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

Friday, March 31, 2006

Jason Gets a Workout at 7 AM

Kyla had asked Jason to be a willing "subject" for an inservice for the PT department this morning at 7 AM. The method of PT was called Active Isolated Stretching: The Mattes Method. The difference is that a stretch is only held for 2 seconds with many repititions. James the PT therapist leading the session was pouring sweat as he worked on Jason. I think he had to use 2 towels to keep dry. Some of the stretches were done on a table with Jason belted in place. Jason received about a 1 1/2 hour of stretching. When it was over Jason said that Kyla had done the same or very similar exercises and he felt about the same after the work out. Jason thought that he would see if he could go in the afternoon maybe a couple of times a week for a session with James as James is located at a Metro stop in Bethesda near the White Flint Mall. I encouraged Jason to do this as he needs work to break up the scar tissue in his buttock area to make it functional.

I stayed for the session then returned to the room until Jason came at about 11. Said he had a good workout this morning. We headed toward Ft. Belvoir and spent time shopping at the PX. I got a couple of pairs of summer weight capris as we are experiencing 75 degree weather in DC. Jason purchased quicksilver shorts and a couple of new shirts; one a polo with small orange horizontal stripes, I thought very different for him but I know it will look good on Jason. We ate lunch at the PX (first time for me), Jason had tacos and I ate a salad wrap. Jason told me about how the concessions have to maintain "Army Health Standards" that are higher than the general public health standards. On the way out we stopped outside of the gate and picked up Jason's name tags for his uniform.

We had had a good trip and now to get back to Silver Spring more directly than the route we took yesterday. Jason lamented that he had forgotten to purchase a Ft. Belvoir tee for his friend Dan, now in Jordan, returning next week and whose office is next to Ft. B (you have been saved Dan-this time) On the way home we got stuck in traffic jams and spent a lot of time creeping up 495 on the west side of DC. Jason decided that it was time to see Ice Age II which we enjoyed but Jason wasn't as good as the original. Like Jason the favorite part in the movie for me is the little squirrel's many, many failed attempts to get the acorn. It reminds me of the coyote and the road runner; a goal that is never achieved. But life is the process, not the end.

After we ate at the Noodle Bowl and then headed for the Mologne House Hotel for the evening. I asked Jason if he wanted to walk around the track with me but he said, "No" his hip was hurting from the morning's work out session. I headed out and walked my two miles at twilight amongst the birds singing night song and the magnolia abloom in the lamps. Truly spring is a blessing. And may spring take place in Jason's body, mind and spirit bringing new life and renewal.

May each of you have a beautiful spring weekend with family and friends. Dow is in Sacramento celebrating his sister's 50th this weekend. Have a wonderful weekend Susan and family as you work on genealogy for The Scotts.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Once Around the Block?...No Wait, Once Around DC!

Today the tulips and violets and cherry blossoms are in full bloom. The daffodils are wide open under blues sky and 70 degrees. The lawns are awash in squirrels and flocks of robin pairs.

From yesterday's blog you know that we were to go to Ft. Meade today. When I called Jason at 11 AM after PT and his time with prosthetics-arm not fitting; he said, "No, we were not going to Ft. Meade we want to go to Ft. Belvoir." There we would find everything he needed. Jason does not have the new ACU's (Advanced Combat Uniform). It is the one with fabric that looks like the blurring they do on TV so you can't recognize a person. The uniform also has velcro for patches and names, etc. instead of sewing on the badges by hand. So off we go down the Beltway(makes a complete loop around DC) 495 to 95 to Ft. Belvoir about 25 miles from WR. Jason was very impressed by the new housing. We spent about 2 hours wandering about the Fort and finding the Clothing Sales and in it everything that Medhold had given Jason a "pre-paid shopping list" to purchase including the boots. Jason turned down the winter coat as they did not have the new fabric yet.

We still had a problem. Jason needed some items (name tapes) to be sewn by tomorrow so he could pick them up and be ready for Monday. He also needed his Captain's bars sewn to his hat, one like the train engineers of old used to wear. The store had a sewing shop but it would take 3 weeks, so Jason said, "We head to the sewing shop located just out of the Post's gates." It will cost $50 but Jason will have his needed items ready by tomorrow. I felt great relief as you remember the "uniform chase" in January when Jason was invited to attend the State of the Union. We had to collect pieces of his uniform from Chicago, Tampa and Ft. Stewart Georgia. This time I think our gathering of the required uniform is a piece of cake! Except...

Jason and I get on 95 heading back to DC and WR, of course, this is our first trip and we head "East on 495" not good. I soon was saying, "Jason I don't remember this bridge" and then we knew we were the going the wrong way with the Washington Monument on our left "way over there," now we were S of DC. Jason checked where we were: exactly 1/2 the way around the Beltway. As we passed Andrews Air Force Base, Jason mused that he would like to visit there. I said, "Jason you should have told me quicker. I would have detoured." (Anyone out there with connections for a tour of Andrews for Jason?) Remember, too, that Jason was in a medically induced coma when he arrived at Andrews on his way to WR last October. The traffic was not backed up yet so we decided to head N on 495 and came to Silver Spring from the East. We had circumnavigated DC on our trip to and from Ft. Belvoir! I assume about 50 miles around the city!

What a way to spend a traveling afternoon. But the sun was shining, Jason was feeling good because he had gotten his uniform for Monday. Life is a blessing and being with Jason is a blessing. And getting lost can be an adventure; enjoying the music on the radio and hearing Jason sing along.

When we got to Silver Spring we decided to eat dinner at the Asian Bistro a new restaurant for us. Jason had beef and noodles, I had chicken and snow peas with cashew nuts added. A surprise for both of us; I had never had this option offered before, "White rice or brown rice?" I love brown rice and chose it. I so enjoyed the rice not having had it in my 5 months at Walter Reed. We headed back to WR and I headed to the walking track behind Mologne to get in some exercise before dark. When I got back to the room, Jason was watching Law and Order, one of his favorite shows. He "remote controlled" back and forth between L&W and The Simpsons.

Later I left because Jodi called. The Scouts were back in the lobby with a table of cookies as they have been all season. I could not even begin to guess how many boxes of Scout cookies have been delivered to WR and Mologne House Hotel-I am sure 1000's is not an overestimate. Jason has been eating the mint ones; today after I took a box of those to him he queried, "Don't they have the peanut butter cookies covered in chocolate?" I head back down and ask the bouncy pre-teens womaning the table, "Oh sure, tag a longs." So Jason now has his favorite cookies to munch "They are freaking good!" Perfect ending to a really good day for Jason.

Katy meets a Palestinian Quaker:
Diann Neu from WATER (Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual) gave me a flyer for a morning with Jean Zaru, a Palestinian Quaker from Ramallah. I planned to spend the morning at WATER but I had to leave after an hour to take Jason to get his uniform. I googled Jean under "Jean Zaru, Palestinian Quaker" and got 498 cites (lots of reading to choose if you care to learn more), so I will give a very brief bio and some of her thoughts as she shared with us this morning.

Jean was born in Ramallah and has "dedicated her life to dialogue and non-violent social change, struggling for liberation for women, for Palestinians, for the earth. A teacher and writer she has been the presiding clerk of the Ramallah Friends Meeting for 17 years (the only woman clerk in Palestine or Israel) Her present focus is to restore the historic Friends Meetinghouse located there and to establish an International Friends Center. Jean has served as a member of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches She has been the President of the YWCA in Jerusalem, as well as Vice President of the World YWCA."

Jean was recently honored by the joint Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ and The Disciples of Christ for her non-violent effots with Palestinians and Israelis, and by the Swedish fellowship of Reconciliation with their nonviolent Award for 2005.

We began by going around the circle of about 25 men and women and introducing ourselves. Persons represented the UCC and DofC, the RCC, an agnostic, and a Jewish woman. I wore my "Grandmothers for Peace" tee and introduced myself as such, having three grandchildren and also Jason at WR.

Jean believes "That the world grows stronger as each story is told. Telling the truth in stories, sharing the griefs is incompatible with violence. Affirming life and everyday truths combats the "numbness of history."" Jean said, "I live in a world of inequality
1. as a woman I am not an equal to men in my culture,
2 As a Palestinian I live in a world of conflict; unequal in power
3. As a Christian I am called to see God in each of us and live in world that does not see God in all.

Wherever we are, wherever we struggle for peace and justice, we are not isolated. We have many others working for peace and justice in their own homelands. We all care for the same issues and know their interconnectedness. We need to increase our networking with like minded persons. We all need community we cannot do this work alone. We need beauty around us (she was commenting on the artwork in the office) and we must be open to beauty in our lives and let it renew us and bring peace.

Women work through non-violence to change structures in their societies. The role of women is defined as to nourish life and are known in their relations to people: mother, sister etc. Men are defined by their positions in the work world. Both are limiting the potential of women and men. To effect the process women must participate in the decision-making. Jean spoke of women needing to learn about "the capitivity of the inner image" of women given to them by family and society. Women must empower themselves to move beyond "the roles of women" given by culture, politics and religion. She called it the "coloninazation of women's minds"

Often women reinforce the structures of domination-at home, religion, society, political by compliance to norms. Jean calls on women "to resist non-violently and to push the the margins." Women may suffer because of the stands (against domination) they take. Women must link an issue of justice to actions "I can take." Since 70's Jean has taught about the oppression in south Africa. Her students boycotted products from SA to fight apartheid. I was in awe at this woman and at her wisdom gained through of life of working non-violently for peace and justice. I am glad to have had the opportunity to meet with her and to spend time at her feet.

Let us give thanks for the wise women and men in our lives. Let us be open to learn new ways of being and living a life of compassion no matter our age, no matter life's journey to now. Let us know even if we get lost our lives are in the hands of Compassion that created the universe and holds it in being.

