Sunday, November 27, 2011

Give Thanks

The swelling has begun. Ugh. I was so (selfishly) hoping I'd get away with an almost perfect pregnancy. Guess I shouldn't be jumping the gun here. I started noticing it last week, I think. In the mornings my hands swell, and any time I sit for too long my feet swell. They used to do that anyway, but with pregnancy, it's way worse. Then when I stand up, and my toes are still touching each other when I walk, ugh, I hate that feeling. So, the 6 hour car drive home from the beach this evening was fun. I was trying to stretch and put them up on the dash, but that's just not comfortable. Between Jason and I, we have three constantly swollen feet! ha. They're not swollen all the time, though, so I can be very grateful for that.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family. We kind of got out of his appointments on Wednesday since he only had PT and OT, and ended up leaving Tuesday afternoon. We drove down to VaBeach to visit his brother and his family for the night and all day Wednesday. It was nice to spend time with just them. Usually when we see them, it's over the holidays or at a family function and it's hard to just have conversation between the four of us. We got some baby time in with their nine month old, and that was quite entertaining. It of course got me thinking of all the things I'll/we'll have to deal with very soon. It took me three months...maybe pick out a diaper bag. How will I ever make my own decisions when it comes to raising a child. Goodness.

We left late Wednesday, and drove down to the Outer Banks where my mom has beach property. We spent our days planning the next meal, and hanging out with good company. It was relaxing. We did a little black Friday shopping but there aren't many big stores down there. It may have been a blessing in disguise. We also finished a puzzle, played Yahtzee, Scattegories, and Mad Gab.

Our dog was even allowed to go to the beach - my mom has never allowed pets at her beach houses, just because of the clean up and dog hair, and wet dogs and sand and all that. But since our neighbors would be at the beach with us, we had no choice but to bring her unless we wanted to spend Thanksgiving without my dad. I didn't think she'd be one to run straight to the water anyway, and she wasn't. She just laid in the sand next to us while we were sitting on the beach. This time of year, a lot of people have their pets down there, so she was having a hard time with the social scene. My parents are a godsend for all the help they've given us these last few months, especially with Sadie. But, my dad, who talks to her like she's a human, refuses to use her shock collar or continue with any of the training we had done. She's become very spoiled and less socialized just because of where they live, and it worries me. Apparently multiple times while they were on the beach, if another dog approached her, she would start growling and barking and pulling on the leash which my mom couldn't hold. I will do anything not to have to get rid of this dog after the baby comes, but I am so, so worried for when we return to Colorado. She's had a lot of changes these last few months, the beach was a new change too. New owners, new houses, new people. Then we'll go back to Colorado where all the sudden she won't be #1 any more, and there will be a baby to deal with. She has never, ever been aggressive, but she is an animal, and you can never predict what they will do. I think my dad has been a little more rough in playing with her, too, because we were playing on the beach and she started mouthing my legs, which she's never done before. In a playful way, and it was fine with me, but I can't imagine it'd be fine with a toddler...

Anyway, what's one of my blogs without a worry rant?!

Jason's finger looks much better, we've been wrapping it to start the shrinking process. The stitches will come out on Tuesday and then we can start more scar massage and OT. He figured out that he can't shuffle a deck of cards, and he tried to pick something up off the floor and couldn't because it was right between those fingers. But, he'll adapt, he has already adapted to a lot so far.

There are a few last things I still need to get for this nameless baby. We need to move a desk in this lovely apartment, and I need to wash all the clothes. We also need to figure out a name. And we have a lot of Christmas shopping to finish. I am not looking forward to shopping up in DC around this time of year.

We get to tour the Pentagon next Friday, the White House again this Saturday to look at the Christmas decorations, and the Army/Navy game is next Saturday. It's going to be a busy next couple of weekends, so we'll have to push the shopping to during the week. That will probably be best anyway because of the craziness that is this place.

The appointments still haven't seemed to slow down. We have yet to have an entire week when it's just PT and OT. Inevitably there's another one thrown in there somewhere. This week we have a 'scrimmage', Ortho, and Infectious Disease on top of his PT and OT. Plus he's been trying to get with the piano man - a guy who offers free lessons (and is highly reputable) but the timing is never right. We're going to try to do that this week.

So, all in all, our Thanksgiving was wonderful. I am grateful I got to spend it with my husband, although if I had it my way, I'd still rather him be in Afghanistan than us be in this situation. But, I'm being grateful here, so I'm glad for that. I'm glad that the rest of the guys that are still in Afghanistan are safe, too. I'm glad that we're able to be this close to family at a time like this, and that we are able to drive everywhere to see them. Jason drove the entire trip, by the way. I'm glad I've had such an easy pregnancy so far, and I hope I don't jinx it by saying that.

