Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Jason's Perspective

Below is Jason's recollection of what happened when he stepped on that land mine. He never lost consciousness. He says it was just like any other day - he thought they would go out and safely find another land mine like they had been doing for the past weeks.


Agrhandab River Valley near Kandahar, Afghanistan

I woke up at 0530 to get ready for the patrol that was at 0630. So at 0630, seven guys including myself of first squad and four Afghan Army guys left the gate with our two shitty cheap metal detectors. We got to our objective at about 0700 which was a trail surrounded by two walls and a canal in the center of the trail. If you wanted to picture it, it looks like a big dirt wall with a trail that goes by it, then there's a canal that goes by it for irrigation. On the other side of the canal, there's a trail with another wall on the end of it. So it's like two lanes of traffic separated by a median. So once we got on the trail we decided that it was time to start clearing the trail for any land mines that the Taliban so thoughtfully placed in order to hurt us. Once we started clearing, we started using our little techniques that work out well like once you get a high ping on the metal detector you start probing. Probing means getting on all fours with a fixed blade knife firmly with a gentle grip, stabbing the ground at a 45 degree angle, searching for anything solid other than dirt and rock. So we then got SGT Chaisson, my Alpha team leader, up front in the column with PVT Higgins. They approach a suspected hot spot for mines and decide to probe the area. At which point I stopped, since I was the third back in the column. I decide to probe also, in a small circle surrounding me. I don't find anything. I stand up, waiting for the column to resume moving forward. We start to move forward, and as we move, I look back in order to see if the rest of the squad is moving with us. I pivot on my right foot. I hear a loud pop, but not loud enough to make your ears ring or make everything sound muffled. At the same time I was flying through the air. I didn't understand what was happening. I hit the ground, landing on my left shoulder and my helmet was wedged between a wall and tree trunk. My eyes were open the whole time and I remember seeing a thick cloud of dust. I didn't see anybody moving. I didn't understand what had happened. I started to realize a land mine had gone off, but I didn't think I was the one that stepped on it. I thought I was just next to someone when it had gone off. Then I started trying to move, and I started to feel a really intense burning all over my body. It had a very distinct smell, and I will never forget it. I tried to roll over on to my back, and once I did that I saw SGT Chaisson crawling towards me. I sat up to see what was going on, and that's when I saw my right leg for the first time. All I could see was an obvious slack in my pants, couldn't see my boot, and a little bit of blood. I looked at my left hand and saw blood running down the back of it. And I noticed I couldn't really open my left eye. That's when it really started to hurt, because I finally understood what was happening. And then I started screaming. A lot. At first I was screaming very hysterically "I don't want to die!" then I started screaming "I need my wife!" or "I need my mom!" I was wondering "what will I do now? I have a baby coming." I was a blubbering heap of crying. At that point, Doc Beyersdorf also crawled to me as well as PVT Higgins. SGT Chaisson put a tourniquet on my right remaining leg. And that's when I saw LT Kunkel standing over me, I said "It's alright sir, everything will be fine." I also told PVT Higgins, "It's not your fault, you're doing a really good job, keep it up and find the rest of these mines." Then the morphine came. The pain dulled out, but not totally, I could still feel it. Every other minute or so I'd find myself screaming and then calming down again. Chaisson, Higgins, and I don't know who else lifted me over a wall and put me in a clearing of the surrounding orchard. I heard the helicopter coming. They loaded me in to the helicopter and I remember the helicopter blowing dirt and leaves in to my face. It seemed like it lifted off but my legs were still hanging still half way out. The flight medics pulled me in. When I was laying in the helicopter, I looked straight up, and saw a guy with a flight helmet and black tinted visor looking at me, and then I faded out.

