Captain Jason

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


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Snail Mail:

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

Phone: 202 577 0092

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.

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