Slowly, I find myself forgetting what life was like back in August. This is normal now, and we feel 'at home' when we drive on to this base. I always try to remind myself of how angry and emotional I was back then, and my reasoning for it, so that I will stay grounded and not take this for granted. We talk about it often, about what those first couple of days were like for both of us. I, and everyone around us, are amazed at how far we've come in only three months. There isn't much more we could be thankful for at the moment.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ok, 9.5 fingers!

So since I've last updated, we actually have 9.5 fingers!

My baby shower last week was fabulous, and I feel very blessed to have gotten all the wonderful things I (we) did. Almost everyone came, and it did feel wonderful to talk to old friends and see new babies I hadn't had the chance to meet yet.

That evening, I drove back up to Bethesda and after unloading a car full of baby shower gifts, I finally made it over to the hospital around 10pm. Oh, how I hate those hospital rooms. It felt weirdly nostalgic, going back up to the fourth floor, this time a different room, but still. And it's only been about 6 weeks since we were there. The room was much less cluttered, for sure. And Jason, much more mobile. He still had all his fingers at that point, and had that stupid 2x4 for a hand again.

I stayed until about 1am I think, too late as usual. I got up at 4:30 to be sure I was back in time for the doctor to come by. During his entire first inpatient stay, I never saw this illusive hand doctor because he always came so early. I would not miss this encounter. He didn't come until 9. Jason obviously wasn't first case for the OR. He explained that he looked at the MRI, and he offered 3 options. First, try to save the finger. Second, take it from the fracture site. Third, ray resection, or take the whole finger and the ligaments down in to the hand, moving the fingers closer together. He felt the best option would be number two, and since we spent the weekend under the impression he wouldn't even have that option, we were happy. Well, I was. I can't speak for Jason. I know he was/is disappointed in having to give up another body part and learn to adapt in a new way for different things again.

Poor thing had been NPO since midnight, and finally went down to surgery around 1:30 if I remember correctly. I was too afraid to leave and get all the way back to the room and then have them call me and say they were done. I really wanted to talk to the doctor afterwards to see what had happened.

My wonderful friends who took half my baby shower stuff back up north for me, met me and waited in the waiting room with me until he was done. The doctor finally came out and had pictures of his finger. They took it from the fracture site, which was about half way between the middle and distal knuckle and folded the remaining skin up over top. It looks a little funny, I'm not going to lie, but at least he still has some function in it. Since I knew he'd be back up from surgery in a little while, the girls and I went back to our room and they helped me unload all the rest of the baby shower stuff. They were wonderful enough to help me organize it all, also! I finally showered, and ventured back up to the room to see Jason. We ordered pizza, and called it a night.

We found out the next day he would likely go back to the OR on Wednesday for a wash out. This confused me because the doctor said his remaining bone looked very healthy, so he went ahead and closed it. It just didn't (and still doesn't) make sense to me that they would close a wound and then go back in and open it up again. I was slightly upset about this because we were really hoping to get out of the hospital by the weekend. If he had to go back to the OR, I could't see them letting him go by then. Of course, as is normal while inpatient, we got the runaround.

Wednesday comes around, and he's down in PreOp before 6am when I show up. They gave him the option of going back to the OR for another washout and then doing oral antibiotics for about a week at home, or not going to the OR, and getting a PICC Line and having IV antibiotics for about 6 weeks at home. He chose the first.

That evening, we hoped he'd be switched to oral antibiotics for possible discharge the next day. I guess I was rushing the process. Instead of that, they put him on the bacteria specific antibiotic and wrote the order for 3 days. WTF. I was mad. Earlier, the Ortho docs and the Infectious Disease docs told us 'yes he can be switched to oral meds, and yes possible discharge tomorrow.' You better believe I was mad. But it was late when she hung the first bag, and of course all the people you want to talk to go home by 4pm. The next morning, Thursday, Infectious Disease came in before I had a chance to get there, and told him they wanted him to stay on the IV antibiotics while he was inpatient. So we assumed that meant we'd be here through the weekend. I was hot. They happened to come in again later in the day. I tried to be polite, but I still said "So do you guys ever communicate with the other doctors on his case? Or do they just have to read your notes? Because it seems like we're getting a lot of back and forth here. It'd be nice if we could get a straight answer."

They didn't say much.

