Thursday, September 29, 2011

building 62

Have I mentioned that this sucks?

Well, it does.

It seems as though when we reach a new milestone, it comes with all kinds of really high hurdles to jump over. We've been anticipating discharge for over 6 weeks now. It came yesterday, and with it came a billion appointments and new things to put on our to do list. As if we don't have enough to worry about.

And oh by the way, someone else told us "No, you probably won't PCS here. You'll be attached for at least 180 days, and then we'll decide. But you can go back to Colorado for your MedBoard process if you want." Over.It.

My dog pees in my parents house. They shouldn't have to deal with that. I still haven't gotten our new Colorado registration stickers which expire after tomorrow. I already feel bad for the cop who pulls me over for that. Now we don't know when he can start school because we don't know where we'll be or for how long. I'm worried about him having some TBI. This is not home. Showering in a handicapped shower is miserable. His wheelchair runs in to everything. I need to go to Target like whoa, but there are too many appointments.

Yesterday I went to L&D Triage because they've made me paranoid with this whole cervical shortening and funneling thing. The doctor there measured it at over 3cm which is perfectly normal. Frustrating. But, hopefully one less thing to worry about.

I finally verbalized my frustrations I guess. I need Jason to let me take care of everything, and I need to organize his appointments and medications. But I also need him to try to be involved in trying to remember everything too. Just because I have an innate need to organize and control things, I need him to at least try, instead of letting me take the reins. Then I feel like I'm the only one doing it, and then I feel like my head is going to explode. He recognizes this. And I'm so very thankful for that. I need to figure out a way to express my frustrations without making him feel incompetent and useless.

I am a little worried though. He seems very foggy. Just can't remember anything or gets confused really easily. Appointments, meetings, etc. It could very well be the medications he's on. It could also be just the mere fact that he hasn't had to remember anything for the past 6 weeks. He thinks a lot slower than he used to, and it takes him much longer than usual to focus and remember things. It usually takes me saying it a couple times before he remembers, and by then I'm frustrated and my voice has that tone that he hates. And then he feels bad because he couldn't remember.

So our day started at 0700 and was filled with nonstop appointments until we got back to the room around 1600. It seemed like every appointment we went to wanted us to schedule another appointment with another service, and all the sudden all of next week is full too. And don't forget about the wonderful inprocessing checklist we have to do. Go here, here, and here, and get their signatures. And go to these briefs. And get a new ID card ASAP. "I wouldn't want to be caught on a military base walking around without an ID card." says his squad leader. Really? You don't think this is a special situation? Or, when they issue temporary cards, make them last longer than a month. And, he'll be promoted on Saturday. So can't we just wait till Monday instead of having to go back and get another one?! Not in the Army's brain. But we'll probably wait anyway. And go to the DMV because we still can't park in any handicapped spots even though I've been really tempted. You'd think they'd have someone on base to give those out.

He's sad that he can't help. We had to move everything from the hospital and hotel room yesterday, and he couldn't really do much. Plus, the meds make him pretty tired, and he fell asleep twice throughout the evening. I don't know, but as a man, I'm pretty sure that's not what you want to be feeling.

He's got so many appointments now that I'll have to go to my appointment next week alone. And I'm sad about that. I feel like saying, "come on, I only have one, can't we work around that?!" But, it's not about me.

I need for him to be back in Afghanistan when everything was normal. Normal for us. I need for us to be the way we were. I need for him to start remembering things better. I need for him to not have any TBI. I need for him to have his foot back. I need for everyone else to realize that even the smallest, most insignificant things aren't easy anymore. I need for people to know what we're going through, because I feel like this is a very unfair distribution of life events.

Today while we were meeting with one of the doctors, he was trying to be nice by making conversation, but it didn't help. He was saying "ohh, a baby, those first few years are really hard..." great. Like we didn't think about that before we decided to do this, but we also didn't think about doing it in a foreign place with a million unknowns. Don't they say having a baby is one of the most stressful things you can do in life? So is this. I don't even want to know what else is in store for us for the rest of our lives!

Now there is no structure to my thoughts. So I'll save you from my misery and end this here. Must rest up for another full day of appointments. Can't wait for the weekend, and sleeping in!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

45 days

The charge nurse came in last night and said "Did you know this is your 44th hospital day?"


I keep saying "we've been here for a month..." but really it's more like 6 weeks now...ugh!

On the bright side, we did finally get an official room in Building 62, and we even have the key. So we're not quite sure how this works. Now we can start moving all of our junk, but I'm sure there are still plenty of hoops we need to jump through before we're officially out of here.

Some NP is in now asking him a bunch of typical questions - probably screening for PTSD type questions.

We still haven't decided on a name. Now I feel like we can think about baby more. We can start getting stuff. I swear if they tell us we're moving again anytime soon, I'm not going to be a friendly person. We're still tossing one name around, but I just can't commit. And that worries me. Maybe we will just need to see him first before we can decide. He's getting big though, now my belly looks lop sided sometimes when he moves around and he's on one side. I just hope he's still staying put like he's supposed to be, and not trying to work his way out. And of course with all the moving I'm going to want to lift stuff. And everyone keeps telling me not to. I know I shouldn't, but it's not like I'm moving furniture. Just clothes and dumb stuff. I hate it when people won't let me help.

So right now we're waiting for the docs to come by and give us some damn answers. We're hoping for at least an overnight pass for tonight. Then hopefully we can move this process along before the weekend comes and this place shuts down. I remember this baby we had in the SCN once, and we all kept saying that we felt like the doctors were just sitting on him because they weren't sure what to do. (it was a weekend) That's what it feels like now. And I hate that feeling.

Anyway, maybe I'll actually get to spend the night with my husband tonight without people coming in and out to do vitals or give meds, and we won't be squished in a twin bed. Not that I've ever spent the night here in his bed, but we usually sit in it together at night. It's not very comfortable to say the least. But neither are these chairs.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Last night we went to Ruth's Chris for dinner. Today we went to the mall. Jason came both places. Do you realize how good this feels? Even in its glory, it's still annoying at times. We still have to park in regular parking places because we didn't even think about asking for a handicapped hangy thing when we were begging to leave the hospital. I'll try to figure that one out next week. It's even more annoying because we really have to park pretty far away from everyone else so we have room to get the wheelchair next to the door for him too. Whatever, at least he's out.

Last night he was in a bit more pain though, because we were out late by his standards, which is 9pm. But, that's historically when his pain happens. We enjoyed an awesome (expensive) dinner though, so that was nice. Today, we tried to get out a little earlier so he'd be back in time for the night time meds. We left around 3 and were back by 8. But, a long time out! And, they gave him a couple OxyIR's to take along just in case, which was a blessing even though he was virtually pain free the whole time. His right leg did start hurting from hanging down that long though. It was nice to be able to medicate himself if needed though. The doctor also took his PCA away today. He's been going back and forth, and he definitely still used it, but mostly at night. The doc basically said 'look if you're gonna try it, you gotta go all in' so he took it all away. Which is probably true - if it was still sitting here next to his bed, it would be calling his name and I guarantee you he'd ask to be hooked up to it. It's almost like a comfort thing. He did up the night time dose of long acting Oxy though, so hopefully it will work! I'm just afraid of when the pins come out. I don't want him to be in excruciating pain again and then have to get started on it and get off of it for a third time.

Either way, the day at the mall was fun. Although Saturdays at the mall aren't exactly a blast when you're not handicapped. I just wrote it off to building my patience for when we're pushing a stroller through massive crowds of oblivious, stupid people. When we're pushing a stroller though, I'm sure people won't be straining their necks to stare at us. It was kind of ridiculous. Maybe before, people stared too, and we just didn't realize it because we weren't staring at them to see how hard they stared. Ha that was long winded...but they really do. This one guy was in front of us, craning his neck backwards staring at Jason. Really? So many times I almost said "Excuse me? Can I help you with something?" or "What the f*ck are you looking at?" (I doubt I would've said that, but I was saying it in my head.) or "Did you have a question?" or "He stepped on a land mine for your right to do stupid shit like stare at him. You're welcome. Now turn around and keep walking." I still need that t-shirt.

By the end of the day I could tell he was getting irritated with the stares. I mean, it is human nature, and ironically I caught myself staring at another person in a wheelchair. I quickly looked away, thinking "Oh shit I'm one of the people I'm hating on right now!" People naturally look at a young guy in a wheel chair and wonder why that is. Then they see the mallet he has for a hand right now, and his PICC line, and then of course his nub. And then they stare at his nub for a very long time. Jason and I both stared them down, waiting for them to make eye contact again, just to make them feel uncomfortable. Their stares never made it back up above his waist before we passed by.

Anyway, he got a new pair of shoes - more his style. Unlike the sweet Army shoes he got donated. A couple t-shirts - he can wear real clothes now! Unless he gets hooked back up to the IV or PCA. And even then, I just disconnect it and reconnect it when we change shirts. I know, I know, but whatever :)

I got some more maternity clothes, and a couple onesies for baby. I couldn't resist. They're long sleeved thermal onesies - so cute.

We're excited for a visit from Craig, Brett, and baby Max tomorrow! Will be another fun day out, hopefully!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

SSG Searles!

Today was exciting - Jason will finally be promoted as of Oct 1, for real this time. That will be exactly a year that he's been promotable. Who knew it'd take that long. Sheesh. It made his day, I think.

