Captain Jason

The latest news on the recover of Jason after his injury in Iraq by an IED.


Snail Mail:

Cpt. Jason Scott
WRAMC Building 20
Mologne House Hotel #316
6900 Georgia Ave. NW
Washington DC 20307

Phone: 202 577 0092

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Getting Ready to Party on Capital Hill

Today was a very busy day as Jason was to attend the State of the Union speech this evening.
We both spent time on the phones, Jason with the staff at WR and Rep Jan Shakowsky coordinating his travel to and from Capital Hill and my calling the PX's to see if we could purchase a shirt and shoes if necessary. By noon the only thing we needed were black dress socks to complete the uniform. Thanks again to Dow in Chicago, Steve in HInesville, Ga. and Lisa in Florida in getting all the "puzzle pieces of Jason's uniform" to WR in time!! I headed to Silver Springs to purchase the socks and to get Jason a Jamba Juice "to see him through the day." Travel times were changed and Jason was to leave WR at 3 PM and return after 11 PM. A very long day it was to be, indeed.

In PT Kyla kindly cut the scab still caught in Jason's hair from his scalp and reduced the remaining scab to about an inch. Jason proposed to OT that they use the pinning of badges and decorations to his uniform as his OT this morning. John Veldoni helped with hand sewing and machine sewing. John said he "won a ribbon for volley ball" in ROTC as he busily sewed on patches. A number of the staff participated in the final preparations of Jason's full dress greens. (I took pictures and hopefully will be soon on the blog. You will see the number of items that had to placed on Jason's uniform.) Some of these decorations Jason will only wear tonight as he will be relieved of his command and will no longer have the right to wear them on the uniform. I would like to thank all the staff today, in OT and PT especially who helped Jason prepare for "night out at the capital" He couldn't have done it without you. Blessings to all of Jason's friends in the therapeutic community.

Prior to coming back to the room, Jason stopped for a haircut. He said he told the barber, " a fade" Jason says the result should have been much longer than what he got. Shaved all around with some hair at the top of his head. Jason was happy with the length of his hair and was a little put out by the barber. His only consolation is that it will grow back! But John Veldoni who had been after Jason to get his hair cut for some time was ecstatic when he saw it! I was thinking that John was getting rather neurotic on the length of Jason's hair, it in no way being long in my thinking. (I do remember the '60's when long hair was long hair.)

After lunch it was time for a shower for Jason and to get dressed. Jason did fit a little quiet time in to read some of his novel. I felt proud and humbled as I helped Jason dress for this special evening. I can never remember helping him put on a tie before. I wish each of you could have been there to see him. I told Jason "You are a very important guest this evening." I hope the people of America who see him tonight will honor his courage and sacrifice for this country. America owes our veterans everything, they have given so much for this country. For me, Jason is the most important man in the room as he listens to the President.

As Jason walked the halls of WR in his full dress uniform all the staff smiled, a couple of soldiers recognizing the "tanker" insignia stopped and introduced themselves to Jason. Tankers are a special group of soldiers and very much identify with their unit. My heart is so torn, to see Jason in uniform knowing he is proud to serve his country in the army and knowing Jason will never be able to serve again as he has done. Another loss for Jason. I walked Jason to the front door, first floor of WR to catch the bus and headed to the room to take on the chores of the afternoon.

Jason on TV
I did watch the CBS evening news and there was Jason in his interview. CBS did an excellent job of showing PT at WR and Jason working out in OT. Jason was using his right arm to unload the dishwasher. CBS ended the clip with Jason working out on a machine, exercising his upper body. "Very well done" to Mary Walsh, Producer of CBS news who wrote in her email to me, "Jason is an amazing young man." It was so good to see Jason working hard in his therapy. I Hope a number of you were able to see him also.

Let us see if a camera finds Jason during the State of the Union tonight . I watched the President and switched channels. However, I found the same photo coverage on almost all the channels, maybe few cameras permitted in the hall. Very limited views of the gallery attendees so I did not see Jason. I hope he enjoyed the evening and will let us know his experiences.

Please pray that the free floating bone in Jason's tissues stops forming and dissolves. The ortho MD's are talking of surgery to remove the excess bone from his buttock region. they are creating a model from the cat scan that was done. The surgery has risks as the sciatica nerve runs down the right side of the body and could be injured during the "all day surgery." In your good thoughts and prayers visualize this excess bone dissolving and the "bridging bone" in Jason's left arm dissolving also.


Dear friends and family,

Please pass the word by mouth, email, phone, carrier pigeon, etc.

You have two opportunities to see Jason today.
1. CBS will air their interview with Jason tonight during the evening news. Believe it is 5:30 Chicago time, 6:30 DC time.

2. Put Jason on the bus to the Capitol at 3PM. Hopefully some of you will catch him sitting in the gallery. He is in full uniform and very handsome. He will be wearing wire rim glasses. I feel like switching channels all night to see if I can catch him Give me a call or email and let me know

If you see him both venues check his hair. You will see it long on CBS and very short tonight. He went to the Post barber....he was upset, but it will grow back!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Jason and Mom Select a Book to Read

This was a perfect spring day in DC except it IS supposed to be January.
The sky was blue and near 60 degrees, I believe, with sunshine all around till late in the afternoon.
Today was a busy day for Jason and I.

Lisa was to leave at 11:30 so she spent her morning with Jason in PT and OT while I attended the mandatory family meeting here at Mologne for "role taking." The sergeant said he revoked twelve orders last week because persons did not come to the meeting and sign in the "role call sheet." I am paid $61 a day to cover food costs while at Jason's bedside. After Jason moves to the Mologne House this week, I will become the
"non medical attendant" because Jason needs help with the Activities of Daily Living and is facing more surgery.

OT was interesting and a challenge for Jason as John threw dried(not cooked) macaroni on the floor. Jason wearing his prosthetic arm had to sweep the mess up. Jason did a good job sweeping according to Lisa. John would like Jason to wear the prosthetic arm longer each day working up to 8 hours. In PT Kyla was off so Jason ran his own program of workout-bridges for his glutes, crunches, leg lifts, and oblique workout.

After Jason ate a little lunch and read his latest novel. We were both busy chasing items he needs to be in full dress uniform for the State of the Union message on Tuesday. Jason said, "This is an historical event as the Constitution requires the President to give this report each year and I would like to be there." Thanks to Rep. Jan Shakowsky from IL Jason will be able to attend. WR will provide the transportation for Jason and, I understand, a couple of more soldier patients to attend the President's speech. Look for Jason in the gallery of Congress. They have to leave WR at 4:30 and the speech doesn't start until 9 PM. Jason understands that he won't be back till around 11:30. (Makes for a long evening for a soldier patient with wounded buttocks. I hope he can do it, he doesn't have any bottom padding!) My understanding is Jason will go to Jan's office and wait there until 8PM when the doors open for seating. Each member of Congress is given only one ticket so Jason is very specially blessed to be chosen to attend. Today, Jason received his badges and insignia from Ft. Stewart sent by a soldier friend Spence Burnett. He also received his dress greens from Chicago from his dad. Tomorrow, Jason should get his shoes and dress shirt from FL so literally, the "pieces of his uniform are coming together." The paperwork has not been processed so Jason will not be able to wear his Purple heart as it has not yet been presented to him.

Jason decided to skip afternoon PT/OT and walk to Silver Spring of which he says "I like to walk." I marvel at Jason's being here and being able to walk; it feels so good to greet him as he comes N on Georgia Ave. I drove the van and parked in Silver Spring then walked S and met him. Jason timed himself and made the walk in 45 minutes and is thinking about how he can walk the "round trip." As we walked to SS we planned the outing, both Jason and I are MBTI Perceivers, that is we like to hang loose and just let it happen. But eventually, one does have to plan so:

1. We checked out the movies and Jason has seen almost all of them. Big Momma 2 fit our time schedule so in we went and both of us wound up laughing out loud. Jason liked the part where Big Momma gets the chiwouwa (sp) drunk on tequila. I liked the part where Big Momma was____in Ten on the beach. What a spoof.
2. Then it was into Borders to decide on a "joint book" to read. Lisa had been talking about Jason and I being roommates and how was that going to work? I thought a common activity could be to read a book and discuss it. We flipped a coin and Jason won with "See No Evil" the story of the agent, Robert Baer "which suggested the movie "Syriana" " As I always read the book ending first to see if I would like it; Baer ends his book with, "Shouldn't we be pulling from the roots the people who hit us on September 11 rather than going after the Gulf's bogeyman? It seems to me it's always the evil we refuse to see that does us the greatest harm." afterwards, September 10, 2002.
3. We ate at the Noodle Bowl, Jason says their portions are the right size. He had noodles and steak and a soda. Jason couldn't taste my root beer, but said he could smell the city smells as he walked up Georgia and they weren't pleasant. So I am not sure what that indicates for his nerves and senses.
4. Finally Jason couldn't resist a sale of movies at Hollywood, 3 for $25, sorry can't tell you the movies names. But one was about "Mr Smith"

We really had a nice time together this afternoon. Let us be thankful for walking, eating, laughing at a funny movie, reading good books and sharing the warm days together. Truly a blessing and may you be blessed this day.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Sunday in the City

We all slept in as Jason did not need to get up this morning. In fact as the morning worked out he skipped PT again... His choice. Lisa and I got there about 8:30 and it was time for Jason to take a shower while Lisa chased the Sunday Wash. Post, Jason enjoyed reading the Sunday comics. Jason began to read his latest Sci-fi novel and Lisa and I began to clean and pack his room. Not quite sure when he was going to Mologne, but we know it will be early this week. Lisa has been a Godsend as usual, the right woman to organize a move and with all the items Jason has received, it IS a move. We spent about 2 hours on the room and headed off to Liturgy in the WR chapel at 11.