I think we ended Thursday still not knowing if we'd be home by the weekend. We were both in a really crappy mood. The weather was yucky that day too. It's amazing how fast things change. It was like going back to jail after having a small taste of freedom. We were confined to the hospitals protocols and all that bahooie. We were grumpy. This time Jason could walk, and do most everything by himself. The grass is always greener, I guess. I decided I'd go to Target and finally do some baby shopping after returning a few duplicates from the baby shower. I have been itching to buy stuff for this baby, but I didn't want to until after the shower.

Friday morning he said they came in and said they were going to try to discharge him first thing. Thank goodness. It still took until about 1130 to get out of there, but we did it. And we came back to building 62, packed our bags, and went upstairs to eat lunch. Then we got on a bus to Ocean City. Talk about wasting no time!

We signed up to go on a marriage retreat with the Army a few weeks ago. It's pretty religious based, but it's also a free trip. We had a good time, learned a few techniques for communicating and such, and relaxed a little. But we're still pretty tired from it all.

We got back this evening, and I didn't bother to fully unpack our bags. It's Thanksgiving this week. We're making the trek down to Nags Head to be with my family. We're going to stop in Va Beach on the way to visit his brother and family to break up the trip. Hopefully the traffic isn't a nightmare. I have a bad feeling about that, though.

Now we have lots of appointments to catch up on. A scan for his hip to be cleared for running, an x-ray of his nub to confirm HO, follow up with ortho and infectious disease, cancel appointments for the fluoroscopy he was supposed to have of that finger, wheelchair clinic, and my baby appointment. phew.

We did put the stroller/car seat and pack n' play together, though. That was exciting, and a little nerve wracking at the same time. Like, "Oh shit this is our junk now. We're having a baby soon. Real soon. A little human. Oh crap." Jason helped me cut all the tags off all the baby clothes. I was going to wash them all. That was a little over zealous of me. I just did one load for tonight, of blankets, towels, washcloths, and sheets. It was a full load. I'm trying this new thing, where even though I have this huge list of things I want to get accomplished, I have to be realistic of the timeline. If I had done the rest of the clothes, I'd still be awake right now doing laundry. And in reality, what's the rush right now? So, I forced myself to leave the rest of the stuff in piles on the bed. I'll try to tackle it tomorrow.

This baby still has no name. Suggestions?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Nine Fingers?

What a weekend. And it's not even over yet.

Probably the worst Veterans Day weekend my Veteran will ever have.

This will likely be a more negative/depressing blog. If you're not interested in reading that kind of material, stop now.

Where should we begin!?

We came home Thursday afternoon. He drove the whole way, and said it felt like a work out, but did a great job. He was complaining of pain in his finger only a little. That night, the pain increases to the point of nausea, and he ended up taking an Oxycontin which he hasn't taken in a really long time. He felt defeated because he had to take it, but I wasn't going to have him in that much pain all weekend.

The next morning he woke up still nauseous, and in even more pain in his finger. We showered, and for the first time, got this finger wet. The pins came out on Tuesday, and since they were out, he was allowed to get that wound wet, and they encouraged it. We drizzled soapy water over it from the wash cloth, but the whole time, he was almost in tears in pain. From the standing on one leg for the duration of the shower, to the finger throbbing, he was so done. We quickly finished in the shower, and started to do some wound care. The pin site was oozing pretty bad, but this wasn't uncommon for him. It did that when the pins were in. The pain was new. Also new, the redness, swelling, and heat coming from that finger. We dressed it, and decided to take his morning medications and wait an hour to see how it felt. And when he showers in the morning, his leg swells, and he can't fit in to his prosthetic. So it was a morning of defeats. He had to scoot down the stairs on his butt, and I could see the "I'm so done." all over his face.

We relaxed on the couch, put his leg up, took his medicine, tried to eat. After about 2 hours, he said he felt much better, and the only pain was the stinging. I told him to watch so close for any redness going up his hand or arm, and that if that happens, he better get his ass back home. He went up to visit his friend from high school, and spent most of the day and night up there. He said his finger still hurt pretty bad, but he was trying not to be a "b*tch" about it. When he got home, it was still red, but nothing moving. Very swollen too.

Saturday morning he woke up, and I could tell he wasn't in as much pain. He sounded surprised when I asked and he said "Actually, it's not that bad!" And then we looked at it and saw that it had started pussing, out the back end of the dressing. Gross. So, we called our nurse neighbor friend for a second opinion, and started the dressing change process. Now the wound was bigger. The tissue directly over the break looked bruised, and as he put pressure on the skin around the wound, it just oozed. We've been trying to heal this skin graft for the past 2 months. It was almost closed. Now it's bigger. Not a good sign. He said he could feel the bone shifting when he held his hand sideways, because of the break. Still very swollen and red, although not as hot. And no streaking. We call Joe from OT, even though we know he won't be able to tell us what to do, we just wanted to know if wound care was on call on the weekends. They're not. And the consensus is to go to the ER.