The next time I woke up I was in a hospital bed in Kandahar City with a two star general and what seemed like fifty other field grade ranking officers pinning a purple heart on to my hospital gown. They all shook my hand and said I did a great job, and that my guys did a great job, and they would look forward to seeing me again when I'm better. I was in Kandahar for probably about a day and then I flew to Bagram Air Force Base which is in Afghanistan still. I don't remember being there at all. Then I flew to Landsthul, Germany. That was the first time I was really coherent. They were giving me clothes and all the Red Cross volunteers were trying to force gift certificates down my throat. I was only there for about a day I think. Then they stuck me on a Stratotanker which is a giant refueling airplane. So they crammed 16 of us in to this small cargo compartment. When we were flying it felt like it was 112 degrees, and I was in tons of pain. They would only give me 2mg of Morphine which for a 200lb man, does nothing. Finally landed in America at Andrews Air Force Base. Where I was loaded on to an 8 passenger ambulance and was taken to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. One of the first to go directly there instead of to Walter Reed. When I was unloaded from the ambulance I looked around and saw my dad and my brother, they saw me and touched the bed, and I saw my brother who was in a 'semi cry'. They were probably expecting a bloody mess. I only saw them for a couple of minutes and then I was wheeled off to my room to get x-rays and labs.

This would be the beginning of a very long road to recovery.

Monday, October 24, 2011

homemade cupcakes are better

This weekend we didn't do too much. We went to the National Museum of American History and only made it through about half of it before we were both tired and no longer interested. He walked the whole time, without his cane. He said his left leg was more tired than his right, probably from the compensating. But, we took the metro in to DC and back, so that was an adventure in itself. I was uncharacteristically calm that day which I decided was how I would always have to be if we ever took kids on the metro or to a big city with all the hustle and bustle. It's much more relaxing when you're not in a rush and don't have a time frame to go by. Or maybe I should just always be like that.

Yesterday my parents came up. That usually always stresses me out. Nothing like a mother to push all your buttons at the same time, and immediately after arriving. I think only mothers are capable of that. I love her dearly, though. Jason often has to remind me "She's just trying to help..." We went to downtown Bethesda and found a Barnes & Noble. A childbirth book was recommended to me by a friend, and I was on a mission. We spent the whole time in the kids section and Jason bought a Halloween book for baby boy. I think it looks a little scary, but mom says it's OK because it won the Caldecott medal so it must be good. Ha. I got my nephew a couple books and a lego game thing - he's turning 8. I really doubt eight year olds enjoy getting books for their birthdays, but they have so. many. toys. This was a three story B&N...I could've been in there for a long time. Then we walked down the street and found a satellite location of Georgetown Cupcake which was featured on the TLC show DC Cupcake. We paid $15 for 6 cupcakes and saved them for dessert. We found a trendy restaurant that didn't look too terribly formal or expensive, and tried it for dinner. Not impressive. Just OK. And then came back "home" to eat our cupcakes. My dad stayed behind because he hates shopping and didn't want to come with us. We were not impressed with the cupcakes either. But, I guess we had our famous experience.

Back to the daily grind today. I did not want to get out of bed this morning. I randomly wake up and cannot fall back asleep these days. This morning it was at 0430. I browsed Facebook and played Words with Friends. It felt like I had just fallen asleep and Jason's alarm went off. I always have to wake him up to turn it off. I never used to have to do this. But thankfully it was a relatively short day. Just meeting with his nurse case manager, PT, then OT. Tomorrow he has the same, plus wound care, minus the case manager. But he also signed up for an Army Marksmanship Unit training which is all day tomorrow and Wednesday. That should be interesting. He loves Top Shot, and apparently he always scores perfect at the ranges they do. I've never seen him in action. I would love to go shooting with him just for fun at a range though. I think they do those kind of trips here, but we haven't been able to go yet.

Baby is big. Well, not big enough, but much more noticeable. Last week we went to the doctor, and all is still well. Fluid looks good. She didn't measure my cervix again because she said they stop that after 28 weeks since baby is viable. So that was a little scary. But he was head down, and heartbeat was in the 140s. Now when I feel something hard up on the top of my uterus, I know it's his butt. I love watching him make my belly lopsided at night when I'm laying in bed. It's still crazy that there's a human growing in there. I don't know if it hasn't hit me yet or what, but I cannot commit to a name. Connor? Austin? Carter? Owen? Colin? Declan? Cooper? Just too many choices.

