Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Jason - Month 20

You know, I am always reading about other wounded warrior wives, and how involved they are, and I often wonder if I should be like that too. It's not really my personality, but then, who really wants to be their spouses mother? And what spouse wants them to be?

But I'm starting to wonder if I need to throw myself in to it. I wanted so badly to go back to normal, and we really have almost gotten back there. I must be fooling myself. We'll never be normal again. But, I work 60 hours a pay period, and he goes to school part time. It really is quite perfect. We have a routine. Except that he needs that surgery. And now with all the Tricare switching to United Health Care or whatever it is, it's a big mess. Am I supposed to be calling them and making sure they're covering this stuff? At Walter Reed we didn't have to worry about anything. Oh, how I miss that! I don't know the first thing about dealing with insurance companies, except that I refuse to call them if at all possible. Obviously we're going out of network for this surgery and as Jason is quickly learning, dealing with civilian providers is not all it's cracked up to be. I guess since he's only known the military health system his whole life, he doesn't have a good appreciation for it. I do. I know that waiting 30-45 minutes in the doctors office waiting room is pretty normal. I know that once you get in to a room, it still means you will have to wait another 30 minutes. I also know that civilian doctors are horrible about communicating with one another. And that we will likely have to follow up over and over and over again until we get what we need. Jason doesn't quite understand all this.

(side note)
When we went to Denver to see this specialist again, we get there 45 minutes early (which was a compromise since he wanted to get there 2 HOURS ahead of time...) and the receptionist tells us "We're running about an hour behind because we had a fire drill..." great. How do we entertain a toddler for that much longer in this cramped space where everyone has a broken leg and we need to keep him from touching them all?! It was hot, and miserable, and Cooper was so done by the time the PA came in to answer our questions. The PA. Not the surgeon. I was so irritated. Then they get there and make it seem like this surgery is no big deal and everything will be fine, and I've all but lost my train of thought and cannot remember any of the questions I wanted to ask because I did not listen to my mother and write down a list of the questions beforehand.
(end of side note)

Nevertheless, they make it sound like this will be a walk in the pun intended...and everything will likely turn out fine. But we can't help but worry. I'm probably worrying profusely, while he worries a couple times a day, but that's just the difference between he and I. I worry when I go to bed at night, and when I wake up in the morning. I worry during my work days, and during my off days. I worry I worry that his immune system isn't strong enough. That they'll open his leg up and cut off that bone and stir up something nasty and he'll loose more of his leg. I worry that he'll end up loosing his knee because the infection will spread. I worry that he won't even come out of the operating room because I've seen too many episodes of Grey's Anatomy where all kinds of weird and uncommon shit happens. I worry that he won't have enough antibiotics on board and he'll get an infection after we're already home, 2 hours away from the hospital. I mean he just got his wisdom teeth out and got an infection. It seems like he's always sick. I worry that it won't help his pain. I worry that he'll struggle with nerve pains again. I worry that it will make his pain worse, and then I'll take full responsibility because I'll feel like it's my fault for getting the ball rolling and scheduling it in the first place.

And it happens to be his twentieth month out from injury. The same month that the gentleman from Walter Reed died in after his injury. Now, every morning, and sometimes in the middle of the night, I wake up and make sure he's still breathing. Or make him call me or text me so I know he's ok.

I know that mentality doesn't help, and I'm trying to change my mindset because that will just drive a person crazy. And the whole reason for all this worrying is that we planned this surgery. We have a date, and it's over a month away still. But we have all this time to sit here and think about every single what if. The last time we were in this situation we didn't have time to think about the what ifs. I was still in survival mode. The thought "What if he gets an infection and looses his entire leg?" NEVER crossed my mind. Seriously. All I could think about was "When is the next surgery? What are they going to do? What is the plan? What are all his medications and when does he take them? Is his pain controlled?..." It was a surgery every other day for a couple weeks, and it was routine. He got to the point of enjoying being put under.

More and more he feels so defeated. He's all but given up an active lifestyle because he just doesn't think he can anymore. It's one infection after another, or another Army red tape line to cross. He said "I've never been that guy. I was never the guy to go to sick call or even go to the doctor. Now I'm living at the hospital." I've told him over and over, and even when he was still inpatient at Walter Reed, that we would be in and out of the hospital for the rest of our lives. I don't think even I fully understood the extent of what I was saying. But now I do. Where ever we decide to settle down, we'll have to make sure there's a military hospital nearby. We don't have to, but it will make it easier.

More and more I feel like I'm stretching to find the right words to say to him. It's harder and harder for me to be encouraging because I'm feeling it too. Another infection ultimately means more work for me. Yes, that's selfish and borderline bitchy, but it's true. "I chose this life, I can't complain." But watch me.

Jason's response to the Boston Marathon Bombings was "That sucks. I know what they're feeling. Except that when I deployed, I knew there was a chance of getting hurt. They all just went there to cheer on family and friends and now look what they have to deal with the rest of their lives." He said everyone at school was asking him if he was ok. Of course he is. There's no PTSD on his records. He thinks about it every single day. "If only I had just stepped 3 inches to the left..." I know for a fact that goes through his head at least once a day. If he's thinking about what I'm thinking about it's the "Oh man, these people have no idea what's in store for them over the next couple of months. Please God give them strength to get through it, and their families to stand by and support them as they go through this recovery that will take so much longer than they ever imagined."

We are still recovering.
And we're clearly far from done.