We decide it'd be best for him to go all the way back up to Bethesda since they have all his records and access to all his doctors there. I felt terrible. His dad agreed to take him, thank goodness. But, I wish I could've been there.

We really thought they'd just put him on antibiotics and send him home with a follow up on Monday. That didn't happen.

Meanwhile, I'm sitting at my house waiting for my Dad to bring my dog back home...there was a miscommunication, or lack thereof, and he didn't know I wanted to leave with her at 11 to go visit a friend and get her groomed. He never takes his cell phone. Anywhere. And I know as soon as I leave to go look for them, he'll come home, so I just wait. He gets home with minutes to spare of the time I needed to leave to get her to her appointment on time. I get half way down my stupid windy road that I hate driving on anyway, and realize I forgot the rabies certificate. Have to turn around and get it. Now we're going to be way late. Finally get there, make another wrong turn, which makes us even later. It is not our day, I decide. Take her to the groomer where they say it can be anywhere from 3-5 hours. Good Lord I don't know what they do to those dogs for that long. I went to hang out with my friend while she was there. Finally at the 4 hour mark, I call to see how much longer it will be. I get "Oh, you're Sadie's mom? Hold on a minute." Never a good sign. I'm thinking, great, they gave my dog to the wrong person or something like that. Another woman comes on the phone "Well, Sadie is all finished, but she cut her foot. We had the vet take a look at it and she said she could throw a stitch in there if you wanted, but it doesn't seem to be bothering her at all." So this is how parents feel when the daycare calls and says their child has hurt themselves. No, it's no charge. Sure, we'll do it and she'll be ready in about 15 minutes they tell me. We get there in the 15 minutes she told us it would be - "Oh, well we got really busy and the doctor is going to see her right after she finishes up with the other patient." Ok. 30 minutes go by, still no Sadie. Now I'm thinking, if they come out and tell me she had an allergic reaction and they'll have to keep her overnight, or she kicked them while they were doing the procedure and they cut her more, I'm going to flip my lid. An hour later, some chic says "Well we got really slammed with appointments and the doctor is finishing up a urinalysis and then she'll see Sadie. We can't really move anyone to the front of the line for treatment." I'm thinking - uh yes you can, you were the ones who cut her foot, you can see her first. But of course I just smile and nod instead. Finally the doctor comes out, says 'maybe I'll glue it instead' Ok fine just do it and let's go, and 4 seconds later she was done. We waited an hour and a half for 4 seconds of gluing.

So my friends dog, Riley and Sadie finally get to meet and play for a while, although by this time I think Sadie is totally overstimulated and exhausted.

Jason calls and says "Bad news." Great.

The short story to all this is:
His finger is, in fact, infected.
(He sent me a picture around 3pm of a red streak starting up his arm - he was the first to notice it, and informed the Doctor about it I assume - by 9pm, he still hadn't received IV antibiotics)
They were now worried about bone infection.
They tried to give him a temporary nerve block so they could open the wound more, the wound we've tried so hard to heal, and see how much was infected. He said it didn't really work.
They gave him IV Dilaudid and he was high for a couple hours he said, but that wore off too.
He left his book bag in his dads truck at home with all his medications and socks and shrinkers for his leg. I was so mad at him for that, I'm not even going to lie. What was he thinking?!
He got x-rays, and apparently his Ortho Doc was consulted.
He got an MRI but doesn't know the results of that yet, although with this streak of luck, I can guess what they're going to be.
He was admitted back to the fourth floor where he spent his first month and a half here.
Surgery on Monday.

Basically, we're looking at losing a finger. And not just the tip, the entire finger. Where they take the finger and all the ligaments in the hand and fuse the hand smaller so there's no space for the remaining fingers to drift. Sweet. Now he'll have a peg leg and a pterodactyl hand. As if people don't stare enough. As if he doesn't already feel like a circus act, let's tack this on.

I guess the doctor told him that before he goes in to surgery, he will have him sign a consent that basically says if they need to take the finger, they will be allowed to. I'm having a hard time with this. I just think it's the easy way out for the doctor. "Eh, it's not looking so hot. Eff it, let's just cut the thing off - hey student would you like to do this one?" I can so picture that. It's how the medical world works unfortunately. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be a raging bitch when I show up there tonight, and I don't even care. But I don't think I'm going to let him add that to the consent.

What I'm so mad about, is that this was never considered until now. When I asked the doctors about an MRI wayyyyy back when he was still inpatient, they all just said "Oh, I'll have to look. I'm sure he had one somewhere, it's just not showing up in our system."