Then, they told him (after taking x-rays of his hand for the 3rd time) they were hoping to take the wound vac off tomorrow and take the pins out too! This is good news too because we were thinking the pins wouldn't come out until next week. But, we've learned not to get our hopes up. They came to his room to do the 3rd x-ray because the first two were done wrong. I really have to talk myself out of checking behind everyone, and when I don't, look what happens. I always tell myself "they're grown ups, doing their job, they know what they're doing..." I can't imagine being a parent and going through this with a child. If they messed something up twice that we had to re do with a toddler, I would be everyone's enemy in that hospital. The doctor came to the room and brought the x-ray people up to make sure it was done right the third time. I didn't realize he was a doctor, I think he may be a resident, but I was like "did you write in the comments that it was supposed to be done a certain way?!" he was like "yeah, in two different places, both times!" it was frustrating, but at least it was done and nothing was delayed. Anyway, I mention that because when they unwrapped his hand, it was one of the only times we've really seen it. And his hand stunk. Gross. Then he automatically assumes it's infected. It really just smells like dirty sweaty hand that has been wrapped for over a month. Oh can't wait to scrub it!!

I'm going to go ahead and diagnose myself with sciatica. Bummer. It's really tolerable right now. Just really irritating. Every time I bring my left foot forward when walking, it feels like something right above my hip joint, in my lower back, needs to crack sooo bad. And I've tried, oh I've tried. I can't make it move. So of course when I move certain ways it gets worse. And I still have the numbness and sometimes shooting tingles down my left leg. So I'm pretty sure that's what it is. I just wish someone could just crack it!!

And just in case anyone was wondering, I still haven't experienced these new Facebook changes that are supposedly happening.

We're hoping to be discharged soon. Like 10-14 days soon. I'm nervous for that. Then what will we do? Will we be at each others throats all the time because we won't have anything to do? No jobs to go to? It sounds like a dream. It's totally not.

I posted another blog a couple days ago. I just didn't put the link on Facebook, so if you want to read that one, be sure to check it out!

He moves a lot. It's starting to get more and more prominent as he gets bigger. I think I'm starting to be able to feel body parts. I wonder what it feels like when they're full grown. I hope I will get to feel that :-/

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

rinse cycle

Where to begin?

Today was yet another roller coaster of emotions. But only for me, really.

I'm sitting in the basement of the Navy Lodge...excuse me, the garden level - ha..doing laundry. I can barely remember doing laundry like this in college. Isn't that sad how fast you forget those things? I think the first few times I stayed with it because of all the rumors you hear of people stealing your clothes. After the first couple times though, I never stayed with it again. It was just a lot of running back and forth up and down the stairs to change it over or go get it. Or I just saved it all until I went home. Either way, no one ever stole our clothes. Not at our beloved JMU :) Ok, off topic - nevertheless, I'm sitting here waiting for the clothes to finish washing, so I can put them in the dryer and wait again. Hoping the new maternity jeans I bought don't run on the other clothes...and hoping that washing his velcro clothes with my delicates wasn't a bad idea...but as I typed that, I pretty much figured it was, and I should prepare myself for some ruined underpants. Ah well.

I'm not really sure what to write about this day yet. I'm not sure how in detail I want to go about the events that occurred. I've already posted a little glimpse on Facebook, so I'm sure by now, those who wanted to, have figured it out. I had a routine OB check up today. It didn't quite go like I had hoped. I have gained about 15 lbs so far. Not happy about that, but understand it is part of pregnancy. Just feel like a heifer. I swear that scale was heavy though.

Jason was able to come with me to this appointment, which has been the first since he left and we had just found out. Then, he saw the yolk sac and a heart flutter, but that was it. He saw the 3D ultrasound when we found out the gender because we web streamed it to him. Baby was very active this morning, and moving everywhere during all my exams, which was good. Unfortunately my cervix is starting to funnel, and is shortening. Which is normal in pregnancy, but not this much, and not this early. I started out at around 4cm, and I'm at 1.5-2cm now depending on who you ask. I have to go back in 2 weeks to get checked again after some progesterone therapy. Either they'll tell me it's great news and it hasn't gotten any shorter and I will be able to go about my normal living, or it will have gotten shorter, and they'll want me on bed rest. I'm not dilated yet, so that's good. And I have no symptoms of preterm labor right now either.

But, how will I go on bed rest with a husband who is also pretty much on bed rest? I mean, he isn't really, but he still needs quite a bit of assistance. Remember when I said I felt like someone was playing a sick joke on me? Well, now I really feel that way. I hate that I am so negative, but with all the things that have happened or are happening, how could I not be?!

So when Jason goes outpatient, he'll be allowed to have one person to stay with him as his non medical attendant. This person is 'on orders' and will get per diem (which isn't a lot) for staying with him. It was going to be me. Except that if I have to go on bed rest that won't work. So then I'm wondering if I'll even be allowed to stay with him because technically I'm not on orders. Politics. And then I think about Colorado, and all our glorious stuff. And how I may not be able to go out there at all now. I'll have to rely on perfect strangers to pack it all and PCS it (eventually) and probably rely on my parents to go out there on their own dime to get the 'stuff' I'm so desperately waiting for. And then I think about all the little babies we saw at Evans - and we didn't even deliver under 36 weeks...and how sick some of them were even at that age. I think about how hard it was to get those little ones to breastfeed, and how they almost always had to have formula or IV fluids. I think about how long they stayed in there, and how the parents got so annoyed with it. I just want to deliver a healthy 7lb baby, and go home 2 days later like most everyone else gets to do. As if our family hasn't endured enough already. Let's just see what else we can pile on top.

Of course Jason handles it perfectly and says that everything will be fine. Not worried a bit. Unfortunately, my negative attitude, and my job have made me paranoid. He's moving around now, as if to tell me, "I'll be OK mom, I'm a fighter!" That sounds cheesy, but sometimes that's what I think. He is a boy though - and he's white - and for all my MBU nurses out there, we know where that's going. I feel like I've done something wrong though, even though I haven't. But, you don't have to do anything to be pregnant, and I can't even seem to do that right.

Let me clarify - I am not in pre term labor. I don't want a bunch of rumors spreading all over. I know a lot of people read this who I didn't even know would find it. And that's ok. And I have to be ready for the consequences of me putting my business out there. The doctor said I will likely deliver between 34 and 36 weeks. I'm still hoping for 38-40.

I'm merely stressed. Overloaded. Really thought my brain was oozing out of my ears today. Felt so numb and defeated. So defeated in fact, I got a flu shot. I am usually very resistant to those, just think they're silly. But now, I don't want to take any risks.

I know what all the machines in the NICU do. I don't want to deal with all those stupid cords and wires. I don't want to have to change poopy diapers and try not to get poop on them all. I don't want to go 'home' with oxygen for my baby. I don't want to pump and feed, I want to breastfeed. I don't want to deal with it! I'm sure this sounds extremely selfish of me, and I should be grateful to be carrying this baby boy. I am. I just want him healthy. Like 40 weeks healthy. My husband will be technically handicapped (though I know after a while you'll never notice) for the rest of his life. I don't want our child to be, too. Or deal with surgeries for a baby or long term health problems because I couldn't keep him inside me.

Any time after December 10 would be okay with me. Preferably January 7 of course, but after Dec 10, he'll be 36 weeks, and I can handle that. I've seen those babies go home in 2 days no problem. Some of them are littler, but some still go home with no problems.

Needless to say, I was in a severe funk all day. Of course the appointment was the first thing in the morning, so I was a misery to be around (again) all day long. I went with Jason to PT again. He gets excited to go now. But he's like a little puppy - as soon as he gets back from doing his exercises, he's exhausted, and goes right to sleep. He stood with the parallel bars and threw and caught an exercise ball while balancing. He did a great job with that. One guy fell while walking around the track, and it took a long time for him just to get back up. He had above the knee amputations, and was pretty new to his prosthetics it looked like. It was so sad to watch. He was so positive about it though, while just laying there on the floor waiting for someone to help. It was such a struggle to stand up on those legs for him, just something you'd never think about. How hard it is to stand up from lying on the floor with fake legs up to your hips. Jason said "Man, I wanted to help...and then I realized I couldn't." We just chilled out for the rest of the afternoon.

So I think after a day of processing it all, I'm a little better with it. But who knows what tomorrow will be like. I know there's not much I can do. I know I'm not doing too much to have caused it - if anything, I was doing much more before I came here. Now, I just wake up and walk to the hospital and sit in his room. Maybe walk downstairs once, and back to sitting, and picking scabs and dead skin, and then walk 'home' and sleep. Hence the weight gain. I know people do both of these things every single day (sit by their husbands bedside, and wait patiently for their baby to come home), just maybe not at the same time. And, thank goodness I'm not on bed rest now, or thank goodness the baby isn't here now in the middle of all this. And, at least we'll be within walking distance of the hospital for a good while. That will save on gas money!

We're so hoping for a weekend pass this weekend. We have got to get him off this base. His mom is coming for another visit too, so we were hoping to go out to lunch or dinner one night. It just all depends on whether or not his pain can be controlled with oral medications. Right now he's still on the PCA, and still has a wound vac. We're trying not to get our hopes up, but I think whenever you have to say that, you've already got them up.

