the results are already showing up. I am happy to say that you can see some definition starting to show in his arms and shoulders, and he is feeling better because of it. Another positive side is that I have been going with him (most of the time) and I'm getting a little benefit from the gym as well (more on that later). The down side is that it is causing his overall body shape to change some and he doesn't fit in the wearable as he did before. This is causing some other challenges.

The wearable is designed to "hold and lift" Jason so that the pressure on his wound and bottom are is reduced and eliminated. With the body shape change it is unable to do the same level of support. As a result Jason is now experiencing the old shearing problem that he had before. The one open wound has changed to three, though all three are small. We are working with the folks at Ride Design (Rob) and it looks like a new insert is going to have to be built. Our hope is that we won't have to travel to get this done, as travel is not one of Jason's favorite things to do. Especially when it is over a long distance, and in an airplane.

Otherwise, his spirits are up and he is still as positive as always. He is still making his mead and has a batch (not sure what the technical term is for new mead) coming along that should provide him with several bottles. The funny part is that he makes it, bottles it, and then gives most of it away. He hardly ever drinks any of it himself. I do know of a couple people who have been given a bottle, and I have heard them ask him if he is going to make more, so I take that as a positive sign that they like it.

The girls are growing and enjoying their time with us, and especially some recent fun with Daddy. Jason took the girls to the "Father-Daughter" Dance at the school, and they had a great time. I didn't stay, though I did do the driving. Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures with my camera, so I don't have any to post right now. I did get a couple with my cell phone/camera, but haven't quite figured out how to down load to the computer... I'll work on that today.

We have a couple of  new cabinets, and shelves that Jason ordered, coming in to the house. They are sitting in the garage, right now, waiting to be finished. I know we're all going to be happy to see them installed, so that we can get some additional books and other things displayed. Some of the shelving is going in Jason's bedroom, and he will be able to get some of his "toys" displayed, that are currently just sitting in boxes, and that will free up some floor space.

This weekend we are celebrating Jason's Alive-Day anniversary, as it will be six-years! It is pretty amazing how far he has come, and how far we have also come along on this journey. From being listed as a very high probability of dying, to now a strong and thriving man, Jason continues to amaze the medical world, and those that come to meet him. It isn't going to be as big of event as the five-year event, but then it isn't supposed to be. We've decided that we're going to make the every five-year make the big one, so in 2021 we're going to have a big party again!

This last part, really has nothing to do with Jason's progress, or the family, it is about a recent trip to In-N-Out burger. Linda and I drove through the drive-through and ordered two double-doubles and two single protein burgers. The total came to $14.92. For those that know me, I like to reference any numbers I can to historic dates, and I thought this was a big one. I asked the first person if they knew the importance of 1492, and she said no, she didn't recognize it and, "...didn't do well in history." So I told her and drove on, a little disappointed.  The next window is where I paid for it, and again the young man sitting there didn't know what 1492 represented, and now I was a little more disappointed. Finally we came to the pick-up window and this last person, who did appear to be maybe a little older than the other two, and again, she had no idea what the date was, or even who Columbus was. Linda and I were absolutely incredulous. What is being taught in schools? Granted, there is a great deal of evidence that others came to the North American continent before Christopher Columbus, but he was effectively the reason others began to go exploring more, and the settlements turned in to multiple countries. PLEASE, PLEASE educate your children, our future!

Okay, got that off my chest... Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers, take care and stay positive -

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

February 8, 2017

Over the past several months (almost a year?) we have been talking with Jason about him needing to get out and get some exercise at a gym. Well, yesterday he went to the gym ... the gym on Camp Pendleton that is connected with the Wounded Warrior Battalion. It was very good in that it gave him the chance to do some specific exercises, on specific equipment, that was designed to help him with his shoulders and back. He also worked on his core muscle group, and was very pleased with himself afterward.

When he was finished with the gym he went over to see some of his friends at the EOD Company and even brought them a gift - a large bottle of his mead. Unfortunately the mead didn't make it. As he was entering the building he hit a bump and the bottle, which was resting on the power chair, fell off and broke. Needless to say, he was disappointed - as were the guys at the EOD company. He still had a good visit and will be bringing some mead again on the next visit (probably tomorrow). They all had a good time and Jason was there for over an hour, then came back home.

Funny thing is, when he came home I helped him with his shower and then he got back in bed. Within a matter of just a few minutes he was asleep. He slept for a few hours and finally woke up in the evening and was in time to have dinner with the girls.