He never got an MRI in Bethesda. Until yesterday.

I'm no genius, but if someone is coming in with multi trauma - wouldn't they want a generalized, overall picture of what is going on inside, to be sure they're not missing anything? If he had had the MRI done in the beginning, would they have even noticed his middle finger bone being infected? If he'd had it done, they would've had something to compare this one to at least. And not only the bone infection, he should've had one done simply because he stepped on a freaking land mine. If that's not close enough to an explosion to warrant an MRI, then I don't know what is. I might have to consult my legal friends on this one. If he has to lose his finger for something that could've been prevented? Oh yeah.

Bone infection does not happen over the course of 4 days. They told him that it's probably been infected this entire time, and when the pins came out, it finally moved out of the bone and in to the skin where it started showing itself.

Again, I find myself wondering "How much more can I take?" I was ok with the leg, I had to be. I didn't get a choice in that one. Now, with this finger business, we have a choice as to how his treatment goes, and I obviously want them to do everything they can to save that finger, minus letting the infection spread so he ends up loosing his hand. The missing leg is almost less weird than a three finger hand to me right now. But, if it happens, I'm sure I will get used to it, just like we've gotten used to everything else.

I hate that he has to wake up and look at that leg every morning, because I know he's thinking how much it sucks. And now we're going to lose more movement in this hand since they have it immobilized in a huge stupid cast again. "Hey, let's see how much progress you can make, and then lets make you start all over again because you have to have another part of your body removed!" Sounds like a fun game someone's playing with our life.

And now, here's the selfish rant.

This weekend was supposed to be about me. He acknowledged that, which made me feel a little better, but it doesn't make the situation any better. We were supposed to have some professional pictures taken this morning which obviously didn't happen. My baby shower is this afternoon. I know, out of general concern, people will want to know how Jason is, and ask about him. Do I tell them the entire story that will take forever or do I just tell them he's fine? Chances are, some of my guests will have read this before coming, so maybe the word will get out, and I won't have to explain anything a million times. But the only part I can think about is the fact that we have 4 big boxes of stuff we mailed home from Colorado to go back up to Bethesda, plus everything from the baby shower. And now I get to drive it up and unload it all by myself.

That's not fair, you're probably saying. Yes, I know. He didn't do this on purpose. He didn't do any of this on purpose. I understand that. But these are the thoughts going through my head in my current state. So just deal with it.

Here we were hoping he'd be mostly healed, and almost ready to go back to Colorado as soon as the baby was born. Now I'm wondering if he'll still be recovering from another surgery and be able to help me at all. People also do this all the time. Have babies all by themselves. I should know, I worked in a military hospital and saw women come in every single day and deliver their babies while their husbands were deployed. At least he'll be here when I deliver. Why can't I be grateful for that?!

When will we catch a break? Win the lottery? Have something really good happen to us? This baby will be a blessing, I'm not discounting him. I know there are many people who cannot have children, and we are blessed in this sense. But, sitting here, 8 months pregnant, thinking about my husbands finger getting lobbed off, and thinking about the string of events we've gone through these past 3 months, only makes me wonder what could go wrong with the birth of our baby boy. I pray to God, nothing, but I just can't make myself believe that after all this.

Today is three months since he was injured. Didn't think this is where we'd be, that's for sure.

It's always been a flaw of mine that people can tell I'm pissed or genuinely don't want to be somewhere. I've never been able to fake emotions. It's going to be hard to put on a happy face today at this baby shower that everyone has made time for out of their busy schedules to come to. And all I will be able to think about is how my husband might loose another body part while I'm sitting there opening presents for a baby who still has no name because, quite honestly, it's the last thing on my list of priorities right now.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Case Study

There have been a couple specific things these past couple days that I've made a mental note to be sure to include in my blog. Let's see if I can remember all of them!

Yesterday, we went to the mall. Again. We have probably not been to a mall this frequently...ever. But, we know how to get there, and there are always multiple food choices. Ha.

(Side note: Ahhhhh the sound of machine guns and people dying on this wonderful video game.)

So, I may or may not have bribed him to go to the mall to get his new video game - Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3. It didn't take much convincing. And, shockingly, even though people were up at the mall standing in line at midnight to get this game, they still had them in stock. Then it was my turn. I've been so distressed about my engagement ring being a lost cause lately. No idea why it's bothering me so much. I haven't worn it since April anyway. But my wedding band is getting pretty small these days, so I've been wanting a little something to replace it while I'm fat. Hence my bribe to the mall. I got a little sapphire with diamonds on the side in white gold. It's different, which is what I wanted, so it was a success.