After it was time to eat a quick lunch, Jason skipped his because he was talking to Jodi, and then discuss the rest of the day. Lisa was up for a trip to the Spy Museum, a video and having Jason go to Mologne to do a Pre-move sort of items there. She was to get one of the items. We headed off to the Spy Museum, only 4 years old and found that we were 0n a parking lot called Georgia Ave. Patrice called us on her cell to warn us because this is the start of the Chinese New Year and Georgia Ave. is at the Gate of Chinatown in DC. Plus we went by a DC center where we think the DC auto show was taking place. I think it took us close to an hour to go the five miles. Poor Jason was stiff by the time we got there. The museum held fascinating facts and history for Lisa and I but Jason has done so much reading in the area, he felt it didn't cover what he had learned about spying. Jason said it had good coverage of intelligence work, the kind Jodi and Dan do-that is look at gathered data and interpret/analyze what they see. I recommend it for the "spy buffs" out there, but definitely not for young children. It is historical and takes a lot of reading time. I learned George Washington "could not tell a lie," but ran a very excellent spy ring according to the British. Julia Child and Edgar Allen Poe were spies. Mata Hara was executed even though she was very incompetent as a spy! They have a very neat store but we had no time to shop as Jason needed to get back to the hospital for a check in.

Jason met a new patient via one of the RN's who asked if we wouldn't mind picking up steak dinners from the Outback Steakhouse about 10 miles N on Georgia Ave. He was injured in an Iraqi jail break a while back and came to WR because of nerve damage in his leg. We had never been to this restaurant and I was afraid that we would get lost as we went and went and went out of the city. Stopped twice to check directions, first time "no idea," but the second time at a 7-11 a customer, obviously a regular, at Outback knew exactly where it was.
We ordered our dinners; two steaks for Lisa and Jason and "two to go." It was so good to be with Jason and Lisa and we chatted about the day and what we had seen and Lisa's family. We dropped Jason off at the front door of WR with Lisa taking the dinners up to the sergeant and his wife.

My heart stopped:
When I was walking Jason back today; soldiers and gurneys were in the lobby. We asked what was happening and "we're expecting soldiers" was the answer. My heart clenched as the bus drove up and began to unload the soldiers, Lisa waiting in the car told us what she saw. Jason and I saw the last two soldiers come into the building. The scene brought the first moments of my arrival at Jason's bedside back into my feelings as I watched the family member meet her own soldier. Jason said, "This is what is was like for Dan when I arrived by ambulance." I was overwhelmed and later when alone I cried again asking God to bless these soldiers and their families. May God be with them all and hold them close in a holy healing embrace. May God hold Jason close in a holy, healing embrace.

Request for prayer:
My brother Chuck (69) is in Atlanta awaiting a possible angioplasty or surgery tomorrow. Please pray for his heart health and his health. He has never been married, no children so he is alone this evening and during this procedure.

From Lisa:

When the doctor came in for a check on how things were going, Jason said all was fine and made mention of how he was just waiting for the appointments to come that involve his future surgeries. In a week he will be meeting with the eye surgeon to reposition the eye for cosmetic purposes. And the end of the month will be with the arm surgeon to discuss the surgery for the left arm. Remember that the bones were healing together not allowing for full range of motion. He has about a month before they decide to do surgery to break apart these bones.

After Jason was turned down to attend the State of the Union Address, my mom contacted Rep. Jan Shakowsky and Sen. Dick Durban of Illinois. They are working together to get Jason a seat that night. So if you are watching, look for Jason in the gallery!

I asked Jason what he wants to do while he is here and he said he would see what comes up. So if anyone sees anything fun/interesting to do while in DC, send my mom an email or give Jason a call.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Jason Gets Sick

Addendum for Friday:
Talking to Jason today we found out that he and Gary and April and kids headed downtown. When they got in front of Aerospace museum, they found an open parking space-if you have been on the mall you know they are almost impossible to find. (I say an angel provided one) So Jason and friends got to go into the museum and headed for a IMAX movie called "Flight" Jason was most impressed with all the mechanics that are assigned to keep the planes flying. After they went out to eat at a new Brazilian restaurant in DC. The meals are served by men carrying skewers of cooked meat and for one price you can keep on eating and eating. Jason said the meat was flavorful.

I think that Jason wore himself out with his 12 hours off campus-to reception and out with friends. He thinks it was the new meds given to him to slow the bone growth in his left arm and muscle tissue (for next two weeks). Jason woke up with an upset stomach and super tired. Lisa and I arrived about 9 AM and Jason was looking punky. We talked for a while about the plans for the day with its absolutely beautiful weather of blue sky and 58 degrees. Jason admitted he didn't feel well and was very tired. He said, "Let me sleep and come back at 1 PM" So....Lisa and I headed for Mologne House and walked the wonderful exercise track of recycled tires. We met Pat and Carolyn who were with us in the VIP quarters shortly after their arrival. They are very concerned about the spouse of the patient now in our old apartment. She is 88 and is very disoriented. Carolyn reported the situation to the Commander and hopefully companionship will be provided for her. Sure would hate to have her wander out to Georgia Ave... We had good conversation while we hiked our 2 miles.

We returned to Jason's room at 1 and found him awake and ready to walk to Silver Spring to see a movie and eat. I drove the van and parked it in the Silver Spring garage while Jason and Lisa walked N on Georgia in the warm sun, second 2 miles for Lisa. Jason was ready to take off his coat and I found them drinking slurpees as they walked. Didn't time them today but Jason felt "We made good time." Then it was off to the movies-times, their times making the decision for us. The New World was showing so we watched the story of Pocahontas. Lisa and Jason said, "too slow" but I enjoyed the many minutes of the scenes of nature being in the hospital/city setting for the last 14 weeks. Music, green above and water and birds over head soothed my soul. After the movie, Patrice our friend from the Red Cross joined us for dinner at the Macaroni Grill in Silver Spring. Knowing Jason wanted to call Jodi at 9 we called it a day at 8:30 and dropped Jason off at the front of the hospital.


Hello all! Just wanted to let you know that we belive that the news Jason should be on next week is at 6:30 pm EST on CBS. I don't get that at my house so if anyone is taping - let me know. Thanks!

Since Jason took it easy this morning, one of the things my mom and I did was to go to the WR Health and Medicine museum. The newest exhibit is about the heart and veins and arteries. There was also pictures of putting in a stent. Having never seen that before, we found it interesting. There were pictures and medical items from the civil war, fetuses and an area that showed normal body parts as well as what happens when different diseases occur.

Jason looks better every time I visit! It has been three and a half months now and it's so good to see how far he has come and it's good to know that there is still progress to be made.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Martha Retires/Lisa arrives for a visit

Today was a big day for Col Martha Turner who retired after 30 years in the US Air Force.
I arrived at Jason's room at the regular time, 7:30 AM and found him awake and ready to start his very busy day. I needed to run to the dining hall, because for the first time, the kitchen gave Jason "strawberry cream cheese spread." "Mom, can you get me regular cream cheese?" I picked up a serving of bacon and cream cheese for the soldier patient. After breakfast it was time to get dressed in the army BDU's including tanker boots. RN Dana Brown and I, both non-military, had a dickens figuring out the long "belt" that is wrapped around the calf high boot. By 8:30 it was time to "hit the road" in the rented mini-van and head for Bethesda. Traffic was good and with Martha having taken us on a "dry run" we got to the University with no trouble. She had gotten us a special parking permit that parked us right by the door so Jason would not have to walk a great distance.

The cermony included speeches, presentation of awards, and the many highlights of Martha's long and distinquished career including her work internati0nally in India and Vietnam. Martha introduced Jason and had him stand for recognition from those in attendance. Martha will be continuing her involvement in international nursing affairs and training in her retirement. Many of the persons present introduced themselves to Jason after the ceremony. We met the retired general who is president of the Women in Military Service Memorial located at Arlington Cementary. (I was happy to be able to say that we have already entered Jason's grandmother Joybell Sims Scott and Jason's great aunt on my mother's side Irene Borkowski Harrington who both served honorably in WWII in the data base located in the memorial.) The general has been disappointed in the number of women who have served who have registered. She encouraged us to tell everyone to register family members who have served in the military. After we enjoyed a tasty luncheon of international foods and sat with friends from Quixote Center, Ken and Nancy. Martha had told us of the NEX on campus so Jason decided to stop and shop awhile after lunch. We spent an hour as Jason looked for clothes and came away with a new pair of levis, new wallet easy to open and display his ID, 3 long sleeve pullovers, a new pair of shorts for PT and work out top from UpperArmour. It was so good to be with Jason as he shopped and enjoyed the outing of being in a store on his own.

On the way back to WR we did get lost but quickly righted ourselves. We got a call from Gary and April and the kids who were waiting for Jason in his room. Gary served with Jason in Iraq. Jason arrived, changed clothes and headed out with the family for a car tour and dinner. I waited for Lisa to arrive which she promptly did at 5PM. Lisa went to Jason's room and of course--no one there. We connected at Mologne House, decided we didn't know when Jason would return so we headed out to Silver Springs. We ate at the Noodle Bowl and watched "The Last Holiday" with Queen Latifah whom I really enjoy. A very nice evening with my daughter, a blessing for me as we rarely get to go out, just the two of us. Blessings to each of you, hug your family and friends and celebrate their presence in your life. The circles of joy and hope we live in, let us remember and give thanks.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Jason in the News! See and Read Next Week!

Please let all your friends and family know! Spread the word to your prayer circles and groups as you have all been so wonderful in your support of Jason. Watch and read and "You can see Jason in action."

1. Jason will be in an article on shrapnel wounds in the Washington Post. Should be published next week and is written by Chris Davenport. (I do believe the reporter was after a picture of the shrapnel, an inch and half, which he called and asked me about because he thought I had it. :-)) The shrapnel shard came from the wound that broke Jason's left arm, now plated with extra bone "bridging" in it. Surgeons at WR found it.

2. Jason was interviewed by the CBS News for a series on "the state of the union" focusing on health care and costs for our veterans. He was with the camera crew for about 2 hours doing Activities of Daily Living-unloading a dish washer, making a bed, etc. and then moved to PT for the interview and shots with the MD in charge of Rehab. Kyla, his wonderful PT, refused to be interviewed "don't do interviews well." I thought she should have her "15 minutes of fame" that Andy Warhol talked about. :-) The producer for the segment is Mary E. Walsh. The program will be seen on the early evening news. I believe 5:30 EST, 6:30 CST on your local CBS affiliate.

