Wednesday, August 31, 2011

that guy

I have to say - this baby is very punctual. Here we are, midnight again, and he's bouncing around like normal at this hour. Maybe it's because this is when I get to lay down and he has more room to stretch out - but I just think he's that smart.

I also have to say, Jason is one of the strongest people I know. I would never be able to endure all this. He's going back to surgery in the morning, and he will be the first one to go, so I probably won't get up early enough to see him off. This may make me look sound a bad wife, but I can only do so much. The reality of it is, if the situation were reversed, I would hate to be by myself for that. I'm sure I'd be a blubbering mess all the time. He's adapted so well so far. We still have quite a learning curve, but he's really doing well. Yesterday when we went to McDonald's, he found a place to park while I ordered - I could hear a bunch of chairs scraping across the floor and wondered if that was him trying to make room. When I got to the table, he said some guy came to help him because he knocked a chair over trying to fit at the table. If that was me, I would've just sat there and cried. He just laughed it off. But I know he's feeling the tears on the inside. I just can't imagine how he feels. Even though that sounds so cliche.

There's always this van outside one of the buildings I walk by during the day for Ride 2 Recovery. So I googled it. Looks intense. I'm trying to figure out what we're going to do to stay active and involved, especially now that we're receiving all this assistance, I feel like we need to give back. Obviously not right this moment, but eventually. Anyway, the ride is more like a Challenge, and it's 350-450 miles of biking over a period of a week I think? I know the Wounded Warrior Project does a lot for soldiers like Jason, but I don't want to take and not give - I just want it to be something meaningful. That, and his job after he's discharged is literally to go to PT and get better. And I won't be working. We're going to have a lot of time on our hands - he's talking about staring school (yippee!!) and I'm already planning our trips to the Zoo and National Monuments via Metro, and maybe a family vacation once baby is here and he is more rehabilitated. Not that this is ideal, but what a wonderful silver lining - to have him home and so, so available for the family at a time like this when we're bringing a new life in to the world. Money will be tight, for sure, (I'm dreading that part) but we'll be making plenty of priceless memories as a new family of three.

We watched Soul Surfer tonight, kind of ironic. But a good movie, a little inspiring. He says at least once every day "I still can't believe I'm that guy" - as in that guy that all the other guys talk about during deployment "Man, remember when so-and-so got hit?!" Yeah, now he's that guy.

He seems to be getting phantom pains more frequently. He says they go away when he looks at his nub and tells his brain the foot isn't there anymore. But he definitely gets annoyed with them. A constant painful reminder that he no longer has a foot.

But he did say he would get another pedicure with me, as long as he gets it for half price :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

how how

So by trying to blog earlier, I still manage to be awake at midnight. And, I use the walk back to the hotel to reflect on the day, and I'm usually writing my blog in my head as I walk...which is why I now have two blogs for one night.

On the walk home tonight, I noticed the crickets - not the constant chirping ones, the ones that are more rhythmic sounding. And I instantly wished I was back at 4-H camp in the Shenandoah mountains for the summer. For some reason, those certain crickets, and the cool night, made me think I was standing in the parking lot of Fairfax singing 'America' with a flashlight, trying to get about 300 kids and teens to walk in to campfire in a somewhat organized manner. Either that, or squeezing them all in to the campfire circle. We always fit everyone :) "Hands up! Scoooooooooot!"

That was when life was so simple. That summer job was the shit. It didn't pay for anything, but it was so, so fun.

Side note; the hotel does have MTV, and I am currently catching up on Teen Mom, although I think I just caught the end of it. Bummer again.

Also, as I left the hospital, I wanted so bad to jump in the escort van so they could drive me back to the hotel, but I forced myself to walk. It's only about a quarter of a mile, if that, but I was feeling lazy tonight. My toes were feeling swollen from sitting too long, so I knew I should walk instead. It is a nice night, much cooler than usual for August on the East Coast (at least that I remember), but I can still feel a hint of humidity that I know wouldn't be there in Colorado.

I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to use the remaining 15 personal training sessions I have at 24hr Fitness...there isn't one close to here...but I have been tempted to just break out the push ups in the room. Just the thought of touching those floors with any part of my skin gives me the willies. I can feel myself getting out of shape, and I was barely starting to get in shape. We have declared tomorrow a no soda day. We've had entirely too much of it these past two weeks. Must. Push. Water.

Today at the OB clinic I saw all the good little pregnant mommies with their water bottles. And I have one too. Except it was empty. Oops. I'm working on it...

I also purchased a Snuggie tonight - for the freezing conditions Jason prefers his room. I had them turn it up just a little yesterday, and when I walked in today, it was like a sauna. Oops again. So they turned it back down finally tonight, and as I left I could feel it becoming frigid again. No happy medium. Such is life, right?


We have WiFi in the room - so here I sit, at a much more decent hour, writing this post. Trying to find MTV on this stupid TV so we can watch Teen Mom :)

We had a good day today, it was nice that it was just Jason and I for most of the day, although it didn't start until noon. I had to go to a transfer in OB class, which of course my name wasn't on the list, and I couldn't remember who called me to tell me to come today. And of course they gave me attitude about it. I wanted to SCREAM "my husband just had his leg blown off, i was not paying attention to who told me to come today!!! just let me in for the love of God!!!" I know, that excuse is probably getting old. But she did let me in. And of course I got to fill out more paperwork, and listen to all the dumb questions these girls had. When they tell you 'there are no dumb questions' they're wrong. These girls...oh my. I've always said I think there should be an application process in order to have children. This woman was literally walking us through filling out the paper work - step by step - and they couldn't even follow those directions. And yes, we are breastfeeding friendly, so if you can't or don't want to breastfeed then I guess your baby will starve. Ok, I'm irritable today.

Anyway, this whole process took 3 hours - fill out paperwork, learn about all the classes offered, take a tour, then go to appointment. All is well, heartbeat in the 140's, fundal height measuring at 21 weeks, which is right on, and so far, about an 8lb weight gain. Bleh.

So, by the time I made it up to Jason, it was noon, and we were both starving because neither of us had eaten. I'm going to get the night nurse to call his breakfast order down before I leave, because he won't wake up in time to do it, and then they bring him the pills, and he throws up if he doesn't eat first. They started the call down and order on your own time thing yesterday - good idea, but there are so many people in and out, or he has to go downstairs for various things, the time quickly passes, and then it's too late. Tonight, we did order dinner, and it was surprisingly good - we ordered enough for both of us to eat...haha working the system. But for lunch, we were going to go to Subway which is in the hospital - but it was also the crazy lunch rush, it was packed, and so was the DFAC, so we said eff it, let's blow this joint and go to McDonalds. And we did. Which technically isn't in the hospital, but no one really ever told us we can't leave leave, haha, and I know better, but it's just across the street a little bit! It was nice for him to get the fresh air, and there were wheelchair ramps all the way down. But we are so tired of McDonald's! It's so funny because when he was deployed that's all he wanted, was a double quarter pounder with cheese no pickles - and now he's so over them. Although he's never gotten back up to the double quarter pounder, he's still working on the regular quarter pounder :) Goals.

Then we stopped by and I pre-registered for admission, then we went and bought the Army Times and went up to the Red Cross to get some more velcro clothes. Those things are pretty genius. But, by this time, he was exhausted. Falling asleep at the joystick. So we came back and he took a little nappy nap. He also went to PT for the first time before lunch downstairs, so that made it extra exhausting. He said he did some stretching, and semi flutter kicks with some weights on his thighs. He said he was sweating like crazy and was so confused as to why it was so hard. But, he doesn't get that laying in bed for 2 weeks will knock you out - plus your body is trying to heal these massive wounds at the same time. It's hard work!

Overall, an eventful day for us, but probably not for normal folk. Now I have to figure out how to get our dog up here for a visit, and my car.

No luck on the MTV, bummer.

I'm thinking tomorrow we'll tackle hair washing. Hmmm...doing big things here in Bethesda!

Monday, August 29, 2011

decent hour

I tried to get back to the room and in bed at a decent hour - but always seems to be right around midnight. Which is normally fine, but tomorrow I have to get up early like normal people do because I have an OB appointment. I don't think it's a real appointment, because in the military you always have to go to the 'fake' appointment first and then you get to make your real appointment. Seriously. I have to go to a 'transfer in' class type thing since I'm transferring care to this hospital. Fabulous. So that's at 0900! Yikes. I haven't gotten out of bed before 9 in a long time. Woe is me, right?!

Anyway, I think they're finally getting wireless hooked up on his floor, so maybe I'll be able to write these posts a little earlier in the evening. We had to move rooms again today, I was pissed. It was just starting to feel a little cozy, and they made us move because they needed the video monitoring capabilities the room he was in had. We just moved across the hall - and the room feels like Antarctica which he loves, but we lost our good view. And it's a negative pressure room, so the door slams every damn time someone comes in and out which is annoying. Can't win them all I guess.

Had a visit from the RearD Commander and a retired Colonel that's the honorary Colonel of his brigade (?!) I'm not really sure how that works...either way, we talked to them for a bit.

Sounds pretty promising that we'll be assigned here once he's discharged to outpatient so all our stuff will be able to be moved out here eventually. I'm thinking it won't be until early October at this point. The skin grafts are taking forever.