Please continue to pray for the healing of Jason's eye, for his digestive system and possible surgery, healing of the scar tissue in his buttocks so that Jason may walk with ease and without a limp, pray that Jason may work with his prosthetic arm and be able to do easily the tasks of daily living. Please pray that Jason will be accepted into the research program for the next generation of prosthetics.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Katy Meets Women from Iraq

Jason followed his regularly scheduled day. PT at 8:30 followed by more paperwork in OT with John Verdoni as he completes the paper work on Jason before John leaves the Army mid April. Sunday Col. Grimsley had invited Jason to come to the Pentagon. Jason began to discuss the need for his required dress, a desert uniform that did not come with him from Iraq. Jason plans this special tour of the Pentagon with his friends from Ft. Stewart who will be visiting this weekend. The four of them have to be at the Pentagon 9 AM on Monday.

Jason found out that MedHold will provide the uniform except we will have to go to Ft. Meade, 20+ miles away to get it. Thank goodness Martha let us use the van while she is in India: a blessing for today. Jason will attend PT on Thursday and then we will head to Ft. Meade.

In the morning I attended therapy with Diann and headed to Whole Foods to buy some lunch. Prior to my leaving Jason had no idea what he wanted for lunch. However, as I stepped into Whole Foods Jason rang me on the cell phone, "Mom can you buy me a Burrito Bowl from Chipotle?" So I head to the restaurant a block or so away, get Jason's lunch and head back to WF to purchase mine and Jamba Juice for Jason. Remember we had trouble with WF's accepting the gift cards? Well, today at long last that has been resolved. The woman behind the service desk said, "We got an email and everything is all set." So I got to order Jamba Juice hassle free. A Blessing for me on a beautiful blue sky, warm day here in DC. I take the food back to the room and we share lunch and check in on the afternoon.

Jason will return to PT for his afternoon session and I will head to a reception at the offices of Network, "a Catholic leader in the global movement for justice and peace...Network educates, organizes and lobbies for economic and social transformation." Website: Network is hosting "this delegation in order to give Iraqis with different perspectives the opportunity to speak to policy makers here in Washington... May these women touch our hearts and free our minds so that together we might find a new road toward true peace."

The reception included introductory remarks and then we were free to meet and listen to the Iraqi women tell their stories one-on-one. I spent most of the time with Ms. Pascale Warda "of Assyrian heritage in the Chaldean Catholic Church and is President of the Assyrian Women's Union. She served as Minister for Migration and Displacement in the Alawy Government. She is co-founder of the Iraqi Human Righs Society." Ms Warda operates two nursery schools and would like to do more. She was glad the Americans overthrew Saddam but now wants "Iraq to be for Iraqis" Ms. Warda told me many stories of living in France since the 80's, escaping from Saddam and bringing her family with her. She homeschools her daughter because of the bombings in the streets. Ms Warda thinks that the insurgents come from other Arabic states in the region including Iran and Saudi Arabia.

I listened to Dr. Rashad Zaydan a "physician who works with women and children in Baghdad and Fallujah. She is founder of the Women and Knowledge Society, an NGO that aids victims of war, especially orphans." She spoke of the health care needs for the families and orphans of Iraq. Medicines are in short supply and those who can go to other countries for health care.

I met Ms Faiza Al-Araji who "authors the blog She is a businesswoman, the mother of three children, and was a candidate in the January elections in Iraq. Ms. Al Araji, who is a Shi'a, joined a secular political party headed by a Sunni Muslim politician."

In all the delegation was made up of 14 members two of which are men. All have been touring the US for the last month, meeting the American people and asking aid for their specific projects in Iraq. Tomorrow they will hold a briefing for the Women's Caucus for the Congress. "We want you to share your knowledge with us to rebuild Iraq" Security was the most important concern for all the speakers. For without security, "we can not establish a civil society." It was a very moving experience for me as the women had members of their family or friends harmed in this war. We shared our common suffering and hope and work for peace and healing for our families and for our countries. We are all patriots wanting the very best for our families and for our country. I feel blessed to have spent this time with the good women of Iraq.

May we pray for healing for Iraq and America especially for men, women, and children hurt by this war. May we work for a brighter tomorrow with peace and justice for Iraq and America and throughout this one world.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Jason Does "Dupont Circle" with Mom

First a couple of apologies are in order, I understand from one of Jason's fellow officers who has been reading the blog:

1. "I (katy) demote folks." My apologies to "full-bird" Colonel Grimsley, I understand that you are soon to be a General. I wrote about "Lt Colonel Grimsley" attending Jason's Purple Heart ceremony on Sunday. For some reason, I thought the Lt adds weight to the soldier's title and as Aide to Secretary D. Rumsfeld... I promise I won't call him a "Lt General." I am truly sorry and I hope I have not offended one of Jason's favorite superior officers.
2. I call WRAMC "a campus." It is not a campus but a "military post." Apologies to the "WR post." (That has me reacting to WR as akin to a "fence" post) I call WR a campus because I took my clinical pastoral education (CPE) at University of Loyola's Maywood campus outside of Chicago. It is a teaching hospital with lots of MD students and RN students. When I enter the physical WR, I have the same feeling as a lot of the staff are students-Medics (nursing) and MD's as are the nutritionists, some PT folks and some psychologists. So is Fr. Rich the chaplain (taking CPE) that visited with Jason. Haven't met any student social workers though now that I think about it.

Jason was up and at them this morning even as he told me, "I did not sleep last night except for about an hour and 1/2" First time this has happened as he said, "Didn't have any pain, no dreams, just didn't sleep." Jason worked hard in PT, trying different exercises to break up the scar tissue in his buttocks. He used the stair step bike machine with the aide of his IPOD. He had wanted to take the IPOD so he could use while working out on the machines. I had told him last night, "Jason leave a post it note on the bathroom mirror, works for me." So I posted one and it worked for this morning. I am sure it will only take a day or two before it is in his "morning PT" routine. After returning from PT Jason was ready to head out to Dupont Circle. He has visited the area with his Dad, Jodi, Lisa and now it was to be my turn. Jason likes the area because he loves the Thai food at the "Thai Chef" located on Connecticut Ave.

We arrived at Dupont Circle about 1:30 and found that it costs 25 cents a 1/4 hour. Whoa, higher than Chicago's meters and a pain because I would have to be running back to "feed the machine" Ugh. The weather was warm but becoming more cloudy as the day went on. We decided to go tot he shop where Jason ordered his prescription Oakleys as Jason now wants prescription sunglass Oakleys. Jason said that although his regular glasses do turn dark when he is outside; they are not dark enough as sunglasses for him. So Jason began to ask questions but the store assistant said he would have to call Oakley as many of the frames could not support the weight of Jason's prescription. Jason said, "Let's eat lunch while he tries to call Oakley."

My own glasses have needed an ear protector, a plastic sleeve that fits over the frame. I asked the gentleman if he might have something for my frames as I had been wearing the makeshift protector (actually a fancy bandaide given me by a MD) since shortly after my arrival at WR some five months ago. He said, "I think so, leave them here and I will try." So I thought this won't take long....famous last words of an optamist!

Off Jason and I go down the block to Jason's favorite restaurant and now for Thai food my own! I ordered fried rice with chicken and substituted crab for the shrimp. The fried rice meal also had pineapple, the enticement for me to order it. It was a wait but was made from scratch and very fresh and so tasty; the meal was definitely worth waiting for! I would give the meal "Five Stars!" and highly recommend the restaurant to you. For folks who know me, I am definitely not a food person; I want nutrious and healthy. I am usually into the decor and ambiance, with the food second. Not when I eat this meal, Jason as usual is right. The man has very good taste and when he likes something Jason is right on. He has the natural "instinct for class." Jason eats all of his Pad Thai with wide noodles, except the broccoli. I eat some of his broccoli and it has been cooked just right not overcooked as oftentimes it is served in restaurants.

Now the real adventure begins. We think Jason's eyeglass man should have been able to reach Oakley. No, it is not so. The man has put one plastic protector on my frames in between his many customers. He says, "I decided to put one on the other earpiece." So no glasses for me. We decide to go shopping for shoes as Jason had seen shoes by Keen on a fellow's feet when we went to the show on the weekend. Jason liked them so much he struck up a conversation with the owner of the feet on which the shoes fitted. The man purchased his shoes from REI on the web. Jason went back to the room and found that a store that carries them was located on Dupont Circle next to the Oakley eyeglass store. Talk about synchronocity... shoes, eyeglasses and restaurant all within a block of each other! Jason leads a very charmed life, filled with blessings. We will return to the eyeglasses later. Now off to the shoe store in search of Keen's. The shoes are a cross between sandals and will have to look for yourself, they are hard to explain but the man said, "Love mine, I wore them across Australia for six weeks!"

We walk to the store and look here and there, no Keen's as advertised on the web. We decide to ask before leaving, "Sure we have them, not at this store, try across the street at our other store!" I had to ask, "what did you do, rent another store because you couldn't expand?" "Yes," came the answer. So off we go merrily into the sunshine, cross the street no easy feat on a busy day. We arrive at the store and the salesman immediately responds to Jason's query. "Best shoes ever. I took mine on a cruise (just returned home). I could have left all my other pairs at home." He makes a funny expression, "But my wife wouldn't let me wear them to dinner." So I am glad he had taken a back-up pair for his wife's sanity. Jason decides he likes the green Boulders the best and purchases them.

I ask innocently, "Do you have a public ladies room?" "No, but I will take you to our store that has one, it is just up the street." My mouth falls open. "How many stores do you guys have in the neighborhood?" "We have FOUR all within about a block of each other" is his reply. So out we go into the sunshine, this time after a bathroom "in the same store, just a different building." Only in DC, I think of the duplication of resources...I think of monopoly... I think they must be making money and this way more folks are employed so"if it ain't broke, don't fix it." What an amazing "purchasing shoes adventure!" Could only happen to Jason, he always has been a "most interesting child."

Jason decides he needs a Starbucks, conveniently located between us and the eyeglass store. Jason gets a tall one and I a small one and we continue up the street. Once more we return to the eyeglass store where the very nice man still has not finished my earpieces and has not been able to get to Oakley. He promises Jason he will let him know if he can not put the prescription into the frame Jason has chosen. Jason decides to take his latte and sit in the car as I know the time has run out on us again, after my second placating of the quarter thief.. We must hurry as we must move the car by 4 PM as the road then turns into 3 lanes going North. The kind salesman takes his time with a another customer and I am very happy that Jason has his cell phone so he and Jodi can text message each other and thus keep Jason's blood pressure from rising. I enter into a conversation bout the weather in Chicago with another customer who has also been waiting. Finally it is my turn, yes, and I retrieve my glasses and sprint out the door!