I'm tired, I wish these clothes would hurry up. Usually, I love doing laundry. But not when I have to sit and wait for it.

Hopefully tomorrow will be better.
Every day inside is worth three on the outside little one. You just stay put!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

sea legs

Apparently I'm starting to have some weird pregnancy symptoms. When I woke up this morning I thought my left leg felt a little numb, but I wrote it off to it just having slept on it wrong and figured it would go away within a few minutes. I didn't really think about it again until I was up in his room and was itching my leg, and realized it was still a little numb. Not like whole leg from top to bottom numb, just a section of my outer left thigh. Weird. I'm pretty sure it's pregnancy related, and they're just going to tell me "it's normal, as long as you're not in pain, there's nothing we can do about it." I'll keep you posted on the actual response. I have an appointment on Tuesday anyway, so I'll just ask then. But, my guess is, my growing baby/uterus is sitting on a nerve somewhere. Bummer. I really dislike the numb feeling, but I can't really notice it unless I'm touching it. I also feel like something needs to be cracked in my lower back. Anyone who knows me, knows I crack every joint that can be cracked in the human body. Well most everything. I know this is not a good thing, but it's a habit, and it feels so good. So I'm wondering if this has something to do with the numbness thing...may see if the doc will refer me to a chiropractor - I've never been to one, but seems appropriate in this situation. That, and Jason is not well enough to be able to lift me up to crack my back like he used to :) I just hope it doesn't turn painful, because that would be a bummer for the next 16 weeks.

Anyway, besides that, Jason and I had a fabulous day in my opinion. We went over to Building 62 for lunch which wasn't that exciting because it's Sunday so no one was there and the food was blah. But, it was better than hospital food or pizza. And, Jason doesn't have his meal card yet since he's still inpatient, and the lady decided to give it to us for free. That was a nice break. You'd think in a government facility that food would be cheap - it isn't. She told me not to go around telling everyone we got our lunch for free. So, if the Army is reading this, don't get her in trouble! ha ha.

After lunch we sat outside for a couple hours. They have these big cushiony lounge chairs, and the weather was pretty perfect - at least for Jason. He loved how cool and refreshing it was. We sat there for a while, and he called one of the other guys from his unit who's in a similar situation, just in San Antonio. It was so quiet out for some reason. Partly because it was a weekend I'm sure, and there weren't extra people floating around everywhere. It was nice to sit there in the peace and quiet and just talk about things.

We were going to go back in for dinner but they didn't really change the food selection so he decided he didn't want to eat there again. We went to the shopette instead and got dinner from the frozen foods aisle. Ha. But then when we returned to the floor, they had brought burritos for everyone so we ate those instead. And watched Forrest Gump.

We kind of have a night time routine now. It's really gross. I sit at the end of the bed and pick all the dead skin off his left food that I can, clean the dirt out of his toenails, slather lotion on his foot and then cover it with a sock to try to get rid of the insane amount of dry skin he's got going on. I massage it a little because it's still swollen since he's not on it that much yet. Then, we play gorilla, and pick scabs. I realize this is disgusting. But I quite enjoy it. He's got a ton of scabs on his 'residual limb' from where the sutures were taken out, and right along the incision too. Don't worry, we're allowed to pick them off, as long as they're ready to come off. In fact, they tell us it's good for the skin only have to tell me once :)

Currently watching Dr. Drew's special 'Teen Dads' - puhhh leaseeee. I am such a sucker for this show. I swear, Catelynn and Tyler are like 30 year olds. Tyler impresses me so much - the things he says are so wise, and seeing that glimpse of how he was raised, it's just amazing that they were able to make the decisions they did. Just impressive. He'll go far, for sure. At least I hope he does. That was such a random side note. But, it also makes me so grateful for the relationship that Jason and I have since we're about to bring a human in to this world.

And speaking of our relationship - I have to say, I still don't deserve him. Last night, we were laying in the hospital bed - which is close to impossible - and I accidentally knocked his hand - the one that gives him problems. Immediately I knew I had hit it, and got so scared that I had hurt him. He put his grimace face on and took a few moments to himself. I was just thinking - If that had been me, I would've yelled and screamed and got so mad - he just whispered "just try to be more aware of your surroundings next time". Really? That's it?! Just hope I can remember that tolerance when the roles are reversed.

Jason's favorite line from Forrest Gump:
"I thought I'd try out my sea legs, Forrest"
"But LT Dan, you ain't got no legs..."
"Yes Forrest, I know that."

Friday, September 16, 2011


Can you believe it's been a month since I've been here? Well, tomorrow will be. And I'll be 24 weeks tomorrow too. Just crazy. Counting up such a wonderful thing (the pregnancy) and not such a wonderful thing (his hospital stay). I never expected he would be in the hospital for over a month. When I was having the initial phone conversations about how life would be over the next few weeks, they told me 2-3 weeks. Ha. So obviously I took that to heart. I packed all normal people size clothes thinking that since I hadn't grown that much already, I probably wouldn't over the next 2-3 weeks, and then we would be back in Colorado and everything would be fine. What the hell is wrong with me?! Why would I think something that stupid?! I can't believe that's what I thought. I know better! I knew this would be a long process. I just didn't know how bad it would suck going through it. And I'm not even going through it, he is.

We had a visit from our old social worker today, she came by just to say hi and bye - she's being transferred to Fort Belvoir. We really liked her. Then we went downstairs to Physical Therapy - he hates that 'PT' now refers to Physical Therapy and not Physical Training - then they took him to the MATC (Military Advanced Training Center - and I just had to google that) building, where he'll be spending the next months or even more doing PT and OT. Super nice. Brand new building, brand new facility. Indoor track, rock climbing wall, all kinds of cardio machines, and a lot of young men with limbs lost. Jason looked like he was ahead of the curve compared to some of the guys. I know he compares his injury and thinks he doesn't deserve to be there. He's nervous. And he has every right to be - yet another unknown. I got a little upset, actually. Just an internal mental war about the morals of this country. While I was admiring all the fancy new equipment, I couldn't help but be pissed that this is even necessary. There were so many young men, missing one leg, two legs, an arm and a leg, two arms and a leg, two legs and an arm, etc. And for what? For the rest of America to continue to complain about whatever they choose to complain about? Here, their sacrifice never goes unnoticed, but in the real world, out there with all those civilians, it most definitely does. It just makes my heart hurt for them. It makes me wish I could be bigger than I am, so that I could really make a difference somehow.

I'm not going to lie, as much as we both hate being in the hospital, when he's finally discharged, it's going to be real weird. You mean we don't have to be back in 4 hours for vitals? I think he might find it harder than he thinks too - he's pretty anxious about all the different recovery processes, and is very afraid to mess anything up, so I hope he adjusts to being on his own okay. He's scared the skin graft will get messed up, or his wounds will get infected. I'm sure it's a wife thing, but he never believes me when I try to put his concerns to rest. But as soon as someone else tells him the same thing, it's all ok! (He says it's because I don't deal with 'this kind of stuff' not that I don't know what I'm doing...-and believe me, we've discussed how this makes me feel! ha)

This one guy was nice enough to stop and show him how his 'first leg' worked. He took off all the layers of socks and shrinkers and told him what to expect. He showed him how it fits and how it goes on and stays on. I didn't see many wives there. So, if wives don't go with their husbands every day - what do they do?! I'm going to go nuts. And probably become a whale. Jason got a book about the DASH diet today. hahahahahahha. We should probably start eating salad. Like every day. Stat.

The walk home reminded me a tad of Colorado. It's chilly all the sudden here - which is not normal for Va, usually it's gradual. This weather change was much like Colorado - hot one day, freezing the next. But, it wasn't humid either. It was nice. I've seen there's already snow on Pikes Peak though - and in Colorado, this is a big indicator that winter is coming! Jason and I would have lived there for 2 years soon - the 19th I think - which is crazy. Time flies when you're not cooped up in a hospital room! I hope we can go back one day. Now that he's likely non deployable we've been considering Hawaii again. One of the big things holding us back from there was that unit deploys very often. Who knows what our future will bring. I just hope it's on the uphill from here on out!

My mom and dad visited yesterday, then we went shopping and I bought more maternity clothes. Do you realize how expensive these clothes are?! It's insane. I kind of wish we were still in the just 'wear a moo-moo' era. I bet it was a lot cheaper.

When I write these blogs, I'm usually in my hotel room (which I just had to re check in to since it's been a month. Can't believe I've been in a freaking hotel room for a month. Ugh.) and drinking milk straight from the container with cookies of course. It's glorious. Just thought you should know.

Oh, since the last post, they put him back on the PCA, this time with Dilaudid. In the beginning that's what he had, and he was convinced it wasn't working. I don't know if he was just in even more excruciating pain then, and it really wasn't working, or if he was so out of it he couldn't tell, but it's like the miracle drug now. He was on morphine for a long time, so I'm sure he built up a tolerance to that. They had him on 0.8mg/20 mins of Dilaudid and it knocked.him.out. Needless to say he slept well last night. But he did say he would wake up in pain because it knocked him out so hard he wouldn't wake up until he was in pain again. But he couldn't stay awake for very long periods of time today, so they turned the dose down to 0.5mg/20 mins...still makes him tired, but as long as it's controlling the pain, I'm happy. He's trying to stay on top of the OxyIR's so he won't have to push his button as much, but it doesn't seem to be working like it has in the past.