He had surgery today, mostly just wound wash outs. The wound vac on his left leg was replaced, and also on his fingers, but also they put another layer of integra down on his fingers, and hopefully this takes so that two weeks from today, he'll get the skin grafts on his fingers. Hopefully skin graft on his leg this Friday! And, the leg surgeon (my favorite) said he'd send me all the pictures! How awesome :)

We ate a shoppette dinner tonight. It was romantic. I went down to the gas station and got frozen chicken nuggets and mac and cheese to make up in his room. Also got lots of unnecessary snacks, candy, and drinks! It was healthy, to say the least. But, they started this new thing where you call down to order your food - and we had visitors right around dinner time, and by the time they left, the DFAC (or galley since we're in a Navy Facility) was closed.

We played Words with Friends for a while, and gave up on watching TV because it's satellite and turns off about every 3 minutes. For Real. No DVD player yet either.

He's gone through a lot of morphine today, and it kinda weirds me out, it just sounds like a lot, but they also took out his nerve block and he had surgery today, so I'm hoping that was all part of the increased pain. It's mostly in his left arm, which is where the nerve block was going. So this is the first time he's felt his arm since it happened - I think. I'm not sure when he got it, but he's had it since he's been in Bethesda at least. I remember talking to him in Germany and him saying his arm was numb, so it could've been even earlier. Either way, he'll need to get that arm back eventually. The tubes are coming out slowly but surely. The last two will be here for a while, the wound vacs. He's nervous about the pain of skin grafting, more on the donor site than on the actual wound.

"If it wasn't for you, I'd probably be in a lot more pain" he says. Well that's because I hound the nurses about his PRN medications - which he always forgets about. And he does sleep through the pain even though a lot of nurses assume that because you're asleep, you're not in pain. So I told him he has to call them if he's in pain! He hates calling the nurses. When I got there today, he had been holding his pee for who knows how long because he wanted the curtain closed! Really?! Men.

Overall good day, just getting tired. I have been able to lay with him, but it's never for very long because people are in and out all day long, or he needs something. Some days I just wish it could just be me and him ALL DAY! I never thought that's what I'd be wishing for, but it is. We do enjoy others company though, so I guess it's a catch-22. It's just tiring sometimes to entertain guests, even though we're not really doing anything.

It still sucks. I still can't believe this is where I'm living, and this is how I spend my days now. I still don't know when I'll be able to sleep next to my husband again. However, it is quickly becoming my new normal. But then again, when you have no choice, it's amazing how fast anything can become normal.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Your birthday, the anniversary of your birth, 25 years old, a quarter of a century, half way to 50...
No matter which way you look at it, you're celebrating life. And that, we did today :)
Jason turned 25! Lower car insurance (although I'm not sure when he'll even be driving again), and that's about all I can think of for 25. They get less and less fun the higher they go. I'm sure he never pictured this for his birthday celebration. I'm sure he never thought he would be in this situation in his life. Who would. I never thought I would be, either.

From some of the brief research I did moments after I found out about his injuries, I found that families in situations like mine celebrate 'alive days'. The anniversary of the day of the incident every year, to be the 'alive day' - if we decide to do that, August will be a busy month of celebrating life!

He enjoyed all the cards he got from various friends and family back home (both VA and Colorado), although it was kind of like a sick joke to have to open a card with one working hand :) They're all currently hanging in his room (which I'm sure violates some sort of fire code, but whatever).

Today was a much better day mobility wise as well - they took his epidural out, so he had a ton more movement in his legs. He transferred himself practically from bed to wheelchair and wheelchair to toilet and then back again. He gets frustrated now though, sitting and having his legs dangling, and being able to put one on the ground, but not the other. Totally throws off his balance. He's also caught himself multiple times tonight trying to cross his right leg over his left while lying in bed...and that doesn't work, or even just bending his knee up and resting on his foot...which isn't there. So I'm sure when he has the prosthesis this will be much easier, but never the same.

We seem to be much closer emotionally, talking about things in normal conversation that others might never say to their spouse. I've always been one to put it all out there, usually too much, and it usually gets me in trouble. But I've never been able to keep my feelings to myself, especially to him. Some may disagree with that, saying he doesn't need the added stress, but he's my husband, and best friend, and the only one who would understand, even a little bit, how I'm feeling in this situation, because he's going through it too. And we're in this together. We've always been able to communicate - it just hasn't always been in a productive way. We're working on that :) It's pretty hard to argue now though, with the circumstances. But we're not in the daily grind anymore, either. It is refreshing that we're getting along so well through all of this. Not that we argued terribly before, but we were definitely having a harder time understanding and empathizing with each others perspective during that first year of marriage. It's just nice that, despite the circumstances, I can show up there every day and we get along. I can almost feel us growing closer through it all while it's happening, instead of pulling us apart. This will be a bond we will have that very few others will, and it will be that much harder to break.

Sadie seems to be adjusting well to her new home in Virginia. Daddy even called home today to check and make sure the neighbors let her out. He didn't want to leave her. ha! This dog has given him a new purpose in life I think :) But as much as she drove me crazy being right under my feet all the time, I miss that dog. I know Jason misses her more. She was his great idea! But we couldn't have gotten more lucky with a rescue dog. She is absolutely wonderful, and beautiful. I'm sad that we will be apart from her for so long, and I worry about the transition with the baby/toddler depending on when it is. I hope she doesn't forget we are her original owners, and she will eventually be coming back to live with us one day, we just don't know when.

My favorite part of the day is night time, when everyone leaves for the day and it's just him and I. I feel like I might've said this before. Either way, it's just nice. We can reflect on the day, catch up on our Words with Friends games, do our stretches, and think about what we want to do tomorrow. Maybe we'll venture downstairs tomorrow for the first time! And if they tell me no, you know I'll probably take him anyway :) I make sure he's got a full cup of water for the night, and his phone and call bell are near. We pseudo hug and 'snuggle' as much as possible, and then I wait for his Seroquel to kick in, and I leave for the night. I still hate leaving him, but it is getting easier, especially as he gets stronger. And he's getting stronger by the day, for sure.

Friday, August 26, 2011


So, why did this have to happen to us?
Just wondering. It sucks. No one else is affected. Just us.
Everyone else can still go back to their normal jobs, work, and lives, etc.
I don't feel like anyone really understands and is grateful for his sacrifice.
He chose this job, and he said today he'd go back in the infantry if he could. (which he probably could, but we won't even go there) He loves it. I don't know why. I'll never get it.
But a lot of others don't get it either. And I get very irritated with everyone who just has a normal life right now. Even the nurses who are just here doing their job, doing the job I normally do and don't think twice about (even though it's not in this setting), I don't think they really get it. They must be numb to it.
I mean, we've got people talking to us who we haven't heard from in years, expressing their condolences and gratefulness that he's ok. But it just doesn't seem genuine. Am I being too picky? Yes, most likely.
All he keeps saying lately is, "Man, they never tell you about this part of it, or show it in the movies..." It's true, they don't tell you about the ungodly amount of stool softeners and laxatives you have to take because you're also getting about 5 different kinds of narcotics. And, oh by the way, your whole left side is numb so it's not like you can just get up and walk to the bathroom, and you couldn't anyway because you're missing part of your right leg. (He wonders if he'll wake up in the middle of the night and forget that foot is gone, and fall on the floor when he tries to go to the bathroom) They don't tell you that you can't shower for who knows how long because of the incisions and sutures and surgeries still to come which will involve skin grafts and wound vacs until the skin grafts are healed. We asked last week when he could shower - "Well, you can get your right hand wet..." Yeah, that helps, thanks. They don't tell you that you pretty much won't be able to do anything for yourself until these wounds are healed. That you probably will feel terrible about yourself and the fact that you're depending on everyone else to do things for you when before you were just on a normal patrol and everything was ok. You could poop like normal, take a shower all by yourself, get yourself dressed, tie your own shoes, prepare your own meals, and cut up your own food. To take this away from a 25 year old man, is torture.

As I'm learning, men have to do things for themselves, it part of that Y chromosome I guess. And I can't imagine what this must feel like for him. It's in my nature to want to do this for him, both as a woman and a nurse, so I get comfort in being able to help him, but I'm positive he's cursing the moment he stepped in that certain place every single time I have to help him with something.

As I was pseudo hugging him tonight, I said "I still can't believe we're in this situation." It's not really like I have my husband back, because I don't. We can't do the things we used to do. We can't talk about the things we used to talk about. We can't just be alone for days like we used to. Even if family isn't visiting, there are doctors, nurses, or corpsmen in and out.

I'm not gonna lie, I'm guilty of staring at people out in public. You are too. I usually am trying to figure out what's wrong with them or what happened to them if there's a physical handicap. I think I'm going to find him that t-shirt that says "I had a blast in Afghanistan". But now we get to be those people being stared at. He hates being the center of attention, much less having any attention brought on him. We should be ok through the winter time, but as summer approaches, and shorts and t shirts season is back, there will be stares. They'll stare at his arms and legs and wonder what happened. But I bet they won't think "Man, I bet he lost his leg for this country and everyone in it, I should go thank him. And then I should probably put my life in perspective." Then they'll probably think "That must be his wife, I wonder what it's like to be married to someone with a fake leg." Jason hates when I care what other people think. Because he's a man, and I guess that kind of stuff doesn't affect men, although I know the stares will. But it affects me. I don't want peoples pity stares. He's my husband, and he will have a fake leg, and it's going to take me a while to adjust to that. But life goes on. Clearly.

I've always said "I could never just drop everything and move like some people do. I have to mentally prepare myself first!" But somehow, I did it. And I didn't like it. I knew I would always be worried about the little things at home - the things I'm worried about now, but keep somehow putting off figuring out. Because I'm technically still not moved.