We went to Chick-fil-a of course, and the sad part is, the guy recognized us. We were probably there 3 days earlier and this guy was like "Dude, what happened to your fingers?" Jason still had his pins in. And they're behind the counter so they can't see his leg. So when he says "Uh, I stepped on a land mine" they are usually a little caught off guard. This time Bryan, The Milkshake Expert (it said that on his name tag) said "Looks like your fingers are healing a little huh bro" That's when we knew we might go to that Chick-fil-a too often. We're going to have to start rotating our locations.

While we were in the jewelry store, a man stopped and shook Jason's hand. Shook it like he meant it too. Dead lock in the eyes. He was so sincere, it was refreshing. Not just a "thanks for your service", it was more like "No really, you don't understand, we really appreciate what you do." It was nice.

On that note, Jason got his final two pins out of his middle finger yesterday. They'd been in for 12 weeks. The process was much less painful than the last two pins he had out, thank goodness. But, just because the pins came out doesn't mean his finger is healed, because it isn't. The doctor basically said "I just can't leave pins in you forever, so if it hasn't healed by now, there is a good chance it won't heal on its own." Grreat. In three weeks we go back, and he will put it under the fluoroscope (live x-ray) and move it. Sounds like a great idea huh. From what I understand, he wants to see if it will have healed any more on its own, and if it's moving as one piece or two separate, still broken, pieces. If it's the latter, a bone graft will be in his future. Ugh. And since I've wisend up to this whole grafting process, I asked about the take. "Well, there's always a chance it won't take as well." Sweet. So then what? "Amputation if it's painful and bothering him."

Needless to say, he's frustrated. He's upset that we're spending all this time healing the skin graft and then they may just have to cut right through it to bone graft, and if that doesn't work, they're just going to cut it off anyway! I'd be frustrated too. Although, at this point, I'm just trying to go with it. There's nothing we can do besides see how it plays out. And drink lots of milk. Of course, we're really hoping, and borderline praying, that it will start to form a bone callus on it's own over the course of these next three weeks so we won't even have to consider any of that other stuff.

At this point, he's flying with his recovery. Unlike a lot of the other guys. The only thing we're waiting for now, is for his leg to get to a more permanent size so he can get the permanent sockets, and to figure out what to do with this finger. Then we'll be on our way back to Colorado.

We thoroughly enjoy going to PT and OT in the morning. We usually are laughing the whole time. Except in PT when he's about to die from working out. There's an enlisted guy, who is pretty ripped, and Jason loves working out with him. He's a PT tech - if there are such titles - he usually kicks his ass every single morning. Then we go to OT with 'mean ass Joe' as Jason has affectionately named him. I usually have to keep him on task. Ha. I'm sure he'll be so excited when I leave. In fact, he was talking about transitioning Jason to more outpatient OT because he really doesn't need much guidance in it. Unlike some other guys who he can't even get to practice standing up. Joe's favorite 'therapy' is usually "Hey Searles, rearrange the weight bench for me. It will be good therapy." But really he's just trying to get him to do his work. But today was my favorite remark from Joe. We were looking at the x-rays taken of Jason's fingers yesterday. Joe was totally off on his landmarks of his fingers. I simply corrected him. "Don't you ever get tired of being right?!" he says to me. HA. Jason could've crawled in to a hole. He said, "Thanks a lot, Joe. Now you've done it." Our day at OT is pretty much a little bit of range of motion on his fingers, and the rest cracking jokes. It's a nice break.

The other day, MATC was really crowded because there were about 3 Physical Therapy students assigned to each guy in there. All with their notebooks in hand. I so remember those days. Not physical therapy per se, but same concept. When you carry the worksheet of questions in to the patients room because your professor wants to know the dumbest shit about them. They were actually from Shenandoah University, and a couple went to undergrad at JMU so I can't hate on them that much. But I was just thinking about their little case studies they'd have to write. "Patient JS, right trans tibial amputation, occasional phantom pains which pt states improves after a few minutes of walking with prosthetic...." Weird. We're like zoo animals. Or science experiments.

I don't know if I mentioned that Jason is in his second socket now. This is a good thing. His first one was way too big after all the shrinking. Total, he was in it for about a month. Now, it's sitting on the table. What will he make out of it?! Who knows. How many more will we collect?

We went to the Navy vs Troy game in Annapolis over the weekend. There was a Warrior Events group there who were overly accommodating. He drank his first beer(s) - which were all free. I only wish I could've indulged. He got to meet the superintendent of the Naval Academy and we 'watched' the game from up in some special area that had more free food and beer. It was pretty chilly, and Navy was stomping Troy, so we spent a lot of the game in the tent next to the heater, ha. Next weekend we're going on the marriage retreat to Ocean City, MD. We're trying to take advantage of all the activities offered while we're here, and we don't have a newborn. We are dying to take the Pentagon and White House tour, but obviously those fill up fast.