His nurse case manager was talking to him about convalescent leave today. Thirty days of 'freedom'. But not really, because he'll still have to go to appointments and such, they'll just arrange for him to go wherever he takes his con leave. Personally, I think this is silly. Why are you going to make someone take leave and then oh by the way you still have to go to all these appointments. That's not much of a vacation. He's like "Oh yeah, so you can go back to Colorado and all, since you have a house out there." Yeah, but all his friends are deployed, he's not sure if he'll be able to drive his car since it's a manual, and I'm going to be pretty pregnant by then, not sure if I can fly. So we go out to Colorado and go to appointments and sit at home? That's the same thing we do here. Or do we go "home" to KG/Bowling Green and have to divide our time between parents houses? That gets old. Or do we just stay here? So many choices. I asked if he could take it after the baby comes - but they said it's supposed to be a healing time for him, to rest after all his treatments. Understandable. We're thinking maybe he'll take it from middle of December to middle of January and then he'll have his paternity leave tacked on there as well. No clue what we'll do, though.

So many things still to do - apply for VA grant for his car, TSGLI, seating clinic for custom wheelchair that takes forever, etc. On the bright side, we're down to one finger bandage - the ring finger graft looks beautiful. It's just a matter of getting the range of motion back in that finger. He seems to think it will never happen. I think it will. One day. He did push ups today for the first time. He did about 10, and then wanted me to time him for two minutes to see if he could do 42. He then did about 15 and decided he was done. "Well, I wouldn't pass a PT test right now." Duh. No one expects you too! But that's a good goal, honey :)

He got a box today with some of the personal belongings we requested. Finally. The rest of his stuff is still in Kandahar because the Army hasn't signed their DHL contract yet or whatever. I emailed his RearD CO about getting at least his wallet back because it has is license and debit card and all. They ended up sending us his computer with the charger, digital camera, old cell phone and charger, iPod and charger, and wallet. Whoever packed that box went above and beyond, and he's very excited to have his music back. I have to say, over the two years he's been with this company I have not been impressed with his leadership, but the RearD and all the administrative people we've dealt with throughout this process have been absolutely fabulous. I only hope it stays that way as he transitions back to wherever he's going.

This song has probably been out for a while, but I caught the lyrics today. Now I'm buying it on iTunes.

"She got the call today
One out of the gray
And when the smoke cleared
It took her breath away

She said she didn't believe
It could happen to me
I guess, we're all one phone call away
From our knees
We're gonna get there soon..."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I'm pretty sure I'm going to have a bed sore on my ass after today. I've been in bed most of the day. Having a pity party. Moping. Whatever you'd like to call it.

Jason and I have not been ourselves lately, and it's starting to take its toll on both of us. This is hard. Everyone said it would be, we knew it would be, we've said ourselves that it would be. So why is it such a shocker that it's happening to us? I guess I thought that if we could make it through the first couple of months, while he was inpatient, then we could make it through anything. It seems to be quite the opposite. Which now, looking back, is rather obvious. Of course I would be more patient and loving in the beginning, of course I would want to be there for everything and help him with everything in his most incredible time of need. And then you get burnt out. Duh. They preach this crap in nursing school. Apparently I think I'm invisible.

Then, I had an escape. The Navy Lodge. It was a miserable escape, but it was away from the hospital. He didn't get an escape, and he's still trucking along. Now, we're together. Like married couples are supposed to be. We wake up together, and go to appointments together (but not mine because there is never enough time for him to be able to go to both), eat every meal together, and go to bed together, and wake up and do it all over again. Together. Therein lies the problem. At least that's what we both suspect.

We are reading Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. I think I'm from Mars sometimes though. It's a helpful book. But only when you read it and are reminded of how different the opposite sex things and feels. You then, quickly forget. Like when you're in the car driving off the beltway and getting all turned around because you came off a different exit than you went on - and when your husband used to always drive everywhere, and hates the way you drive, and mumbles directions so you can't hear or understand what he's saying ("go this way." thanks, because i know what way THIS way is!) - it just turns in to a blown out of proportion argument. Didn't there used to be a game show about newlyweds and communication? We probably wouldn't win that show. Just saying. But, it's just scary, to be here, in this situation with so many unknowns, a baby on the way, and then to be feeling like your marriage may not survive. Or are we just being too sensitive? Another one of both of our issues. Or do we have entirely too much time to think about it?