I really think someone is playing a sick joke on me. They know how much I worry about insignificant things, and how much my things at home matter to me, even though they shouldn't, because they're things. So I feel like someone just said, "She needs to learn what life is really all about." And here I am, living out of two suitcases in a hotel for far longer than I've ever wanted to be in a hotel, walking to visit my husband in the hospital every day, who can not catch a freaking break, only thinking about what we're going to eat for dinner, and whether or not he's brushed his teeth yet, because if I think about more than that, I won't be able to get out of bed.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"Do you have trouble getting around?"

You know, the hover round commercial with the old people at the edge of the Grand Canyon, this is what Jason was quoting when I got there early this afternoon.

He had been up and around the halls for the first time since the incident. In his motorized wheelchair. He can only use is right hand at the moment, so he has a sweet joystick to control his wheelchair. "I got up to 2mph today!" haha, small victories.

But, I missed it all. I was very mopey this morning, being selfish in the hotel room lying in bed. So I didn't get to see him up in his chair at all. And of course that made me more upset. I can't be there all the time, but I still feel like I miss everything when I'm not there. I'm going to try to get out of here a little sooner tomorrow morning. His mom has been going in the mornings, and that's helped a little with my emotional state so at least I know he's not alone, but I still hate missing it. And she's leaving soon, so I'm really going to have to start getting up sooner. He has a hard time keeping all the doctors straight and what they say about different things, so I really want to be there for them too.

A nursing school friend and old childhood friend came to visit this afternoon, so that was refreshing. To have some of my friends visit instead of his. That sounds bad. But they're just as concerned about him as they are me, and it was nice to just be relaxed and gossip about back home and say bad words and stuff. hahaha! We ate pizza, and they didn't give us ranch, so that was a huge bummer. But it sufficed. I now have a season of I Love Lucy on DVD to fall asleep too thanks to Tammy :)

Looks like he won't be eligible for promotion until October now, because he has no paper trail proving that he went to this certain person to update his records at the end of JUNE - so before July 8th (which was the cut off for August's points) - how incredibly irritating. If points go up again, he'll just have to keep waiting and waiting. It's like he just can't catch a freaking break. What more does the man have to do!? It will be a year in October that he's been eligible for promotion, by the way. The system is absolutely ridiculous.

I can't believe it's only been a little over a week since he's been here in Md. It feels like it's been a month already. He's made insane progress over this week though, but when you're going through it, it's hard to keep that in perspective. He still feels like it's moving too slow. But he's got so much more strength - he got a trapeze the other day so he can pull himself up in bed better - and he's rolling to each side mostly on his own. His legs are still numb but that's because of the epidural. It seems like he's requiring less and less epidural to control his pain so that's good, I'm hoping we can wean it off soon. Skin grafts next week for the leg, fingers are going to take a little longer just because they're the fingers and more complicated. His 'residual limb' is done - he got the shrinker wrap on it today and will probably start the prosthesis casting in a couple weeks! Of all his injuries, that was obviously the most serious, but it's going to heal first, no doubt. His fingers will be the most complicated and frustrating for him I'm sure. We're stretching our muscles every day, but that's as much as we do so far. His appetite is increasing little by little, but still not where it used to be. He gets protein shakes with every meal but doesn't always drink them.

Our dog (and my car) safely made it to Virginia last night! Mom said Sadie was very interested in sniffing around all the new places, inside and out. She said she has a beautiful coat, and she can tell we take really good care of her. Now, how she will look after my dad gets through with her is another story :) I take her to Petco for grooming about once a month or so - mainly because I don't want to clean up all her dog hair out of my bath tub. Plus they clip her nails and brush her teeth and brush her out for an hour. My dad is way to cheap to pay for that. He'll probably just put her in the shower with him. He doesn't think she eats enough - but she's soooo picky. Probably the pickiest dog I've ever seen. She'll graze on her food all day instead of gobbling it up immediately like most dogs. I just remember our dog growing up - she was such a redneck dog. Dad fed her everything off our plates - and I remember putting my plate on the floor so she could lick it before we washed it. I will give Sadie table scraps sometimes, but too much will upset her tummy, she's not used to all that. She's definitely a beggar, she'll plop her head right on your lap and stare at you until you give her something. And we buy her the super expensive food that you can only buy at PetSmart or Petco. Dad will probably shit his pants when he sees how much it costs. But, I want to get her up here to see Jason. I'm tempted to find a Therapy Dog vest and smuggle her in. They should make exceptions for situations like this - it's got to have been proven to be so wonderful for their recovery. Jason said hi to her on the phone today and she started barking a ton - she never does that, we usually have to provoke her for a few minutes to get her to bark once! It was interesting - I so hope she recognizes him, he will be so heartbroken if she doesn't.

He tells me I'm the best wife ever, every night. Although, I definitely don't feel like it. I'm not doing anything anyone else wouldn't do - maybe a little extra nursing care, but that's in my blood. "What did I do to deserve you?" haha, I clearly didn't have an answer for that. "No other wife would do this, or know to do this." (catheter cleaning, etc) "You're doing such a great job, (we're reading Men are from Mars Women are from Venus right now, and we've been practicing saying these 5 words a lot!) I really appreciate everything you do. I know I can't show it right now, but I do." I said "I know, let's just go buy some diamonds when this is all said and done". He nodded his head "Ok sounds good." Small victories :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I'm sitting here watching Jurassic Park with the computer lying on my belly - and watching this baby make the computer move with all his kicking. He's up at midnight like clock work. This is not good. Still, can't wait for him. I can. But, I'm excited for his arrival. We're pretty set on one name, but I'm not fully convinced yet. I think Jason felt him move tonight, but he wasn't sure what he was supposed to be feeling. It will be easier when he can lay in bed next to me and just watch my belly move, but we can't even do that yet.

Jason and I have decided we're ready to go back to a normal life now. This sucks. No more silly arguments about where we should go for dinner. "What do you feel like eating?" "I don't know." "Ok, how about ____." "Nah, I don't really feel like eating that." "Ok, well what do you feel like eating?" "I don't know..." and from there the argument usually ensued :)

But, no more of that. Now it's all talk about land mines and what they look like and how you find them. Or about whatever surgery we had today, I think it was his 8th. Or when can we get in a wheelchair, or go outside, or get the epidural turned off, or get out of this stupid room. No more normal every day talk. Can't really play cards, he only can use his right hand right now. We Facebook a little, and I teach him how to use his new phone. Then we try to figure out something for dinner because the hospital food is stereotypically terrible. By the time I realize we don't have any plans for dinner, it's too late to call one of the millions of people who have so kindly offered to bring us a meal. I need to make a schedule.

We decided that this is worse than deployment. He's here. And I'm here. But we're still sleeping in separate beds, and I can't even get a real hug from him. I have to leave every night. Well I don't have to, but I make myself. Trust me, I've tried to get in that bed with him, even just to lay next to him. But the couple times I've tried, it makes him slide down for some reason, and then all his tubes are in the way and then I'm wedged between him and the side rail and I can't move and we still can't really snuggle. I just keep picturing all the patients I walked in on in the middle of the night sleeping in bed with their husbands, and thought I'd be able to be that annoying spouse. Guess not. Instead, I'll just tell them how to do their jobs for now.

Tomorrow is hygiene day. Poor thing hasn't showered since who knows when. He already takes the longest showers I've ever seen someone take - I can only imagine how long this next one will be, whenever that is. So for now, it's just bed baths. Good thing his wife knows how to give those :)

We joked that we'd make a hand out for people when they come - to answer any questions so we wouldn't have to go through that conversation every time.

Probably the smartest thing I ever did was bring home all my scrub pants. I thought they'd be one of those things I'd never wear but I packed them anyway, but really, they're the most comfortable pants I have besides pajamas, and I'd look like a slob wearing those every day. I only wear the pants though, I figured if I wore the tops, that might be a little too much. I mean, they look like half way normal pants. Just in brighter colors.

One of my friends might visit tomorrow afternoon. Yay! It's been so hard with family wanting to visit, I've felt like I can't have any of my friends visit. I don't want to leave him up here, he doesn't get to leave, and at least I can walk around and leave the hospital, that's fine with me. I'm generally a loner I guess, and I really don't mind being by myself or just sitting in the room with him. I'm not one of those people that has to be doing something all the time (although I am worrying about something all the time). I like the solitude every now and then. I'm sure it will get old eventually, and I will have my car soon and be able to go other places. So maybe I'll take a drive down to good ol KG, but not right now. He's just now been here a week!

So, tomorrow will likely be another relaxed day, and I'm excited for that.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

SSG Searles?

Not much to post about today, but I'm sure I'll still write a book.

I just posted this on Facebook - but I'll say it again here - IF MY HUSBAND DOESN'T GET PROMOTED SOON, THESE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO WISH I DIDN'T EXIST. I'm so serious it's not even funny. In order to get promoted they have to pass a board - he did that last October - almost a freaking year he's been waiting for this. Then he has to make points - they get points for everything, classes, awards, civilian education, deployment time, etc. He has around 440 I think, but not sure exactly. The point requirements for each rank change each month based on the need. Well, he made points for August - meaning he should've been promoted on the 1st. SOMEONE didn't do their job and update whatever was supposed to be updated in the right amount of time, and so it didn't qualify him. WTF. I've told everyone I can tell - supposedly some Sergeant Major is "tracking it" (i love how the army always says that stupid shit) - the RearD CO knows, and our liaison here knows.

