Iwo Gima

Iwo Gima
Marine Corps Marathon

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.