We head in one direction get lost because I try to take a short cut but eventually arrive at WR able to go into the back gate for the first time. The back gate is very close to Mologne House. I drop Jason off as he says "I am going to take a nap." I head for Silver Spring and my favorite store-the hardware because the hyacinth blooms are falling over, too heavy. They add a wonderful fragrance to the room. I love them. I purchase a salad from Whole Foods for dinner; Jason took a pass, too full from lunch. When I return Jason is asleep so I head for the fitness connection to walk the "dreaded tread mill" for 30 minutes, lift weights and do crunches. When I return, it is time for Law and Order.

Many blessings to you all. May you enjoy the surprises of your day and rejoice in the blessings of life.
Rest well pleasant dreams.

Monday: "A Great Work-Out"

It was another great blue sky day in DC. Supposed to be close to 60 degrees, however this has been their driest March since 1910 only about a half inch of rain. I don't know how long the blooming can last without rain to keep the plants healthy. The Japanese cherry trees on the mall have not yet begun their full bloom although the festival continues through next weekend I believe.

Jason headed off to PT and began the chores of washing clothes, mail, doing the blog etc.; a normal "Monday at Mologne House" routine. When Jason returned from PT he said, "I had a great workout. Could tell I was stretching really well today." He brought back his favorite sandwich and pretzel from the deli and wanted to eat light as we were going to go out for dinner-making maximum use of the car while we had it. I headed to the mess hall for lunch of salad and cottage cheese and fruit.

While in the hospital I stopped at the patient's representative office on the third floor to express my concern that the machines have not been working and we have been without ice on the 2nd and 3rd floor of Mologne House for over a month. And hot weather is quickly approaching. I had been telling everyone I could find at Mologne House and the response has been, "We will tell maintenance." I told the Head of Maintenance over a week ago and there has been no change in the "ice flow." Prior to the Monday meeting of families this morning I asked Master Sgt Beattie how to address the problem, and he said "I cannot help you. You must speak to the Manager of the Mologne House."

So...Off I went to try a different "chain of command" for the patient's and family care at Mologne House. The Representative immediately called the manager of Mologne House and he picked up the phone. I had tried to call him and got only answering machine messages. The manager assured Sara that he and maintenance were actually meeting "as we speak" and the ice machine problems were now "on the list." I asked Sara, "When will he get back to you on the repair of the machines?" She looked at me surprised facial expression saying "No one ever asks follow-up questions/expects follow-through." If you remember this is how I felt the last time I interacted with this office. Maybe they are trained to "be totally neutral" and listen. However, Sara did respond most appropriately for me, "Here is my card, if nothing has happened by Friday, give me a call and I will follow up." So I felt I had been listened to and the Patient's Representative office will be kept informed of the progress of "no ice for patients and families at Mologne House."
On the way back I met a father in Mologne on the third floor and told him about the "no ice" for a month. He said, "Yes, I know I walk to the fourth floor to get mine." He sounded so resigned; I felt worse, with a son in the hospital wounded in war, couldn't a dad have ice on his own floor?

After lunch Jason headed back to PT for another session on the Total Gym, especially works the legs and thighs. I went to the weight room and worked out with weights. I headed for the track as it was a beautiful warm sunny afternoon and walked for 45 minutes. At four times around the track for a mile, I estimated that I walked about 3 miles. When Jason returned from PT he was very tired and I could tell he was ready "to zonk out." Oh, no I couldn't let him fall asleep. "Jason, it is time for dinner. Where do you want to eat? We need to take advantage of having Martha's car." Jason said, "Let's head toward Silver Spring. We can't have Thai as we will have that tomorrow." Going up Georgia Ave, I said, "I need to go to Borders to get a card." Jason said, "Okay, let us do the Austin Grill as I like their hamburgers with blue cheese dressing." So we parked, ate our dinner, got our card, a Ben and Jerry's for dessert and headed back to WR by 8 PM. Jodi called shortly before nine and I headed downstairs to write some notes. I fell asleep on the chair in the second floor lobby space with classical music coming from the speakers; so I guess I was the one who was really tired.

May you have good meals with family and friends and
may you have time for re-creation so that
you may have energy to enjoy the blessings of each day.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Lisa visits: Sunday/Purple Heart for Jason

Jason and I slept in, I left him sleeping and headed downstairs to get his morning bagel and cream cheese. I drove to Ron's to pick Lisa up in time to attend Mass at Walter Reed. When we returned to the room after church, we began to discuss what we could do today as Sec. of Defense Rumsfeld was coming at 4 PM for visits and to award the Purple Heart to 4 soldiers in WR.

Jason decided that the best opportunity would be to head for Cleveland Park and lunch at Yannis, an excellent Greek restaurant where he and I had lunch with Dennis on his earlier visit. During lunch we had a lively discussion of Flylady, a web-based program to help you organize and clean your home. Jason had not heard of the program and shared "We just each took care of our own mess" including cleaning their own bathroom, when he lived in Hinesville, GA (off campus for Ft. Stewart). Lisa plans on focusing on the program this summer to help her children: 9, 8, and 5 learn to be responsible for their family's home. After lunch we headed to the local Petco (I believe) located across from the restaurant and spent some time selecting treats for pets at Ron's to say, "Thank you" for his wonderful hospitality and friendship to all who have stayed there, especially Lisa.

We returned to WR at 3 PM giving us lots of time to help Jason dress in his uniform and arrive at the 5th floor in time for his receiving the Purple Heart. Jason wore his BDU's and tanker boots. On the way to the hospital for the ceremony I began to cry as Jason criticized me for telling one of the other parents about the medal as we left Mologne. I apologized for speaking and said, "I am trying so hard to make meaning of this." I was going to try to be a center of peace when with the Secretary and by sharing Jason's honor from his country was trying to comfort my own sorrow at his deep wounding. Jason gave me a hug.

The ceremony took place in the family room where Jason was promoted to Captain on December 1, 2005. Lisa and I were the only guests present. Three WR staff prepared the room with portable flag on a pole. They were worried because it had no finial and couldn't find one that fit. I don't think anyone noticed except they knew "It wasn't according to code." The staff felt badly that a photographer was not contacted so no official pictures were taken, I am glad that we had three of our own.

Shortly before 4 PM the soldier said, "They are coming." Everyone took their positions, Jason stood from his chair where he had been tapping his fingers on the table (a sign of his nerves?); and in came the Secretary and his wife; I believe his title--Dr. Farmer, head of WR Medical and his wife. Lt. Col Grimsley an officer from Ft. Stewart whom Jason truly admires was present with the Secretary. The Secret Service men with earphones in place stayed out of the room and we never really saw them except for a glimpse later in the lobby. The ceremony itself was very short, 10 minutes max. Orders giving the medal were read; Jason was pinned by the Secretary and then time for pictures. Jason said, "This is the only medal made from gold," an outline bust of George Washington is on it. We found out that Sec. Rumsfeld is from the Chicago area and was representative of the district including Rogers Park in the '60's. Their grandchildren attend the Waldorf school in Rogers Park west of Sheridan on Loyola Ave, our street. Mrs. Rumsfeld said that she is in Chicago frequently to visit the grandchildren. Jason thought it was a "nice ceremony"

Jason told Lt Col Grimsley that men from Ft. Stewart were coming to see him next weekend. Grimsley told Jason that he would arrange for a private tour of the Pentagon if they would like. Of course, Jason said "Yes, sir" so hopefully this coming weekend they will be able to do so. We decided we would leave by the 2nd floor lobby exit as I wanted to see what kind of vehicles the Secretary et al came in to WR. This is where we saw the USSS with phones in their ears and curly clear cords down their necks. I thought it funny that 2 of them just happened to "accompany us" out the door. (I assume my file includes my attendance at the action last Monday; so I am on a watch list. Reminded me of the Vietnam era. The life of a Roman Catholic justice and peace seeker...) Anyways, Jason said the SUV's they drove were "Lincoln Navigators" if I quote him correctly, I not knowing autos that well. A driver was sitting in each one. And so with Jason's Purple Heart ceremony over we headed back to Mologne.

It was going on 4 PM when we returned to Mologne. I said I would have to do some grocery shopping before we went out so I headed to the Safeway. As this was our last evening with Lisa, "What to do?" How about a movie? Jason let Lisa decide so we headed to Silver Spring to see "Failure to Launch" a good date movie; with both light and serious moments concerning relationships whether they be of the children's or parent's generations. We all enjoyed the movie. After it was time to return Lisa to Ron's who would drive her to the airport for her early flight home so she wouldn't miss Jonathan's eigth birthday on Monday.

Special thanks today for the wonderful blessing of being able to spend the weekend with my children. How rare these treasured moments are. How truly a blessing after Jason's very serious wounding bringing him so close to death. Everyday I am thankful for life and all the goodness given to me. I only desire to be peace and to bring peace in order that no family anywhere would suffer the same. This is the only true thanks that I can give with my llife.

May your families live in peace and hugs and warmth, sharing the circles of our "everyday life" a true miracle. May Jason continue in his miracle of healing body, mind and soul. Blessings on Jonathan as he celebrates his eigth birthday.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Lisa Visits: Saturday

We slept in on Saturday till nine and I headed to Ron's to pick up Lisa. As Ron was "dog sitting for a friend" I was met at the door by 5 dogs, his two and three weekend guests. All of them happy with tales wagging and wanting attention. Lisa and I headed back to Mologne and stopped off at the restaurant to pick up Jason's regular of bagel and cream cheese. We talked with a new parent who had just arrived and was greatly relieved that after 2 days, the MD's at WR had placed an epidural pain block that stopped the agony in both his legs. His dad said, "It was so good to see his face relaxed when he returned from the OR."