The points for September came out today, and they're back up to 458, so I don't think he made it, unless they count the purple heart (which from googling I think is worth 30 points, so that will make a huge difference) - but I doubt the Army will be able to update anything in a timely manner. So, you better believe I'll be on the phone to these *choice words* people soon. Like probably tomorrow.

Really? I mean, REALLY? Because some dumbass private didn't do his stupid little job that requires the mental capacity of a 2 year old, my husband gets screwed? And then goes out and does his job just like any other day even though he got totally screwed, and then gets even MORE screwed, and he still doesn't get what he freaking earned. It's not even like I'm asking for a consolation prize because he stepped on a freaking land mine - he EARNED this! I mean, I'm sure I don't know all the inner workings of it all - but I know what is right. And that is not right. Ugh. Can you tell this ruffles my feathers a tad?! ha.

We got a(nother) new room today. On a different floor, that's all completely redone. I find it hilarious that these giant governmental organizations are so incredibly unorganized. I feel like I could do a better job. The logistics are just...not there. It's so ironic that we are doing this same thing at work (well my old work) on a much smaller scale by merging two units - and here they're merging the Army and the Navy - and the organization is just as poor. We moved in to a private room, no complaints there. But no internet, not sure how the TV works, crap is still unplugged everywhere, no boards to write the nurses names on. Little things, but things I think are important. Because now there will likely be a gaggle of people in and out doing 'finishing touches'. Just get the shit done, and then move everyone. What's so un-logical about that? If that's a word. And yes, we can live without internet and TV - but when you've been stuck in the hospital for weeks, these things are necessary for patients sanity!!

We experienced our first earthquake today - and it's been the only thing on the news since. Geez. Schools are closed and everything. How ridiculous. Jason was convinced this is the end of the world. He said "Where do I go? You guys can all at least just run somewhere! The whole lower half of my body is numb! I'd be screwed!" Joking of course. But still, just what we need this week - for a building to collapse around us. Go figure.

Mom visited for the evening, so that was nice. She made us some Shepherd's Pie. Yum.

Surgery tomorrow. Wash out and wound vac replacement. Maybe vac removal from left bicep if wound looks approximated enough. Mostly left hand manipulation though, maybe replacing the pins, and adding a new layer of integra that will then get a skin graft two weeks from tomorrow. He got discouraged with this, thinking this recovery is taking much longer than he had hoped. It looks like the other two guys that this happened to, are already outpatient and in rehab now, and it may be a long while before he gets to that point because of his hand injury and the effect it will have on his PT and OT. But I suspect that they will get him up in a wheel chair this week sometime.

I saw a guy with one leg on a segway smoking a cigarette today. Side note. Pick your battles I guess :)

He turns 25 Saturday - yay! Lower car insurance, although I'm thinking about calling them anyway because I have no idea when he'll be driving again. Lots of family visitors again. I'm really hoping to try to get him outside so we can bring the dog up to see him. Who knows.

Another good day for the most part - I hope to get an OB appointment soon, just to kind of get in the system here. I assume I'll be delivering here now. Bummer. Never thought I'd be bringing a baby 'home' to on base housing - or wherever we are by then - but I think it will still be on the base somewhere :/ Ah well, at least it's paid for I guess.

Small Victories. That's what today was about.

Monday, August 22, 2011

good day

Today was a good day.
I'm sure we'll have many more good days. And many more bad days. But, today was a good day. Yay.

I honestly didn't get to the hospital until 1330, and that's only because Jason's mom called me and told me finance was there to talk to me. Thank goodness, because I was about to leave to go track them down. Still need to figure out how to pay bills via our online banking. Trust me, I'm not retarded when it comes to that stuff, but for the utility bills and stuff that is never the same every month, I'm not quite sure how that works. While his mom is here, we've kinda worked out a schedule where she comes early and sees him off to surgery, because I usually end up staying late. So I try to get here when he's in the PACU, even though I hate that place

Once we were done with finance, they called and said he was in the PACU, so we went down to see him. After about 10 minutes of me being there, the nurse said, "Well, I think he can go back to his room now!" I was thinking, oh God, please don't let him leave and have something crazy happen while we're up there. But Jason's mom said he was in immediate pain after the last surgery, and this time that wasn't an issue at all. They also didn't use ketamine for his anesthesia, and he was as normal as could be! No pain issues, no weird hallucinations, no sat dropping, nothing. Thank goodness, I was really expecting to spend the rest of the afternoon down there.

So we came back up to his new room with a different roommate, because he's no longer on contact precautions. Which he probably shouldn't have been all weekend, but infection control isn't here on the weekends to look at his cultures and clear him, of course. The thing I don't get is, his roommate from the other room who is on contact precautions was up and walking around in the halls yesterday, sitting in the family lounge all day long, with no gown or gloves on. So, what's the point? I think it's just a waste of money unless you're going to strictly enforce that, which never happens. Ha.

Post op lab draws - he was very irritated by this, since this morning they stuck him 11 times they said. Oh I only wish I had been here. He said a couple people poked him 4 times each. No thanks, you try twice and you swallow your pride and go get someone else thank you. His right arm is so bruised, and I think a little swollen still just from all the trauma, and it's the only extremity they can use for IV's and labs. Anyway this guy put the tourniquet on and I saw one from the other side of the bed! He only had to poke him once, thank goodness. But I'm pretty sure he was pissed at the people this morning and not afraid to let them know it. I've been asking about a PICC line all freaking weekend, but in a government run hospital, you can't expect anything to get done on the weekend, which really irritates me, especially in a situation like this. So the PICC team has to come by and 'consult' him - whatever that means, and then hopefully they'll do it tomorrow.

He ate his whole 6 inch sub, and said "This is sad. I'd be on my 2nd half of a foot long right now." after he was only half way in to the 6 inch. "Is this how normal people feel when they eat? This sucks!" (talking about being full so soon - ha)

We rolled him to one side, and the fan was blowing right on his butt crack, and he said "Oh man this feels good, just leave me here for a while." And he was serious. It was like what NOT to do nursing 101 - his face was smashed in to the side rail and everything, but he loved it. I scratched his back a little, assessed for those bed sores (ha!) and he really did ask me to scratch his butt - and I did - just the cheeks people.

The physical therapist came this morning I guess, I missed her. But apparently he is to be sitting as straight up as he can get when he eats his meals, and there are some exercises we're supposed to be doing to help his range of motion in his left leg and I'm not sure what else. Mostly stretching for right now, since he's just been laid up in bed this whole time. He said when he sat up straight, he got really dizzy and nauseous, but he had been NPO since midnight, so I bet it was a combination of him being hungry, and weak. She's supposedly ordering him a special wheel chair so hopefully he'll be able to get in to that soon. It's a motorized one until he gets the function back in his left hand - which apparently is going to take the longest.

Tomorrow he moves to yet another room, around 7pm. Down one floor, they've remodeled everything, and they're all private rooms. We can't wait. These rooms are retarded small.

The orthopedic surgeon in charge of his lower extremities came by today. I had never met him, but he's awesome. Looks super young, but so super nice. He even showed us pictures of what Jason's injuries looked like when he came to Bethesda. Amazing. Well, pretty shocking, but amazing. I almost asked him to send me the pictures, but I have a feeling he'll say no. I mean, these were like from the text book pretty graphic pictures - but the nurse in me must have come out because other wise I'm sure it would have freaked me out a ton. You could see his tibia and calf muscle on the inside of his left leg, a hole probably the length of a banana and the width of a grapefruit, if you can figure that one out - if I remember correctly - pretty much the entire inside of his lower leg with a couple inches to spare from his knee and ankle. Shockingly all the structures are intact, it's just a matter of getting the skin to cover the bone. They've had a wound vac on it, and it will definitely require a skin graft to cover the bone, but the wound size now is apparently like that of an orange I think. He's not excited about the skin grafting, worried about the freakish look, but I think it will be ok. Definitely a gnarly scar, and a chunk missing out of his calf, but it will be ok. He could technically be weight bearing on that leg, but since he's got the epidural, he can't yet. And his right leg, well you can imagine what that looked like. Just insane that that is actually his leg now. He keeps calling it his nub. I said "You could just say your right leg." He said "It's not a leg, it's a nub." I even asked the doctor what the politically correct term for that is - apparently it's "residual limb." Jason likes 'nub' better.

Probably if I had seen the upper part of him, like his face while lying on the operating table, that would've freaked me out a tad. So I guess I was able to separate them. But man, I really want those pictures. One day, when our son is in to gory shit, he might appreciate that. You know, take it for show and tell. Maybe not so much. Jason looked at them, didn't say much besides "Damn, that really sucks. Stupid land mines."

So hopefully within the week they'll start weaning the epidural, and get rid of it, so he can start weight bearing before his next surgery. Well, technically his next surgery is Wednesday, but they're done with his legs until the 2nd of September when they will put the skin graft on his left leg. He's worried about that pain, but we'll just take it a day at a time for now. The doctor also showed us a picture of what it looks like when it's initially placed over the wound - it's seriously like mesh, but it's skin. I didn't realize it was that open. He said they put the graft on, and then a wound vac until it all grows over and together. Crazy what they can do, and so grateful. We'll have to load that area up with sunscreen though, when we take our much anticipated beach trip next summer. Oh, I'm already planning it you see. You'd think I would've learned my lesson about planning. ha.

Apparently the fingers are going to be the problem area. It's his left ring and middle finger, both fractured and with pins in them, and will require grafts also. They tell us those grafts will be deeper skin, not just the superficial layer because of all the stretching and moving your fingers do. I wonder how it was only those two fingers that got it, what exactly happened?