It's hard to go out and do things on my own. I literally have anxiety about leaving him alone. This is not good. He is not a child. I don't know if its a little underlying nervousness that he could have not come home at all, and so I'm scared to leave him at all now. I worry. I worry about his meds, making sure he takes them, making sure he gets to all of his appointments on time. Making sure his leg feels ok, he's not in pain, he eats enough protein and not too much salt. I don't want him to feel alone, or like I abandoned him because I can drive and he can't. Maybe the baby will take some of the focus off him, and I'm sure he will enjoy every minute of that.

But what about us? Where do we go from here? It seems like we have this argument or discussion over and over again. When does it get solved?

For the past 3 weeks we have been on a hunt for a freaking compression sock. You would think in this giant medical facility everywhere would have them. This is not the case. One clinic sends us to another clinic who says "oh this clinic will definitely have them." That clinic calls the main distribution center (where we've already been) and as he's on the phone I tell him to ask for extra large because we've already been down there and they didn't have any. Yes, I understand if the main distribution place doesn't have them, why would anywhere else. But, how often do you give out XL compression socks? Someone has got to have them stocked somewhere. So he doesn't ask the question I ask him to ask, and I get so livid. Like 0-60 in 2 seconds. I just turn around and leave.

Earlier in the day, Jason overslept which is unlike him, but we are weaning off the narcotics and he woke up multiple times in the middle of the night in pain. He finally let me give him a short acting pill around 3am so he could sleep. We want the pills to go away, but we can't let the pain interrupt sleep. I don't know if that threw him off a little or what, but either way he woke up with about 20 minutes to spare. I was awake, and was planning to wake him up, but must have also fallen back asleep. So, I didn't have time to shower and get over there with him. I decided not to go to his first two appointments. They tell us NMA's we're supposed to go to every appointment with them, but it's just becoming too much, and too smothering. All I do at PT and OT is sit there with him and play legos or walk laps. I'm not saying I'll never go back, but I don't think I need to go with him every morning. Anyway, I meet him over there at 11 for his hand appointment - hoping to get the final 2 pins out of his finger. No such luck, bone is healing, but slowly, want to wait until the skin graft heals more before pulling on the finger to get the pins out. Fine by us. Still hoping they won't have to do a bone graft, but only time will tell. Wound care has been doing wonders for his fingers, and they look amazing in just the two short weeks we've been seeing them. He went from dead tissue and exposed tendon to beautiful healing granulation tissue. Exciting. Then we went to the counter where we spoke to the man who called about the compression sock - that's when I left. So, today I only made it about an hour with him before I got too pissed and irritated. I even prayed for patience today. It didn't work. I just went outside and sat. And when he didn't follow me, I went back to the room where none of our keys work and had to get let in by someone. I've been here ever since. Moping.

I want to be pregnant and emotional. I want to be pissed without having to have a reason. I want to have a scowl on my face all day long just because I can. I'm tired of people asking if I'm okay because I "look tired". Sorry, I didn't pack my make up when I left Colorado over 2 months ago. And even if I did, you sure as hell wouldn't catch me putting it on every morning. And, thanks for reminding me that I look like shit on a daily basis.

I want us to go back to 2009, when we were still dating, or engaged, and our biggest problem was getting the Army to move all my crap to Colorado even though we weren't married. When we laughed all the time, and actually liked being around each other instead of walking on eggshells every waking moment. When we had something to talk about, and we had our own place, and our own friends. We had our own life. Now we don't.

i wish i wish i wish i want i want i want - it's all I ever seem to do anymore, and I should have learned to appreciate the small things by now. What in the world is wrong with me?!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Month 2

I can't believe it's been 2 months since he stepped on a stupid land mine. I'll probably say this for every month that passes until we are back in a normal routine.

Normal routine.

That got me thinking today. What is going to be normal anymore anyway? Will we go back to Colorado? Will we return to our jobs and go on like we were before he left last May? We'll have a baby of course, so that will be a lot different. What will his 'job' entail if we do go back to Colorado?

Some big Command Sergeant Major or whatever they're called came today to visit. He said he would let Col Keenan know that we wanted to come back - she's the Col of the whole hospital at Carson. The hospital I happened to work at. Hopefully he puts a good word in for me too, ha. I know there is a WTB there, but I'm pretty sure they can't do too much as far as amputee care. Hopefully by the time we are able to go back, he won't need that anymore. But he'll be in a WTB unit - what exactly do they do all day for 'work'? Will he hate it and regret his decision?