Jason on the other hand told the WR public affairs officer that he "would do any and all interviews." Jason thought he did well, "Mom, I was in PR for 2 years." I think he did great. For those who want a look back Jason was interviewed in the San Francisco Chronicle in June 2005. A reporter was embedded with his platoon.

This afternoon, Jason's Dr. Aquila checked the final wound on his buttocks that was still being dressed. After 14 weeks it IS healed! no more dressing changes, even once a day! This was the wound with the Vac attached for so long. Thanks for your prayers for healing, remember the MD's talked of a skin graft for the area a while back.

Jason had another "drop in" celebrity visit. Patrice his friend from the Red Cross was also visiting. This time it was Brian Denahy who starred in "Death of Salesman" on Broadway in 1999. Jason and he immediately bonded because Jason and his dad had attended a performance of the play!! The USO sponsored the visit, so Jason has another Polaroid picture (to go with the USO Christmas trio and Fleetwood Mac) up on his bulletin board. Jason has really enjoyed all the visitors he has received. One of the women from USO was so very pleased with Jason's progress toward recovery. She had seen Jason shortly after his arrival, 14 weeks ago. I was bemoaning the fact that Jason would no longer get to meet the celebs as I am sure they don't make visits to Mologne where Jason moves early next week. I was thinking they should. Mologne has a schedule of activities...

Jason worked on finalizing his application to U of F then made plans to go out to dinner with Captain Jack and other soldiers from Ft. Stewart. I left him at 6 PM and headed to the room to "do laundry" and ponder how we would get everything in the room come Monday! I had taken over his uniform and boots to the hospital early in the day. We need to be up and about early on Friday to attend Col. Martha Turner's retirement ceremony at Bethesda after serving her country for 30 years. The medical university where she teaches ethics is located there. Patrice and I replaced the Lt bar with the Captain's bars on his baret. Jason is looking forward to going tomorrow, now I hope his evening outing...

Blessings everyone and please continue your prayers for healing for Jason; mind, body and spirit. Jason has stopped taking his dream suppressant drug and said, "My night was filled with dreams, so good, some not." Dream studies show that when we are dream deprived, we "make it up for lost dreaming time" when we are able to sleep. Jason has not had any dreams for three months.

Wednesday 1/25: Report on Thursday

Today I spent my first "all morning" with Jason for PT/OT, usually I am busy doing chores, etc.
I started out by helping Kyla with his leg exercises. We measured Jason's flexibility and Kyla was surprised with the degree of flexibility in his right leg. We decided an error had been made in earlier measurements as Jason can definitely move his right hip more than before, yet there was no measurable difference. Jason can now sit down and get up from a regular chair, without pad to raise the seat level, by himself. It is not graceful but very practical so we know Jason can move the right hip to that degree. He continues to participate in exercises to increase the flexibility and to strengthen his core muscles.

I spent some of PT watching demonstrations of a new machine "dance pad," computer controlled with biofeedback to the patient. It is used to increase balance and core strength. The pad "moves left right, up down, front back" demanding the patient balance to be upright. I think it will be a good exercise machine for the patients including Jason. He was part of the demonstration, I took pictures so you can see Jason and the "dance machine."

There was a promotion of a soldier to Sgt from Hawaii during PT. He is part of the Army Reserve (I believe) and 19 Generals were present. They were attending meetings here in DC and came to the ceremony. It was wonderful because there was only his wife present, as far as I could tell, as his family. They stayed and talked with many of the soldiers including Jason. I spoke with a general and offered to speak to Congress etc on behalf of disabled veterans, their families and needs. They were very supportive of families of the soldiers as they are on a Committee for Policy and the general is very close to the Senators from Hawaii.

When Jason returned to his room, three commanders from his unit just returned to US from Iraq came to visit; Lt. Col Wald, Col. McKnight and Master Sgt. Gallagher. Jason spent a long time talking to the men and sharing his experiences; injury, immediate care and care at Walter Reed. The officers were very supportive and talked to me also asking that I let them know "if Jason needs anything." Jason's men will be visiting in the coming week. Jason received a coin and a belt buckle from the company. Captain Jack Rowold, served with Jason in Iraq, stopped by later. Jason and he made plans to go out together on Thursday "for a beer."

The commanders met Jason again when he returned to OT at 2 PM. Lt. Col Wald stayed for the longest time watching Jason manipulate the prosthetic arm. Bronson and Green dropped by to visit with everyone. Jason returned to OT at 4 PM for "20 minutes" with visitors from the Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, I think about 40 members, in two groups. I understand that the session of "show and tell" on prosthetics took over 2 hours! Civilian MDs do not have the opportunity to see such prosthetics in action. Most amputees are diabetic and older.

I left at 5, Thanks Nancy and Ken for the ride, to attend liturgy at the Quixote Center. It was wonderful to have liturgy amongst the beautiful artwork from Nicaragua in a small circle of friends and a meal together afterwards. We prayed for all soldiers and their families and prayed that all soldiers throughout the world might return to their homes in peace. Blessings everyone.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

What a Week This Will End Being, I think

What a day!
The Box Springs arrived at Mologne. The bed is now at least 12 inches higher so Jason should have no problem setting down on it or getting out of it. (The springs came to MHH from their storage. Thanks Dr. Aquila and social worker Grizzell Blessing for your persistence). Sgt Brown the liaison from Ft. Stewart and
Jason had a long discussion about his Purple Heart and its presentation. Jason has not yet received it. Jason's men and commander of the battalion are scheduled to visit this week. So Jason may receive his Purple Heart this week at a ceremony here. (I don't understand why they will not present his Bronze Star at the same time, but it is considered differently by the military.) Jason and Sgt also discussed his attachment to Med Hold and what that means for Jason's therapy, accountability etc. (I am glad I began the process as Jason's discharge to outpatient status is looming large on his horizon.) So this week has ceremony, therapy, soldier friends from Ft. Stewart and sister Lisa visiting on the weekend, and (for a little added excitement)...a move to Mologne House. Jason's day is a marathon already; add these activities and events and I think I will soon be 5 pounds lighter. I don't know how we all will make it through but I have a strong feeling that I will be very glad to see next Monday come and a new routine begin!

The day started in PT where I again helped Kyla, holding Jason's leg and then holding his hips down in turn as Kyla continues to exert pressure, stretch and move the hip in order that it might loosen. She too looks back and says it may have helped Jason's hip to start therapy earlier. However, like PT Aunt Barbara Scott, she was concerned because of the wound vacs, the extended hip injuries, the continuing surgeries, etc. Jason was in too much pain and discomfort for the PT's to move forward with therapy. Jason continues to work hard during his therapy sessions and enjoys being with the PT's and other amputee patients he has come to know.

I missed morning OT as I was working on returning phone calls, letters etc. I did find Jason in OT afternoon session working with his prosthetic. John and Jason had returned to the prosthetic center, a doorway away and the tech had tinkered with the sizing (John didn't know either how they did it). After the sizing John said the arm was working the best it had in weeks for Jason! Jason can now put the prosthetic on his arm using his left hand to do it. No little feat of learning. I did not see the tasks Jason was working on but the cones and an arch with rings were present. I assume Jason moved the rings along the arch using his prosthetic. While we were in OT Jason's commander and his wife, Justin and Courtney Colbert arrived for a visit. Another patient from Ft. Stewart, Chad Bronson arrived to visit. Jason skipped afternoon PT and visited till about 4PM. He and I then headed upstairs to his room for a change of clothes and preparation for the Colberts to take him and Chad out to dinner in Silver Spring. We took pictures and discussed the missing personal items that were "lost" along the way from Iraq to Jason here at WR. The army will try to find where/who are connected to the loss and find or pay replacement cost.

Late last week a person stopped by Jason's room and invited Jason to attend the State of the Union message this week. Jason was really excited to go. It is my understanding that a wounded veteran from each of the branches were to attend, four in all. Jason was very excited to go, in fact this is the "first outing I wanted to go on" he told us. The next day the invitation was rescinded, Jason does not know why but was very hurt. So am I. I don't know who/what intervened but this is certainly no way to treat a man who will receive the Purple Heart this week for his service to the United States of America. It makes me grind and nash my teeth and "If I were queen..."

I have found it very, very strange that the powers to be in this institution do not offer any scripture study/sharing as support for the family members at Mologne House or visitors to the hospital. Many of the family members I have spoken with have a strong faith that gives them strength and courage during this time of challenge/struggle/chaos in their emotional and spiritual lives. I approached Dr. W, head of Family Assistance today and told him of my experiences with family members. I encouraged him to speak to the Pastoral Care department and to provide such spiritual support. I offered to work with Pastoral Care in developing such scripture reflection time for family members and patients too if they desire. Religious rituals do not provide such time, and a personal visit to a chaplain is one on one isolated from the community of believers. Our faith does not exist only within or for ourselves only, in crisis it is sustained by those who journey with us in faith. Especially here at Walter Reed where grief and loss are strong for family members and friends, to know again the Presence of the Spirit Sophia who resides within the faith community could be a very strong affirmation of who we are as parents standing with our children in their suffering as the women stood with Jesus at the foot of the cross.

Blessings to each of you as you stand with us and Jason in your good thoughts and prayers for our strength and hope in the daily challenges of his healing.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Monday and "Time to Prepare to Move to Mologne"

Jason had reported that he was able to take a shower at Mologne on the weekend so the team has gone in to "high gear" to arrange his transfer to outpatient. As I had written last week the hold up is the provision of box springs to raise the height of Jason's bed. This purchase has been assigned to Mologne House. Dr. Aquila visited Jason early afternoon with the team and said that he would be visiting Mologne House today "to try to expedite the acquisition of the box springs." Jason will need help with his activities of daily living because of his amputated arm and locked hip with decreased mobility.

I had heard nothing from anyone about Med Hold so I headed over there to collect the paperwork for Jason to fill out. This is an official transfer from Ft. Stewart to WR and must take place consistent with Jason becoming an outpatient. It is for his accountability position while on this post and WR's accountability for the soldier. The officers were very nice and I collected the necessary forms. Jason was not too happy about being attached here. I think it must be a difficult way to "leave his unit" not as a Captain but as a patient in a hospital far away from his men.