He was upset that they had to start that again, said it feels like a step back and that he'll never get out of there. But after I had a firm conversation with the nurse and then residents, the attending finally came in and started it back up. Oh, I was pretty mad. I'm sure I sounded rude, although mom said she could tell I was restraining myself. I get that everyone has to learn. I was there once. I still am. Everyone is always learning, really. But these residents, they make me want to stab myself in the eye. I found it interesting actually. About 3 of them came in and shuffled through their stack of crumpled up papers to find his history - "Hm, so the Oxy isn't working?" No. "Hm, so it's nerve pain then?" I don't know, it just hurts and the morphine and oxy aren't working anymore. "Hm, so we should probably up the dose on your Pamelor and give you another dose of Klonopin." My face is getting hot. I finally said - he doesn't get pamelor until 22 - what will that do for his pain now? (it was 4pm) "Hm, I see." And then, the klonopin only made him tired it didn't touch his pain. I don't want you to knock him out so he can't acknowledge the pain, I want you to fix the problem. (besides the fact that it's a psych drug, and we all know how I feel about those - all I keep picturing is our psych professor making a very bad imitation of what some of those drugs can do to people) "Hm..." And then the doc comes in and says "Ok, so we're going to put you on a Dilaudid PCA..." haha what?! So it seemed like zero communication was had between the residents and attending...but whatever. And then they just kind of backed out of the room and huddled in the hallway to mumble about it some more...and probably talk about what a b*tch the wife was :)

There are a lot more people out there reading this blog than I ever could have imagined. Initially I thought it would just be a good way to keep family updated who are far away, and I also wanted to have something to look back on when we're old. Jason still hasn't read it. He's read the first few posts, but it doesn't interest him that much since he's experiencing it all first hand. I'd imagine a few years from now, maybe, he'll find it interesting to look back on. Either way, we both really appreciate everyones support, whether we know you or not. To know that we're thought about on a daily basis, by any given person, is a blessing. My hope is that this blog will help others out there who may be going through the same things we are to feel like they aren't alone like I felt for a very long time (and sometimes still do). I also hope to bring awareness about the struggles and intense life changes something like this can bring a young couple. Unfortunately this happens fairly frequently and many others may just hear about it and probably think "Oh poor them." But no one will really ever know what it's like unless they've been through it themselves. This is no walk in the park. I only hope we can come through this on the other side still smiling, and still happy to be married to one another.

So now that we're living our life counting days, weeks, and months - I wonder where we'll be in this process a month from now?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Considering I rolled around in bed until noon today, and now I'm back in it, I haven't even been up for 12 hours. Ugh. I feel so worthless, and like a very nonproductive member of society these days. I used to be awake and working nonstop for at least 14 hours of the day! (not every day of course)

Jason texted around 9 which I thought was early to be done with surgery already. He told me he got bumped and wouldn't go until 11. I could picture how irritated he would be since he had been NPO since midnight...I knew he'd be starving, and being pushed farther and farther back would only make it worse. Fortunately (and unfortunately) he is no longer a trauma patient, and is now on the PM&R service (I can't remember the full meaning...but the R is for rehab - which is a good thing). So that means he's not as acute anymore either. I tried to explain to him that another trauma patient could come in at any time and need the OR more than he did. "Then why did I have to go NPO at midnight?!" Because unfortunately, you just never know what will happen, it's the nature of the beast. "That's genius." So, he was mad. And hungry. And in pain. I reminded him of the morphine push he could have, although at that point I think his pain had gotten to far out of control. He said he sat there in pain, and hungry for a while. They called me (which has never happened) around 1300 when I just got to his room expecting him to be back soon, and told me that he had just gone in to the OR. I knew he had to have been even more pissed then. So, I go off to get all the DMV bullshit paperwork notarized and mailed. I sit in his room and watch Ellen (on which I see an old high school friend as she practices with the New Orleans Saints...weird). Still no Jason. I start decluttering, or trying. He has two nice backpacks in the closet full of random stuff - clothes, notebooks, cards from students, etc. I stuff as much as I can in to those two bags and decide to go pick up some milk and take them back to the hotel room. I may be jumping the gun on his moving out process, but he has so much stuff in there it's ridiculous. As soon as I leave, he texts "where are you?!" of course, I just missed him. But by now it's 1630, and he just got back to his room, so I'm sure he's starving. I hurry back to the room (after changing out of my scrub pants which sadly aren't comfortable anymore) with his order of spicy purple doritos.

Things I learned in my long time alone today:

I want Cesar Millan to come train our dog (even though she's perfect in our eyes).

I really need more maternity clothes now. Like, I don't think I can fake it much longer.

I did not pack appropriately. Maybe I would have if I hadn't been pregnant and actively growing out of everything I packed. Ugh.

It was ungodly hot today.

I really hate it when things don't have homes. And, right now we have a lot of that going on. It makes my brain feel like it's oozing out of my ears when I think about it too much.

I really love being alone.

After he got back, his hand was killing him. He had been given a temporary nerve block in the OR I think because he said his whole arm was dead, but he could still feel pain in his fingers. Apparently when he goes off the trauma service and on to the PM&R service, he also goes off the pain service - so they can't be called anymore. I don't really understand this, but I don't push it too hard. He gets all the meds he missed earlier in the day, and also some immediate release oxy's. Doesn't work. Gets the Morphine push. Doesn't work. Gets a one time dose of OxyIR, which surprise! doesn't work. Now it's night shift and he's still in pain. Gets a one time dose of Morphine which doesn't work. Gets dose of PRN Morphine again, doesn't work. Gets the PRN OxyIR dose which doesn't really work either. Still in pain, and now irritated because he hates all these drugs being in his system. He's worried he's going to have weird side effects or hallucinations. Gets his night time cocktail which includes Lyrica now that they've switched that from Neruontin, OxySR, etc, and his favorite, Lovenox. After all those doses, it's still not touching his 9/10 almost making him cry hand pain, she comes in with Klonopin. Now, psych nursing was not my thing, but I do remember some of the drugs, and this was one of them. Psych drugs freak me out a little. Apparently this one can be used for nerve pain too. But she explained to him that it is a benzo and that it will pretty much knock him out. He's still worried about all the effects, especially now that he's had so much other pain medication, but decides to take it.

By the time I leave, he's very sleepy, and I hope he will get good rest. I told the nurse on the way out to bring him his OxyIR's every 4 hours no matter if he's asleep or not. (he agreed to that) I just hope it's better by tomorrow - usually his day of surgery pain is the worst...I know he really wants to get out of the hospital and move around. He said he has had a couple days where he hasn't been in pain, and was so happy.

He is shocked by how long this is taking, and I think reality is just now starting to set in about how long of a process this will really be. I don't think he realized he would be on all kinds of medications for a long, long time. He's scared that he's going to be in pain for the rest of his life. I don't think this will be the case, but then, how could I ever know. He's scared that he's going to turn in to a grumpy old man because he's just in pain all the time (I'm kind of scared for that too). His hand, though, will likely be a slow and painful rehabilitation process. He's physically tired from being in pain so much.

I see guys walking around all the time though, like nothing is bothering them. He stares at and examines their prosthetic legs like a teenage boy would look at boobs. He compares the different kinds, and can tell whether they've had an above the knee or below the knee amputation from the kind of prosthetic they have. So I think there's hope for a pain free life.

On my walk home (do you like how I'm calling this glorious Navy Lodge 'home'?!) for the past two nights there has been a herd of deer. I don't know if they come in herds or packs or what, but there was more than one, and that's all I care about. Last night I was only a couple feet from the hotel so I just bit my tongue and walked a little faster. Tonight, I was much farther away and they were all over it felt like. There were probably only 5, but still. They were crossing the road like no big deal, and right up in the front lawn of the Fisher Houses. It freaked me out. I do not like being that close to wildlife. Especially the kind that stop and stare at you like they're getting ready to charge. Deer are stupid, but you never know what they'll cats...and that freaks me out. I called Jason. I figured he would know what to do. He didn't. There was no other way to go, so I ultimately just walked passed them again, praying to whoever that they wouldn't notice me. I went around to the back of the hotel this time though, but I was still way closer than I've ever wanted to be to a stupid deer.

Hopefully off to buy more maternity clothes tomorrow...I have to say, I do not like the gaining weight aspect of pregnancy. I do schedule all my doctors appointments for first thing in the morning so I weigh the least I will for the day in hopes that will make me feel a little better about it all :/ But, as much as I hate gaining weight, I can not seem to say no to the Boston Cream Donuts from Dunkin Donuts in the hospital. Ugh.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


It's nap time in room soon as I arrived today, around 11:30, Jason was already in his wheel chair, and had already been to physical therapy for the morning. He was ready to leave again. We went over to building 62 for a while, ate lunch there, and got a bunch of paperwork sorted. I have to submit a ton of notarized forms to the Colorado DMV in order to renew my registration from out of state. Who knew. I thought I could just do it online. Not so much. Hopefully it gets mailed back to me in time! Oh, the joys.

We ran in to his inpatient case manager - who tells us "Those people are idiots. You're going to stay here for a long time." Great. Ugh.

Let me back up a little.