We're excited to go home for the weekend. Have a baby shower, and see lots of good friends. We are blessed to be this close to family and friends at a time like this. But we are so ready to go back to living our own life. It's a little scary going back with only one income. I really hope I can get back in to work part time.

Enough with the worrying.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

long winded


This one may be long. Baby boy is rolling around doing summersaults I think...enjoying his lunch.

Mom and I went to Colorado this past weekend. It was probably one of the most productive weekends I have ever had! It felt so good. It's amazing how good being productive can feel. Especially when you've been in our situation, and almost everything is out of your control. It was nice to pretend to live in our home again, if only for the weekend. And let me say, I probably wouldn't have done half the things I did if my mom wasn't there. If there's on thing that I love about her the most, it's her ability to get things done. This is probably the same thing that annoys me the most. But this weekend, I was so thankful for it.

She cleaned out the fridge for me, like actually scrubbed it - which I don't think has been done since we moved in. We threw out a lot of food unfortunately. We swept, vacuumed, and mopped. She doused the giant ant hill in the back yard with gasoline trying to kill them...we'll see if they're back when we get back. I renewed Jason's registration. And I drove that *ahem* wonderful Jeep all weekend. We had to jump start it at first...I'm pretty good at that now too. I was even smart enough to back it in to the garage knowing that we won't be back there for a while, and we'll definitely have to jump it again. We took the flag and hose in, and put the outside furniture in to the garage. It does get rather windy out there. I hung the fall door decoration, and finally took down the July 4th one - ha. I bought more face stuff - which isn't sold everywhere, and since I know where they sell it in Colorado, I went ahead and got that. I picked up two birthday packages that got returned. I sent them two days before he was injured. They've been sitting at that post office for about 3 weeks apparently. It was a little disappointing opening up the packages I sent intending for him to open. I had forgotten what I sent. Lots of snacks. Great, more food to go bad. Yo-yo's, glow in the dark swords, parachute men, bouncy balls, a Happy Birthday banner, etc. So we had to redistribute all that stuff, and figure out what to do with it.

Mom says I was nesting. I Clorox wiped the blinds, the fridge handle, the doors, and the banister. Those things get SO dirty. There were dirty finger prints all up and down the doors for some reason. Ew. We changed the air filters. Something we've only done once since we've lived in that house. Oops. Apparently you're supposed to do that fairly frequently. They were pretty gross.

We rearranged the office, that was to be the nursery, so that when we finally do get back to Colorado, we won't have as much to do in there. We redistributed all the sheets that took up an entire dresser (I think we might have too many) because that will be his dresser/changing table. We moved the filing cabinets and all nursing books to the guest room for the time being. The books will be sent back to VA with my loving parents to collect dust in the basement. Eventually I will burn them. The desk needs to be taken apart and either sent home, or to the garage. I will hang my diplomas in our room on my side of the bed or in the hall way. We are getting his Purple Heart certificate framed for him for Christmas and that will hang either on his side of the bed or in the hall way as well. I hate hanging pictures. I can never do it right. And it just takes too much calculation. It's one of the special jobs I always save for my dad. Ha.

I had to get the security system fixed because one of the sensors wasn't connected. Mom was there when the guy came - they were supposed to charge us $111 just for the service call because apparently we don't have maintenance on the contract. I don't know what mom said, but I wouldn't put it past her to give a sob story. Either way, he didn't charge us, thank goodness. It was an easy fix apparently. So now the security system we've been paying for actually turns on when we're not there :)

I got my hair cut and colored. And after that expense, I decided I will only be allowed to color my hair every other time. But I probably won't get it cut or colored again while we're here, so by the time we get back to Colorado, it's going to be pretty gnarly. It's just such a pain finding a new hairdresser!

By the way, UPSing 4 boxes is not cheap. Just saying. We got Dad four rolls of quarters. He collects them. And we live near Denver, which means it's more likely that the quarters in Colorado have the little 'D' on them instead of the 'P' that he sees more commonly on the east coast. At least he's easy to please!

I went in to work and took care of a few things. I cleaned out my locker :( I figured I wouldn't hog it since I don't know how long I will be gone. Learned that not much has changed at work, so it doesn't make me miss it as much, but I do miss it. And the pay check of course. I'm at least keeping everything updated so that when I do go back, it won't be such a hassle. I do plan on going back. I'd love to go back part time. I just can't see myself working full time with a baby! I think I'll want to get out of the house eventually though, so I feel like part time is a good compromise - if they'll let me do it.

