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, February 21, 2006

Jason on the "Firing Range"

I attended the required Family Meeting this morning while Jason headed to PT where he said he did so many stretches and worked out on the Total Gym doing squats he didn't want to walk the rest of the day. Johnny Knoxville from MTV's JackAss visited the PT hour. Maybe Jason's reluctance to walk today was his new Playstation 2 and Madden football that he engaged in all afternoon?

I caught up with Jason in OT. To do something different Jason went to the electronic firing range that, believe it or not, is located in WR's parking garage (I assume the military recycled an existing room). The room is about 20' long 15' wide with a screen on one wall. The computer projects targets onto the wall and gives the shooter a score at the end of the round/scenario. The soldiers can shoot a 9 mm or M 16. I am not sure how it works but a red cross would show up on the target. Jason was able to shoot only the 9mm and was joined by another soldier using the M16. Eventually, Jason challenged John the OT to a round and John couldn't resist the challenge. So all three men participated in a scenario that had them going through a training situation checking out buildings in a "town." I don't think John hit anything. Jason is permitted 10 visits to the range so he will probably attend every other day while he waits on his muscle-powered prosthetic arm.

I stopped off at Walt's Deli on the hospital's 3rd floor to buy Jason a turkey, pepperjack cheese, mustard with lettuce and cucumbers on whole wheat for lunch. Sandwich and soft pretzel were under $3. Good buys at the hospital. When I got back to the room Jason had set up the Playstation and was busy playing football. I asked Jason what was on for the afternoon and he said he was tired and wanted "to hang out." I got busy packing and sorting and straightening the room as I wanted it all to be done before Jason goes in for surgery. About 5 PM I told Jason I was heading out to do shopping chores and would pick up dinner for him. (thank you Martha and Chuck for your van)

I returned Jason's video to Hollywood, checked the Majestic and Macaroni Grill hoping to find his reading glasses which he misplaced the day we saw "Hoodwinked." No show so I guess they are truly gone. Not sure when Jason's newly ordered pairs will arrive. I purchased Jason's dinner from the Whole Foods deli: a slice of peppered beef, a slice of pesto turkey and a fried chicken breast and one strawberry Jamba. I returned to Mologne to find Jason beginning to watch the"Constant Gardner," Thanks Spencer. Dow and I had seen it when the movie was released and it is definitely a good "who did what" thriller. So Jason ate dinner and watched his movie while I worked on the blog.
When Jason spent his nightly hour talking to Jodi, I went downstairs to read in the lobby. The restaurant doors were still open so I was able to sit in a very warm room and watch the speedskaters "go for the gold." Our American speed skaters won the bronze and silver medals.

A Reflection:

Earlier on the blog, I had written about the safety inspection that was done by the military using dogs a week or so ago. Today at the family meeting this morning one of the family members complained about the inspection. An officer responded with "Much contraband was seized during the room inspections." Another parent said, "Some folks were arrested." I recommend to you a book entitled "Down Range: to Iraq and Back" by Bridget C. Cantrell, PHD and Chuck Dean. It includes a chapter on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Some Wounds Are Not Visible.

"The very first aspect of PTSD that requires understanding is that it is not a mental illness. It is a normal reaction to the extreme stress encountered during your wartime experiences. manifests itself after returning home." (I am listing) "some of the most primary PTSD responses veterans exhibit as a result of stress...
  • depression
  • alienation
  • anger
  • isolation
  • sleep disturbances
  • psychic or emotional numbing
  • negative self-image
  • problems with intimate relationships
  • difficulty with authority figures
  • flashbacks to danger and combat
  • self-deceiving and self-punishing patterns of behavior such as fear of loosing others and tendency to fits of rage

In order for healing to begin both the veteran and the people closest to them need to understand and accept that this condition (PTSD) is genuine."

Chapter 13 of the book was written by Dr. Michael Wagner, PHD and head of the Family Assistance Center at WR. His chapter is entitled "When a Soldier Goes to War--the Family Goes to War: When a Soldier is Wounded, the Family and Community are also Wounded." I would like to quote extensively as his words capture my experience as a parent here at Walter Reed as I accompany Jason and other parents.

"One thing has become perfectly clear to me--When a warrior goes to war, the family goes to war; when a warrior gets wounded, the family and community gets wounded as well.(Wagner's emphasis) I also believe that every man and woman that goes to war gets wounded in one way or another. I believe that the soul gets wounded in every warrior. And, as souls are connected first through family, each wounded soul affects the rest of the system. Just as we individuals are systems of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual parts that are interconnected; families are systems, communities are systems, countries are systems, the world is a system. When one part of the us is out of balance our entire system is affected. For example, when we have a sore throat or broken bone, we do not function as well. So it goes with the family, when a soldier is wounded they are wounded as well!(Wagner's emphasis)...

While the family's involvement is critical in the soldier's healing process, it is essential that the community be also involved. ...If the community does not come together with a hand up, the community will pay in the long run in health costs and in dealing with destructive behavior. It is critical that communities come together in the same American spirit of helping our neighbors as in the barn raising efforts of years ago. In the past, when one of our neighbors lost their barn to a fire, the whole community came together to rebuild the burnt barn. Communities must come together to rebuild the lives of those that have served and are serving and for the sacrifices made by them while in the military. As we rebuild each life we rebuild a valuable, contributing member of our community."

I think this contraband and other behaviors of soldier patients at Mologne are connected to PTSD. In my 63 years of living, I have experienced American culture as moving toward becoming totally "individualistic" in life style. Do we deny the root causes of such behavior of our American soldiers as they return from war? Have we lost the communal sharing and responsibility and coming together that Dr. Wagner writes about? Will our wounded veterans challenge us to sacrifice to be present to them on their journey toward healing? Can we leave our self-centeredness behind, our willingness to deny the cost born by our soldiers? Let us as Dr. Wagner writes join with others to "rebuild the barn" of each soldier's life. We each bring gifts to be part of the healing process. We each can play our part to rebuild the tapestry of our soldiers and our communal life.

Let us pray for all soldier patients and their families and friends, here at Mologne House and throughout our country. Let us pray for the staff at WR and all support persons throughout our country as we reach out to our veterans on their journey for healing of body, mind and spirit.

Please keep Jason and his medical staff in your prayers as we prepare for his surgery next Tuesday to remove the excess bone growth from his right buttock and hip area. Please visualize a surgery going successfully and Jason able to flex his hip and walking with ease after it is completed. The other two soldiers that have undergone this surgery were up and walking within a week. We take walking with ease for granted, it is a gift we now ask for Jason.

Blessings of peace and healing to each soldier and to each of you.


Blogger JulieW said...

God Bless you Jason, and Katy, we lost our Josh, an Iraqi War Vet to PTSD 9 weeks is his "story":

Wednesday, February 22, 2006 1:24:00 PM  
Blogger Katy, Jason's mom said...

Julie, I am so sorry for your loss. May you experience the presence of the Spirit holding you in your grief. Until peace for your heart comes, you are in my prayers,


Friday, February 24, 2006 5:31:00 PM  
Blogger David M. Couch said...

I was in the hospital for 3 years from wounds I received in Viet Nam. I understand...hang in there. All will be well.

David M. Couch

Friday, February 24, 2006 5:36:00 PM  

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