Then up to the room where now Jason was awake, watching TV-Animal Planet. After eating breakfast it was time to decide what Lisa and Jason were going to do for Saturday in DC. (I am hoping Lisa will write to the blog of her visit). They headed to Dupont Circle to eat lunch at a Thai restaurant where, I believe, Jodi and Jason ate on her visit. Lisa and Jason stopped to get Jason's prescription glasses that are very good looking on him; the kind that change color and act like sunglasses. They watched Inside Man and for dessert ate Hagen Daz ice cream.

Later in the evening we invited Ron to join us at the Washington Improv and enjoyed an evening of madcap comedy including a "fighting fish named Reggie" who was given Alzhiemer's pills... And you know how Improv goes.

Katy's Day
I was a member of the national Board of Directors for the Women's Ordination Conference (WOC) between 1999-2005. An international event for the last 11 years is a gathering for prayers for the ordination of women in the Roman Catholic Church on the feast day of the Annunciation, March 25. This year 20 such events were held across the USA. About 30 women gathered at the home of Andrea Johnson, once the Executive Director of WOC for a brunch and prayers. We used a litany that included the names of women collected by Dr. Dorothy Irvin archeologist who has done extensive research presenting proof (paintings, mosaics, tomb inscriptions) for women deacons and women priests in early Christianity. Women included: Petronella, Artemidor of Egypt, Julia Runa of Hippo (Algeria), Leta Of%2

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Jason to Receive Purple Heart on Sunday at WR

Lt. Col. Grimsley and Secretary of the Defense D. Rumsfield will be visiting WRAMC on Sunday. During the visits on Ward 57 (5th floor) Jason will receive his Purple Heart from them.

If you are in the DC area and would like to attend; please feel free to call me 773 401 4012 to check on details as plans may change based on the availability of the dignataries.

Let us keep all those who have sacrificed for our country and their families in our good thoughts and prayers.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Time to see "Thank You for Smoking"

Jason was up and at them regular time and headed for PT. I stayed in the room to see if Lisa would give us a call to meet her. The maid came and cleaned and changed the linens. I spent an quiet hour in prayer, scripture reflection and journaling. It was a nice morning. At 11:30 Jason returned with Lisa leading the way. Ron had dropped Lisa off at the hospital and as she knows Jason's schedule she headed to PT to meet him. She says, "Jason was walking backwards on the treadmill and balancing on a board."

After coming to the room the next two hours were spent on "trying to decide 'What are we going to do this weekend??" We read the Theatre reviews, DC event news, movie reviews leaving Jason as the final arbiter. Jason decided that he would like to see "Thank You for Smoking" as he is reading the book. We headed for Silver Spring and lunch at The Macaroni Grill. Jason had a pasta and chicken Marsala dish, Lisa and I shared an appetizer platter of bruishetta and calimara. We also shared a chicken salad. The lunch conversation: discussion of Jason's desire to explore a position with a major league football team in the management office after he completes his MBA.

After lunch we headed to the AFI (American Film Institute). It is a wonderful Art Deco Theatre which has been restored to its former elegance. The audience at 3:30 in the afternoon was about 10 persons. We all enjoyed Thank You for Smoking and recommend it "Two thumbs up from Scott and Ryan" is their response. After the show we decided we needed a dessert; Lisa and Jason headed for Starbucks for a coffee with white chocolate. I tried Ben and Jerry's but could not bring myself to spend $5 on an ice cream cone; I do remember when it was 25 cents a scoop.

This evening we attended The Boston Marriage "a campy faux-Victorian comedy of manners written by-- of all people--David Marmet..." When Jason heard Marmet's name he said, "Let's go" as he really likes him as a playwrite. From the review "...curtains slammed (don't tell me it can't happen--I saw it.)" and I agree! It was hilarious and repartee so quick I couldn't follow! Body lanquage was perfect and the Irish maid over the top.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Jason Working on the Stairs

Caught up with Jason at the end of Physical Therapy. He was "going upstairs and downstairs" in the PT room. I think their steps are about 6 in number. Jason got to the top and said, "I can't get down." This made me smile as I thought of the video we saw yesterday on the Animal Planet of a cat that was caught up top of a telephone pole-Gaza strip, Israel- and wondered if Jason was taking his cue from the show? After the removal of the free growing bone in his hip three weeks ago, Jason has made tremendous strides (no pun intended) in walking and in his ability to go up and down stairs.

I headed to Silver Spring and asked Jason what he would like for lunch as I would be stopping at Whole Foods. Jason asked for "beef." When I got to Whole Foods, no beef on the deli counter today. So what to do for our healing wounded soldier? A slice of turkey/vegetable meatloaf, a slice of Cuban pork loin, a fried chicken breast and one Jamba Juice. Jason drank the Jamba, ate the pork and chicken and said "I'm full." He had planned on returning to PT but rolled over and promptly fell asleep.

I worked on the blog and email until it was time to leave for the Metro to go to Martha's as she and Chuck are letting Jason use the van. I was not sure how long it would take me but I headed out at quarter to 5 and arrived at the East Fall Church metro stop at about 6, not bad to go all across DC and into Virginia. I had planned it this way in hopes that I would not get snarled in DC commuter traffic and it worked well. It took about an hour for me to get back to WR.

When I returned, Jason didn't want anything for dinner and was content and happily reading his latest book, "Thank You for Smoking " by Chris Buckley. Jason wants to see the movie just out and we will try to find it this weekend. He said that he spent some time talking with one of the men from his platoon and they had a "good telephone visit." Three men from his platoon will visit next week, I said, "You've got to tell them to get a room asap" as the Cherry Blossom Festival starts next weekend. Everyone says the blossoms should be on time, although they are talking the possibility of a snow flake and rain this weekend and very cool weather.

Travails of Lisa
Lisa had planned on being in DC by 4 PM on Thursday to visit Jason. When she tried to check in on line at home, Lisa found that her reservation had not been confirmed by one of the departments at WR. She had no flight to DC. After a number of anxious calls; Lisa was on a flight at 6 PM from Tampa. However, this flight had a lay over in Atlanta and Lisa wouldn't arrive in DC until after 11 PM. Ron Castaldi, remember the dogs, cats, and parrots; very generously offered to pick her up at National. He has offered his home to Lisa and she will be staying with Ron this weekend. Many thanks to all who helped Lisa get to DC by straightening out the "plane thing." Many blessings to Ron's compassionate care and his friendship for Jason and all of us, Jason's family.

Prayers requested:
I met two new families yesterday. Please keep them in your prayers and the healing of all soldiers who arrive weekly on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. One very upset mother was leaving her soldier daughter as her family and she were at odds and "I am going home, I cannot stay any longer. I feel abused." Another family was gathering; three sons and one daughter all coming to support their wounded soldier. I thought what a diversity of family life; a diversity of responses and resources. Each family trying to do what it can to support their beloved soldier. All needing support and hope in this time of healing of mind, body and spirit.

I spent an hour having a phone visit with Diane, the Native American from Alaska, whom we saw perform on Saturday. She and her family had a meeting about support for her son and his wife who live at Fischer (family living) home here at WR. Please pray for them as they try "to hold each other in love"

Lisa was told today that her sister-in-law has breast cancer. Please hold Cecilia and her family in your prayers for healing and peace.

Please pray for Jason's continued healing especially as he looks at tests to come.

I keep each of your intentions and needs in my prayers and am so thankful that you share in Jason's journey to recovery.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A Meeting with DARPA Contractors

This morning, I caught up with Jason in the PT room doing a new exercise. Do you remember how you used to play ride a horse? We used to wrap a rope around the kid in front and "hold the reins" and run behind saying, "Gidyap." Imagine Jason with a belt with "reins" connected to the middle of his back and about 6' long. Kristin was the "weight" holding the reins and pulling back while Jason marched as strongly as he could trying to move forward with 2.5 pounds around each ankle. Jason said, "This is the best exercise, I feel I am walking more normally." And from my perspective he is 100% correct. Jason's shoulders were in the correct position, he was lifting his knees high. Jason looked great!!! After Jason worked on the bar, standing still with Kristin pulling back and trying to lift his knee as high as he could.

Kyla said that last week Jason could not do a bridge; back on a exercise ball, knees bent at a 90 degree angle. "This week Jason is able to do a bridge using one leg, including the right leg. A great improvement." Another PT said that he has seen "major improvement" in Jason's ability to move his thigh and leg over the last two weeks. So we give thanks that the surgery has improved Jason's ability to move his right thigh and leg and continue to pray that the heteroptic ossification will stop in his body. Right now Jason has a bone growth in his residual arm and had xrays done today to measure the bone and to see what is growing.

From Kyla, Physical Therapist for Jason:
For everyone who visits Jason to help him strengthen and stretch muscles:
Kyla recommends that we all walk with Jason. She recommended that we use the track behind Mologne House if not going out and about Washington DC. Kyla also recommended that Jason walk up and down steps as much as possible. So if you are out walking, "Step on up...and down."

Instead of OT the time was used for a meeting with Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA). About 15 soldiers and family members were present for the meeting with an equal number of staff from two contractor teams working on a project. Much research has been done on artificial legs, the Iraqi War soldiers are loosing their upper limbs to IED's, the head of the department said the population of soldiers was over a 100. The Defense Department has made a committment of $80 million to create the next generations of artificial arms/hands.

The two contractors are DEKA Research and Development Corporation and John Hopkins University. DEKA has the contract for two years they are experts in equipment, their last major project: develop a wheel chair that could climb stairs, they did. I imagine that you have heard of John Hopkins University, their spokesman said "We have over 200 professors able to work on this contract over the next four years." The fields of expertise on the team include Virtual Development, Neural interface, Mechanical Prosthetic Limbs, Controls, Power, Communication. The staff I talked with were from the Applied Physics Department. The project head for JHU is Dr. Dexter G. Smith, Biomedicine. Both contractors talked of the work being done world wide and are in contact with researchers in the EU, Sweden, Austria and Germany to name a few.