Anyway, it was a very successful weekend. I miss Colorado, I can't believe I'm actually saying that. When we got there, I hated it. It snowed in September and we only had summer clothes. We couldn't find any water to camp by besides a reservoir and you couldn't just drive in to the woods next to the river to find a place like we did at home. But, the snowboarding was awesome, and so were the summers. It is far from my beaches, and everyone knows how I love the beach, but it really is beautiful there, and so much less high strung. People aren't in a rush to get anywhere, and there is never any traffic. If there is, it's because of an accident or just bottlenecking - and even then it's only about 10 minutes of a delay. There's only one highway. The state is square, so you know if the mountains are on your left, you're going North. Easy as that. Not here. I can't even picture where I am on the map. The landscaping sucks, I'm not going to lie. No one likes paying a retarded water bill just because you have to water your grass twice a day to keep it green. I especially hate that our back yard is all dirt, and filled with red ants and burrs. It's not very dog friendly. Apparently she loves roaming around in the woods, and dad lets her. We don't have woods in Colorado. Just a fenced in dirt back yard with burrs. We're terrible dog parents. But, the dog parks in CO are to die for. There is only one in Fredericksburg, and apparently you can only go there if you are a resident. Sadie will be so excited to go back to Bear Creek, that's for sure! If we could move Colorado Springs to the East coast, it would be perfect :)

We were convinced we'd miss our connecting flight home, but thankfully we got in early, and didn't.

Jason and I returned to our normal routine. I totally did not want to get up the next morning and go with him to PT, but I thought, it's only fair.

He got casted again today, for a new socket. I think we calculated that tomorrow will be exactly one month since he's started walking. His leg is shrinking pretty fast, and apparently it will for the next 4 months. So who knows how many more of these we will have to go through. I worry that as his leg shrinks, the bone becomes more prominent. I don't want too much rubbing to happen or worse, having to go back to surgery to reshape the bone.

His progress really is amazing.

There is this other guy, we'll call him Red Beard, because that's the name Jason gave him before he learned his real name. He has a full grown beard, and the exact same injury as Jason minus the fingers, left leg and arm. At least that's all that's noticeable. So basically he just has the below the knee amputation. Anyway, Jason immediately assumed he was Special Forces because of the beard. And he put him on this pedestal. Because apparently, special forces guys are like Gods in the Army. The longer we've been here though, and have been watching people work out, including him, we've realized they are so not special. We actually learned he is in the Navy, and was EOD, but working with the Army Special Forces I think. So all the while Jason is thinking this guy is hardcore and he's striving to be better than him in PT, and he's no such thing. And the more we watch and listen and talk to him, the more we realize how not motivated he is. Or how much more motivated Jason is. Either one. Today he wasn't wearing his leg, just because he didn't feel like it. He uses crutches still and has a pretty good limp still too. Jason decided using the crutches and cane make you limp more because they're there. I mean, who am I though, criticizing like this. But I just think it's interesting, and extremely admirable that this whole time, he was looking up to this guy, and now we both realize how much more motivated my one and only is.

It hasn't even been three months. He's up and walking, without a cane or crutches, and not only that, but lunging, squatting, doing agility drills, and walking around all day on his leg like nothing is wrong. All the doctors are impressed. Let's hope that gets us out of here ASAP. I can't wait to get back to our life in our own house.

Speaking of that though, we were talking about it the other day. How weird will it be when we do finally go back. It's like we're in this little bubble here. In college kind of, at least the living situation. We live in a dorm, and get up and walk to his appointments every day, come back and eat at the dining hall, and then play Yahtzee or take a nap. Either college or a retirement community, take your pick. Ha.

I went to the maternity store, and he came out with a book, me with nothing. So cute. He really wanted this book called Don't Just Stand There. About what to do when I'm in labor, etc. I'm excited that he's trying to get in to this whole pregnancy thing. We're taking an infant care class tomorrow. I'm kind of excited about that. Something different for the week.

I've heard through the grapevine that some people think this blog is negative or depressing. I have to know that by putting my feelings out there for the world to see, that someone will have that opinion. And I'm trying to have the opinion that I just don't care what other people think. I'm not writing it for people to feel bad for me, I'm writing it so that we will have something to look back on, and share with our children about the path our life took so soon in our relationship. Jason doesn't read it anyway, he says "I'm going through it, why read about it?!" Which is understandable. One day he might read it, or not, either way, it doesn't matter.

That said, I think I've written enough for one post. I hope it's been more pleasurable reading this time around ;)