I went home for the weekend - and I think I blogged from there once. I wrote about how sad I was that we wouldn't get our stuff, and how annoyed I was with the runaround. But, I tried to enjoy the weekend at home as much as possible. My pup helped with that. She didn't growl at me, but did bark when I came in the door. I don't know if she was excited to see me because I was excited to see her, or what, but the greeting went well. (We usually have issues with her and strangers, and especially if people don't feel comfortable, she can sense that and gets a little protective, but never aggressive.) She slept in my room all weekend, which was fine, except that when Mom got up in the middle of the night and she heard the noises, she started barking...which is not a very fun awakening. It will be interesting to see how she will react when we finally have her back, and she hears the baby crying in the middle of the night. I can just picture it - like in the movies - when the baby starts, the dog starts, and then the baby gets even louder...hmm. Maybe Jason won't be able to use the "I slept through it" excuse ;) By the end of the weekend, I had adjusted to the fact that our things would be in that house for a good while.

So, I drive my car back up to Bethesda on Sunday afternoon, and come up to see Jason. His dad, grandparents and friends from high school all visited him over the weekend, so he was definitely not lonely. In conversation he says "Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you, SFC Brown said he talked to Gypso (don't know the correct acronym for that) and they'll ship whatever you want out here, and store the rest." So, naturally, I stress. I mean, really? I just got OK with the fact that all our stuff will stay out there with the exception of whatever I choose to send back myself. And now you're telling me the opposite, AGAIN?! So. Over. It.

That night was rough, for both of us. I was so upset, I was angry. I was angry at Jason because we're in this situation, and then I was angry at myself because I was angry at him, and that's not fair, it's not his fault. I also looked up the car registration stuff, and realized I had to go to the DMV in person since I never updated our address when we moved to Fountain. So, it's Sunday and I can't call anyone, so I'm stressing about that too. I'm even more mad at myself because I didn't take care of that sooner. But why would I have known to do that. I hope this situation doesn't make me more annoying than I already am. I worry about so much, and now I'm just going to worry about more because I know what it's like to have everything change in an instant. I hope I can just learn to live life as it comes, like I'm supposed to be learning to do right now...

Anyway, he was upset because he's in this situation of course, upset that he brought me in to it, and he's tired of being in the hospital, tired of being in pain, and just wants to go back to the way it was, even if that means he's in Afghanistan. At this point, we both wish he was back in Afghanistan. I would take that over this any day. After we both got our feelings out, I slept in the room with him most of the night, until about 5, when I decided I should go try to get some real sleep since I knew I had to get back in order to take care of a few things during normal business hours. While I was lying next to him though, he got to feel the baby a lot. A lot more than normal. Like so much that it freaked him out! haha, he said "Are you sure there's not an alien in there?" Nice. He always moves a ton when I lay flat, and I so wish Jason was next to me, able to feel him. This time he was, thankfully. He was doing summersaults in there I think.

So today, when we saw his case manager over at 62, and he explained everything again - all the opposite of what we've already been told a million times. I'm just so done! Finally, after a month of this, I've learned to just stop asking. I'm just going to wait until he goes outpatient, and try to figure it out from there. The only thing I need everyone to realize is that there comes a time when I won't be able to fly. But, I still have a good while for that. Our house does need to be winterized soon though, but I know people will help me there if I ask. I just hate asking.

Today, it's been a month since he stepped on that land mine. Crazy how time flies. I look at all the other wives whose husbands are still deployed where Jason was, and I so wish I could be counting down the months with them instead of counting up the months he's been here, or without a leg. "I've only had one leg for a month already" he says today. Is that how we're going to count now? I also realized I will be married to an amputee longer than we weren't married. It's not like this happened in old age because of neuropathy or something, this happened barely over a year after we got married, and we're both still so young. I suppose that will make it easier to adjust, right? I just worry (shocker) about long term care - like when we're 60 and grandparents - will it give him more trouble than it should? Will it cause problems he normally wouldn't have had to deal with? Most likely. All part of the adjustment I guess.

His phantom pains are pretty bad these days. He says they're usually okay while he's up in his wheelchair, but it seems like when he tries to go to sleep, they really act up and he can't sleep. Hopefully they'll get under control soon, or when he starts walking on that leg, hopefully it will start to desensitize a little more.

Skin graft on fingers tomorrow - hopefully the last surgery for a long, long time!! Let's all hope the grafts take, I've heard fingers are really hard, and very finicky. That is the only thing keeping him inpatient right now, really. Once this heals, and hopefully works, we'll get to move over to 62! And hopefully be able to focus a little more on baby coming :)

I've been thinking a lot about what I would tell other wives in this situation. I really should make a list. But, unfortunately as a medical professional, I also know every situation is so, so different. And I totally hate it when they give me that line. But, it is true.

He's still asleep - it's like conditioning to get back to a normal life! Today he was out for about 5 hours - he came back and fell asleep and has been ever since, about 1.5 hrs later...he said "It's like I'm a baby again!" I said, "Yep, you and baby will have to nap every 3 hours!" We will definitely be a well rested family, that's for sure...

Friday, September 9, 2011


I'm finding myself to still be pretty bitter about all this. Thursday, I went to this wonderful family orientation meeting that I was supposed to go to a long time ago. It wasn't that informative. I stayed a little after and grilled this guy about all the questions I'd been pondering for weeks now. He was no help. Of course, I teared up. I got over it, and he said he'd get back to me with answers. But, during this meeting, he did say that the two people we should be seeing often are his squad leader and his nurse case manager. His squad leader I've seen once. Only in passing, because we were in the hall. And I've only seen his nurse case manager once because the social worker took me to him to answer my questions. I found this interesting. The two people they say we're supposed to stay in the most contact with, are the two I've hardly seen. Ugh. Figures.

So, I ask him to call his squad leader, and he does. Oh, he's in Michigan. Helpful.

I talk to my friend from high school who says they're supposed to leave you a point of contact if they're going to be gone, that there should always be someone we can get in contact with if we need to. He tells me to call his platoon sgt. So I do. (Jason is asleep during all this, by the way, I'm just being impatient) His platoon sgt is a woman, and latino I believe, so not the most empathetic. My main question is obviously, "When can we get our stuff moved out here, or at least put in storage?" - for some reason this has been my main question since the get go. I'm not sure why. It really feels like I'm the only wife who is this concerned about her belongings. And it makes me feel selfish. Anyway, she proceeds to tell me that "No, you will absolutely not get your stuff shipped out there. No partial do it yourself move, no moving to storage (unless we do it ourselves, and by we, I mean I), and no PCSing. As long as he's getting BAH (housing allowance) the Army will NOT ship your stuff." Tears are welling up now, lump in throat, AGAIN. Literally, every day this week, I think I've cried. My voice starts getting all high pitched, like it does when you're trying to sound normal but are trying not to cry at the same time. I tell her I just don't understand, I can't wrap my head around being okay with leaving everything we own in an empty house in Colorado that we're paying for but not living in, how is that fair? "Because you're getting the housing allowance, ma'am." Great. So, while I'm harping on this, she continues to say "Well, ma'am how much stuff do you need?!" I felt so materialistic.

She says "It's like if I went TDY. The Army wouldn't pay for my husband and kids to come out with me for a few months while I was there." Uh. No, it's not like that at all. At least your husband and kids are still living in and using the home that your BAH is going towards. "Well ma'am if you need to go back, we can help you arrange that, you don't have to be his NMA (non medical attendant) his family members can do that too. If you need to go back for work or whatever it is, you can, and he can come out when he's done with rehab." What. Did she really just say that. First of all, who does that? Oh, it's ok, my husband is in rehab, but I have to go back to work. See ya.

Is she nuts!? Do people really do that? I am his family now. That thought never even crossed my mind, and I refuse to leave him here to rehab on his own for who knows how long.

And I guess that puts it in perspective for me. But it sucks. So, so bad. I admit it. I want my stuff. I like my stuff. But the reality is, I don't need it right now. This is only temporary. But how temporary is the question. Who knows. All I know is, I'll have to go back at some point and winterize the house, and get all our winter clothes. Probably clean out my locker at work too. And hopefully get NRP recertification while I'm at it. But, they won't pay for us to ship those things back - I can tell you right now I can't get it all in to suitcases. I mean, I want my own sheets and towels, thank you. "Anything you need can be donated, ma'am, you're getting the per diem, if finances are an issue, we have people to help with that, anything you need, just tell me." I NEED MY STUFF! I don't want to get stuff donated - I have it all already! I don't need double EVERYTHING!

Luckily, my mom is proactive (almost to a fault), and is willing to drive out (and by that I mean, willing to volunteer my dad to drive her out) to Colorado to bring stuff home for me. I'm lucky to have the support I do. We are.

New challenges. Now, slowly coping with the thought of everything we've so carefully put in that house, and decorated, just sitting there for God knows how long, and hoping no one realizes it's an empty house and decides to break in. More things to bring back, the all important xbox (for physical therapy of course), and all of our important papers - birth certificates, marriage certificate, social security cards - if anyone broke in right now, we'd be SOL.