Tomorrow Jason wants to get over to the gym again, and this time I will be going with him. I'm going to be doing a little of the exercising too, but just not sure what. The gym has been set up for the Wounded Warrior Battalion and I'm not sure how many of the machines and pieces of equipment are available for me to use. That's okay though, as my lower back has just recently started to feel closer to normal (I have been told that I have arthritis in my lower back and left hip and for a while it was uncomfortable to move around much. I've been working on it and making some progress).

Otherwise, not much more going on. The girls are growing and Stacy has gotten involved with the Drama Club at school. She really enjoys being on the stage and being in front of a bunch of people doesn't seem to bother her much at all. She and Jackie are becoming more affectionate with their daddy, and Linda and I are very happy to see this. Jason likes to read to them, and tell them stories, just before the go to bed. It must be the right kind of stories because they both sleep through the night and are waking up ready to start the day.Thank you for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January 31, 2017

Over these past several days, our household has been very busy, to say the least. Amazingly it all came together and we were able to get up to Livermore to pay our respects to the Ferea family, as they had to deal with the death of Ron, the head of the family. Jason was able to get some time with one of his closest friends, Matt, and I think it was really good for both of them. We also spent a little time with Margie, Ron's wife, and their daughter Megan. Linda and I (mostly Linda) had a special relationship with the family, as both the kids, Matt and Megan, were in Linda's child care, and then Megan even worked for Linda for a couple of years. Matt and Jason were in Scouts together, so that was another connection and we seemed to always have things going on with them. Ron will be missed by many.

We flew up to Livermore, courtesy of Veteran Airlift Command (VAC), in a Pilatus aircraft, and it was a very smooth flight. After we landed, Jason made the comment that it was much smoother in the plane than on the ground (In the ground's defense - there was a great deal of construction going on). We had a rental van from the Oakland Mobility Center, and they provided us with a wheelchair accessible van at a low rate. It too, was comfortable and large enough for all we had, plus the two dogs. A great big thank you, goes out to George and Jane Bowen for being there to go pick up the van and bring it to the airport for us. It would have been a very difficult situation otherwise.

We stayed up in Livermore for just the one day, and came right back down. We did get to see a couple of friends and do a little visiting, which gave Jason a chance to connect with a couple of folks he had not seen in awhile. Linda and I think that it would be good to get that same type flight and van so that we could visit for about a week. We talked to the pilots and they said it shouldn't be a problem, just need to coordinate with the folks at the VAC.

Tomorrow Jason and I will be heading to Balboa for his regular Wound Care visit, and attempt to get a few other things done, like get the Mustang in for service. He is also making some progress with his mead production. Maybe "production" is too strong of a word, as he really isn't making that much. These are more like experimental steps at trying to figure out how to make it taste the way he wants it to taste. He does have a name - Wolf Head Mead - and a business card (His brother Sean helped with the logo, a wolf's head). I see it as something he is doing and he enjoys doing it, so it is good.

I will do my best to get some pictures up tomorrow, but for now you'll have to simply enjoy the text. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Friday, January 27, 2017

January 27, 2017

It looks like things are coming together so that we will be able to head up to Livermore, again, this weekend - Sunday to be specific. We will be returning on Monday, in the afternoon or early evening, so this is simply going to be a fast trip. The reason for the trip is so that we can pay our last respects to a friend of ours, Ron Ferea, who passed away a couple of days ago, and his funeral is going to take place on Monday. It was important for Jason to be there.

Ron and Margie were married for almost 40 years, and they have two children, Matt and Megan. Matt and Jason basically grew up together, and whenever you found one of them, you found the other. Ron and I even took the boys to Japan to hike up Mt. Fuji - it was a part of a Boy Scout adventure (High Adventure at that), and just one of the many times we all did something together. I even had the pleasure of working with Ron on a construction project (Vacaville Kaiser Hospital), where he was one of the contractors working on the escalator being installed.

The challenge of getting there, really wasn't that great. I simply contacted Veteran Airlift Command,
www.veteransairlift.org and let them know what was needed. Jason and I were able to take advantage of their services once before, when we traveled up to get Kojak, his second dog. This will actually be a shorter trip, so everything should be easier on Jason. We'll be staying overnight in Livermore and then flying back out the next day, a couple hours after the services. The difficulty was simply finding a wheelchair accessibly van. Between Linda and myself, I'm sure we called every agency in the area, and some of them twice. Linda finally was able to make the connection, and everything is just about all taken care of. There are still a few loose ends to be taken care of, then we can totally relax.