When the RearD called me, they were explaining the whole process, and made it sound like he'd be inpatient for 2-3 weeks, maybe. Now, it's looking like much, much longer than that. But who knows, maybe they discharge them earlier than I think.

He met his 6 month old nephew for the first time this weekend. I can't remember if I've written about that before, but he really enjoyed that I think. He's so excited to have one running around, and crying, and making all the funny facial expressions they make. I'm sure he'll enjoy playing with him. When I was registering for stuff online, I was trying to include him in the process, and asked him which play mat thing he liked better. He said "I want one. Do they make these for big people? Or can I just get one for myself too?!" Seriously. I worry about where he'll be in his recovery when the baby does come. I hope he's pretty far along because I'm not going to be able to care for him like I am now. I hope he has the dexterity back in his fingers so he can help me change diapers. I know he'll feel terrible if he can't help. And I am scared that I'll start feeling resentment if I have to take care of my husband and baby at the same time with nothing in return. And that's not fair to anyone involved. But, I'm sure people have done it.

Of course I have the guilt. If he'd never met me, I wonder if he would've stayed in, and I wonder if he would've chosen to come to Fort Carson, and get placed with the unit he did. I wonder what kind of life he'd be living if it wasn't for me. He'd probably still have two legs and a lot less stress.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


It's been a week since I got the news about Jason.
Today, I'm 20 weeks pregnant.
And, Jason is one week shy of turning 25.

Did I ever say exactly how he lost his leg?
He stepped on a land mine. They had even already probed the area.
He said if they drove over it, it probably would've just popped the tire.

Anyway, I can't figure out a good schedule to get on. On the weekends it seems better to stay with him at night, and sleep during the day because of all the family visitors. His room is like a cubicle, and he just got a roommate, so that doesn't help. He's supposed to switch rooms next week, to the 4th floor, which is all brand new, and he'll have a private room. Yes, please! But then during the week, I'll want to be with him more during the day because he'll be in and out of surgery so much. Let's face it, I want to be with him 24/7. But that is not good for me or this baby. And the last thing we need is for something to happen to this baby. I'm trying so hard to eat normally, but it's impossible. Mom brought me a ton of snacks thank goodness. But I'm still eating McDonalds way more than I want (it's the only thing within walking distance on base - and I have no car). I hate to go out to eat, and leave him to eat hospital food.

I still don't have a clear picture of his recovery time. Sounds like they might try to close his bicep wound on Monday, but then it also sounds like they are going to have to skin graft every wound but the stump, and apparently that takes a couple weeks before they'll even put one on. Worried about how thin the skin will be over his muscle, will he have enough strength in that arm with half the muscle gone? He will probably still be stronger than me.

We joked a little about it tonight. I'm glad my husband has a sense of humor. We were adjusting him in bed - Craig says "Dude, where's your foot?" (referring to his left foot which was under the blankets) And I said "In Afghanistan." Laughs. Thank goodness.

"Well you'll never have to worry about matching socks again. Think how long a pack will last now!"

He said "Man, why couldn't it have been the left leg, then Trueblood and I could've shared shoes!"

I ended up staying up with him all night last night, his pain kept creeping up, and by morning was at an 8. Our nurse last night was army, and awesome. Not as big a fan of the navy nurses so far - don't know why. Maybe I'm biased. But he got the pain team there for us first thing in the morning, and they upped the epidural dose for him which controlled it all day.

I did Nursing 101 with him this morning - never thought I'd be doing this to my husband - at least not at the ages of 24 and 27. But we had a bed bath, and a good teeth brushing. His brother shaved his face a little later. We rotated to our right side to get off our bum bum. He's a sweaty guy anyway, so lying in bed all day doesn't help. He had all the bed sheet wrinkles and creases all up and down his back side - this isn't good for skin integrity. Plus, he's got so many tubes everywhere just resting on his legs, or he's lying right on top of them, so that can be dangerous long term. It's frustrating. I feel like I have to be there all the time, or they'll forget to turn him, and he never calls for help.

I had a moment though, tonight. I was sitting there when the corpsman came in to do his vitals around midnight, and he started charting on the computer there, using Essentris, which is the same in all government run hospitals, so that's what I use too. I got jealous, and mad, and I knew exactly what he was charting, and I was thinking "I can do that. Just let me do it. And pay me." ha. I wish. I got angry - I want to go back to work. I want to feel like I'm doing something productive again. I hate that I just had to drop everything I've ever known and come be one on one with him for who knows how long. Maybe hate is a strong word, or not even the right word. But, I'm struggling with it. I always 'strongly disliked' those patients who were nurses or who had family who were nurses or doctors and would take it upon themselves to do things or ask retarded questions like they knew what they were talking about. I'm trying so hard not to do that, I am fully aware that I do NOT know it all, especially when it comes to his recovery. But, I DO know more than most. And I can't imagine what it must feel like when you have no idea how things work in the hospital. They must just take you on a runaround while your husband recovers.

Anyway, so this is so not how I pictured leaving Colorado. Who knows, maybe we'll go back out there. I was ready to leave, but not until next year! That was my plan. I do love leaving the hospital here and it's still warm outside. I don't have to wear a jacket even at night here. (for now) And it's humid, so I don't have the crazy Colorado boogers :) I love the sound of the crickets. I hate the traffic. I'm not looking forward to figuring out my way around here.

My ass is already asleep, and I've only been lying here for like 30 minutes. I can't imagine how Jason feels. He is so ready to get up, and out. He hates this, I know he does. And I do too. There are no off days. There are days when he's not in surgery, but every day, there is a new challenge. There are 3 limbs that all need serious pain control - it seems like every day a different one is uncontrolled. I'm trying to figure out when to get all the administrative stuff done - finance, bill pay, tricare, prenatal care, etc.

He did get to meet his nephew for the first time today, so that was fun. He is so excited to have a little person running around, and I'm so excited to watch him be a daddy.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

Friday, August 19, 2011


I will never work in the PACU. Let's just make that clear right now. But probably after this is all said and done, I will be able to! Today was miserable. Not really, but still a little bit. Jason went back in for surgery. When they say surgery, I really don't know what that means, and that drives me crazy. Some docs say it's for wound cleaning, some say they're working on his fingers, left, and right leg, others say it's both. I just don't really know. They did replace his wound vacs, so that's good. I think they might've shaved a tad off his bone so the skin will be able to cover his right leg. Either way, he was in there for 4 hours. And when he came out, it was scary.

I left here around 2 am - this seems to be my routine - stay late, and get in late, because other family want to visit. So, I left him, (mind you I felt like I was leaving my child all alone on the side of the road not able to fend for themselves) around 2, and fell asleep trying to find I Love Lucy by 3 (no hallmark channel on the navy base apparently). The phone started around 7am, but I ignored it for a while. There comes a point when you just have to. Maybe my point is earlier than others, but still. I just ignored it.

Finally woke up around 11 - his friend Kyle was here from his old unit in Germany. He has since gotten out of the Army and lives in New York. When I told Jason a couple of days ago he was coming, he said "I know." I was like how?! He said "I just knew he'd be here." Battle buddy camaraderie I guess :) So he brought me some pizza rolls and dr. pepper from the shopette - thank goodness, I was starving, and still no food in my new little 'home'.

By the time we got to the hospital, Jason had come out of surgery and was in the PACU. When we got there, he was completely normal. Out of it, but acting normal. His mom and Ged left for a while to get some lunch since they got up early to be with him when he went to surgery. Kyle and I stayed with him, and that's when things got a little weird.

I don't deal with postop patients - so this freaked me out, and more so because it was my husband, and I've never seen him do anything weird (unless he's been drinking). His pain was out of control to begin with, so that didn't help. His blood pressure was 200s/110s, and then he started involuntarily twitching his head, but saying "I'm not doing that on purpose, make it stop!" And then, "No, no, no, etc - don't take my head too!" (I think he was referring to TBI, he was afraid he is going to have permanent brain damage, although he hasn't exhibited any symptoms of it yet) The nurses asked him his pain level - he rolled his eyes and said "160". "Well what kind of pain?" Again, the eye roll, "It feels like I'm stepping on that fucking land mine over and over again." I can sympathize with the pain scale question - it's a requirement - but god almighty they asked it like every 2 minutes, and I'm not even lying. So obviously you need to do something about this pain. They pushed dilaudid and fentanyl I think. No relief.

At this point, the weird stuff started happening. Stuff I'm not used to seeing, because where I work, everyone is coherent, and virtually healthy. As his head was twitching, his pupils got completely constrict, and he started stuttering and whispering all at once.

"Can you tell me your name?"
"Jason Graham Searles" (all whispering and stuttering and twitching)

"Where are you?"

"What country are you in?"

"No, you're in the United States. Who's that lady beside you?"
(after a minute of trying to turn his head to look at me)
"The most beautiful girl I've ever seen. But I'm not Jason. This is Cooper."

I said, "Cooper is what you wanted to name our baby, is that who it is?"
"No, I'm Cooper. The baby is Owen. Jason isn't here right now. Jason will be back in 25 seconds."
And he fell asleep.

And literally, 20ish seconds later, he woke up, and was completely normal. Talking normal, not whispering, not stuttering. And he remembered saying all of those things. To date, the weirdest thing I've ever witnessed. I almost started wondering if this was going to be a permanent side effect too.

The anesthesiologist was super nice, answered all our questions, (and gave him the drugs we've been asking for) although I think I need to start bringing the computer with me everywhere to write everything down. I've asked so many questions, and they've tried their best to answer most, but then I don't remember a day later.