I attended PT for a while this morning. I asked Kyla if I could help her with Jason's leg exercises and she used my help, no relief soldier for me today. I hope that I helped except Jason "yelped" when I pushed too hard on his left knee/thigh trying to keep him flat as Kyla stretched his right hip out and up. In OT this afternoon, Jason is still trying to use his prosthetic arm but it is not fitting correctly. I left Jason and the OT heading for Prosthetics to see if the Tech can help Jason get a better fit. This arm has been a difficult process.

After PT I returned to Jason's room. Jason and I worked on his Un of FL application finding we had some more "typing" to do. Found we had missed a section all together so it is back to the keyboard tomorrow. Jason finished reading his novel and gave up two hardbacks to the Mologne House Hotel's lending library. I left a little after 8 as Jason wanted to watch a movie "Unleashed"

Ministry today:
I was praying in the chapel and a woman joined me. The chaplains drape rosaries to give away on the baptismal fountain, today there were about 50 each of green and blue with the blue ones on the bottom. The woman struggled to get the rosary off and took a green one. She looked at me, "I wish I could get the blue one, blue is the color of Mary" I said, "Let me help you," and went to remove the green ones so she could take a blue rosary. "Thank you so much, you are kind. I will pray for you." "Please not for me, but for my son Jason a patient here." "I will."

One of the mothers has all kinds of family members visiting her son this week. I offered her Jason's bed in Mologne tonight and told her he is probably becoming outpatient this week. She was grateful for the bed even if it is just one night. Rest for the families. God bless and hold each one tenderly as the mothers, fathers, friends, and spouses provide care for their beloved wounded soldiers.

I had rented a car for the weekend. Enterprise gave me a ride back to Mologne. The driver had a Christian radio station playing and we began to talk of faith matters. He was very happy to share his journey and to encourage me to trust in the love of God through Jesus for myself and Jason. And so I do, and ask the God who creates us, sustains us and receives us to bless you and all your family and friends for being so kind and for your prayers for Jason's full and complete recovery.

Jason and Jody Play on the Weekend

Report for weekend, Jason:
Jason and Jodi went out to the movies on Friday night as I had reported. Jodi reported that Jason and she never did eat dinner, timing wasn't right. On Saturday and Sunday Jason skipped his one hour PT cause Jodi was in town. Saturday, using Martha's van they headed for the National Zoo where Jason and Jodi hoped to see the Red Panda's that Jason at first thought were from "Red China" they are not. Jason and Jodi couldn't find them so assumed the pandas were "hidden somewhere" in their pen. Jason was surprised at the hills in the zoo which limited his exploring this visit. Hopefully Jodi and Jason will be able to visit the zoo again when Jason can ambulate better and the pandas are frolicking. Maybe the next visit they will be able to see the Great Panda baby also.

Sunday Jason and Jodi hung out at the Mologne House Hotel and went to the Grill for lunch as she had a 5 o'clock plane back to warm Florida and college.

I had a wonderful relaxing time in Richmond VA with my good friend Marlene. She lives in a row house made in 1909 each room with a door in the wall leading to another room. We went out to a Greek restaurant and came home to watch the original Producers with Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder. Great fun, on Sunday her tradition is to host a family dinner and her 3 daughters bring the grandkids and enjoy a late afternoon meal together. Marlene has always been a great example of hospitality as was Christ. It is her ministry now especially as she had major surgery on her ankle three years ago that has limited her mobility and she is just now getting "back on her feet." It was so good to be "in a house" away from the one-room confines of Mologne House Hotel.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Jason's Birthday is February 11 when he will turn 29

Wanted to let everyone know that Jason's birthday is February 11, a Saturday this year. Don't know what we will do so if you have any good ideas send an email to I feel Jason's life is a wonderful gift to all of us and we need to celebrate in a special way.

As Jason can't taste and smell, he says food is "texture and consistency," we are out of the food department. His wounds still restrict him to less than a 1/2 hour drive at the max. Of course, his birthday is three weeks away so maybe more healing will be present. We assume he will be in Mologne for on February 11.

Jodi Arrives

Today was PT as usual. Kyla said the exercise to pull Jason's mouth apart as she does to his leg is working. Jason can now open his mouth to 2 centimeters. Today Jason was late for PT as the RN took an extended time doing personal care. So Jason told Kyla to skip the warm up which is heat treatment through packs on his neck and upper back. Kyla said she could tell his mouth was tighter without it. Jason was not to have OT this morning or afternoon as OT was taking patients willing to go horseback riding. I wish he would have gone so I could have seen it but Jason has little affection for horses. I just saw Stripes with the grandkids, I was looking forward to seeing horses and maybe a zebra.

I left Jason and headed back to the room to read the Christmas cards we are just now receiving. Looks like about a month late for most of them getting through the Army security system. Thank you for sending them, I will read to Jason as time permits or as he allows. I try to read a couple each day to start the morning with your good thoughts and prayers for Jason and ourselves. The backlog of cards to "any soldier" is so great at the Red Cross office that a volunteer said that they will deliver till June. I watched as they put "any soldier" in one box and "name and address" in another! Jason may be gone before they are done! The volume of Christmas mail to WR is mind boggling.

I returned after lunch and continued typing on the school applications till 2 when Jason went to buy tickets on computer for his date tonight with Jodi. I walked to the Enterprise office about 1.5 miles N on GeorgiaAve. picked up my car, did some shopping including a Jamba Juice for Jason and returned just in time to find that Jodi had arrived from FL. Martha was coming to provide the van for Jason and Jodi for the weekend so we headed downstairs to the first floor lobby to meet her husband Chuck who would drive her home. Chuck brought Olivia: a huge black but very, very gentle Newfoundland. Chuck said "She is only good at sleeping." They are a water rescue dog. If Chuck throws the ball out into the lake she will retrieve it easily. However Olivia lets go when she can touch the bottom, figuring her job is done. Chuck says he has to wade out the last 5 feet to get the ball! Not sure how this would work with a drowning person? Olivia was very good as we stood outside and waited for Martha. A postlady drove over in a minivan. She requested, "Please leash in your dog," and really wouldn't get out of her van till Chuck held Olivia tightly. I used to be a paper girl and got bit regularly. I thought "She must have been bitten once to0 many times." The postlady just couldn't see this big soft cuddle bear was...a big soft "I think I am a lap dog" dog. When she returned to her van, same request. After being safely inside the van, she opened the window and wanted to learn all about Olivea! What a hoot.

Jason and Jodi headed off to their movie and dinner and Chuck and Martha headed off to VA. I headed off to the room to clean and pack for my weekend trip to Richmond VA where a very good friend from our years in Blackburg now lives near her grown children. Marlene knew Jason from when he was two till 18 when he left Blacksburg to go to Villanova. She has wonderful Irish hospitality and I am looking forward to a weekend of friendship, faith and politics. I will return to WR later Sunday evening.

Thank you from our hearts for your ongoing prayers and good thoughts for Jason's healing. Let us pray especially that he would not have to have surgery on the excess bone in his left arm, that his jaw and smell and taste will heal. Let us pray that he will make good choices for this next period of his life after he leaves the hospital and rehab. Let us pray for Jason's health-mind, body and spirit and a long, rich and rewarding life.

Prayers for all your intentions, thank you for surrounding Jason and each of us in your love and care.

For Thursday

Regular schedule of PT this morning. New job for me, I told you about Kyla asking others to help hold Jason's right leg while she pulls. Today, I got to hold Jason's leg while Kyla and her belt did their thing. She said that a leg is considered about 20% of body weight. Jason's weight is 200 and his right leg is 40 pounds or so...let me tell you "just plain heavy." A military aide came over and in the next set said, "I'll give you a break." So I lost my job but it was good to help my son.

During the day, Ms Hunt RN looked at the deep wound still covered with wet to dry dressing on Jason's back side. She checked it and said, "I want the MD to look at it, the flesh is pink; we may be able to stop the dressing." The last wound on his bottom, 12 weeks after injury by shrapnel may be healed! The wound on his head remains and no one has adequately described for me how Jason got it. All other "Iraqi Spots" on his head have healed and new hair has filled the spots in till I can no longer tell where they were. This one remains with a very thick scab. All around the scab (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter now) new hair is growing so I might have been wrong in my prediction that he would have a "tonsure" spot.

After lunch we spent some time in the room: Jason reading a sci-fi book and myself typing his application to Un. of Florida essays asking Jason for corrections. The goal was to have it in the mail by Friday but life at WR intervened and hopefully it will go out very early next week. We spent some time in Prosthetics with Dan from CA, the main creator of the artificial limbs. Today Jason was very excited as his Thai Fairtex boxing gloves had arrived and Dan was going to discuss if a prosthetic could be made to "hold a boxing glove." There are lots and lots of engineering questions to the reality of making such a "hand and arm." Dan has never had such a request before. They will continue the discussion next week.

Jason and I had to head to the PM and Rehab clinic to find a MD to write the prescription for Jason. We waited a while and the Col who heads the department came to our aid and signed the papers. I couldn't read his tag so I didn't know who he was till Jason told me. He has the presence of a "regular guy" and I would never believed that he was an officer. I don't know what each of these specialty hands costs, I know the full arm/hand cost $100,000. Jason will have three of these. Jason can order for the rest of his life whatever hands/arms he needs. While in prosthetics Jason was being fitted for his next arm. The tech would take the plastic that fits over his elbow and treat it someway. Heat? and come and try it on Jason. Finally it was tight enough that Jason could feel the contact with the sides of the arm. So this piece will be exchanged for the old one and maybe next week Jason can get back to practice with his right hand.

Mologne House and the Army are still discussing the provision of the box springs to heighten the bed so Jason can move to outpatient. We expect Jason to move next week but...only time will tell. Jason's social worker told me that his bath mats will be delivered to Jason's room at WR. Why I do not know, but it makes me suspicious as in "What if the box springs show up at WR too?"