How can I possibly think about going back to work right now? (because I'm going crazy, but that's besides the point) I can't imagine dropping my baby boy off at day care. I can barely leave my dog at day care. I just loooove makin that money! And feeling useful of course. And I do enjoy my job. I feel knowledgable when I'm at work, like I have something important to say, and people will actually listen to me.

I'm feeling selfish these days. I'm tired, too. Tired of this 'routine'. PT, OT, Wound Care, Hand Surgeon, Primary Care Doc, Inprocessing, etc. But I don't feel like I can tell him that because he's got to be tired of it too. Probably about a million more times tired of it than I could ever be. I just want to have my husband back. Want to be able to go out without worrying about whether or not he's in pain, or going to be in pain, or whether or not our plans will have to be cut short because he can't handle any more.

We did go to dinner tonight, and he walked. Let me tell you how wonderful it was to not have to get that stupid wheelchair in to the back of the jeep, back out again, back in again, and back out again. Ugh. But it has been literally two months since he stepped on a freaking land mine, and he's walking out to dinner with me. Definitely didn't think the recovery would be this fast, and I am so grateful for it. Sometimes I wonder if it's too fast though. He walked a mile and a half in PT today. His leg got sore after dinner. I don't know if it was the weather, or sitting for a while making it swell up, or what. But we couldn't go get ice cream like I wanted :( When can I be dropped off at the door while my husband goes to park the car? When can I be the one with the umbrella instead of him because he has an electric wheelchair that can't get wet? When is it my turn?

I feel like a 5 year old when I write this stuff. Feel so selfish and stupid for even thinking it. I want flowers, presents, and surprises again. I want my romantic husband back. I feel like I'm fighting with appointments to get time in with him. Guess I'll just have to make an appointment too.

Either way, this past month has had a lot of milestones. Walking is the main one. Now, I can look back and say "Wow, remember when we were sitting in your hospital room thinking we'd never get out?" I remember the routine of wiping him down with the special 'before surgery' wipes at midnight at least every couple of days. He had so many surgeries. We had a bath routine, too. And by bath, I mean him sitting in a chair in front of the sink so I could wash his hair for him. I remember when he couldn't feel anything because he had a nerve block and an epidural, but he was still in pain. I remember when he had night sweats every night, shortly after he got here. Or when pooping was an all day ordeal. I remember trying to keep up with all his meds, which was almost impossible. I could've been a little lazy about it too. But I do remember the multiple medication errors I prevented. Not to toot my own horn or anything. But it's a true story.

Maybe we'll hit up the White House on Sunday. You know, just hang with Obama, maybe chill in the Oval Office for a bit. Ha. But we really might get to go there.

I am excited to see what the next month has in store for us. So that I can look back on this day and say "Wow, I remember when he just started walking, and it was still so hard..." Look what we've accomplished in two months, I wonder where we'll be a year from now.

Maybe then we'll be really on the road to recovery. Both of us.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Legos are therapy?

It's been a few days since I posted last. I think these may be able to be spaced out a little more now that our life is a little more monotonous.

We went down to KG for the holiday weekend, which was nice. It happened to be the Fall Festival weekend as well. I haven't been to one of those parades in quite some time. It hasn't changed a bit. People didn't stare as much as I thought they would. Kids did, though, but that's to be expected. One almost got himself hit by a car because he was staring so hard. It was kind of funny, I'm not going to lie. I was just waiting for his dad to get his attention. The kid just was staring, like burning a hole in Jason's leg, and walking at the same time, and almost walked in to a (slowly) reversing car. Then, we almost got backed over because a giant truck didn't see him, or me pushing him, as the parade was ending. People are always in a hurry. The chaos here in our small town was a little surprising when the parade was coming to a close. You can tell it's over because everyone starts walking back. So we're packing up to go, (we brought Sadie too) and this sherif on a bike rides by and is like "Hey can you all move to let these cars get through? Thanks." I was just in shock a little. Really? Give us a freaking chance! It's not like we're sitting here watching the grass grow, we're trying to leave. Ugh. Everyone is in a rush. It's irritating.

Another reason we're ready to go back to Colorado.