I asked if he was going to get an IV BP med - that blood pressure was freaking me out a tad. She said "well, we'll give him his normal dose that he takes every day" I said, "He needs an IV med, his blood pressure is too high right now, the pill isn't going to work fast enough" She said "Well it will all absorb the same." Ha. No it won't. Then I saw the anesthesiologist pushing labetalol, although I'm not sure why because his heart rate was never high, so I was a little worried that would bottom out, but it was ok. Then they gave him his regular dose a little later. I asked if he could have that switched to taking it at night, and they said no because your blood pressure normally drops at night. But, I'm thinking, he always takes it at night, and never had problems - granted he's never been on 3 pages worth of meds - but if he's going to be in surgery every M/W/F and then NPO from midnight the night before - he won't get his morning dose regularly - and then we'll have this blood pressure issue every time he comes to the PACU. Annoyed.

Complete sensation in both legs - all the way down to his toes. This isn't normal, yesterday he could barely move his left leg because he was so numb. That is the goal currently, with the epidural. They checked his dermatome levels a bunch, duh, it's not working. Fix it. They tried a local block - that didn't work. It made it worse. Finally, they pushed a higher concentration of Lidocaine in the epidural to verify placement, and that seemed to help.

So now his pain is finally controlled with the lidocaine epidural bolus, and the morphine. The anesthesiologist finally switched the PCA to morphine for him since that's what he's been asking for. Although right now, it doesn't seem to be helping. So then he starts deserting, forgetting to breathe, blue lips, all that fun stuff. We play incentive spirometer for a while, and have to try to keep him awake. He eventually gets down to 1L NC but can't tolerate room air. So he's still on the O's, but I prefer that over blue lips.

Right now his right leg is bothering him the most. He is knocked out - and totally falls under that stereotype that we laugh at at work - passed out asleep, and when I wake him up to ask him his pain level, he's a 5-6. Ironic! But, he is my husband, and I don't think he's making this shit up. He said the morphine just knocks him out and makes him feel great, but the pain is still around a 5. He was at a 2 last night. And all day yesterday it was his left arm. So I just don't know how to keep on top of all the different pain locations. I'm wondering if his right leg is hurting more tonight because of the surgery though. I think I heard they shaved the bone down a little, to have more skin to make the 'flap'. I'm sure if they manipulated that, it's going to be pretty painful. He's also got 2 JP drains in that leg now. Maybe tomorrow it will start feeling a little better?! But then something else will start hurting :/

It's like a never ending sick game of whack a mole. But we're not really whacking anything.

I'm that wife. I ask for a print out of his meds. Ha. So tonight when he woke up and said he was a 5 - I asked if he wanted the IV push - yes - And of course when the nurse comes in, he's sound asleep. I said "I know it doesn't look like he's in pain, but I swear he just woke up and told me he was a 5!" I know what they think.

He is finally on an air mattress though. And I hope they'll start his PICC line this weekend. Sometimes I wonder what it's like for people who don't know anything about the medical field. I wonder if he'd get these things if I wasn't here. Not tooting my horn by any means, but most people just don't know what to ask for. I'm sure they'd get done eventually, but probably not as fast as I'm making them happening. Hey, I'm just's a good a time as ever to practice being assertive - these people don't know me - and I'm sure they'll be happy to see me go :)

In other news, Mom came up tonight briefly. She brought me a ton of food which will be a Godsend when I get back at 0200 and am starving. Baby is mostly awake at night too. I saw him move from the outside last night when I was lying in bed. I can only feel him kicking or punching when I'm lying or sitting which is a bummer because I really want Jason to be able to feel him. Mom and I and some close family friends that took the time to drive her up here since she just had a knee replacement, went out to dinner at Ruth's Chris - I had never been. Holy Lord. Ahhhmazing! We'll have to get Jason some take out for his birthday from there :) He did eat 3 pieces of pepperoni pizza and some cheesy bread tonight I was told, so that was awesome. That's the most he's eaten since I've seen him. He also got a roommate which is a huge bummer. Selfish, I know, but it was so nice to be able to take over the whole room. At least he has the window view. The other guy is 24 as well, a marine, and got shot 4 times I believe, in the abdomen. But he looks like he's gonna be fine. And he still has all four limbs. Which makes me a little annoyed because I feel like they're thinking "Wow, they have it way worse." And they'll most likely go back to the way they were no problem and in no time, and the entire public won't know the difference unless he tells them. And then I tell myself that is not very nice.

Everyone says they're so shocked at how I'm handling this. And they all think I am so strong. I don't really think so, I just know that I get up and do it every day because this is my role now, and I have no choice but to handle it. I will be his primary caregiver. This will be my life for a long time. (Sometimes I even wonder if this is the reason I went to nursing school. Has this been in the plan all along? Did someone know I would need this background in order to keep myself sane through this process? Clearly, I'm no surgical nurse, but I at least have the basic knowledge...) I don't think my brain is still letting me process it - if it did, I'd be in a padded room, no doubt. I think it takes a long time for anyone to fully accept something like this. I suppose everyone knows me to be an extreme worrier and I am. But when you are thrown in to a situation like this, you have no choice but to just do it. Just get through it. What else is there to do?

Thursday, August 18, 2011


The last 24 hours have been an absolute whirlwind! I finally got in to see Jason around 2300 last night, the 17th of August. The Army officials picked me up in their big black shiny government car, and I felt like a celebrity, although this was not the case. They helped me check in to the hotel (I'm staying on base - within walking distance of the hospital) And then they brought me to the hospital. We wandered around a little, and then we finally found his room. He had told me he had a roommate, so I was worried that I would wake him too. When I finally got to his room, I totally didn't react like I thought I would or should. I just walked right over to him and kissed him - he smelled like betadine and was orange all over from it. Poor thing probably hadn't had his teeth brushed in forever, but I didn't care. He was sound asleep, but woke up when I got there. It took him a few minutes to come to, and figure out that we were together again.

He said, "You can look at it, it's ok." So I did. Nothing different, just no foot. It was all just so surreal to see him like this, in this state, where he cannot do a thing for himself. He hates it. He wants to get in a wheel chair and go outside. Today he said "I need to get up and clean this room, it's a mess." I said, "Honey, I don't think you'll need to worry about that for a while!"

So, I stayed with him all night - I'm sure not the best idea I ever had, but I couldn't stand to leave him. Plus, I had no idea how to get back to the hotel, and while I could've asked, I just didn't feel like it. I was starving, but of course the DFAC closed (although it does open here around midnight!) so I asked to raid the pantry - I took two chocolate milks - they have the kind we used to have at our hospital, that taste like milkshakes almost :) They have 3 real refrigerators, all dedicated to patient food! This impressed me because at home, we always have to tell patients not to put their food in our fridges for infection control or whatever it is. So I was excited to be able to have stuff here to snack on. They had huge deep freezer with popsicles and healthy choice tv dinners - I almost took one, but I felt too bad. So I settled for saltines, graham crackers, and peanut butter. I know, terrible diet for baby. I've just been so distracted, by the time I realize I'm hungry, I'm like ravenous and everything is always closed.

He insisted that I sleep in the bed that his roommate no longer occupied - hospital beds freak me out, as well as going to the bathroom in his room - not like anyone else uses it, but still - it just weirds me out for some reason. So, I stayed up in the chair, dozed off a couple times, but had to readjust a lot because my bum kept falling asleep, so then that would wake him up. We'd talk for a few minutes, and then he'd fall back asleep. He's getting Seroquel at night, and that really seems to knock him out. He loves it! He's really struggling with pain in his left arm during the day.

I knew the morning would be super busy - I knew I would pay for this later.

So around 0530, the Dr's start making their rounds. This first guy looked like he was about 10. But whatever, I've had patients ask me that too. Overall, he had at least 20 different people in here throughout the day. Apparently there are the doctors who worked on his lower extremities, and the doctors that specialize in hands, and the trauma team, and ophthalmology, and a pain team, and anesthesia, and behavioral health. All in here in different times, pretty much asking all the same questions, but none of them could ever answer ours. It's a teaching hospital - the halls are packed during the day with groups of people making rounds on everyone, and then talking about them in the hall way.

He complained of weird sensations or feelings after pushing his epidural button, and somehow they got hallucinations out of that. And, of course no answer as to why - he said "Well, I can have psych come consult with him." I'm thinking - "WTF? It's obviously because of the amount of drugs, mixture, or whatever, it's not like he's just sitting here perfectly healthy imagining shit!" So he asked him to turn the epidural down a little to see - but still no real answer.

He told me yesterday he wanted people here all the time, that he was so super bored just sitting in bed al day. But today, after all the hullabaloo with doctors, nurses, cnas, corpsmen (whatever they are), and family, I think he was over it. But he didn't tell me this until after I had already returned a ton of messages saying "Sure, come visit!" Oops. Oh well. I think he wants to wait until he's able to move around a little more first. But he definitely still wants to see those really cloes friends and family. These rooms are tiny, I'm spoiled. You can hardly maneuver around the bed. He's got a tv on wheels like they used to have in elementary school, so that takes up about half the room. These chairs are the most uncomfortable things ever. It's crazy because I keep looking around thinking - "This is where I'll spend my days for the next few weeks!" But they are supposed to move him to a floor that was just redone and has all private rooms. So that will be nice.

He's on contact precautions, which I think they all are when they first get here - because of the bacteria that stupid country has I guess. Ha, I really don't know, obviously for bacteria, but I'm not sure if it's because of all the junk that got blasted in to his wounds or what. But hopefully he'll come off those soon - personally, I think these yellow gowns are worthless, and a waste of money!