The controls are planned to be placed in the prosthetic arm so in this case the more prosthetic arm that is needed the more options via controls in the arm are available. The prosthetics will "have to be fine tuned" for each individual exactly as the present generation is. The program is looking to develop an arm no more than 7 pounds in weight. This is a real improvement over the present upt to 15 pounds and weight of the prosthetic has been one of Jason's complaints.

Jason is interested in "fine hand-desk job" work. The presenters said some of the goals for the arm/hand prosthetic in this area include:
1. Feeling when the person taps on a table
2. Feeling of difference, ie able to read braille
3. Climate adaptable: sweating is a big problem wearing prosthetics.
Also able to withstand water. (Jason comment, "I miss being able to wash my hands.")
4. Able to grasp an egg as well as a tool
5. Ability to flex the wrist, not necessary to rotate 360 as present "hands" do
6. Ability to write
7. Ability to type, use a computer
8. Ability to push a button

The contractors will collect and improve on all the component parts now available in the different prosthetics. The second hour was spent listening to the soldiers, in Jason's group there were 4 soldiers, about 10 staff and 5 family members. I was surprised at how quiet Jason was. Two of the soldiers were mechanics, "around the house guys" and had a lot of concerns about weight of the prosthetic and its ability to pick things up. Jason was quiet for most of the hour making only one comment about his value of "form over function." Jason was not concerned about the look of the arm but how well it could replace the right arm and hand that he has lost.

After the meeting which ended at 2 PM I headed back to the room to do chores and Jason headed to another session of PT. After I walked up Georgia to a Columbian restaurant and bought Jason's dinner of rice, black beans, and steak covered in fried onions. It also had a side salad. Although Jason's right side of his mouth is still numb; he says that his taste is improving. I bought Jason a lemon soda made in Mexico his favorite from the store next door. When I returned to the room, Jason was back and watching TV. I packed up different eatables given to us and prepared to go to Quixote for liturgy and dinner.

We got a call from the front office. Jason's cell phone was in!, sent to Dow in Chicago by mistake Dow had FedEx'd it to Jason. Jason was now in "cell phone /20 something heaven" He didn't even finish dinner but started to "get the phone up and running." Jason has the same phone number I understand, so you all can call. I really wasn't missing his cell phone as I think cell phones are "I'd rather be there, then here" kind of message when they are answered and used in the company of others. I know it is just being "a 20th century woman" but that is how I feel.

I left Jason and headed to the Metro for the first time. Nancy and Ken were to pick me up near the Quixote center as coming to Walter Reed was too difficult in the traffic. Every thing went as planned with my getting there in plenty of time. As always we had a wonderful meal which this week included crab and a beef roast. My lemon flavored pistachios (thanks Laurie) were a big hit with everyone. Bill said that the asparagus is up 20 days earlier than ever in the 20 years of planting it; another proof of global climate change. We read the readings from the RCC lectionary for the fourth Sunday of lent. Chronicles tell us that Israel did not listen to the prophets and faced total destruction: is this country listening to its prophets? Especially in the care of the environment?

I returned to the Mologne House shortly after 9 PM and Jason was talking to Jodi for their evening call on the phone, room phone not cell phone. Thank you Jodi for being so faithful in your calls to Jason. I headed to the computer in the lobby and spent time writing the blog.

Please continue to keep Jason's healing in your prayers. His digestive problem is a concern and we have an appointment scheduled for Monday.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Time for Chipotle Take Out

We would like to say "We are sorry" to those of you who have written to Jason expecting a reply and have not received a reply. Today we received a Christmas letter dated December 21st 2005; it included a donation to Jason's travel fund. The letter arrived exactly three months after its postmark. Somehow the letter made its way to the Family Assistance Office where one of the staff called Jason to let him know it was there.

Today we awoke at regular time, 6:30 for me and 7:20 for Jason. Jason says that his eye still hurts but feels it is from the surgery. He did not take this morning. I am trying to make sure he has drops in his eyes four times a day, but it is hard with his schedule. I wake up, get dressed and go downstairs to get Jason his morning bagel and cream cheese, provided to patients and family members free of charge. The one thing about this breakfast it is quick and easy except the toasters have minds of their own and I never know what "color the toast will be" from hardly toasted to almost burnt. Doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it.

Jason doesn't like to get dressed in sweat type pants so he headed to PT with shorts and a very light jacket in 35 degree weather and a snow forecast. I stayed behind to work on the mail and "thank you" cards. I am still working my way through the 500 emails I received during the time I was at the Chaplain's conference. I found Jason in OT without John who was busy elsewhere. Jason had a regular session in PT strengthening and stretching muscles. He decided to head back to the room for Jodi's noon call. We talked a few minutes with another soldier Jason had told about my peace activity yesterday. "Oh yes, MY mom would have joined you in a second," he said. It made me feel good to have a soldier say that to me. For me it meant that he could understand my loving Jason but disagreeing with the political decisions that put them both in harm's way.

Each month the Pastoral Care office at WR sponsors a speaker and I have tried to attend them when I can as I find them very worthwhile. I stayed at WR to attend a performance and lecture on healing music by Dean and Dudley Evanson of Washington State. Their music is recorded on, phone 800 93 Peace. As a hospice chaplian I am very interested in music as a method for relaxation especially for pain relief whether that be physical, emotional, or spiritual.

They discussed research proving that healing is quicker when the body is relaxed and for 25 years this couple has been writing and performing healing music for audiences. They talked about breathing, about relaxation, the use of a mantra for relaxation,and healing images. Their video was pictures of animal life with water flowing over the image; they mixed the two with wonderful results. They said that the earth's sound and our brain's Alpha waves are 7.83. They create music with this frequency. Especially beautiful for me was the American Indian flute music. With video pictures from nature, they live in Washington State with a river on their propoerty, the music relaxed a number of folks in the autdience who fell asleep. During their performance, the singer would say, "Oh, she's/he's sleeping. That is good, that is what the music should do." We each received a CD of their music. I have yet to be able to get Jason to listen to it, I'll keep trying.

I returned with Jason's regular lunch sandwich: whole wheat bread, turkey, mustard, pepperjack cheese, lettuce and cuke slices. Jason had asked for a pretzel too. However when I was heading to the case where they were hanging; a woman took the last one. Darn. I restocked his drinks: orange and apple juices by Minutemaid. Jason was very happy attending to the latest emails he had received recently. He helped me purchase a ticket to attend our grandson Jonathon's First Communion in April in Tampa. After a while, Jason became very tired and said he would like to take a nap. I asked Jason what he would like to eat for dinner and he gave me a request for a Chipotle Steak Bowl: rice, beans, lettuce, cheese, salsa and beef a first for me.

I spent time on the emails till 5PM and headed out to Silver Spring for a good walk exercise. I thought the trip would be 1 1/2 hours but it took me a total of two. I stopped at Safeway for the "Hint of Lemon" tostada chips Jason likes as he had asked me to get him chips. Then on three blocks North to Whole Foods for Jason's Jamba juice. Finally another block North to Chipotle and his Beef Bowl. When I arrived back at the room, my electronic door key would not work. This happens all to frequently, they blame it on the machinery in the hospital but I don't know... I knocked on the door and woke Jason up from his nap. We ate our dinners, watched Law and Order and the Daily Show and the Colbert show. I told Jason that the couple I had heard from at noon said that laughter changes the body's response and improves health. You can just laugh, you don't have to respond to something funny. They told us that the Pentagon had hired a "laugh expert" to teach healthy laughter. So I am glad that Jason watches shows that make him laugh. All in good health.

As I was leaving WR through the second floor lobby to chase Jason's dinner; 11 gurneys and 2 wheel chairs awaited new patients arriving this evening. Please keep all the soldier patients and their families in your good thoughts and prayers. Please keep Jason's healing in your thoughts and prayers especially his eye, his digestive system and his left arm. Let us image Jason whole and free from pain, exploring and enjoying a life rich in pleasure and good friends and family all around.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Monday: A Day of Rest for Jason

Jason must have had a good weekend with Jodi or he didn't sleep well last night. When I returned to Mologne about 4 PM Jason told me that he skipped PT this morning. Kyla his therapist was not in today so he slept till 10:30. He did have a discussion with the Sgt. from Med Hold concerning his not coming to roll call on Friday, the day after surgery. They settled their differences of understanding Jason's medical condition.

I had stopped in Silver Spring before returning to WR and called Jason asking, "What would you like from Silver Spring for dinner?" He replied, "Go to the Noodles and Company and get buttered noodles with extra parmesan cheese." I had been planning to go to Whole Foods to buy Jason a Jamba juice so it was easy to stop and fill his "dinner request." It makes me feel good to be able to purchase something that brings Jason pleasure.

I woke up early today and returned from the Peace rally so exhausted I fell asleep after Jason and I had eaten dinner. I have never been able to fall asleep with the TV on so I am learning a new skill. :-) When I awoke Jason commented, "You slept for 3.5 hours." Waking early, walking and being outside all day let me sleep "like a baby." I told Jason that I was not used to watching so much TV, he said, "Neither am I." I continue to be astounded that he has seen all the movies on TV and he is presently watching all the Law and Order and StarTrek shows. I think the second of the Star Trek series, the one with Data.

Katy's Monday
Some of you know that I have been a life long peace activist. Since coming to Walter Reed I have not been involved in any activities and have kept political discussions out of Jason's room focusing on prayer and healing support for his many wounds recieved in combat. But this weekend was different, I could not in good conscience not participate in prophetic witness to the American community. As you know this is the 3rd anniversary of the Iraq war, the beginning of its fourth year. I told Jason of my desire to go to the event and he replied, "Go for it."

A group of peace and justice activists met at 9:00 AM just south of the Lincoln Memorial. It was a beautiful blue sky day but quite cold, we all wore hats, coats and mittens. I would guess about 100 persons were gathered and many media including a large international presence. I am very proud to say that the leadership of this day were long time Roman Catholic peace and justice activists. I was interviewed by two reporters; one from Dubai and another from Japan. Cindy Sheehan and Nick Berg's father; both loosing their sons in Iraq were present and interviewed by reporters. We sang songs and listened to life long organizers and activists speak including Vietnam Vets who are now peacemakers.