Almost a month later, though, I am seriously still mind boggled by this process. It is absolutely nauseating. I don't know how to say this without sounding utterly morbid, or politically incorrect, or just plain wrong; but injured soldiers and their families are the only ones put in this situation. God forbid, if the seriously life altering alternative happened - still, the family would be given their time to grieve and the Army would move them one last time to wherever they chose. Yes, this is not the same. In no way am I saying that it is. And I probably shouldn't have even said that. Because I am so, so grateful I am not in that situation. But, even then, while a family is literally torn apart, they are not ripped from everything they know and expected to form a new life of uncertainties at the mercy of the military and the governmental red tape. It feels like we're living every day on edge just waiting to find out what other hoops we have to jump through in order to be a family.

Anyway, I feel crazy. I feel selfish and on the verge of having a mental break down every single day. Jason just prods through, like nothing bothers him. I'm sure it does. (Oh, by the way, he woke up from his iPod induced nap when I started with the high pitched almost yelling on the phone to his platoon sgt) He comforts me, or tries. But, nothing will make me feel better. I wish I could just be at peace with this. Some people are so good at taking things as they come, at just going with the flow, or rolling with the punches. I, am not. I thought I was, and I'm trying so hard to be, but it is a serious struggle. It seems like the other wives or significant others are just in their normal life, and I feel like I'm constantly unraveling on the inside. I think it can't get any worse, but then it does.

How do people do this? How do families cope with this? Those wives with young children? I'll never know. Here I am complaining, and it's just me. Maybe I have too much time on my hands and that's why I'm thinking about all these things. I'm complaining because I want to nest. I want to decorate a nursery for our first baby, and I can't. I don't know where we'll be, and I don't know how long we'll be there, so I don't want to buy any furniture. I'm worried that this baby will have some psychological problems because his first months or years are going to be entirely too stressful because of his mother who is a freaking nut job, because she can't cope with all the changes appropriately.

Why am I so worried about our stuff? About having a house with a nursery? Or sleeping in our own bed? After 25 years in Virginia, I finally felt at 'home' in Colorado - and I never thought I would say that about anywhere but Virginia, but I did. And I miss it. And now I'm in Virginia, and I don't feel at home anymore. We don't have a home anymore. Hindsight is always 20/20. You always miss what you had when you can't have it anymore. All those proverbs or whatever they are, are so true.

We took a trip to the Red Cross to get more velcro clothes and movies, and three old ladies started doting on Jason. It was cute. There was one, her name was Mary, and she is 86. She told us the story of how she met her husband. She was volunteering at Walter Reed during WWII and he was an amputee. They met there, and he would get on the street car and go meet her for lunch or dinner in DC. She said she could never remember which leg was amputated because it didn't matter to her. He was gorgeous, she said, and that's all that mattered. ha :) That story puts it in perspective too, though. I mean, really this is what it's about. Jason and I, and this baby on the way. Making our way in this new life. It's just unfortunate that right now we're so dependent on everything and everyone else, and we can't go out and do the things we used to do all the time.

I still think to myself, at least daily, about the fact that we're in this situation, and no one else is. (of our friends and families) Our lives are absolutely changed, and 100% different now, and no one else's is. I still get angry that everyone else can go about their normal day. I still feel like someone is playing a sick joke on us. I still wish I could go back to work and make money like I'm supposed to be. I even wish he was still in Afghanistan and I was living alone in Colorado taking care of that whole entire house and the dog. (is this the bargaining phase of grieving?!) I would take Skype dates every two or three days and the potential of delivering our baby without him, in place of this. As long as he came home - to Colorado home - next May, like he was supposed to, of course.

It's amazing the people that come through for you in a time like this. People you would never expect, usually people you haven't talked to in months or years, or weren't even that close to. It's sad that the people you would expect to come through for you, don't.

I'll try to fall asleep to the Golden Girls tonight, with Sadie in my room again (I'm at my parents house for the weekend), and pretend like I'm still in Colorado, in our big comfortable bed, and things are still run of the mill normal...even though they are still far, far from it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I think they say the skin is the largest organ in (or on) the body.

I say, it's freaking gross.

Who ever knew that not showering for upwards of a month would be so foul. haha, ok I guess that makes no sense - but when you're laying in bed all day and all night, how horrible could it get right? Pretty horrible. It's just the scabs. Ugh, I can't type the sound it makes me want to make. When we change his clothes you can just see the skin flakes floating in the air. I literally swept up a pile of scabs off the floor today. I love my husband, but I can't WAIT to get him in the shower with a giant loofah.

Today, he got all the visible sutures out! From his 'residual limb' and left bicep. He was pretty excited about that. He got to see his left leg too since they unwrapped it to show the doctors. Not as gnarly as we were expecting, but there will definitely be a nice scar. Same with his bicep. It's funny, actually, he looks more ripped (not literally) in his left arm now - because half that bicep is missing. If that makes any sense. I took a picture of it - now we just need to get the other one looking that way :) He and I have the body type that is we'll never be ripped. I know some people say everyone can look that way, but I don't believe it. We just have the body type where we're just big boned I guess, or 'thick' some would say. It's a bummer, and an even bigger bummer for this baby! I hope he doesn't get those genes.

I had another runaround today. It was fun. I went over to the infamous building 62 this morning - and by morning I mean 12:30 when I finally go out of bed. So of course, everyone was at lunch. I tell them I need to fill out a leave form because I'm planning to go home this weekend. As I'm filling it out and reading, it says you have to check out of your hotel room. What. Anyone who knows me, knows I overpack anyway. And anyone who knows my mom knows she brings enough crap everywhere she goes, to feed and supply an Army, no pun intended. So needless to say, I've literally moved in to this hotel room over the past two and a half weeks. I do NOT want to pack up everything and move out for 3 days at home. So, since my patience level is already at zero, the tears start flowing again. I have a problem. I can't control my emotions when I really should. They're just doing their job, it's not their fault. But instead I become completely irrational and start crying, and just shut down. So I tell him to just forget it, I won't go home. I see the finance guy who fills out the 15 day voucher and proceeds to tell me that if I do decide to go on leave he needs to know 24 hours in advance. Oh, good, another thing I didn't know. So I'm sitting in the lobby waiting to see another person about something else (going on 2 hours of being here now) and the supervisor sees that I'm livid (because along with my emotions, I definitely cannot control my body language). She's asking about the customer service, which is fine, I'm just pissed at the system I tell her. She makes some phone calls and comes back and tells me I do not have to check out of the room, and if there is a problem she gave me a number to call. Next time, I will just go home and not tell anyone, and that's that. So now, I fill out another leave form, and now have to get another travel voucher since I will be on leave, they won't pay me per diem for those days. Ugh. And I have to sign back in when I get back which will be on a Sunday so no one will be there. So I have to go back on Monday to sign in and get another travel voucher, and then on Wednesday to get new orders, and then next week to get another travel voucher again.

And, I'll have to continue to do all this as long as we're living in that infamous building 62. Which won't be as terrible because it's in the same building, but come on. The system is absolutely asinine. I just can't wrap my head around them requiring the already stressed to the max family members to remember and take care of this stuff so often. It is absolute bullshit and I'm about to find a congressman or someone to write to. I can't be his 'non medical attendant' if you're requiring me to sit in your office every other day to fill out stupid paperwork instead of tending to him!

Jason isn't surprised by this, in fact, he's used to it. But he knows I'm at my limit here, and quite frankly, I think he's excited for me to leave for a few days. Ha.

So then the supervisor calls the lady from SFAC who then calls me and asks if I'm ok about eighty times. Annoying. She says "Well I got a phone call from whoever at building 62 and she said you were really upset." Great. I need help, I get that, but I don't need you guys checking up on me every five seconds because you're not giving me the kind of help I need. I need for this system to change. And that will never happen.

Oh, and our social worker is being transferred, and I actually liked her. One more thing. I wish Obama would just spend a day in my shoes with me - oh man, I would love for that man to witness this bullshit. But I'm sure he'd have some wonderful response in which he actually says nothing at all for the reasons why things are the way they are. Sorry. I'm not political at all - and it's nothing against him - I just want the President to witness what his people are going through while they make all these executive decisions up there in their leather chairs. Hope that doesn't spark any controversy.

The weather will probably be the same tomorrow, but hopefully my attitude will be a little better...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


What a yucky day. It was actually chilly here, and rained all day. Not to mention, my day started off in the pooper. I was supposed to go to this Family Orientation meeting this morning, and walked all around BFE looking for it, calling everyone I knew to call, and they were all telling me to go different places. So, while wondering around, I ran in to our social worker, thank goodness, who showed me where to go - which I never would have found on my own. But no one was there. So no family orientation meeting. I had emailed our social worker last week about coming to check on us - I think I mentioned this in one of my previous posts. And when she asked how I was doing, again, I was on the verge of tears from the frustrations of this morning. I explained to her how I learned of all the things I was supposed to be doing, but didn't know about. She walked with me to find the lady who works for SFAC, and got some questions answered, but it still doesn't make it any easier. The reality of it is, I just don't want to do these things I'm required to do. That sounds bad, and lazy, but it's just irritating. I told her that. "Right now, at this moment, I am the only one here for him, and I can't be here for him if I'm running around in circles trying to figure out all the other crap I have to do." Again, I found myself overwhelmed, and irritated with everything. So, that set the tone for the day.