All this talk about going back to Colorado, if we ever do get to go back, I sure hope it's how we remember it! Otherwise I'll be supremely disappointed!

I'm trying to find a weekend to fly out there and pack boxes of a few things we need. Such as winter clothes. I am just straight up lazy, and I don't want to deal with it. So I'm tempted to just make do this winter. We've already accumulated so much stuff. I don't even know how.

Anyway at home, we traveled between my moms house and his dads house. We slept at his dads house because it is newer, and much more wheelchair friendly. Making plenty of mental notes about how our dream house will be built. And all the doorways, hallways and rooms will be wheelchair friendly *just in case*. He says next time we go home, he'll be walking through the doors instead of crawling up and down the stairs :)

We bought some baby clothes at a consignment shop I discovered. Went to The Melting Pot - yum. Played some games, and watched Philly sports loose miserably, much to his fathers dismay. He got some good Sadie time in, so that was good. I can't tell you how tired I am of lifting that wheelchair in and out of the car. It's not that heavy, it's just so awkward to lift without scratching my car! Building muscles for the stroller :)

Bought our first box of diapers and wipes this weekend. Guess I will just go with disposables for now.

Registration is renewed. Thank goodness. Now I don't know why I didn't just send two copies of everything to get Jason's car done too. Looks like I will have to do it all again for his. Ugh.

Apparently there is an NRP Renewal in 2 days...Jason's nurse case manager was trying to get me in it. Now I'm worried I won't pass, and I'll make an ass out of myself in front of all these strangers for how much I can't remember! But, I'd rather renew it then take the whole class over again. If I have to, I have to I guess.

Yes, Obama came to Walter Reed. No, we did not see him. I'm sure he was here for about 15 minutes total. And he only cares to see the soldiers who are still inpatient. We overheard someone say "You have to have an IV in in order for the President to visit you." Bummer. haha.

If all goes as planned (can you believe I'm still saying that), we'll be back in Colorado sometime after baby is born (hopefully before our lease is up) in order for Jason to start his MedBoard process. He'll be assigned to the WTB there until they decide if he's able to return to duty. Depending on when we go back, I'm not sure if I'll go back to work or not. I would definitely go back if they'd let me come back part time, but I have a sinking feeling that won't be the case.

We played legos tonight. We started doing it in OT today, and decided we should probably buy some just for fun :) I haven't played with legos in forever, and I don't think I've ever followed lego directions. I always just had my brothers left overs which were in a huge bag all mixed together. If he uses his left hand, it is good OT though, so that's a nice plus.

We're trying really hard to come up with a name for this baby. Still nothing permanent. Should probably look in to taking some classes in regards to delivering this baby. Blahhhhhhhh

I liked our boring life before this boring life. We're together 24/6/365. We don't have to be, but I miss him terribly when I do leave him. I liked that we both had our works to go to. It didn't seem like 'getting away' then, but it does now. Neither of us have a getaway now. Now it's just appointments. I know that doesn't sound boring and terrible, but it is not a normal life. And the whole system is just so screwy, I wish I could be commander in chief for a day :)

He had his leg on for about 2 hours today. We're slowly increasing it. He did laps with a cane. Laps by himself. Laps sidestepping, walking backwards, and regular. He walked on grass, up stairs, down stairs, and in the mud. Overall, eventful day as far as walking! He's preparing for the grapevines tomorrow :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

one foot forward...

He walked for the first time today since August 13th :)

We got the 2x4 he's had for a hand removed for good. We watched her throw the splint in the trash. Did you hear me? In. The. Trash. His left hand and arm are definitely very weak. You can even see his wrist bone because of all the atrophy. I'm sure he'll gain that strength back eventually. We're working on range of motion of the fingers. He got two pins out yesterday - he says the worst pain he's felt to date. It was pretty painful to watch him be in that much pain. He said he thought the doctor was joking when he pulled out the pliers. Apparently he'll never make a fist again with that hand. There was talk of bone grafting and possibly re doing one of the skin grafts. Frustrations. That will all be months from now though, if the healing hasn't gotten any better. Yippee more surgeries.

So we spent a lot of today doing wound care, and scraping the thick layer of dead skin off his hand. That is pretty foul. But I do enjoy doing it. Got a new splint for just the two fingers.

