Tuesday, March 19, 2013

keeping calm...

My heart is so heavy tonight. Just through Facebook, we learned one of the guys Jason was at Walter Reed with passed away. We knew him, but haven't stayed in touch since we left. I remember him more than any of the other guys we encountered there, though. Jason said once Cooper was born and I didn't go with him to OT and PT as much, he and this guy (whose name I'll keep private) started talking more. They had a lot of fun with their OT, Joe. 

I remember when he first started coming down to OT, he was so weak and pale. He was injured about 2 weeks before Jason and spent the better part of two months in the ICU battling infections. He was then inpatient for another 5 months. He would get tired so fast just from getting in to his chair and going down to the therapy room. That's how I remember him when we left. 

They were still at Walter Reed, and I would assume living in building 62 like we were, when he passed away. He was engaged and they were in the middle of planning their wedding. Like I said, we didn't have a chance to get to know them on a really personal level, everything I'm writing about them, I learned from Facebook. 

It's just hitting really close to home tonight, and I need an outlet. It has been on my mind nonstop since we found out. I mean obviously he struggled with a lot more medical problems than Jason ever did, but I can't help but wonder what our future holds after hearing that. 

His mom and fiance just spent the last 20 months of their lives trying to get him back to good health and walking again so they could return home and build a life together, and now what? I cannot even begin to imagine what his fiance (or mother for that matter) is feeling right now. To look around that room in building 62 and just have to pack it all up and go home without the husband she fought so hard for, for so long. To cancel all the wedding and honeymoon plans. To replay the moments of the day when she found him unresponsive. Over and over again. 

My heart literally aches for her. I find myself back in the emotional state I was in when I initially got the news about Jason. All the what if's and 'how can you even begin to understand?' keep running through my head. You'd think getting that phone call that your son/fiance was injured was one of the worst days of your life, and then you spent 20 months getting through everything they told you he wouldn't survive...and then an even worse day of your life happens. Why? For what freaking purpose?! 

So often, I think we are in the clear. Life is normal. We are good. We will have another surgery this summer, and it will fix his leg pain forever, and we'll never have to look back. Or will we? Will getting the surgery open up some kind of raging infection that has been festering in there for the last 19 months? Will he survive the surgery? It sounds bad to even say that, but there's always that risk to any surgery. But, there are risks to just getting up and driving to school or work, too. 

Right now I'm going through scenarios in my head - "If I wake up and he's not breathing, I need to push him to the floor, start CPR, and call 911 and put them on speaker phone. Is it 1-and-2-and-3-and breathe like neonates? Or is it slower? Or faster? But they changed it so it's not just three compressions any more...and our doors are locked at night. How will they get in? I can't leave him to go unlock the doors...." 

Seriously. That's what's going through my head right now. Xanax anyone?! 

Going through this trauma, and becoming a mother, has not been good for my anxiety. It's things like this that makes me never, ever want to leave the house for fear another tragedy will happen. You think you're in the clear since it's been 19 months and you haven't been hospitalized for well over a year, but who really knows what's going on in there?! It makes me want to take back all the mean things I've ever thought about my husband because if something were to happen, I'd never forgive myself. 

We will never be rid of that part of our lives. Not that I want to be. I didn't want to forget about all the wonderful people we met (this family included), and all the saviors who helped Jason in his recovery, but we did want to move on. It feels like no matter how far we go, and how many months and years pass, there will always be reminders that will take us all the way back to August 2011. Then, emotionally, I'll be starting all over again. Thanking God he's alive, pleading with God to let him live a full, long, healthy life, and praying to God to keep him safe every single day. 

It hit him hard, too. We were watching Inside Combat Rescue and every commercial break, we'd talk some more about it. "It makes me not want to get the surgery." "I can live with the pain for the rest of my life if it means I get to live." he says. Later, he can just tell by my blank stares in to space "You still thinkin about it?" "Me too." I want to do something. But I know they will be inundated with people - just like we were (we called it the Purple Heart Carpet) - and then it will subside. I'm just racking my brain trying to think of what I would want from someone in this situation. Something meaningful, not another card to add to their collection. I'm still blanking. 

He hugged Cooper extra long and tight tonight, as did I. We had conversations with each other without even speaking - just eye contact - because we both knew how lucky he is to be here, right now. Why is that so easy to forget? Why do we take that for granted so quickly? Why does it matter that he leaves his towel on the floor or doesn't do the dishes right away? Why can't it just matter that we're both alive and have a beautiful life with an even more beautiful son? 

And so maybe I'll just stay awake all night to keep a close eye on him. Because that wouldn't be slightly psychotic. But that's how I'm feeling after all this. 

Keep Calm, Stephanie. 
Just keep calm. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Jason - Month 19

Still waiting on a surgery date. Still waiting on the VA to come back and let us know what they've decided about his disability ratings. Still waiting on the eczema to go away, for the itchiness to stop, and for the nightly routine of steroid cream and slathering lotion everywhere to come to an end.

Other than that, we've just been surviving life in the WTU and hoping the furlough doesn't affect us too terribly. It's still unclear how his medical retirement benefits and Tricare will be affected.

We're talking about buying a house here in the Springs, and we plan to be here for as long as it takes for Jason to finish school. I'm more than ready to get out of this rental home and finally make something my own after all the pins I've seen on pinterest. It's just one more thing to add to our list, and quite frankly, I'm lazy. I don't feel like dealing with the VA for a loan, or the bank for a loan, or packing and moving and unpacking. But I'm sure we will survive it, and it will all get accomplished. Just one of those things I just want to happen instead of it being a long drawn out process. I'm also afraid we won't be able to find something we love out here. The architecture style is much different than we're used to. They don't build colonials out here, that's for sure.

Anyway, not much to write home about this month. Once we get the surgery scheduled and the planning for that underway, there will be much more interesting posts :)