I never made it back over to Building 62 like I had planned, to turn in all the paperwork I need to do. It rained all day long. I really was being selfish, and wanted Jason to come with me so he could hopefully see where we'll be living, and also so he could just be there to listen in case I miss anything, or don't understand something, which these days is quite often. But, because of the rain, Jason was too nervous to go outside. So, I just didn't go either. I did pay two bills though, so that's promising! Must go tomorrow though, if I plan to go home this weekend.

I'll have to turn in the paperwork for Jason's mom to come back in a couple weeks, fill out another travel voucher, turn in direct deposit form (which I already did once), sign in with casualty affairs, fill out a leave form since I am going home, and I'm sure some other things I'm forgetting. I just think it's ridiculous that soldiers families have to deal with all this bullshit while caring for their loved one at the same time. I'm sure the DOD could figure out how to micromanage just a little bit more and find someone to do this monotonous job for the sake of the families sanity.

On one good note - we're down to one wound vac. He went to the PACU today and was put under conscious sedation (I assume) and had the wound vac from his left leg removed. He said they told him the skin graft took completely, so that's great. They weren't really worried about that one though. I think they're more worried about his fingers. He will have the wound vac on there until next Monday at the earliest when they might skin graft those. It's still where most of his pain is, and we actually got to see his hand for the first time today. By default though. The geniuses who replaced the wound vac and rewrapped his arm, put the splint on upside down. So he had this nice little wing on his upper arm where it should've been on his hand instead. We went down to PT and they unwrapped everything for him and fixed it. But that was the first time we've seen that arm since he got here. The arm is fine, it's just the fingers and palm that look pretty mangled. His fingers are still all swollen, and he's got a nice big black blood blister on the palm of his hand, and some sutures in his wrist. They said he was cleared to do range of motion in his wrist, but I'm not sure how that's possible with how it was looking. So she said he could hold off on that for a little longer. I do know it will be really stiff whenever he does start doing it. His skin graft site is still weeping, and looking pretty gross. He's convinced it's infected, but it's not. He also finally got the staples out of his left upper leg today after about the 15th time asking the docs. They were overdue to come out, for sure.

I texted mom and told her I should probably come home soon. I don't know if it was the weather or what - that's my main excuse - but I was a misery to be around today. Which isn't fair, because I took Jason down with me. Then we were kind of at each others throats all day. But not really, because that's never the case with us. It's usually just him being insanely patient and calm while I get irritated and snap at him. don't.deserve.him.

So my plan as of now, is to get Dad to bring Sadie up here Thursday and spend a little time with Jason, and then take me home with him. Now, when I think about leaving, instead of earlier when I was going from 0 to 60 in being angry, I get nervous. I don't want to leave him for too long. I can always come back, I know that, but I just feel bad.

I've been reading everything I can about cloth diapering. Still haven't decided. Jason says he'll do it if I really want to, but he thinks it won't be that much more cost effective. I was trying to explain it to him, but it's hard because I don't know enough about it myself. I was looking in to the hybrid systems where you can use a cloth insert or a disposable insert, and that's where he said it just doesn't sound like it makes sense. I can see his point, and since I'm already teetering, it's really hard to be convinced. I just never have any strong feelings about anything. People can usually convince me to do anything (like streak the quad) - which probably isn't one of my strongest suits. I should be more convicted about certain things. I wish I could be.

I decided I hated our living room furniture not even a year after we got it, after convincing him that my choice was better, I also still second guess our dog's name choice (which was mostly mine again) - so I'm really struggling with giving a human a name that they will be called for the rest of their lives. So you can imagine how the decision to cloth diaper would be a hard one for me who is trying to be more financially aware, but also realistic about what I will actually follow through with.

My clothes are getting tighter, and that also added to todays funk. I wish there was a 24hr fitness close by. I hate working out, but I think I need to do it. I know I don't need a gym for that, either. But just sitting here, eating fast food or candy, and then having all the time in the world to think about how terrible I'm eating, and how I'm not working out, makes my already low self confidence just spiral downward. Not something I need for the sake of Jason who cannot be responsible for my emotional well being right now. He's got his own laundry list of things to worry about.

Speaking of laundry. I need to do it. I'm going to try to hold out until I go home. And, who knew there were "wash routines" for cloth diapers. I had no idea. It makes it that much more overwhelming. Maybe not the best time to try to tackle something so new? Or is that just another excuse?!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

g diapers?

Today, I felt normal.
But now, I feel exhausted.

I took the metro to Eastern Market in DC - I'm not sure if this is the name of a town in the DC area or if it's named that because of the Market we went to. Either way, it's the name of a stop on the metro, and that's where we went. We being myself, Beth and Nicole. They have a big flea/farmers market every Sunday. It was hot, but refreshing. Got some fresh peaches and pears to eat with Jason. I also got him some kettle corn, but I never made it back to his room before the night was over :/ We'll share it tomorrow. We found a cute little consignment shop on the way back to the metro and I bought a few more clothes for baby boy. I was also *almost* convinced to do cloth diapering now instead. Now that I'm not going to be working, I'm seriously considering it, I just don't know if I'd be able to do strictly cloth in order to make it financially worth it. Either way, it's always environmentally worth it...still not sure.

I wasn't planning on staying out too late, but with those girls, you just can't predict anything. So, while Nicole was rushing me to make a decision before we missed the next metro train, I decided to go back to their apartment since I had never seen it. Oh, and I got a Smart Trip card - which means I look like I know what I'm doing when I go to the metro but I really don't we hang out there and cool off. And finally mosey on to dinner - sushi - yum. Meet up with more old college friends, and play beer pong like old times, and then Cranium not like old times. No, I didn't drink, I just played. And not too bad either! Robert and I were "Team Baby Bump" I don't know that anyone else had a team name...Robert's goal was to "drink JMU style". This was funny. We, or I should say they, didn't quite live up to that - although they could still be drinking - but it's hard work to drink JMU style, I do know that.

It was a nice change of pace kind of day. I got another Frappucino which also made me happy. This base needs a Starbucks and a Chik-Fil-A. I am so fortunate to have friends in the area (part of the reason we came here instead of San Antonio) to be able to have these days and nights out, or even just go to over to their places for a getaway. So, so fortunate to have friends who care, who will take the time out of their day to drive me back and forth and just spend time with me.

When I got to Jason's room this morning, he was asleep, and his room was hot again. They can't seem to keep the temperature at a normal level in that place. So I don't think he slept well since it turned in to a sauna in there overnight. He woke up a little on the down side, and was almost excited to see me go! I was starting to feel some tension between us anyway, so I figured it was time for me to get out before we both started getting at each others throats. He's over it. Over the hospital, over the surgeries, the q4h vitals, phantom pains, skin graft pains, everything. He was excited for me to get out. But of course I felt terrible. I hate that I can go out and have some kind of fun and explore DC, and he can't right now. I know he will be able to eventually, but I still feel terrible that he's cooped up there in that bed, refusing to ask for help.

Tonight, I should have called him sooner, but I didn't. Around 730pm I asked if he ate dinner. "No. I was knocked out, I think I missed it." I asked why they didn't come around and ask if you were going to order - they have the past couple of days. "I don't know, I was asleep." I reminded him that another friend of mine, Jenna, brought us some food just yesterday that they put in the fridge. I told him to get his nurse to warm it up for him. "Ok" he says - yeah right, I know what this means. He thought he had something else left over that wasn't actually in there, so I think after that he gave up. So at 9pm when I asked if he ate "No, it wasn't in the fridge, but I'm fine." I knew he only had fruit for lunch, and maybe some chicken noodle soup because I ordered it for him. Which is not enough food for his 200lb frame. So thank God for smart phones - I googled the hospital number and got the secretary on his floor. I told her where the food was in the fridge, and asked her to warm it up for him because he never ate dinner. (Plus he has about a 10 pill cocktail around 930-10pm which upsets his stomach if he doesn't eat) She says "Ok, I'll check with him." I was like "No! Just go give it to him, he'll tell you no if you go in there first!" haha, so about 20 minutes later I get this text "You're so sly hahaha" Thank goodness they actually relayed the message to the nurse and he got some dinner.

But I was irritated that I even had to do that. I mean if patients don't call down, they should send up a generic tray, or at least have bag lunches or something available. Especially patients like him, who need to eat to promote healing and recovery, and just because he gets really hungry! So if I go home for a couple of days I'm going to have to call and make sure he remembers to order - or Beth suggested setting the alarm on his phone for meal times so he remembers to call in time. Not to mention the phone is on the other side of the room, and he can never reach it on his own. And, it's just an extension number so he can't call it from his cell phone.

The people who plan, design, and build these hospitals are pure genius.

I still wonder what everyone else thinks. Like, do they think "Oh I feel so bad for you because your husband has one leg. I wonder what that's like." I wonder if people will realize that he hasn't always had one leg, he was born with two, and functioned just like everyone else before August 13th. I wonder if all our friends will still treat him the same, or if it will be awkward when we all hang out again. I wonder if he'll be really self conscious about it. I wonder if he'll be able to find a good, genuine group of guy friends out here. I wonder if when we do go out with a group of friends if they'll all feel awkward because he only has one leg. The whole elephant in the room kind of thing. I wonder how he feels about all this since it is his leg. Or was.

Even though we've already reenacted the scene from Forrest Gump where LT Dan comes to his wedding with legs made out of space ship...

Friday, September 2, 2011

the unknown

To say I have a fear of the unknown is like saying the grass isn't green or the sky isn't blue. I suppose everyone does to some extent, but lately I feel like mine is exponential.