After 10 we began our walk to the Pentagon, I am not familar with the route but we walked on a bike path surrounded on both sides by huge beds of daffodils in full bloom. We were accompanied by a Buddhist temple bell being struck to the beat of our walking. Two persons carried geese puppets, cleverly made with paper mache heads and silk "wings" that flapped in the wind. Folks were dressed in oversize puppet costumes with "Resist" on their chests. I believe persons from 25 states were present. Quietly, we paraded with a "coffin" covered with the pictures of soldiers to commemorate USA men and women killed in Iraq. We were given bags of ashes to represent all those who have died, civilians and soldiers in Iraq. I spread mine to the winds as we walked amongst the daffodils and by the river, holding each life lost forever as precious in my heart.

We stopped in a parking lot before crossing the river, the other side closer to the Pentagon would be barricaded and forbidden to us. Some persons were pledged to civil disobedience including my friend Laurie from Chicago. We listened to words of peace making-Martin Luther King and Ghandi and Thic Nan Hanh (spelling) who won the Nobel Peace prize for his witness against the Vietnam War.

As we crossed the bridge those who were to "cross the line" walked first. Many media and photographers were present. We were met by a steel fence, portable and in sections, keeping us from continuing on the walking path. On the other side of the fence were Pentagon police in their day uniforms, no extra gear of any kind. (I thought of the police in riot gear and plastic face masks and body armor and rifles when we marched against the Vietnam War here in DC.) I was not at the front of the group so I do not know the actual conversation that was taking place. With a fence in the way, I did not know what would be done. A requested meeting with Sec. Rumsfield was denied and persons began to climb over the fence; one or two at a time. Immediately, each person was handcuffed and escorted by a police officer to a gathering place near the buses which had pulled up. We all sang verses to "Down by the Riverside; We shall overcome; and Peace Now." Laurie and Fr. Joe Mulligan SJ from Nicaragua, I had met him at St. Aloysius on Sunday, went over the fence and were arrested.

I held a poster with pictues of persons hurt and killed in the war including a young man, I assume an American soldier, with two prosthetic legs given to me by a woman from Wisconsin. The words were "The Suffering of War--Stop the War Now" I pressed close to the fence held up my poster so that the officers could see it if they desired:

I wept for our country divided, a country at war, for those who have died and are injured. I wept for my Jason, my son who carries this war in his body and psyche forever and for Jodi who is walking beside him.
I wept for being separated by a fence when we are one, all children of this land and wanting the best for all of the people of our country.
I wept for dreams unfulfilled, for the legacy of this war for my children and grandchildren and all the generations to come.
I wept for our system of justice, our constitution, our democracy, of who we are as a nation.
I wept for peace with justice for all the people of our nation and all the nations of the world.
All of this suffering and I thought of Jesus hanging on the cross.
I wept.

We got a call about 1/2 hour after the busses left as to where those arrested were being processed. Each person has a supporter who holds personal belongings etc. Alison was Laurie's so she and I would separate at this time. One of the marchers knew where the Arlington Metro station was so we walked to the metro together discussing, "Why is it a surprise to others when we say, "I am a Christian peacemaker."

I was honored and began to cry when Gary of Jonah House in Baltimore introduced me to Elizabeth Berrigan. She like her husband, now deceased, are icons of Christ the Peacemaker for me. The Berrigan Brothers and friends committed the Plowshare actions during the Vietnam War protests; one which touched the nation and you may have seen was the pouring of blood on draft card files. Elizabeth assured me that Jonah House prays for Jason's healing.

Later Laurie called and left a message that she had been released about 4PM and said, "The Pentagon police could not have been nicer treating us with respect. I was prepared for the tactics of the Chicago police, I was wrong." I honor the policemen yesterday who performed their duties with kindness towards those who were civil disobedient, our prophets to the People of the USA.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Weekend of St. Patrick's Day

Friday March 17
Jason headed to the eye clinic for his after surgery checkup. His right eye is slightly "undercorrected." The MD's said come back in 6 weeks, we'll see how it looks and we can "tweak" the correction. Remember The MD's only cut one muscle under Jason's right eye. Jodi got to the room about 11 after having some trouble driving up from National Airport. She had difficulty finding WR.

Friday Jason and Jodi headed to Silver Spring for a visit to Borders, lunch out and to see a "good film, The Hills have Eyes." Saturday Jodi and Jason travelled to DC's Chinatown. This was Jodi's 2nd visit to Chinatown with Jason. They saw, "V for Vendatta, a very thoughtful film" Jason's review. They ate at the Matchbox as "I really like the pizza" and stopped for a beer before returning to WR. On Sunday, Jason and Jodi headed to Dupont Circle (probably the same time we were having lunch and visiting the Phillips Art Musuem). They ate at a Thai restaurant recommended by Jason's PT Kyla "The food was good." Jason went with Jodi to Reagan airport where as Jodi was checking in they sited Dave Chappelle of Comedy Central fame. Jason was impressed that Dave travels by himself, "just like a regular guy," no entourage. Jason said, "All the agents recognized Dave and flocked over to help him check in." Jason returned to WR after taking Jodi to the airport and said that his eye is still hurting after surgery. He will take percocet when he goes to bed today. I asked him if he thought anything was going on beside, "after surgery hurt" but he said, "No."

The Kindness of Others to Jason is the Kindness of God
Jason told us of the kindness of the taxi driver who returned him to WR after taking Jodi to the airport. Jason hopped into a cab at National and entered into conversation with the cabbie from Ethiopia. When they arrived at WR, the cabbie said, "Let me help you soldier, there is no charge for the ride." His generosity surprised Jason and he gave the cabbie a $20 tip. Blessings on all those who are kind to American soldiers.

Katy's weekend:
Friday, I left Jodi and Jason discussing weekend plans and headed "down into the city" to see what I could find of interest. And what interesting events I found. The Bradford pears are in full bloom as are many daffodils, hyacinths and flowering shrubs. Just to walk the streets of DC was a blessing of beauty. I took the Metro to Capital Hill and the Sisolaks took me to their neighbors on 7th street, Jim and Bernadette who would host my stay. After getting settled, I joined the Sisolaks, including their sons Michael proud father of a new born girl, and Bryan who lives in the District. Both men in their twenties are computer whiz's and are employed in the field. We had a wonderful dinner at an Old Town restaurant including Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Carmalized Pear with Pistachios for dessert. After we took a drive around and Bill showed me the "restaurant where I proposed to Vira" sad to say now a Starbucks, but still a restaurant. Old Town also has transformed an WWII torpedo factory into space for crafts and the arts. It is bustling and popular. Everyone agreed that I would have to visit there on one of the weekends this spring.

Saturday morning I received a call from friends Laurie and Alison in the Peace with Justice movement who were in DC to honor the 3rd anniversary of the Iraq War. We decided to meet at the newest museum on the Mall, the Museum of Native Americans. I asked them to join me for a performance by another wounded soldier's mom, Diane Benson from Alaska who is of the Tlingit clan of American Indians. She performed a one-woman show presenting the actions for Civil Rights for American Indians in Alaska. The performance When My Spirit Raised its Hands: The Story of Elizabeth Peratrovich and Alaskan Civil Rights reflects the actions surrounding legislation and the passage of the Anti Discrimination Act in 1945. The most startling section for me was the audio of the arguments against passage of the bill. Diane talked with members of Elizabeth's family and persons who were eyewitnesses to the times and studied the transcripts of the discussion before she wrote the dialogue recorded by actors. Comments by Alaskan representatives included, "I don't want Indians to sit next to me, they stink...They want to stay in their villages...White women are doing a good job of not making mixed breed babies." Through time and culture, the motivations for discrimination against another are the same.

Elizabeth raised her hand and spoke eloquently concerning the experiences of Indians and the bill passed after her statement. Thus Alaska became the first "state" to pass such a bill. In 1988 The Alaska State Legislature established February 16 as the annual Elizabeth Peratrovich Day-- to commemorate the anniversary of the signing of the Alaska Anti-Discrimination Act. If you have a celebration or educational event where this one woman play would be appropriate don't hesitate to contact her.

A young woman stood up after the performance and very happily thanked Diane for her "beautiful presentation honoring my Great Aunt Elizabeth." We all clapped again to honor her too. We enjoyed the play so much we decided to return for the second presentation which was followed by another set of work performed by Diane. This included a Poetry Manifesto which included poems concerning Diane's own soldier son and his experiences in the Army including his wounding. Each very touching and telling. Both performances were to "full houses." What a wonderful day to spend learning about the culture and experiences of the American Indian peoples and to support Diane's effort to be with her son.

After, Alison, Laurie and I ate at Union Station and then headed to a concert for peacemakers at St. Aloysius Church. We enjoyed the music that touched our hearts as we sang of peace and healing and justice for all the peoples of the world. By the time we left after 10:30 we knew it had been a full, full day.

On Sunday, we returned to St. Aloysius to attend the Gospel Mass at 9:30. The liturgy was filled with wonderful gospel music and a great homily by Deacon Willis who called us to follow the "radical Jesus." After the mass, a Sister of the Holy Family, an African American order of religious sisters who have been in New Orleans for 200 years shared the experience of the flooding of their Mother House located there. It was good to hear the report from a "survivor" of this natural disaster and the difficulties still being experienced by the members of the larger community. I also met a Jesuit priest from Nicaragua who has ministered there during the Contra War. He knew of the work of Quixote Center and their ministry of journeying with the people of Nicaragua. The liturgy was not finished until noon.

Alison had to leave us but first drove us to the Phillips Collection at Dupont Circle where we spent time with Degas, Sickert, and Toulouse-Lautrec: London and Paris, 1870-1910. The exhibit "explored the largely unrecognized creative dialogue between French and British artists at the beginning of modernism....By the 1890's Degas' notorious nudes, engaged in private activities, awkwardly posed, and seen from unflattering angles, had given license to younger artists to explore the subject with unprecedented candor." We enjoyed our time amongst the artists and their works. Then it was time to say "Goodbye" to Laurie for the day and to head back to WR.