After PT we went to Jason's room to wait the arrival of Martha who was taking us to Bethesda on a dry run in preparation for her retirement ceremony after 30 years in the Air Force. Jason read a book and left the "world of the hospital" and entered the "world of the novel." It was such a great blessing to see Jason relaxed and reading. Soon Martha came and we headed out in her van. We went to the White Flint Mall for dinner at a Chinese Bistro called Changs. I learned there is one in Chicago and Jason has eaten there. He said this one was more casual, being in a mall but it was very full of customers. Martha suggested we do appetizers and we chose about 6 different kinds including dumplings and spareribs and wonderful cucumbers (my choice). For dessert I requested "The Great Wall of Chocolate" six layers of chocalate cake with fresh berries and fresh raspberry sauce. It was like "Death by Chocolate cake" We each ate one layer covered in berries and sauce and Martha took the remaining three layers home to her husband Chuck whom she said would really like it as Martha "does not do baking." (She is a very good cook as I enjoy her food each Wednesday at Quixote.)

After dinner Jason wanted to walk a while through the mall window shopping and I learned that he likes Kenneth Cole clothes a lot. He said he would like to go shopping here when he feels better. He doesn't want new clothes as he is still having trouble feeding himself with his left hand between the arm injury and his mouth unable to be opened to normal width. We dropped Jason off at the hospital a little late for Jodi at 9PM but Jason now has his cell (from Iraq) so he called Jodi on the way home to tell her he would be late. Part of me wanted to laugh at young love; but didn't as my heart felt so light with Jason's affection for Jodi. My other choice would have been tears that Jason IS alive to feel the goodness of love and healing and life itself. Truly Jason's life is a miracle and great blessing.

Do Remember : Your life is a miracle and great blessing!
Thank you for being on the journey with us.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Wednesday: A trip to Mologne House

Dow took the morning shift one last time before heading off to Chicago later in the day. Dow and Jason have been working on college aps and job interests when people tell Jason of a position that he might be interested in. George Washington University here in DC has a degree in Security Management that sounded interesting to Jason. Jason is also interested in positions in the FBI.

Dow is taking Jason's computer back to Chicago to "clean it up." Now there are computers everywhere. Jason received the one he had in Iraq as his friends brought all the electronics in a huge packing case from Ft. Stewart. Jason has a computer in Chicago, one in his room, and one in the Mologne House room that Dow brought from Chicago so that I could have one for email. Oh Yes, the VA will be giving Jason a voice activated computer which should be arriving soon... Computers seem to be something agin to rabbits as far as I can tell.

Morning PT remains the same routine, trying to move Jason's mouth ever more open and trying to move his right hip out of the frozen position. The electrodes to Jason's face have now opened his mouth to two centimeters. In the afternoon of OT I saw Jason work with a new exercise. Imagine a board with pegs about 3 feet wide. The pegs are in a shape of a triangle, square and kidney bean. There are four sets of pegs one is located above the head, one about eye level, one at waist level, and one about twelve inches off the floor. Jason has to move the shapes, rehanging each at the level he's working on. The hardest was at the lowest level where he had difficulty bending over and reaching down to put the shape on the pegs. Heidi said that the board was at the highest it could go. Jason was wearing his electric prosthetic which is plastic and not working because his arm has shrunken. he rested it at the waist level edge and slid off balance. "Ouch" he got pinched by the peg board and prosthetic. Really took him back for a couple of minutes. In the afternoon session of PT Jason, and Dow setting them up, worked with weights to strengthen his upper arms and back. They visited with Col Andrew and his wife Lisa whom we hadn't seen since before Christmas.

At 1PM John Veldoni, Jason, Dow and I took a trip to Mologne House Hotel to see what Jason needs at this time to transition to outpatient. Jason was able to sit on the bed by himself if an extra set of box springs was added to the height. John said he would address getting the bed to the correct height. For bath safety Jason also needs a suction bath mat for the floor as his balance is not good and a on a slippery wet floor.... The challenge now becomes one of moving the great bureaucracy--Army and contractor who runs Mologne House Hotel to decide how to get a set of box springs. After visiting the room, we stopped by the front desk where the manager (I assume) steadfastly held to "No we don't provide extra box springs...It can not be done..." when John V requested the item. I will leave this snarl of authority/responsiblity up to the Army and various administrators to wrestle the bureaucracies into submission and provide an inpatient who can become an outpatient the required equipment to make it happen. It has to be so frustrating for all involved, especially the military dealing with civilians. No chain of command there.

As Wednesday is Quixote Center liturgy evening and pot luck dinner, Martha picked me up at 5PM and we headed off for the evening. It is always good to visit the center and experience the peace of God so very present there. Nancy one of the regular attendees loves to make wine. So far we have tasted pear wine and tomato wine. Tomato wine has a hint of tomato and is clear, no color. I was amazed but she said color is lost in the creation of the wine.

Today was also cell phone day as Jason was reconnecting himself via the phone. He tinkered with it for quite some time, resting on his bed. I left him happily connected to the "cellular world" after getting him a roasted chicken Subway from the first floor lobby for his dinner.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Catching Up with Jason

While I was in FL for a long weekend, Dow arrived in DC and began to help Jason prepare applications for graduate school especially for University of Florida in Gainesville. Remember this is where Jodi lives and is going to school. As related to me by Jason some happenings:
1. Jason and Dow made walking a major activity. Weather was nice so Jason and Dow walked to Silver Spring three times.
2. Friends from 3rd ID came for the weekend and Jason and friends watched the Bears loose their game at the Austin Grill in Silver Spring.
3. The Washington Post reporter did return to complete his interview with Jason and to take a picture of the shrapnel removed from Jason's arm. (I hope they let us know when it is going to be in the paper so we can let you all know. Hopefully you will be able to read it on line.)
4. Jason's glasses are working well and he has already completed reading one novel and is working on a second one.
5. Jason is now regularly watching The Daily Show and the Steve Colbert shows for his news updates.
6. Jason and Dow saw Matador and Tristan and Isodore over the weekend.

PT and OT continue as before with three days of weekend scheduling for MLK day on Monday. Focus is on getting Jason more flexibility especially in his locked hip and in being able to reach his right foot. He is still unable to smell.

I caught up with Jason and Dow about 6 PM after I arrived from FL. Dow wanted to go out for dinner, walk to a local restaurant but Jason decided he wanted "Chinese bring in." Dow and I have learned that it is better to call ahead and go and pick the food up. The food is great but the wait very long at the restaurant located about 2 blocks from the campus. After eating dinner in the family room on the ward, Jason decided he needed to do emails. Dow went back to Mologne House and I and Jason headed to the computer room. Jason went looking for a local eyeglass store that sold Oakley prescription frames and we found a couple not too far away. Jason cannot stand the reading glasses WR provided as prescription for him so he wants Oakley's. Then Jason spent the remainder of the time before Jodi's 9PM call reading "Sluggy FreeLance." It is a cartoon on the web. Do read it, hope you enjoy it, for me it shows the "generation gap" between Jason and I. Left me puzzled.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Jason Can Read

Hope you let Dow and Jason know that you want blog updates; I am heading to FL to help out Lisa while she has outpatient surgery coming back on Tuesday. Dow will be coming to visit and help Jason. Neither of them are bloggers, give them a call at Jason's room 202 782 9627 and ask, "How are things going?" Martha has offered her van, so I imagine them to be out and about and adventuring in Silver Spring.

I was busy packing today and cleaning up so Dow would have space in the room. Jason had his usual session at PT and I found him in OT trying on his socks using a grip extender to hold his socks. He was using a shoe horn, very long to put on his shoes but the horn was not long enough. Heidi said she would extend it. The PT's found him this lace system for his shoes, I believe used by the triatheletes, etc to quickly loosen and tighten the laces. Very clever, Jason could handle the left but had difficulty with the right. Later in the day we ordered velcro tennis shoes from Puma, no ties. Jason said all the one arm amputees tie their laces so he expects the Pumas to be short term till he can do it.

Jason said he met a ortho MD who talked about his "bone growth" in the muscle tissue. The MD wanted to study all the pictures of the hip and see what he sees as far as the possibility of surgery. We are chasing a copy of the pictures for Uncle Bob and hope to get them soon. Dr. Golarz came by and checked Jason's last open wound and said they should continue the wet to dry dressing. Said the wound looked good.

While Jason was talking to Jodi at noon, I headed up to the 7th floor to see about the arrival of his reading glasses. Yes, they had arrived and I had the tech check the prescription as I did not want to have disappointment for Jason again. She assured me that this was the correct prescription so I headed back downstairs and waved them in front of Jason's nose. Now Jason will not quit talking to Jodi, and I thought, "what will he do?" While talking to Jodi, "Give me my glasses and give me a book." J. Foxworthy's latest "dictionary of the south" was on top so he read to Jodi, "bemoan: I don't like my boss, I want to quit and bemoan boss!" So those were his first words, to go down in the annals of family and reading... The rest of the day, he was saying, "I think I'll read my book." It is a sci-fi called Ghosts. OT was cancelled so Jason decided he needed to spend time with his email and searching for tieless shoes. He has been doing computer work without glasses, I said, "want to try them?" The reading glasses did not help as he needed to be too near the screen. The far sight glasses did help, but he wants to talk to the opthamologist about "computer distance glasses," don't know if it will work but he is willing to give it a try. Took Jason about an hour but he chose a pair of shoes and a tee shirt to go with the shoes.

Jason headed for an afternoon PT session and I went out to dinner with another mother who will soon be heading back to Alaska. Diane ran for Governor a few years back and is thinking of running for office again. Her son lost both of his legs, is doing well and his wife will be the "non-medical attendant" so she feels it is time to go. I have met such interesting and inspiring parents and family members; I feel we are in this class of life together. Our experiences are unique for this generation what will we learn, what will we do?

Yesterday I attended, with another mother, the Post celebration for Martin Luther King Day. The celebration began with singers from among the patients (I believe) who have created a accapella singing group. Barbara and I wept as they sang We Shall Overcome and read from MLK's speeches. The presentation was spellbinding, you could hear a pin drop. The invited speaker was the Rev.A Knighton Stanley. Rev. Stanley has lived near Walter Reed for over 35 years. He was born in 1937 in the South and spoke of racism from his own lived history. He could not use the library, nor eat in restaurants. He had to sit in the balcony in the movie theater and church was segregated. He could buy clothes, but not use the fitting room to try them on or could African Americans return them once out of the store. He talked about "separate but equal" and said "It does not exist." He was a student when Martin Luther King was marching in Mississippi so every weekend they would pile into busses and head over the 60 miles to join MLK and the Civil Rights Movement. Rev. Knighton feels that racism is alive and well and much more subltle now. He (and the name of his talk) encouraged us to "Remember, Celebrate, Act! A Day On Not a Day Off." We came away energized and enlightened and honored to be part of the celebration of the memory of Martin Luther King who lead the non-violent movement for Civil Rights in this country.