First of all, I didn't roll out of bed until noon, and then as I was walking to the hospital I spotted my dad - good thing I woke up when I did or he would've wandered around this base forever. So we visited for a while, and he took me to Target (which thankfully isn't very far from here at all) and out to dinner. I got back a little late, but Jason's dad and step mom were visiting with him for the evening. I did finally buy a pair of maternity jeans, even though jeans are not my favorite...for some reason I look much more pregnant when I wear maternity clothes. Why is this?

But after his dad left, we had a nice long talk about our feelings and stuff. What it boils down to is, this sucks. And I'm worried about everything. You would think that after something like this happens, I would learn to prioritize my feelings and worries. But I can't seem to do that. Now, I'm worried about even more. When will all our stuff get out here. How long will it take. There is a point when I won't be able to fly out there and pack my things. I love my things. I shouldn't love my things because they're just things. But they make me feel at home.

Oh, I think all this started because as Dad and I were leaving, I took him by this infamous building 62 where we will spend our days as outpatient. I asked for a tour of one of the rooms. Bad idea. Very nice rooms. But now my head is spinning.

They're all furnished, but obviously not with our furniture. Ours probably wouldn't even fit. A room with a double bed, and another with a twin bed. Ew. We just recently upgraded to a queen bed, and now we're back down to a double. A desk with a computer in each room. A small dresser and flat screen in each room also. Giant handicapped bathroom - like a hospital bathroom - so no storage. Pretty big closets in each room. Small living area with love seat and one chair and another flat screen. The military must think flat screens will win us over. So here's where my head starts spinning.

Obviously not enough storage - I fill a closet and two dressers with just my clothes. He has a closet and one dresser with his. Maybe we should bring a couple dressers and put them in the closets. But do we have to physically move them all the way to whatever room we're on? I'll be too pregnant to do this, and Jason obviously can't help, and our parents are getting old. Can we rearrange the furniture that is so neatly placed along all the walls? Do we HAVE to have the computers and desks in both rooms? They take up a lot of space. What do I need from Colorado. How many dressers? I don't want to get here and decide we need stuff and go out and buy it because everything is in storage and then we'll be left with double stuff when we already have too much stuff as it is. What about all our holiday decorations? Just go buy more? Ugh. Is that stuff necessary? No. Bathroom storage. There is none. No bath tub either, which is fine in the beginning with a baby, but I guess he'll just have to get used to showers eventually. Where will we put a crib? A changing table? We weren't going to get a changing table. I was trying to be practical and use a dresser that we already have. But now I don't know what's the best thing to do. A glider? I really wish we could bring our bed, but I'm sure that would be a pain to move. But would they let us?! Then I worry that wherever they put our stuff in storage, will end up on one of those Storage Wars shows and all our stuff will be auctioned off for $300. Not likely, but these are the things I worry about.

We're not allowed to hang anything on the walls right now. We'll need our filing cabinets with all the personal info crap we have. What about my diplomas? I don't really want those sitting in storage somewhere. But does it really matter? The giant box of memorabilia I have from high school and college? Guess that will have to go. The garage full of stuff that I don't even know what half of it is. The inherited dishes that my dad drove out to us last October which I told him was a bad we have to pack them back up and pray they don't break on the way back. The thousand kitchen cabinets we have full of dishes and fun things will have to be consolidated to about 10 cabinets now. I hope our big black Friday TV doesn't get stolen in the moving/storage process. I'm sure we'll have to bring along the xbox. Yay. I wonder how long he'll use the physical therapy excuse for playing video games :)

It is way past my bed time, but considering I've only been up for 12 hours makes it less bad I guess. Whenever I sit in his room, I catch myself periodically making sure he's still breathing. Is this the nurse, mother, or paranoia in me?

I think he hit the nail on the head tonight during our discussion. We had moved away from all our family, out to Colorado. We made it on our own, we were doing everything by ourselves. And now we are completely dependent on everyone else. It is not fun. It's like all those times you said "I'd give anything to be in high school again." Knowing what we know now, as adults, no you wouldn't. I hate the fact that half of our belongings will be God knows where. I'm sure another half will end up at my parents house or his. And now I'm already accumulating stuff in my little hotel room, and we're going to require a van just to move all the crap out of his hospital room. That's probably the type A in me, but I just can't function with all my parts in different places. We picked all those things out together, and everything, well most everything in that house has meaning. I would be devastated if it was all lost too. But, they're just things Stephanie.

I hate that we're just waiting. Waiting to find out when he'll be outpatient. Waiting to find out when I can go back to Colorado to finish everything there, or if I can even go back. Waiting for more surgeries. Waiting to walk again, to be normal again. Waiting to have our family in a proper home, with a yard so our dog can be ours again too.

We were so distant from our families, not on purpose, and only by distance. It's not like we didn't talk to them - I talk to my mom every day, still. But it was nice to have that distance sometimes, although we'd never know it then. When we were there we always felt left out because we were so far away and everyone else was somewhere on the East Coast. We felt like the oddballs of the family for being so far away. Now, we would give anything to go back. He would give anything (besides his right leg) to go back to Afghanistan and for life to be normal again. But then we'd never have the appreciation that we do now. So one day when we do finally buy a house we'll appreciate being on our own and doing everything for ourselves. Again. I hope.

He's still breathing. Good thing. Baby is awake like normal, another good thing. I don't want to scream at the top of my lungs that 'my husband got his leg blown off and that you should have more appreciation for your boring normal life' when I go out in public anymore. So that's a good thing. He's still the man I married, and I still love him the same. That's another good thing. We have the essentials for life right now, and that's a good thing. If only I could turn my brain off, that would be an awesome thing...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

pajama jeans

It may or may not be almost time for maternity pants. Crap. I just ordered two more pairs of scrub pants since that's all I'm wearing...and now they're gonna be too small. I'm ok until I sit down, and especially after I eat, and then they get a little tight...

Anyway, at least today is over. I'm emotionally drained from all this, and today it kind of came to a head. It felt like we were kind of getting in to a routine, and then on my way to the PACU to see Jason, I randomly ran in to a lady from SFAC and she was telling me about all this stuff I was supposed to be doing but had no idea. She was like "Yeah, don't you remember? I gave you that checklist..." What I remember is you coming to his room and telling me that in the process of Walter Reed moving over to Bethesda, everyone was coming to the bedside to do the job that needed to be done, so I didn't have to go anywhere to do anything. I don't remember you telling me that I still had to go to the family member orientation and I still need to go see people from finance and casualty affairs. I don't remember you telling me that I have to get a travel voucher every 15 days for per diem, or renew my TTO orders every month, or sign in at building 62 once a week.

So I go see Jason in the PACU, and he's doing well, but in pain, and severely annoyed with the staff. We asked for a urinal, so they put it on the table at the end of the bed where he can't reach it, good thing I'm there. So he's trying to pee sitting up, which I'm sure is very hard for men, and in walks some doctor. We were like "Uhh, he's trying to pee, could you give him a minute?!" She says "Oh sure" and closes the curtain and stands there and stares at him. Really? So he asked me to have her leave, and I'm growing some balls now, because now I'm allowed to be a little more outspoken with doctors since they're not my colleagues. I asked her to step out, and she cocked a little attitude and said "Well, I'm just here to fix the wound vac." I said "I know, and I'll let you know when he's finished." So after he practically fills the urinal, she's very antsy to get back in there. She looks at the wound vac and sees that the canister just wasn't connected properly which is why the leak alarm was going off. She cocks an attitude with the nurse and says "It would've been nice if someone would have troubleshot before they called me about this." Oh man, I was so close to being like "You're going to need to take your disagreement elsewhere." But she proceeds to start talking to me about the surgery. But by that point I was so turned off by her, I couldn't actively listen. I have never seen this woman, but I think she was one of the orthopedic surgeons. Not a fan.

So that was how our day started. Once he was settled back in his room, I went down to find this infamous building 62 (which will be our home for quite a while after he's discharged, by the way). I go up to where SFAC is now located, and of course the people I need to see aren't there. But I still go over some checklist thing, and talk to Casualty Affairs about the orders, then go to Finance where he confuses me to no end and I just leave fighting tears because I just don't understand. Finally make it outside and away from all the people and just cry. I was just overwhelmed at that point. I still am, but I guess I'm just not letting myself think about it right now. It's a holiday weekend, and we're in a government facility, which means everything will be closed until next Tuesday. I did email the social worker to come and see us a couple times a week so that I can just be sure I'm doing everything I'm supposed to be, because apparently I'm not catching on to everything.

I'm tired of people telling us he won't be assigned here. I'm tired of wondering what we're supposed to do with all our stuff and a house we're paying rent on and not living in. I'm tired of waiting to get orders to go back to Colorado to finish things. If I have to wait too much longer, I won't be able to go back out there at all because of the pregnancy. Maybe that will speed them along...but most likely not.

I'm seriously considering getting a pair of pajama jeans. They have to be perfect maternity pants. I have never been one to wear jeans everywhere, I just don't find them comfortable. Which is why I'm always wearing my scrub pants now. But now I'm thinking I should've ordered a bigger size. Ugh.

I'm feeling extra exhausted today, just literally drained, so I'm really going to try to get to sleep at a decent hour...