So the medical stuff - he's got three wound vacs - one on his left bicep, left shin area, and obviously on the right lower extremity where the amputation is. I hated wound vacs in nursing school - I remember having to follow the lady around and watch her change the dressings. Gross. And they just look so painful, although the only one that I can see is his left bicep one - the others are covered with ACE wraps. He will likely be in surgery M/W/F until all the wounds are closed, supposed to be pounding calories in between. So we've already had McDonald's, and I just got him a regular (like kids) cheeseburger - and he couldn't even finish that. Anyone who knows my husband knows this is not normal. Ever. But he's not moving around much to have an appetite. It's a catch-22. I'm making them get him an air mattress tomorrow while he's in surgery - he has never been turned, and I can't do it by myself. It's hard to do anyway since he can't really turn on his left side because of that arm. He is young though, so his skin isn't terrible. But he's also sweaty, so there is moisture under there. Poor thing hasn't pooped since he left Afghanistan - and again, anyone who knows my husband, knows this is not normal either. They took the central line that was placed in Kandahar out today, and put in two IV's, hopefully a PICC soon. He's got an epidural for his legs, nerve block for his arm, and a PCA. Plus the PRN meds I'm trying to stay on top of.

The liaison came and talked to me today, along with SFAC, and finance (although by that time I was so out of it tired, I couldn't pay attention anymore). He's been a great help - but the contradicting stories are already starting. He's now telling me I may not be able to move our stuff back here, or that he won't be getting any PCS orders to here. Technically he's still attached to Fort Carson, and it may stay that way depending on how he's doing. What?! How the HELL are we supposed to try getting back to a normal family life with a baby coming in 5 months if we have none of or belongings and no real 'home'?! "Try not to think about that right now" he says. Ha. Do you know who you're talking to?!

An old high school friend came by tonight, who works for one of the WTU's at Fort Belvoir and was giving Jason a lot of good info about what to expect after things start settling down. He explained all the different routes his career could go, and they all sound very promising. As long as he stays motivated and wants to stay in the Army, hopefully they will go out of their way to keep him.

His mom got in from England this afternoon and sat with him for a while too, so it was nice to see her. I finally made myself leave and slept for a couple hours, but it definitely wasn't enough.

He's so peacefully sleeping now, I hate to wake him, but I'm going to wipe him down with whatever these wipes are they gave me because of his surgery tomorrow. I don't know if they've assumed I'm a nurse, or have some sort of medical background because no one has asked, but they are treating me like I know what I'm doing. Which I like. It took a little adjusting in the first few hours - he doesn't want me asking questions to the doctors until they're completely finished. He feels like when I ask questions, they talk to me, and not him, and he doesn't feel a part of the conversation even though it's about him. Understandable. But hard for me. So I'm trying to make sure he asks all the questions he has first, and then ask mine. But it's true, once you ask them a question, they just start talking to you, and not the patient. I hope I never did that.

And still, at least every 5 minutes, I think to myself "I can't believe I'm here right now, in this moment, with my husband, with no leg, and this is our life."

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Random Thoughts

The day isn't over yet. In fact, it hasn't really started for me, I'm still in bed. But I had a few random thoughts that I wanted to put on here.

Like, my new obsession with legs. Two legs. Everyone has two legs. Well, not everyone. But most everyone. I just watch people walk around, especially men (not like that), especially since it's summer time and everyone is wearing shorts. I look at their calf muscles, how symmetrical their legs are, if they have tattoos on them. I wonder if they realize how easy they have it just because they have two legs. Every morning when I wake up and get out of bed for the first time, I think of Jason when both of my feet hit the carpet. I wonder how he will get in the shower, do you put your leg on and get in and then take it off? Then put it back on before you get out again? Will we have to find somewhere to live with a walk in shower? Minor things. I do see people with long pants on and wonder if any of them have a prosthesis under there. I wonder what it will be like when we go to the beach. Do they make special prosthesis for this sort of thing? Will they it rust if it gets wet? What about the sand getting in between his stump (what is the politically correct term for that?) and the prosthesis? This is probably very ignorant of me.

I never intended this blog to upset people. I received many messages that as people were reading my blog, they were crying. I hope I am not coming across as pitiful. I don't want people to feel sorry for us for the rest of our lives, and I really know that Jason won't want that. It has just been a way for me to record my thoughts as I'm going through this process. I think it will be interesting to get Jason's perspective when he's up to it. And I know baby/grown son will enjoy looking back on this. At least I hope he will.

I'm feeling a little more bitter than I'd like to. When I see people's posts on Facebook sometimes I just think "Your life is so hard." (In a sarcastic tone of course) - so don't get on Facebook Stephanie - yeah right, anyone who knows me knows I'm addicted to that damn website. It's just crazy to me that our world is currently upside down (not in a bad way, but I do feel like one of those flip sand timers, and ours just got flipped over, and we are starting all over again) and everyone else just goes on like normal. Duh, why wouldn't they. Their life still is normal. Maybe ours will be too, one day. But probably not. People can go on with their daily routines without being affected, because they're not. I don't know why I think the world will stop because this happened to us. It happens a lot, unfortunately.

I look at pictures and think "I wonder what we would've done if we had known that 3 months, 4 months, or a year later, he'd have no right leg." I got a pedicure yesterday and thought about the time I made him go with me to get one, and he was so embarrassed, but handled it like a real man :) I guess he won't feel up to that any more.

I think about all the bad people out there, in our own country, who are just ignorant, or assholes, but usually both - and get angry. I get angry because all I can think is "My husband lost his leg for you? Really? You're an asshole. And you don't even realize."

Will Sadie still see him as her daddy? Or will she spot the differences and be unsure?

We're not a religious couple. And I don't know if this is going to make him want to be religious, or push away from it even more. It could go both ways. But, I did ask God if he was sure he put Jason with the right person when he married me. This is a hard situation for anyone to handle, and quite frankly I don't really feel equipped to handle it. We must have come together for reasons bigger than ourselves. We created a beautiful baby boy, and now we have to find our purpose in this new challenge. I fear this will be hard for him, as his career and life path has never been clear to him. But then, who is it clear to? I guess this is where faith comes in to play, and that, I know, is a struggle for me. I can only imagine how it will be for him.

I assume these are all normal feelings. And I should know all the stages of grief, but I don't remember them. I'm pretty sure I'm still in the denial stage, which I think is the first one.

I started packing last night, all still so surreal. I'm going to see my husband. I wasn't supposed to see him until January, and he was going to get home and we would have our baby at Evans, and all would be perfect. I knew the nurses and doctors who would deliver me, specifically requested one pediatrician to do the circumcision (hey, important things - I've seen some bad circs!), knew how the hospital worked, and what to expect. I would be at home for a few months with the baby just in time for him to return for good, and we would start our beautiful life as a family of three, together.

We will still have a beautiful life as a family of three, I suppose it just started sooner than I expected. I can be thankful it happened when it did, I still have 20 weeks left in this pregnancy. 20 weeks to get Jason back on his 'feet' and prepare for baby.

But, as I was packing, all I could look at was his closet full of shoes. How will this work? Can he still wear flip flops? Or should I just give them all away so he doesn't see them and get depressed that he can't wear them any more? He's got some old issued Army boots in there still (he never wore the issued boots, they're apparently terrible), I might leave them for a while.

If nothing else, now, when I see two shoes sitting somewhere (which is everywhere in my house), I immediately think of Jason, alone still, without one foot, and what he is feeling like.

August 15, 2011

I woke up at 0600, all by myself. Was determined to get to the OB Clinic on Post by 0700 to catch my Doctor before he started seeing patients. Well, apparently he doesn't get there till 0800. So I go upstairs to see all my coworkers. Of course everyone is very supportive and have lots of questions. Go through my speal for about the 40th time, feeling very emotionless at this point. Fill out my time card. Realize I need to recertify in NRP before October. Go back downstairs and get in touch with my most favorite doctor ever. Does a quick ultrasound, baby's heartbeat still strong. No, Dr. Clark, no bleeding or cramping. I know what to look for. I am stressed - but I think I'm still internalizing it. He looks up his colleagues in the military system at Bethesda and gives me their names. Just hands me a copy of my medical records (I don't think it's usually that easy) and tells me to go to the walk in clinic at Bethesda next week for my 20 week US. Go back upstairs to finish up things there. A former coworker calls the floor asking for my phone number, and I happen to be sitting right there. She used to work in Germany at Landsthul where he is a patient now. She got some inside information - her friends had received his paperwork the night before, and he is going to the unit she used to work on :) She tells everyone to look out for him. They messaged her again today and said he arrived in the morning, got evaluated, x-rayed, and was currently back in the OR (for the 3rd time) for a surgical wash out. Where they basically sedate him and power wash his wounds. Ugh. So then the head of the department I work for calls me, and says she's been in contact with someone at Landsthul also, and that his name wasn't on the manifest yet, but she would let me know when it was. But that from his notes, he looks extremely stable, and they're very pleased with his progress. She also has been able to squeeze me in at a clinic up north for my 20 week ultrasound a tad early. I then get a call from his mom, who has a number to the nurses station there. I try to figure out how to call it from the hospital phones since I know they can dial out of country. After about 45 minutes of arguing with these people, I finally get through - to 10 delta - the unit he's on. They transfer me to his room, and he answers. Still groggy, and sounding very down, in my opinion. Still cracking jokes, but still down.