May you all have a great weekend remember Martin Luther King and his dream. Blessings to you and your family and keep Jason and Lisa in your prayers.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A Rainy Day in DC

All kinds of things happening today...

Jason went to PT as usual for his stretching exercises and his facial treatment to loosen the jaw. During PT a three star general visited who is head of the US Army Pacific-One Team The general gave Jason the largest of the coins I have seen about 3 inches across. (to help us know them, I think visitors should give out a calling card also.) After the general came a Washington Post reporter who is researching an article on shrapnel wounds interviewed Jason. The reporter said he would let Jason know about the publish date if he makes the final edit. Jason said they had a really good interview. The reporter was very impressed with Jason and his ability to articulate his story. (I don't know if Jason told the reporter that in an earlier life Jason worked for a public relations firm and was very good at his work.)

Jason then went to OT continue to practice getting up and down off the mat that is slowly being lowered to the height of the Mologne House bed. Yesterday he received a chair that will raise him up so that he can get to a standing position and lower himself down. It works well if it is against a wall. Jason still has trouble getting down into chair, etc. by himself. Jason has to go to prosthetics for his right arm is now too slim, swelling gone down, for his muscles to connect to the electrodes. Jason's arm swelling must go down and stay down before the manufacturer will create the next size of prosthetic. If Jason's arm stays okay, the next prosthetic may be ordered next week.

Jason had a good story about his facial scar. He told one of the PT's, "I am proud of this scar. I got it in a sword duel in 1916 when an officer made a disparaging remark about my wife." The PT gave him the blankest stare. A lot of people do, when he rolls these off his tongue with a straight face. Jason said that during the left arm manipulations today he heard the strangest sound in his wrist, he assumed it had to do with the extra bone filling in the arm space. (Makes me wince just thinking about the cracking/breaking up of that bone, if that is what Jason heard.)

While Jason was in PT, I decided to stop by Famly Assistance because the meal permission, I can buy food for Jason at the defac (cafeteria), had expired. The young lady said, "You have to go to med hold." Never having heard the word, I dutifully march off in the now pouring rain to building T2 where, another nice young woman said, "Say what? I have never seen one of these."
I now know I am in big trouble. She goes to her computer which refuses to provide any data on Jason. "You must bring Jason here ASAP as he must become one of our patients. Then I can issue him a meal ticket and you won't have to chase permission slips." I go back and tell Jason this who immediately says "Say what?" Now I know I am in trouble with my son and the Army! I must fly to Tampa on Friday so med hold, meal cards, Jason's transfer, etc will have to wait on my return or until the Army does whatever.

In the afternoon, a RN said that Jason's final open wound of his buttock area was weeping. The MD's had been going to look at it and decide whether to stop the wet to dry dressing. When I left this afternoon Jason hadn't seen a MD yet. Hopefully, a MD will look at it soon and make a decision as to the care of this wound. At 2PM Jason was to return to OT. However, he was really exhausted and said, "Mom cancel OT I need to sleep," turned his head and fell back asleep. So I did. He asked that I call him before 3 so he could go to PT. When Jason got back from PT, afternoon session, he had an unexpected visitor. Pete, his karate master from Chicago stopped by on his way to the airport. Jason was happy to see him and the discussion turned to hedgehogs. The blog has a picture of Clive the hedgehog on Jason's shoulder and fighting with Moose. Clive is a gift from Jodi because Jason told her the story...

I always associated hedgehogs with Beatrice Potter and England. Well, little do we know about hedgehogs and Iraq. Jason was fascinated by the hedgehogs he found in Iraq. He told Pete and I the story of how they started a "hedgehog rescue" while on patrol. Jason would stop the humvee and get out and move the hedgehogs to the side of the road. They are very small and Jason could easily hold them, although they are prickly in hand. (As you know hedgehogs have a hard time of it when they try to cross the road. England has built hedgehog tunnels under the roads so they can get to the other side without getting hit.) Jason said, "One day we even stopped Iraqi traffic on Tampa Rd." (they patrolled the major road N and S near Samarra)He said, "I wonder what the Iraqis thought when they saw humvees blocking N and S traffic and American soldiers obviously chasing something on the ground between the humvees!"

I felt badly this morning because Jason was trying to open a can of ensure with a knife. I was too slow to realize what he was doing and opened it. Jason said, "I was trying to open it myself." In OT Jason was trying to remove his prosthetic, Heidi caught herself and said, "I was going to help you, but you do it yourself." I thought we all want to help our wounded soldiers yet we know the goal is their own independence. They have suffered so much, with Jason I want to make his life as easy as possible, yet I know I must not. A difficult place to be to love a son who must learn to do so much, again. Jason's life is so precious. I am proud to be with Jason. Please continue to pray for his recovery and learning new ways. Pray that Jason's arm heals and he does not have to have surgery to remove the bone. Pray for his open wound and the wound on his head.

It is Wednesday and Col Martha and I attended liturgy at Quixote Center. Using Sunday's readings, reflecting on the call of Samuel and the call of Peter "How am I called to follow God at this time?" My call is to be a peacemaker in my own heart, for Jason's healing and the world. May you too have peace within your hearts and families this new year. Blessings.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Walk to the drugstore

Regular routine this morning, breakfast of bagel from dining hall as they didn't bring tray. Not their fault, Jason and I are notoriously poor in completing it, although I must say it is always a surprise what Jason gets. The kitchen is usually pretty good in giving Jason a bagel and cream cheese. In PT Jason was doing his exercises not only with Kyla but she enlisted help from a student soldier PT to really giving Jason a good stretch on the leg exercises. With two helping to stretch and pull him, Jason was a little stiff later in the day from the workout. Kyla told us with the extent of Jason's buttock wounds it may take up to two years for them to heal and regrow muscle.

During PT we gave presents Jason and we had purchased to Mike another soldier, I believe Air Force-Alaska, whose wife just gave birth to a bouncy baby boy. Mike will be having major face reconstruction surgery in about a week. I am also trying to find a masseuse for Jason to work on breaking up scar tissue in his bottom region. Got a couple of names today so hopefully one will be able to call soon.

In OT Jason said they worked in the kitchen and he does not enjoy the learning for daily actitivities-preparing food in this instance. I wonder sometimes if Jason appreciates the relearning he will have to undergo moving from right to left hand dominance and being with only one hand at this time in his healing. Jason has always had things come so easily for him with his excellant brain and ability to use it. I also know it is hard for Jason as his left arm and wrist do not let him manipulate utensils, clothes, etc as he would like. Jason's challenges are daunting and I don't know how I would manage under his circumstances. He is strong and determined and I know Jason will do well in his healing in the long run even with these challenges. He said to Patrice, "I know it will take time, I have only been here less than three months."

After Jason's talk to Jodi at noon, Jason finished up the chicken and fried rice from last night for lunch. While Jason was talking to Jodi I had lunch with another mother of a soldier son, seriously injured and offered her support. We too talked of the stress of our soldier's injury on families, for her with her daughter in particular. How do you schedule visits with the patient when family members are in conflict? What do you do when your concerns are not received by other family members. I told her about the "parking lot;" each room has a dry marker board for notes. When something comes up Jason and I write it on the board and tell the RN, MD, SW about it on their next visit. She thought that would work and would be helpful as "coming from the note board, the concerns would not be "hers."" We would like to go on a retreat together but I am having trouble finding Catholic retreat centers in the Washington area that offer individualized direction/retreats, most do groups on weekends.

Jason normally goes to OT at 14:00, then an hour of PT at 15:00. Today Jason wanted to walk because he needed something from the drugstore. He said, "Let's walk instead of my doing PT." So we walked south on Georgia, first time for Jason about 4 blocks to the drugstore, shopped and returned to WR. Took about an hour to do the round trip. It felt so good to be out of the hospital. We saw crows, sparrows and squirrels, city wildlife; all creatures of God goodness.

Some friends had planned on bringing Jason dinner but had to cancel because of work schedules. I ate a left over salad and, thank heaven, we hadn't sent Jason's tray back so he ate the "steakburger." I found some left over vegetarian pizza in the Ward 58 communal fridge from our weekend outing so Jason didn't go hungry. Thank heaven for leftovers, even if one is a soldier patient at Walter Reed! After we ate our dinner, Patrice came by bringing...dinner!!! Jason said, "Great, I will eat it for lunch tomorrow!" not telling Patrice about the earlier plans! I do believe in synchronicity, this time a little out of synch. Life is full of surprises.

Patrice gave Jason a face massage to help loosen his jaw which can now open about 3/4 of an inch, or one of Jason's fingers. Kyla had told us, "The standard is opening your mouth to the width of three of your fingers" so Jason has "two finger widths" to go. PT is continuing the use of electrodes to stimulate Jason's jaw. Amazing what one can learn with a soldier patient in the hospital. As we were visiting, Bill Sisolak and a neighbor stopped being late and upset by getting stuck in the DC traffic. It was time to leave for me as the four of them began a discussion of football and movies. I said my good byes, and off I went to the the Mologne House to rest awhile and do the blog.

I attempted to get to the workout center today but found I needed a lock as all items must be in a locker. Jason said this is for security reasons. I need to go to get a lock. It is supposed to rain tomorrow so I will probably walk the veranda for exercise. Blessings to all and thanks for your prayers and good thoughts sent for Jason's healing.

More pictures

Katy sent me 13 more pictures to post. The dates on the pictures are December 8th but they could have been taken earlier as well.

The first new picture is the one of the coins. The rest of the new ones are below that picture.

Monday, January 09, 2006

A friend from Chicago visits

Today was a beautiful day in DC, around 60 degrees and sunny. Jason started his day with a shower and trip to PT for the usual exercises to release the right hip. In OT Jason was doing leg bends to strengthen his left and right legs. We got a second knife as we think the first knife went the way of a food tray. This one I marked with Jason's room and name, hopefully it would find its way back to his room if it goes missing. It has a very sharp curved blade and a thick handle and Jason appreciates it to cut meat with his disabled left wrist. Heidi continues to work with Jason getting him to standing position from the mat, working his way down to the height of the bed in Mologne House Hotel.