I had left my suitcase with Jim and Bernadette at their home. Vira, living around the corner, had picked it up and generously offered to drive me back to WR instead of my having to take the train. Thanks to all who continually support Jason and all us, his family members and friends. May you be forever blest. I pray that we all have a happy spring filled with new life and creativity.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Eye Surgery: "Jason did extremely well."

We were up at 5:15 to head for WR and cosmetic eye surgery for Jason's right eye. The MD's planned on cutting and shaping two muscles in the right eye to hold it in place so that Jason would "look at you." Jason sees minimally in the right eye. I stayed with him through the two hours of waiting time. Jason's surgery was scheduled for 8 AM but he needed to be ready by 6 AM because sometimes a surgery is cancelled and Jason would then become first on the list. Jason finished his book, "Peace Kills" and put his head in his left hand and tried to sleep. Around 8 AM we and two other patients were escorted to the fourth floor surgery and into the pre-op room. I missed the anesthetist's name but he was very good in explaining what he was doing and why and how he would do it. He assured Jason he would not "vomit after surgery." He gave Jason three anti-nausea medicines including Zoloft which Ginger Williams had recommended months ago.

The Doc's thought the surgery might last up to two hours so I headed off to do chores. When I got back about 10:30 as Jason went in about 9 I figured I had arrived early. The Red Cross volunteer at the desk said, "The MD was just in and is looking for you." As I had missed him she called the PACU and asked for him. In a moment Dr. Donnelly appeared and said, "Jason did extremely well. We thought we might have to cut this muscle and that muscle. We only cut the bottom muscle which was very constricted and Jason's eye looked straight ahead." The MD was very pleased at the surgery results.

I waited for Jason for another hour as he recoved in PACU (patient after care unit), then he was brought out sitting up on a guerney. I said, "How are you doing?" "Tired and my eye hurts" was his reply. We headed up to the 6th floor and "short stay unit."

Jason was sat down in a chair and given "We need
1. You need to eat without being nauseated; and we need
2. You to urinate. Jason had refused my offer of a diet coke as I thought this might help him urinate. When he heard it from the RN, Jason said, "Mom, give me the diet coke" remember he hadn't eaten or drank anything since 10 PM Wednesday. I went downstairs to the first floor to get Jason a wheel chair as I wasn't taking chances. When I returned, Jason was coming out of the restroom. :-).

Jason wore his beige hospital pajama pants back to Mologne and was so happy to have them, "They are SO comfortable." I had Jason sit in the wheelchair and headed to Mologne as I have had him fall down after surgery when he had his wisdom teeth out. We had to go up a small hill and wouldn't you know it, I almost lost Jason again. He is a big guy. With him in the wheel chair it started to turn down when I wanted it to go up the hill. "MOM, let me walk and you can walk along side me." So Jason did okay walking up the hill and into the back stairwell of Mologne House.

When Jason got back to the room, he asked for two percacet (pain control); asked that I close the blinds and fell asleep almost immediately. I headed off for lunch and to work on catching up with the blog. I got back about 4 and was so tired I couldn't think straight as I hadn't slept well Wednesday night. I said, "Jason, I need to take a nap," he said, "Okay" and we both fell to sleep till about 6 PM.

Martha who is back from Hawaii and taking care of her mother called to offer dinner and a visit. (Martha's mother will return to MN when she able to travel without a ventilator, hopefully by the end of the month.) Jason who had been craving pizza all day, not having eaten since yesterday evening, was quick to say "Yes." Martha arrived about 7:30 and we shared an excellent vegetarian and a sausage and cheese pizza (for Jason) who ate almost the whole thing. Martha and Jason had a good ethics discussion, Martha was an ethics prof for the Air Force, centering on the decision for child support amongst the couple that had agreed "no children" and then had one. They were not married, the case has been in the news. Martha proposed that a father in our culture was obligated to pay child support. Jason says he still has not decided.

Martha who has been a wonderful nurse and friend for Jason says her dad doesn't think she can "nurse." He sees her as a "Professor." Martha said, "I used you Jason as an example of my 'hands on nursing skills'" to try to persuade her dad that she knew what she was doing in taking care of her mom. Martha said that helping us with Jason and the round the clock care he needed prepared her for providing the same care for her mother in Hawaii. She was thankful for meeting Jason now on behalf of her mother. God's blessings continue for all who love. May God bless each of you and may you have a wonderful weekend of spring.

Jodi is coming to visit Jason tomorrow for the weekend so I will be away visiting with the Sisolaks on Capitol Hill. We plan on going to a concert and an art exhibit.

Wednesday 3/15/06

Jason was up and headed for PT early. A person was at WR to discuss the various sport prosthetics available for the patients. Jason found them interesting and will order one for Kayaking later and is also thinking about ordering one for swimming. It inflates as it hits the water then deflates so the swimmer does not get resistance. There were prosthetics for playing ball Jason said, "The hand is not a mit but made similar to a Lacrosse catcher." Jason thought the ideas were very creative and he could see them as enabling arm amputees to again enjoy their sports.

After lunch Jason and I headed for ward 67 where vitals etc are taken for his surgery planned for Thursday to correct the right eyeball's placement after injury. I asked the RN why did Jason have to continually give the same medical history. She responded that the hospital is required to keep individual records of each patient's procedures. The way the system is set up, each visit is totally separate like a new patient. Somehow, I think the system should be improved so that the RN doesn't have to ask the basic questions but can use a template where it is "on the screen in front" of her/him to be included "in this visit." Jason has had so many visits, I cannot imagine how much money has been spent on collecting the same information. We have taken the approach of writing on forms, "See WR medical records" to answer questions such as "Have you had previous surgery?" For medications we use the same response. You do what you can do to lighten the load of the wounded soldier.

Earlier in the day I had walked to Silver Spring and shopped at Whole Foods. I got Jason Jamba Juice, still having trouble with the coupons, and 8 oz of London Broil. I purchased a bouquet of tulips and daffodils to "bring spring" into our room. What a blessing, they lift my heart and I hope they do the same for Jason. The flowering trees are in full bloom as are daffodils, crocus and myrtle in the WR lawn. Birds, especially cardinals, are singing all across campus in the morning. I feel like they are a living metaphor for the new life that is being created for Jason. May "many sunny springs" happen in his body and his heart this season of new beginnings. May each of you have a wonderful spring filled with flowers and birds, family and friends.

Story of Quixote:
Nancy and Ken were so kind again to pick me up and take me to Quixote Center for Wednesday liturgy. I have to tell you a story which started last week. Dolly usually arrives for our shared pot luck after liturgy and this time she arrived "with a guest." The cat's name was "Simon" and belonged to a neighbor for whom Dolly cat sits. He was out and she would take him back home later. Simon was rambunctious and even bit Nancy as he got excited with the treats of our dinner that we were all offering him. As we were leaving Bill said he would walk "Simon" home, Dolly had the key and would put him in for the night. So Bill (age 75) and Ken(age 65) walked the cat home (don't ask "why would anyone walk a cat home;" accept it is who Quixote peace and justice folks are and who I would like to be.)

The next morning, the neighbor came over to Dolly and said, "I have a bone to pick with you. I woke up this morning and I had two black cats in the house!" Our mouths fell open and we laughed! Dolly had let in a stranger! Actually the neighborhood folks knew the cat and now the question is "Who will take the cat home for keeps?" I am the only one in the circle who doesn't have a cat and Jason is allergic and I don't think that Mologne House permits pets. Most of the folks at Quixote have at least two cats. So does any one want/need a black kitty cat?

While Mom was gone...

Got back late Tuesday, report from Jason. I hope I have it more or less correct:
Jason said, "I had a good time while Chris and Erin were here." Chris and Erin rented a car a grand pri so Jason et al would have wheels to "gad about town" and they did!

On Thursday they saw the "worst movie I have ever seen, Ultraviolet" in Chinatown. Jason introduced them to the Matchbox where Dennis and I had eaten with Jason earlier. Everyone enjoyed the meal. On Friday they caught up with Jason after PT and with Dow who had arrived on Friday headed to another movie Libertine which they all enjoyed. The "fabulous four" also went to hear an Irish Rock Band The Pogues. Jason said, "They were good." Jason also said they went to a restaurant which"sold a beer so rare" you could only have one glass. Jason said, "The beer was not so good."

On Saturday, they all piled into the car and headed to Baltimore. Seeing the aquarium has been one of the places Jason wanted to visit while in the DC area. Jason enjoyed the visit with Erin and Chris a lot. Erin and Chris had to return to Chicago on Sunday returning the auto at the airport. Jason reported that Erin and Chris enjoyed staying with Ron who, if you remember, has two dogs, three cats and two parrots. I had purchased a couple of dog bones for my next visit to buy their favor but Chris and Erin found them in the room and "gave them to the dogs" before me!

On Tuesday Dow had to return to Chicago and he and Jason headed downtown because Jason wanted to order a pair of prescription Oakley glasses. He had gotten tired of the "Army issued" prescription frames. Jason was excited with his choice and the glasses should arrive in about a week. But on the way home his cellphone, top of theline, fell out of his pocket on the train. Jason realized it as soon as he stopped off; tried to reenter but Metro trains are deadly. Jason couldn't get back on. When I arrived I found him in a funk over the lost cellphone and especially his lost ability to text message Jodi which they do in a continual loop.

Pictures from January and February

I've finally caught up on things enough to post these pictures. The most interesting to me is the model of Jason's extra bone growth:

Jason's extra bone growth.

Click on the picture to see a larger version of the picture. Click again for larger still.

Katy wrote about the surgery to remove it here.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Katy is on retreat/conference till March 14

This will be my last post until I return next Tuesday. I will encourage Dow and Jason to write but you know how they are.

I want to again offer my thanks to all of you.
To the members of Soldier's Angels who sent over 70 birthday cards to Jason, one coming from as far away as France.
Blessings on each of you and your families for sharing and caring for soldiers.

To all who contributed to Jason's travel fund which permits family and friends to be with Jason. This weekend Jason's friends from Chicago Chris and Erin will be visiting and his dad thanks to your generosity. Friends and family are able to visit almost each weekend because of your joining us on the journey. We can never say "Thank you" enough except to hold you in our thoughts and prayers. May your goodness return to you threefold.