One thing that did happen today was a visit to the girl's school, because of Grand Parents Day, and a talent show they were both in. The girls got to escort us around the school and then there was the talent show. Stacy sang and Jackie got to do some of what she felt was marshal arts, on stage (she has never taken any marshal art lessons). They both did an excellent job, and felt comfortable in front of an audience. Bottom line is that both Grandma and Grandpa had a fun time. All things considered, we're doing well and Jason is still in very positive and high spirits. Thank you, all for all the continued prayers and support. Take care and stay positive.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

January 24, 2017

I remember when we were in a drought, wait, that was just a couple of months ago. We are coming up on the 25th day of this year, and it has rained, here in San Diego County, 22 days. The "average" rain fall for this area is about 10.45 inches, over the year. Last year we had 10.25, and this year we've already had about 6 inches (much higher than normal). I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that we are going to have a wet year... ;-)

Things are going well, though, and we have not had any down time due to lost power, or flooding of the roads. Sometimes the network has dropped and the phones are not always working, but those are the only signs that the weather is a little more harsh than normal. Heck, we even had hail, and when that happened the girls were very excited. They were hoping it would continue and turn into snow... it wasn't that cold. Overall, the girls, and the dogs, loved the rain. The rest of us just had to deal with it and clean up the mud being tracked in.

Jason is doing well, and he and I will be heading in to Wound Care in the morning. There is also an appointment with a couple of his other doctors, but I don't think there is going to be much movement on anything else, at least not for the next couple of weeks. We're working with both the VA and the Naval Hospital to get some things pulled together, and Jason is looking to have some of his PT moved to the VA hospital, since it is closer. The challenge is getting them to allow him to have more than 8 treatments without having to get approval for more. With the Navy (Balboa Naval Hospital), right now, he can go in and receive all the treatments he wants. The problem is that it is so far away. Fortunately I think it is being reviewed at higher levels, and it will happen, just we don't know when.

If the weather holds for a few days, and over the weekend, we will probably get out and do some shooting. He hasn't taken his guns out for several months, because of weather. Neither of us wants to go out in the mud, and have him get stuck. All the shooting ranges will be muddy for the next few days... at least. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

January 10, 2017

It is already the 10th day of the year and it seems to have gone by so very fast. On top of that it has rained nearly every day, and for this part of California, that's a bunch... we do need the rain, though.

Jason is doing well, and we continue to work on better ways to make him comfortable, as well as continue to work with all the medical teams. His one wound is being particularly stubborn, and just as it looks like it is going to be closing up it starts to open up a little. When I say open up, what is really happening is that the immediate skin around the wound site starts to break down and goes away. The BIGGEST challenge is blood flow to that area. This is something we've been aware of for a few years now, and we are constantly looking for ways of making improvements. One of the ways was the new prosthetic he received from Aspen/Ride Design (also known as the "wearable"), and it helped greatly. The only issue with that though, is that we have kind of hit a limit to how much more it can help that one spot (mentioned above). That is where the folks at CalPoly kind of step in. They designed another type support system that could help in a different way, and still help to keep Jason comfortable just being around the house. The wearable is for general travel and getting around, away from the house. It is great for support but restricts his ability to reach and move his upper body. The CalPoly device is designed to allow him the ability to reach for things and move a little easier while at home.

Jon Monett, the man who effectively put that CalPoly design team together, stopped by the house yesterday, to check in on Jason. We had been talking for a couple of days and found a time that works for both our schedules. We explained to Jon some of the challenges of the new system, and he told us of some potential solutions, so we're pretty positive about what can come of this. Of course we continue to move forward in all areas, and look at this as one of the possible pieces of the total solution that could work for Jason.

Otherwise things are continuing to go well for the family, overall. The girls, Stacy and Jackie, are both enjoying their school, and in fact, Stacy is in a "talent show" later this week. We'll be going to see the show and cheer her on. Jason has gotten much more involved with their schooling and does all he can to make sure they get all the support that is needed, and that includes anything that might be considered special.

Linda and I are staying busy, and still make time to stay in touch with the rest of the family. We have five grand kids now, and the family continues to grow. Every now and again we try to get up to the S.F. Bay Area and visit with both Sean and George, or make arrangements for them to come down and visit with us. Fortunately David and his family are close enough that we can visit with them a little easier, though they are still over 130 miles away. Since this is 2017 now, and we have the entire year ahead of us, we're looking forward to an exciting and productive year. Thank you all, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.