Jason missed the afternoon OT because I had brought his own laptop to his room to help me transfer pictures from the computer to a disk to send to the blog. Dow had put a bunch of programs for work etc on it to use while he was at WR. Jason could not believe the programs. His face was not a pretty sight "Don't take his blood pressure," I told the RN when she came in.

When Jason was talking to Jodi I went downstairs to have lunch and talk with another mother of a son who lost both legs to an IED. We shared our stories and our concern (she has been here 2 months and I, 3) for the difficulties families face in these most challenging circumstances; different values, different emotional needs, different spiritual needs, political views, and the demands "back home" whether they be work or family needs. All of these work against a family's strengths and ability to care for the wounded soldier and one another. The anger, often unacknowledged, at the situation "bounces," or is expressed in "uh, uh" ways. This energy needs to be recognized, accepted as normal (who wouldn't be angry at having a precious family member/friend injured?) and expressed in a productive way. Personally, I have always tried to use such anger as energy to work for change.

After lunch Jason was in another session of PT so I headed to the wonderful exercise track back of Mologne House. It is made of, I believe, recycled tires and is liking walking on air compared to the sidewalk. Here I met an Army Reservist who was injured in Afghanistan walking with his wife. We had shared across the hall apartments in the VIP quarters for a short while. It was good to have "walking partners" on such a beautiful day.

We walked about 45 minutes and I had to head back to Jason's room as I knew he was expecting a visitor, a good friend of Laurie's in Chicago, named Alison who is a teacher in the DC area. Shortly after I arrived, in comes Pete who was the Master at the Karate school Jason attended and under whom Jason studied for his black belt. Pete was all into Jason doing sword fighting again. He began to explain how Jason might get another prosthetic to do it! I thought, "Oh, man, What will prosthetics folks think now? First a wacking stick, then a boxing glove and now a Samuri sword handler!" Pete and Jason were having great conversation, so Alison and I headed out to do some chores as she has a car.

I think I will call it the "tour de parking lot." We first went to Mologne for the shopping list, lot #1, then on to safeway for food, lot #2 it was interesting actually under the store. Then on to Whole Foods and its lot #3 and finally WR and its underground lot #4. We picked up a wonderful dinner from the Thai restaraunt in Silver Spring and also Jamba Juice for Jason. We headed back and all four of us had dinner in the family room with Pete telling stories about his 8 week sojourn back to his family's homeland of Greece. We then all said "Goodbye"as time was quickly approaching for Jason's call from Jodi. When I got back to my room, I got a call from good friends I met on a month long retreat over 10 years ago; she is 84 and he is 98! They are Baptists and live in Lynchburg VA. They are married 60 years this week, now living in assisted living. Dot said be sure you tell Jason this poem, "Don't give up, Don't give up, Remember this: Moses started out as a basket case!" We closed by saying a prayer for Jason's healing. Good visits from old friends and new, a very blessed evening for Jason and I, blessings for you too.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Sunday at WR

Jason and I went our separate ways today. He slept in till about 9 AM ate his bagel and cream cheese and headed out for PT where he continued stretching exercises for his hip. I attended Sunday liturgy in the chapel at Walter Reed while Jason was at PT. Jason talked to Jodi as the Spodens were arriving to take him downtown and out to lunch at a favorite restaurant of theirs when they were younger. Jason said he had a "great hamburger with blue cheese" and enjoyed the outing.

After his return Jason watched football and I worked on an article for New Women, New Church in our Mologne House room. More and more soldiers are returning to Mologne so I imagine tomorrow will be very busy at WR. I returned to the hospital about 6PM to find Jodi and Jason on another phone visit. I took his dinner tray, as he wasn't hungry, and headed to work on the ward computer deleting some of the 300 emails in my inbox. I spent some time talking to a young soldier hit by an IED South of Baghdad and the parents of another soldier with a brain injury who will be transferred to a brain trauma center out west, closer to their home in CA in a couple of weeks.

After I returned to his room, I found Jason watching a rerun of the Simpsons. I stayed to watch a new Simpson's show that followed. I said "Goodnight" and returned to Mologne. Please continue to pray for Jason's complete recovery and all the family members at WR. We thank you for your prayers and good thoughts.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Time for a movie and really long time eating out

Jason slept in on this Saturday morning till 8:30 AM, awakened by Col Martha who wanted to discuss plans for the afternoon. I arrived shortly thereafter, helped with breakfast and dressing and we headed off to PT at 10 AM. Many more patients are returning from holiday leaves so the room quickly filled including a boy about 12 with a leg injury. Jason practiced stepping over cones, using one foot at a time. Jason too the PT, placed weights on Jason's right leg to help stretch the leg out of the socket. Jason is up to 12 pounds of weight to help gravity pull the leg down. While Jason did his leg lifts and crunches, I worked out on the treadmill, decided I had better get busy walking fast because Jason's gait is increasing.

We returned to Jason's room for lunch and noon phone call from Jodi who is with her National Guard unit this weekend. After we worked on completing college application forms while we waited for Col Martha to come. Dow called and talked to Jason while I visited with the parents of a soldier near Jason. This soldier had to have his foot amputated as the MD's could not save it, he turned 21 this week. He was having a "bad day after surgery" and we talked about what you can do when you "can't sit and wait anymore." Both parents have to return to CA on Monday and this is a very difficult time for them. The soldier immediately next to Jason had a great visit from his unit which had just returned from Iraq. He is 82 Airborne and about 10 guys were visiting. I helped take a "collective picture" and said, "Look lively you Marines!" which really got them going because they are ARMY!

Martha arrived and we headed for the "great escape from WR van" and headed for Silver Spring. We saw Harry Potter, Jason had not yet seen and the timing worked, shopped at Borders for a book for Jason "to celebrate when I get my glasses next week" and had a very late dinner at the Macaroni Grill. First the buzzer to call us to the table never went off. Jason checked with the reception person and...."Yes, your table is free." I guess we could have waited all night. We had a waitress who didn't "wait" on us. I had to approach her at a different table and ask her to take our order! needless to say she got a minimal tip from Jason who insisted on taking us out to dinner as his thanks to Martha for all she has done for him.

Dr. Aquila did receive the cat scan results and does not think that the calcification warrants surgery. Please pray that the nerves in Jason's face heal. The nerves were really bothersome today with itching and burning. Pray that we find a good masseuse who can help reduce the scar tissue in Jason's buttock region.

Blessings to all the people who are so kind to Jason whether it be in sending cards, gifts, kind words, or visits. May people who are rude to those who are disabled as people were to Jason in the theater realize their lack of compassion and grow in their awareness of and concern for others.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Let's get tested!

Jason started his day with a shower and his usual breakfast of bagel and cream cheese and can of ensure. Jason headed for PT where Kyla worked on stretches with his leg. Then to OT where Jason was working on ADL-putting on shoes and socks. Jason feels that if he can reach his shoes, which he can't at this time, he will have no trouble getting himself dressed. Jason can now put on a tee shirt by himself. Heidi wants him to practice getting dressed by himself so he can become more independent. Joseph another OT was having Jason practice getting down on a mat that can be lowered and raised. Jason could manage getting down to about 25 inches. He has no trouble getting in or out of the hospital bed because he can move the height to any level he needs. Joseph had Jason do leg squats to strenghten the muscles in his left leg to better help him get up.

Jason and I had an accident yesterday. He moved to sit down at the computer chair and I could not hold him. Jason and I and the chair went sliding across the floor until he hit the wall. I wracked up my leg and the chairback got my arm. I already knew and this incident confirmed if Jason falls, I will not be able to hold him. We asked a nurse to help when he was finished and needed to get up out of the chair.

Remember yesterday was let's schedule a test for Jason! So today it was let's find ultra sound...
The cat scan folks left a message for Jason on the "magic marker message board" in Jason's room. They wanted to see him at 13:00 (military time drives me into "let me see... 12 is noon so 13 must be 1:00 PM" The later in the day it is the harder it becomes for me to tell time. After 3 months under this system I am in no way getting any better with being able to tell time!).

Jason had an appointment scheduled with Dr. Garvey the optomatrist, if you remember from a week back at 13:30. Jason knew he could not get to Dr G if he tried for the cat scan first as you know how clinic MD appointments are. He had the RN call the cat scan and say "I'll see you later alligator (or something the 20 somethings would say)" and off we went to see Dr. G. on the first floor. Dr G had Jason put on those circle eye examiners to his prescription and gave him a book to read. Jason flew through the paragraph without stopping--this was medical textbook--and exclaimed "What the ___is going on! These letters are clear as a bell." Dr G looked "?" "Let's test your prescription" and guess what? The eyeglasses were made to the wrong prescription! Dr. G rewrote the prescription and I delivered it to the order department later. All right!!! One test down with an A Okay outcome, let's try for two.

This was the most interesting for me as I had never seen an ultrasound of blood vessels before. Kelly took her time and explained the workings and what she was doing and what we were seeing. (It made me a little queasy looking into Jason's tissues and pulsing veins) This technology was developed during the WWII and had to do with submarines, of course, more advanced today. The computer colors the vein blue and arterial blood red. If a clot existed, because of its density, I think, it would appear white, not colored like the blood. Kelly kept taking photos at the junctures where the vein or artery "branched." Jason and she got into a discussion of the history of tanks as one of her recent patients was a tanker in WWII. For the sound she had me squeeze Jason's right calf and the computer would make a sound sorta like a whale, but it changed as she would move her instrument lower on his leg. Kelly said because the vein was getting smaller. The sound change would show up as a high brushlike plume on her screen, really cool. The whole test probably took close to 1/2 hour. Kelly said, "No bloodclots" so as quick as Dr. Aquila gets the results he can unprescribe the Lovinex shots twice a day!!!