Thanks to all who visited Jason and offered dinners, movies and time away from Walter Reed.

Thanks to all who have offered hospitality to Jason's family and friends. We appreciate your opening your hearts and homes to us.

We could not be on the journey to healing and Jason's wonderful future except for your goodness; for me your Love is the Presence of God in the world. May your goodness return to you threefold.

I will be away till March 14 attending a retreat and conference for chaplains in Columbus Ohio. I take all of you with me in my heart and will hold you in prayer always giving thanks to God for you. Blessings may you all have a great weekend.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

It's the Seminoles versus the Gators

Headed over with Jason to PT this morning, I had to return some items we ordered and were sent the wrong ones. It took me most of the morning to find the right folks who could help me. In PT Jason was working out on the total gym to stregthen his buttock, thigh and leg muscles. This is done laying on his back and pushing 80% of his body weight for about 20 minutes. In the second session later on, Jason focused on stretching and strengthening his buttock and thigh muscles. Jason practiced sitting up and down first from 30" then lowered to 27." An average chair height is about 16". So Jason has lots of practicing and stretching to do. Jason cannot yet reach his toes to put on socks or his shoes by himself. Kyla says he "is tight on both the left and right sides."

Instead of going to OT, John is still away; Jason went to the prosthetic department and asked about his body powered arm. Dan said, "You must wear your prosthetic regularly so we know that your residual arm has done the healing of shrinking to the right size." Jason has not been wearing his arm after the surgery last week. So Dan said, "Wear the prosthetic every day for the next week or so and then we will measure again."

The news of the day is Jason got a call from University of Florida admissions that told him he has been accepted into the MBA program. Jason immediately called Jodi as she plans on going to U of F for vet school. Then Jason called Lisa because she attended Florida State and is a huge fan of football. It is now "Seminoles versus the Gators." Lisa feels that Jason's nephews 8 and 9 could not be bought to change allegiance, but "maybe Ellie would if Jason bought her a stuffed alligator." So the competition begins across generations.

At 1 we met with Dr. Donnelly from opthamology to prep for Jason's next surgery, March 16. The surgery is to cosmetically correct the position of the right eye. It will not help with the sight in this eye. This surgery will be a "one-day" and Jason will be able to return to his room. Jason came back to the room to rest as his friends from Chicago come into DC tonight. I plan to go to Quixote Center if friends Nancy and Ken can provide a ride. On to the washing and packing.

Blessings and may you, your family and friends have a good time cheering on your favorite teams whether high school, college or pro! Let us celebrate life's pleasures and successes with each other in the circles of our lives. Please keep Jason's healing and upcoming surgeries in your prayers.

"Stairstepping" on Tuesday=WOW!!!!!

Another beautiful blue sky day in DC, but the weekend is forecasted to be rain.
Jason started out with PT stretches and strengthening. John his OT is still out in IL looking for his after-Army position so Jason did not have OT Monday or Tuesday. Jason is to go to the prosthetic department on Wednesday to check on his body powered prosthetic which hasn't been fitted yet.

In the afternoon session of PT Jason worked out on the "stairs steps," that is he actually climbed the stairwells in WR; remember that each floor has a half floor in between Jason stepped up from the 3rd floor to 3 1/2 to 4 to 4 1/2 to 5 to 5 1/2 to 6 to 6 1/2 to 7 and back down! Wow what a way to celebrate major surgery to remove excess growing bone from your hip one week ago!! A miracle of healing and who Jason is and will be!

Jason came back to the room but did not take a nap which I thought the stairstepping would have worn him out. About 4 PM I headed out to go to Whole Foods to purchase dinner. Jason wanted beef, I got him London Broil from the deli, he ate all 8 oz, medium well. Jason also wanted POM juice so I got him two bottles. We stocked up on goodies as Jason's friends Chris and Erin arrive tonight from Chicago for the weekend. Dow will arrive on Friday for a long weekend visit.

After dinner we watched Law and Order, Jason really likes the show until 9 when Jodi and Jason have their call. During the call, I spent the time reading the Washington Post in the lobby of the Mologne House.

Note: Restaurant Policy
I had a meeting with the day manager of Mologne House. She was very polite but taken aback that I called the MHH "the eighth floor of Walter Reed Hospital." I told her that this concern really was about the mission of MHH and what it is today versus its original design and mission. I told her that "patients and families live here up to a year" and the MHH management needed to be cognizant of that and redesign policies and space to meet family needs. She recommended that I speak to a woman in Recreation that oversees space so that I could "schedule a family event in an available room on post during restaurant hours." I called and we will try to get together next week after I return. So the "eating without a table" continues.

In the meantime the ice machines are out on the 2nd and 3rd floors going on a week now and I have heard excuses:
1. There is a leak in the water pipes and we don't know when it will be fixed.
2. We will report it to the maintenance manager.
3. Surprised look, "Really?" when every parent I have talked to knows about it
4. From maintenance, "I'll have to restart it."
5. None of the ice machines are working. (I personally have gotten ice from machines on 1 and 4)

Sigh, and MHH is a "hotel..."
I reported to Sgt Beattie in the elevator as we rode up together.

Blessings of cool water
"Good Luck, and Good Night."

Monday, March 06, 2006

MD Appointments

Jason started the morning with an appointment with Dr. Frisch who checked the surgery wound, declared it "looks good" and said Jason could take a shower for the first time in the week. The wound was swollen but not infected so the Doc said, "Take care of it; come in at the sign of fever, infection, etc." He expects Jason to participate in PT to the maximum possible. He was pleased that Jason went to PT on the weekend.

After the meeting with Dr. Frisch Jason met with Dr. Golarz who wants to begin testing for the potential surgery on Jason's digestive tract. The tests will be done under general anesthetic. Dr .Golarz was the head of Jason's team when he arrived at WR in October. Golarz as usual had a good story to tell this time about his trip to Hawaii where it rained "monsoon style" every day. He had gone with his brother to take a hike up a volcano. Dr. G said Hawaii still was absolutely beautiful but he saw no sun until he touched down in DC yesterday!

After the meetings with the Docs, Jason called Jodi and spoke with her while I prepared to go out of town later this week. After Jodi's call Jason headed for PT because he missed the morning session. In PT they worked out and did stretches and strengthening for his right thigh and buttocks. After he finished PT Jason took a phone call and participated in a phone interview with Un. of Florida admissions staff. They said he would hear from the decision committee within a week. They had Jason walk them through his resume, asked why did he wanted to attend U of F and what did Jason plan to do after he completed his degree in business.

After the interview, Jason decided to take a nap and slept from about 3:30 to 6 PM. I headed to WR to drop off paperwork, then to the Post Fitness center. I had asked Dr. Golarz's RN to take my blood pressure and it was high. So change of diet, trying to stay away from salt and "comfort foods" and increase my exercise time. I spent an hour in the gym first on the stairstep, then weight machines and finally ab work and stretches. Jason wanted me to go to a local Caribbean restaurant and bring him back steak and rice so we had carry in tonight. After Jason asked if I wanted to see the "Wedding Crashers" which I had never seen so we watched it together until nine and Jodi's evening call.

Blessings on you all,
May you have a good nights rest.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

A Restful Sunday

Both Jason and I slept in this morning. I awoke about 8, the latest I have slept in since my arrival in October. Went downstairs to get the morning bagel and cream cheese and burnt the first one in the toaster. I didn't know until I offered to Jason and he said, "This IS bad." Downstairs to try again, more successfully.

Jason finished the bagel, got ready and we both headed over to WR about 10:30. I was carrying the model of Jason's hip as I had told the PT's I would bring it over for them to see. Corwin said, "Let me see that, then I can give Jason exercises to meet his needs." Corwin then proceeded to bring out the biggest exercise ball I have seen. He had Jason put his legs on the top and draw up his stomach, Jason was able to bend his legs very close to 90 degrees. I am amazed at the difference within one week of surgery. Lots of stretches again for Jason and gladness at his continued healing.

I caught up with Jason in the room after attending liturgy in the fairly full chapel for the first Sunday in Lent. Lois and Dan Spoden were stopping by about 1:30 for a movie and lunch. We all went out together to Silver Spring. It was much easier for Jason to get in and out of the SUV this trip. We ate at Bowls of Noodles and attended two different shows: Dan and Jason to "16 Blocks" and Lois and I to "Nanny McPhee." After Jason headed for the bookstore but couldn't find anything he wanted we all headed back to Mologne. Lois and Dan dropped us off and we headed to the room to watch...the Oscars! If you watched, hope you enjoyed them as we did.

Saying Good bye and Hello

I said "Goodbye" to another one of the parents whose son was with Jason on Ward 65. They leave on Tuesday. She is very happy as WR saved her son's leg. He will be going home with a halo on his leg and return periodically as necessary.

I met a Vietnam veteran, a relative of one of the soldiers who was on 58 with Jason. He informed me about:

1. The work of the Vietnam Vets to establish "Veteran Centers" as there was no services available for them when they returned. They focus on peer counseling and their work with PTSD/peer support were not accepted by the VA. The VA is now trying to establish similar centers of care and support for the Iraqi vets. He encouraged Jason and family members to use the services. What he found most supportive was that it is peer run and soldiers are always available to talk to soldiers. He said that no one outside of the combat zone can understand the experiences in war. He also said it is hard to understand especially the need to be alone sometimes. He said this was especially hard on wives. In one group he attended 5 soldiers had 17 spouses, including his own two.

2. He talked about how important it is for the soldier to attend reunions of his unit. There he can talk about what he chooses to talk about his combat experiences to those who were with him. He said this is has been a really important support "and it is over 35 years after Vietnam."

Let us pray for Jason's continual healing and healing of all the veterans of all wars. May we hold them tenderly in our hearts and good thoughts and prayers. Blessings and may you have a night of good and peaceful rest.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Jason on Roanoke TV

It's only for a few seconds and he is mostly in the background. But if you click on the link for "Two Roanoke police officers recovering from injuries suffered in Iraq war" from here you can see him. He comes on at 1:58 into the video.