"I feel like I've failed them, failed my guys. Now they have no squad leader."

"I'm scared that our baby is going to think I'm a freak, I won't have a leg, and I have scars everywhere."

"I'm really going to need you when I get home."

I ask if he's eaten anything, yes, "a cup of jello" - so I ask him if bringing him a double quarter pounder with cheese no pickles is a bad idea when I see him, he says "You might want to rethink that." As in - "you better have a double quarter pounder with cheese no pickles when you come see me" :) He tells me he thinks he's on the manifest to leave on Tuesday - what?! That's way sooner than I expected. He starts falling asleep on the phone. Which I hate, I want to hear his voice longer. So we hang up.

Hopefully next time I talk to him, it will be in person.

So finally, after 5 hours at work, when I only intended on being there for 1, I leave. I have to rush home, let the dog out, take a shower, and head up north for the Ultrasound appointment. Get there just in time, get all the measurements done - baby is in 56 percentile, has all his pieces and parts, and is still in fact, a boy. Placenta, fluid, and cervix all look good, and baby was somewhat uncooperative. :)

Go to hair appointment where I get another call from the CPT F, who tells me everything I already know because I'm that badass :) But he does confirm that my husband is on the manifest to leave Germany on Tuesday - yikes! So this means I could be leaving by Wednesday! Ah! Call mom, get dad a ticket for tomorrow! So he's supposed to be here tomorrow night at 10pm. CPT F confirms that my husband is going to be at Bethesda - they did have him scheduled for San Antonio - thank goodness CPT F fixed that real quick! Now I really have a lot to do - and that's ok, it will make it go faster :)

Since I'm up north - stop by the Verizon store on a whim - see if I can get husbands number reactivated - yes! I got him a brand new iPhone4, and I so hope it will make him as excited as I was :) He can put all his music on there since I know his is still in Afghanistan. I will try to get all his music on before I go home.

Now start back down south, get pedicure - hey, important things here - need to look good for husband. Got orange glitter nail polish - it's fun :)

Go home, Katelyn brings me dinner, and sits and talks with me for a while, which is wonderful. I will miss her :(

Now here I sit - thinking about all the things I should pack. Making list after list after list. Making sure I'm still feeling baby move in the midst of all this...

August 14, 2011

Today is a new day.

Woke up early, but ended up lying in bed for the majority of the morning, on the phone again, all morning. Hashing out details with my mom - should Dad fly out here to take care of the dog? Should we wait? What do I bring home now? When will I come back here? Where will I stay there? Spoke with various Army officials about the travel situations, and when I will find out when I get to leave. If there's one thing I've learned from being married to and working for the Army, it's always a game of hurry up and wait. Landlord comes over to fix fence. I take Sadie to get groomed, and I was going to get a pedicure, but it's Sunday, so they're closed. Go to Kohl's because I have Kohl's cash staring me in the face that I have to use :) Buy him some soft t-shirts that he loves, and basketball shorts (his very first pair, he hates those things, but I figure that's all he'll be wearing for a while), and some more sleeping shorts to lounge around in. Talk on the phone with life insurance guy about how this may change our policy. The lady at the checkout counter says "How are you today?" I think - "Well, my husband just got his leg blown off in Afghanistan for your dumb ass, our life will never be the same, but yours probably will - how do you THINK I am?" I say - "I'm fine." I then realize, this is going to be a VERY long road to recovery for both of us. I go back and pick up Sadie, all the while on the phone to different people, my boss, the head of the department I work for, friends, family, etc. I go home, and wait for the landlord to be done with the fence. He leaves, and I leave to go back up north to the Apple store. I'm going to buy us a new computer :) I need to be able to keep very accurate records of his care - I may be slightly OCD, and the fact that I know how hospitals work probably makes it a little worse. My old computer is 17 inches, and giant when it comes to traveling - and on the fritz - my husbands old computer went with him to Iraq last time, and is also on its way out. His new computer I got him for this deployment is still in Afghanistan and we won't see it for a while probably. So in I go, pick it out, buy it, and come back home. Simple as that :) I download a medical record app, and am very excited about it. But I think I will still have to keep track of some extra things in a document. This was a fairly uneventful day, have gotten a few more things sorted out with the CPT, but I was able to sleep a little. I planned an early day for Monday...

August 13, 2011

This is a little late - but I decided (at 0030) that I need to start keeping a journal. I just bought a MacBookPro - and don't have any word processing on it right now. So a blog it is for now. I just read that old post, from December of 2009. Back when life was easy. I only wish I could've looked ahead to now.

My husband deployed May 18, 2011 to Afghanistan. He is stationed in the Arghandab River Valley, and I couldn't tell you where that is. He is in the Army, 1-67 C Co - out of Fort Carson - the infantry - and for some reason they're known as the "Death Dealers". He's been in the Army for about 7 years now, and this is his third deployment. The first two were to Iraq and both lasted 15 months. This one is supposed to only be a year. (Only!) He hasn't even been there three months.

I worked all night, 7pm-7am, and got off Saturday morning. I came home and waited for the handyman to come give me an estimate on all the things wrong in this rental house that needed to be fixed. He came, gave me the estimate, and I made my usual bagel and cream cheese with apple juice and went upstairs to Facebook stalk like my normal morning routine.

I got a text from a fellow army wife, asking if I was ok, and if there was anything she could do for me. I thought this was odd. When I texted her back that everything was fine, she called - which was also odd. She said her husband had told her that my husband had been injured, was in surgery, but was ok. I didn't believe her of course, because the Army is supposed to notify you of these things first! So, not wanting to be the typical freaking out Army wife, I call my FRG leader just to clarify - who tells me she will call the RearD CO and let me know. When I get a call from a phone number which I know is from post - I know. They ask to speak to Mrs. Searles - and then inform me officially that my husband has been injured. I guess at this point, I knew that was coming. What I didn't expect was for them to tell me that he lost his right leg below the knee. No one ever expects it to happen to them. Cliche, I know, but it is true. Of course, I cried. I worried about very insignificant things, which then made me feel selfish. Like, what about Sadie? (Our dog) What about the bills, how will they get paid? What about work? I was trying to save for maternity leave! But the important thing was that he was stable, and apparently "in good spirits". I think they have to say that.

Then another person called me, and gave me a few more details, after apologizing for the Army's downfalls yet again. This is when I realized our lives had changed forever. He mentioned the stay at his place of rehabilitation would be at least 8 - 16 months. What? How is that going to work? Well, apparently these soldiers usually PCS (Permanent Change of Station) to wherever they are recovering. The family moves there, and they all begin their new life. Totally was not expecting this. Now, I have to figure out how to pack everything, take care of all the loose ends, pack everything, clean house, move out, and quit my beloved job. Oh, and I'm 20 weeks pregnant.

Everyone who knows me, knows how much I worry. Including my husband. I worry about everything, the big things, the little things, the things I cannot control, and the things I can.

So, now I'm in survival mode, trying to figure out where to go from here. I realized he mentioned Walter Reed Medical Center, but he said my husband would likely go to San Antonio (that's where the other two soldiers from his unit that this has happened to have gone). All our family is in Virginia. I requested that he be sent to Walter Reed indefinitely, as we have a baby due in January, and we're going to need all the help we can get. Plus, how wonderful to be back within driving distance of our family at a time like this.

I spent all morning on the phone. I only cried that once. When I realized it did happen to us. Will they kick him out? Can he deploy again? No, and yes. But he has since informed me he'd "like a nice pretty desk job". I had to contact his mom, she lives in England, and tell her myself. That was not ideal. Mind you, I had been up since 7pm the night before. Now it's noon. I'm supposed to work tonight - if I go to sleep now, I might be able to go to work. But will I be useful? Will I be distracted? As a nurse, I can't afford to loose my license over this, so around 5pm, after I had been up all day, I decided I should call in. By then, everyone at work had heard, and of course understood. We are so understaffed, I felt terrible, but they made it work. A friend came and sat with me, and brought me McDonalds for a few hours in the afternoon. She just had her baby, and I just held him all afternoon. It was quite comforting. I still didn't cry - just talked about everything in detail like it wasn't really happening to me. I could hear myself talking to her about this situation, and I kept having to tell myself, "this is your life you're talking about now".

I called the CPT back with all the questions I had started gathering throughout the day. And asked him more in depth about what happened. He said my husband did nothing wrong and did everything by protocol. Of course he did. He always does. Your stupid protocols aren't foolproof. I asked about his future with the Army, he said they would work with him to find him a job he would enjoy. I hope this is really the case. I just didn't, and still don't, understand the tactics they have to go by.

I also took it upon myself (husband probably would not have approved) to inform this CPT that last month, my husband made points for promotion to E6 - SSG, but that someone did not do their job by updating his records, so he didn't get promoted. He has to wait until August 18th I think, to find out the points for August, and then hopefully, he will get promoted Sept 1. I said "My husband got screwed because someone didn't do their job and update his points. Could you please make sure this someone does their job this time so he gets promoted like he should've been already?"

"Yes ma'am I'll make sure your husband gets what he is owed."

Thank You.

My husband called around 5pm that day. He sounded very out of it, very tired, and groggy. I could hear the male nurse there answering all the medical questions I had, but I just wish I could've been by his side for all of it. He said he had an epidural to numb his leg, and was in a lot of pain and very tired, but he's ok. He said he got a purple heart and some coins, so that was cool.

I took two tylenol PM (yes they're safe with pregnancy) and turned my phone on vibrate, and tried to sleep. I did, woke up once, but did get a few good hours of sleep.