Then he got his first leg!

He stood up and walked back and forth and back and forth in the parallel bars. He was in awe the whole time I think, that he was walking. He said he was feeling some phantom pains. I would imagine so if you're standing, but you know you're not standing on your foot because it isn't there. I can't imagine how that feels - to be standing but can't feel the floor under you. It's definitely going to take some getting used to, although he thought he could just run right out of there. We went over to the PT room then, and did some more walking in the parallel bars. Side ways, backwards, forwards. Bob (our physical therapist) could tell he was itching to walk farther. He started around the track, but then started feeling some pain. It's hard to tell now whether or not it's normal pain or not normal pain. And I certainly don't know what's normal for them to be feeling at this stage. So PT keeps his leg for about a week and he'll gradually increase his time in it just for safety. I guess a lot of guys have gone home with their leg and worn it too much too soon and hurt themselves more. So it's probably a good thing because he'd probably be one of those guys.

Hopefully by the end of next week we'll have it in our possession. It was weird to see him walking again, that's for sure. And a true testament to how long this process will be.

I told Joe (his Occupational Therapist) he needs to get a baby doll with diapers so he can practice changing those :)

Just short of two months, and he's already walking. He's doing so great. I know he can't see it, he can't see the progress he's made. He's so very frustrated with the long drawn out process. And even now that he's an E6, he still has to call his squad leader every morning to check in like a private would have to do. We had to go to a brief this morning. Which was interrupted by a fire drill in which they said we had to evacuate. Great. And oh by the way you have to wait for the firefighters to carry you out because you can't go down the elevator in a wheelchair. I've never seen him look so depressed as he was in that moment. I can't imagine what he must have been feeling. A 25 year old man sitting in a wheelchair with his head down so far because he's embarrassed that he can't just walk down the stairs like everyone else, and has to be carried out instead. As if he hasn't gone through enough, lets just play Army a little more, jerks. They ended up not making us evacuate which is good because I was about to go express my feelings to someone with a high rank on their chest. Ha.

Overall a great day for progress here. But, still every night we lay in bed and wonder what we did to deserve this kind of life. He says "We're nice people. We've never done anything wrong. Why did this have to happen to us?!" I quite agree. Not how I pictured bringing a baby 'home'.

It's the little things you don't think about. Why would you? Like the freezing cold bathroom floor because we can't have rugs in there because the wheelchair wouldn't be able to go over them. Like how the handicapped access doors are locked, or don't work, or are very inconvenient.

I went to get a placard for parking my car here on base. "Ma'am your registration is expired." Yes, I know this. I explained what happened, and how in Colorado you have an extra month to renew it. "Well we can't give you one if it's expired." Oh, ok thanks for your help. Asshole. I mean really? What are the odds of that - 1 in 12 I guess that the month he gets hurt, is right when I need to renew that stupid thing. So now I've sent my paperwork twice, and I think we're just going to go ahead and send it all in a third time for his car, just to get it done and avoid any late fees.

Even if we only have three appointments in the morning, somehow we still manage to be out until at least 4pm every day. It's like a full time job, no lie. There is no way I could ever work and be here for him. This shit is all.day.long. And it is exhausting.

We are ready for it to be done. Ready to go back to Colorado. Ready to have our dog and our old life back.

I haven't been nesting. In fact, I haven't really been thinking about the baby at all, except to make sure he's still moving in there. And that makes me feel bad. Sometimes I still forget I'm pregnant. Until I see myself in the mirror of course. Oh, and I went back to the doctor yesterday, a different one, who said everything is measuring fine still, at 3cm and not dilated. Go back in another two weeks to make sure, and hopefully we won't have to do any more cervical lengths for a while.

So anyway, that makes me a little nervous. He's going to creep up on us pretty quickly I think, and then life will become that much more difficult. We have no clue for a name. He will be Searles, Male for a while probably...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

movie day

We watched SWAT starting at 0830. Then 127 Hours. Then A Cinderella Story with Hillary Duff - he thinks she's hot. Then Top Gun. Then U-571. Then we decided to go out and pay for a movie. But we really just should've stayed in bed. Now we're watching Italian Job.

Let me just give you a little insight as to how our days or nights go.