When we had arrived at ultrasound, after introductions, I asked Kelly if she could possible check with cat scan located in the same set of rooms about one for Jason. Remember we had been told that Catscan always came and got soldiers in the early hours of the morning. When I saw they were both in the same department it was a "no brainer," we could have them done one after the other. Kelly, truly an angel, said she would be glad to arrange the catscan for Jason and she did! God is good and gracious. When Jason was done with the ultra he and Kelly went to the Cscan while I headed to 7th and the glasses prescription office. Jason was back in his room by the time I handed off the prescription. I was surprised, it was that quick.

Three tests back to back to back 1:30 to 4, oops, 13;30 to 16:00. I was so relieved to hear the results of the first two, let us pray the third goes as well. I assume we will hear sometime Monday.

When we returned to Jason's room, Mike Manseau was there for a visit. Jason said, "Why don't we rent Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?" knowing I would watch that one with him. Mike graciously said, "I'll drive" so we headed to Silver Spring where I had to "buy" one DVD because it got lost in the Christmas rentals. We picked up some Smoked mozzarella and pasta and a Jamba Juice for Jason. Mike is not into movies so Jason and I watched it, ate our dinner and I headed for the apartment.

Blessings everyone and have a great weekend, especially our grandson JC who is celebrating his ninth birthday with friends. I hear an ice skating party and sleep over are in the works.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Cat scan and Doppler exam and Eye exam all coming to a patient near you

This was A day!!

The ortho MD's came in and said, "You have calcification in your soft tissues in your hip. This is a phenomenon we are meeting in the Iraqi vets because of the type of trauma wounds they are suffering. Because you are having difficulty walking, we are doing a cat scan(usually middle of the night when no other patient is scheduled) to see if surgery is warranted. We don't like to do surgery because it is also trauma to the body, but because you are having difficulty walking, this is an alternative to consider." Do pray that surgery is not warranted, Jason is feeling down about this possible step backward and possible surgery.

Dr. Aquilar, Jason's new Rehab MD stopped by. He wants to stop the Lovinex, blood thinner, but before that he wants Jason to have a doppler ultrasound to check one last time for blood clots in Jason's legs. Doesn't think there is any but to be sure.... He also checked Jason's bottom wound and said it is about 1 inch by 3 inches and very, very shallow. It will heal from the inside, probably not grow together. Dr. A said it looked very good, not oozing etc. He was pleased at the healing.

Dr. Garvey had scheduled an eye exam for Friday after lunch, so I hope we will be able to get to that exam, unless one of the others interferes.

We made a visit to the prosthetic dept. because Jason's shrinking sleeve was hurting him and he had not worn it all week. Dan gave him two different sleeves and recommended that Jason wear the heavy latex sleeve for as long as possible. Dan and Jason had a lively discussion over the possibility of a boxing prosthetic as Jason worked out on a boxing bag very regularly in college, karate and the army. Dan has hesitation because he knows the prosthetics could be abused and actually used as a weapon. He saidthat he had a soldier who wanted the hook/metal fingers prosthetic sharpened "to have an advantage in fights." Of course, Dan refused.

In PT Jason worked out on the total gym which is a back board weight machine that works the buttocks, thighs, hips etc. Jason was "cheating" in that he wasn't using his hip, but would pick the whole area off the board to bend the knees to the crouch position. Jason also had two people use the strap to move his leg and move it in the socket. Kyla was very pleased she had help today. This intense period of working with Kyla all morning will come to an end as the soldiers are returning from their 30 day convalescent leaves for the holidays. Jason may not have as much time with Kyla which makes me sad because she is so good and has bonded with Jason. They have a really good working relationship. Dr. A recommended massage and ultra sound for the hip area and Kyla started these today.

Jason had a visit from...The Hooter's girls (four) who delivered a calendar filled with pictures of girls and their bikinis. The calendar was signed by many of the models. Jason was impressed that the months were not in order. I was impressed that he noticed the months were not in order.

When we were walking to Prosthetics, Jason recognized now retired General Sisneki (pardon me for my misspelling). General was removed from his position because he recommended that the US send 250,000 troops to Iraq. General Sisneki himself is an amputee from the Vietnam War. Jason thanked him for his visit and concern for the soldiers and they talked for quite a while.

Jason had a telephone visit for over an hour with Spence his friend from his unit who has returned from Iraq. The Rubles will be visiting next weekend.

Please pray for Jason's strength and courag and healing of mind, body and spirit. Pray that he doesn't need surgery for the calcification, that his reading vision can be corrected and that the doppler will not find blood clots. Thank you for keeping us all in your thoughts and prayers.

My day included my attending my first support group for mothers, wives and other women in support roles for soldiers at WR. It is offered by the USO and the psychiatric department at WR. The meeting was having each of us introduce ourselves by telling the story of our soldier Each wounding different, the emotional pain and suffering of the women present the same, whether they had been at WR a year or just arrived. I offered my name to the newest arrivals and hope to be able to get together to talk. Please hold all the family members of the soldiers in your prayers and good thoughts.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Jason's "Normal Day"-first week of January

Today was the first day I took morning shift with Dow returned to Chicago. Up bright and early I was at Jason's WR hospital door at 7:30 AM. I woke him up "Give me a few minutes," so I refilled the "drink ice cooler" and returned. I assisted Jason in the shower for the first time. It is down the hall and as far as I know Jason is the only one to use it. Jason doesn't use the one in the room because the one in the ward has a ledge on which he can put his shampoo, body wash and washcloth. As he only has one hand, he pours the body wash on the cloth and uses it to wash. Jason uses lots of towels as the room is cool when he gets out of the shower.

After shower and dressing we returned to his room where I used the medicated soaps given to Jason by dermatology for the skin breakout on his face to wash his face. He shaved with the electric razor not using a mirror. Said he did it without a mirror in Iraq After his usual breakfast of Ensure and cream cheese on bagel. I no longer have to cut it into slivers, Jason can now open his mourth wide enough to eat the bagel normally. The bagel is not large, but one of those you buy in a package of six.

Off to PT where Kyla changed the position of the electrodes to where the jaw bone meets skull, up by the ear. Jason could tell the difference in jaw movement after the 30 minute treatment. He now can stick his own finger between his teeth and Kyla can stick her thumb. (don't you love the measuring tools in this hi-tech world :-)). Jason says he almost falls asleep during the treatment, he's lying still, closes his eyes... Kyla also worked on his stretching the right hip, first using a towel wrapped arm under the knee, with leg hanging off the table and bending the leg in toward the table. She then used the strap.

Jason's residual arm is sensitive and because the nerves now end in strange places-not in his hand, when the arm is stimulated Jason "feels his fingers, etc." So cream is applied to the end of the arm and a vibrator is used to desensitize the area which will be under his prosthesis when worn. Jason has a vibrator in his room but we have not yet used it. In OT Jason places his left arm in simulated corn husks, finely ground and heated, today, to 114 degrees. This increases blood flow to the arm and relieves pain. While Jason was doing this a soldier named Chad Dennis from Ft. Stewart the same brigade, who had been a patient because he lost his foot to a land mine, visited with Jason and brought him up to date on the deployment back to the US.

Jason returned to his room for the 12:00 standing call with Jodi and I met with Grizzell, Jason's social worker to discuss reading aides. Jason's reading glasses still leave him with "unclear letters" and he cannot read well. He is able to read the computer with the largest font for internet work. Grizzell had done research and had about 1" of possible resources. Jason's interdisciplinary team meets tomorrow and she will bring up the need to work on his reading ability as one option for Jason is to return to graduate school with costs supported by the VA. I would like Jason to keep experimenting with all the reading aides necessary so that he can read as best he can. We talked about a book holder, page turners magnifiers, and computer aides. Grizzell says they now have a scanncr that reads the page and then makes an audio of it so you can listen to the book. Grizzell was impressed how much technology exists to support those with limited vision.

Then it was back to OT and PT for Jason for his afternoon sessions. I worked on chores and returned in time to his room to work on reviewing required materials to submit applications to business schools at Un. of MI and Un. of Florida. Preparing the essays will keep us busy. Jason was in stitches at the short/long essay questions because being in the army in a war zone gives much different answers than being from the American corporate world. Jason's experience is unique to say the least when he thought about answering questions "in a way the committee would look favorably on the answers." Being a LT, Jason said, "When I put on the uniform till 12 hours later, I was a leader and in command, 24/7."

Jason's new head MD for rehab stopped by and we gave him the list of items Jason needed follow-up on. He said he was open to alternative therapies to loosen the hip including massage, so we will see what develops. Dr. Garvey stopped by and checked Jason's eyes. Jason has an appointment on Friday to test his eye and re-prescribe glasses. Later I helped Jason prepare to eat his dinner of a roast beef sandwich with provolone cheese, dipped in ketchup (his choice) followed by a peppermint patty. Believe he drank OJ for dinner, refused his bunny ice cream cup which he used to love on arrival to WR. Jason wanted to eat standing up, MD's want him sitting or standing or walking.

We then went to work on the computer so Jason could read and write emails. A first for me. Jason put a pad on the chair, I helped him down into it and he pulled the computer table to himself. He was excited as he found out that Dr. Garvey had a number for Oakley prescription glasses that give a 15% discount to service persons. Jason loves the idea and doesn't want to wear anything else. Jason worked on answering and writing emails to his friends including his friend Dan who is on asisignment in the Middle East. We also spent time making phone calls for his checking, banking, credit card, telephone etc. One of the phone calls was to Ft. Stewart and Jason found out his gear from Iraq was there. The army was to have shipped it to Chicago. Now Jason will have to decide what to do with it. In it is his cell phone but of course he doesn't know where! but he wants it badly.

I gave him a hug and headed out the door to Quixote center for liturgy and pot luck dinner to celebrate my birthday. Martha brought ham, cherry sauce, salad, and key lime pie. When we enter the room, filled with art from Nicaraqua (sp), I enter a spiritually sacred place of deep peace. The peaceful stillness fills my soul and I am thankful to be with these justice and peacemakers. After the liturgy we celebrate my birthday by listening to the adventures of Dolly and Bill and their "Outward Bound for seniors" They went to Spain to visit the Don Quixote era and villages during the holidays. It took them 38 hours to get from DC to Madrid! and I believe 22 hours to return. A blessed evening with good friends.

Blessings and peace to you, thank you for being on the journey of Jason's healing with us.