After laying in bed all day, besides when we went upstairs for 'brunch', we decide to go to a movie.
Decide we don't have enough time to eat first, before the 1950 movie, so nuke some bagel bites, stand in kitchen and eat them, and drink mello yello. healthy.
Go get car, it's cold, and raining, pull around, load Jason, then load awkward wheelchair.
Crap, movie starts at 1920, not 50.
Encounter on base roadwork, detour all around BFE. Finally get to gate which actually lets us turn left, which is nice for once.
Movie theater is only 1.5 miles away, but still have to find parking...in a city.
Finally make it in parking garage, turn right - dead end - in a parking garage? really? No handicapped hangy thing still, so go down two levels and find a spot. Jason has to hop up a step to get to where the elevators are. Nice. Then it takes us to the inside of some office building, in which he has to go down 5 more stairs before finally getting to the sidewalk. Except that now we're on the opposite side of the garage. Getting frustrated.
I say - "The movie will probably be sold out with our luck tonight."
Get in line for tickets. Sign says Moneyball showing is sold out, but that's not what we wanted to see. (Movie is starting now, by the way) "Oh, that one is sold out too" she says with a smile on her face. Of course. (We wanted to see 50/50)
Decide to go see 'What's Your Number' instead. Starts in 5 minutes. Not excited about spending money on that one. I considered it a red box movie.
Navigate around a billion more staring jerks, get old popcorn and giant drinks like usual, and finally make it to the theater which is already dark of course because they're showing previews.

Thankfully we find a seat right in the back. But not so thankful that it happened to be right next to that really annoying movie goer guy who laughs really loud when no one else does, makes unnecessary comments during movie instead of just watching movie, sings along to all the soundtrack songs, and did I mention, laughs really loud when no one else does?

Never going to a movie on a Saturday night in Bethesda again.

Needless to say - we're chalking this up to life experience. And taking in to account where we never want to live. Ever. I am apparently no city girl. Hate. It. Everywhere you go, there is a process. And even more of a process because of our situation. I often think this is preparing me for motherhood in a not so nice way.

Last night we went to Target. Apparently my husband has forgotten what it's like to be married to me. We were there until they closed. He was so tired when we left. But he never complained. At every item, I stood there for about 5 minutes deciding whether or not it was really necessary. I do not want to clog this 'apartment' up with clutter, only to have to move it all back out in who knows how many months. He's not ready for the all day or night shopping trips I guess. And, baby won't be either. It's going to be a huge life adjustment. Not being able to just up and go, and go for however long I can stand. Have to prepare for everything, or be prepared for anything. I kind of feel that way now though. Have to remember to bring along his pills, just in case. And his as needed pain pills just in case. Hand sanitizer since he touches yucky things and can't really wash his hands because he only has one at the moment. Nothing like a baby would need - but I'm getting practice getting a wheelchair in and out of the car, so a stroller should be no problem! But, I definitely won't be able to wander around Target for 3 hours contemplating whether or not I really need something either.

Oh, and I got a parking 'warning.' Thank goodness it wasn't a ticket. At least I don't think it's a ticket.

And, the DMV never got the 59 bazillion papers I had to fill out, copy, or get notarized for them to renew our registration for the Jeep I have out here. Did I mention that already? So, I'm going to fill them out again, mail it certified, and make copies of everything. Now I'm wondering what I'm supposed to do about his Jeep. It's sitting in the garage, but it will need to be renewed if I go out there and expect to drive it. But, will the insurance know if we haven't gotten it renewed? Do you have to get it renewed if you're not driving it? We're still paying it off. Hm. I hate the DMV.

You know when people say they feel like the whole world is against them? We, as a couple, are magnets to bad shit happening. Maybe we have very pessimistic outlooks on life. Maybe there is something psychologically wrong with us. I think that is a psych diagnosis actually - if you feel like everyone is against you. But how could you look at our situation and all the mumbo jumbo we deal with on a daily basis, and not think that? Where is the positive in all this? It is absolutely miserable! At least we're in it together. And at this point, we're starting to just expect it - which probably isn't good, but maybe if bad things don't happen and we expect them to, it will be a good day.

I blame todays misery on the weather. Yeah, that sounds like a good excuse :)