Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Some good news for a change!

The staph infection is gone! The doctor called me and told me the surgery went well and everything came back clear when they checked for any remaining infection. They did sew his arm back to his side and the 3 week countdown started back over but they don't plan to keep him in the hospital the entire time! They put in a PICC line for his meds and they're going to show me what to do when he's outpatient since it's in his right arm and he won't be able to do it himself. From the way things sound, he could still be released at the end of the week if everything goes okay. We'll still be staying in lodging for wounded soldiers and families so he can still get to the hospital easily but it will be nice to have him out of there! He says he wants to just sleep in his own bed even for one night lol. Hopefully things continue to go well and he can come home soon!

Friday, July 25, 2008

We got to meet the Secretary of Defense!

He came to visit the hospital today and stopped in to visit Paul! It was just a brief visit but he shook his hand, and chatted with him for a bit, thanking him for serving. He gave him a challenge coin and also gave one to Kyla. I was going to take a picture but I was holding Kaiden and couldn't get to the camera. There was a reporter taking pictures so if there's one of him and Paul online I'll post it. It was pretty cool though because he thanked all of us for our sacrifices.

Paul is getting ready for surgery tomorrow again because the infection spread from his side to his arm and his fingers overnight. I haven't heard what kind of infection it is but since that's how I lost my mom I'm kind of freaking out over that. We were walking around the hallways together when I noticed a huge spot of blood on the back of his shirt. He's got a tube coming out of his back to help drain it (nasty looking) and it was draining too much again so he got more stitches in his side tonight to help with that until surgery. For the amount of blood that he's lost since the actual injury, I'm really surprised he hasn't had to have any blood transfusions. He's still not out of the woods yet and will still be in the hospital for awhile yet.

A big setback.

Paul has a staph infection and is going to be quarantined again. That means the kids can't come see him and since I always have them I can't either for as long as he's in a quarantine room. He'll be on antibiotics for 4-6 weeks and it should take care of the infection but it was moving through his body fast.

Staph is the type of infection that took the life of my mom.

I keep thinking about how the case manager wanted to push him out the door to Hood or to get him released and it makes me mad. I could've easily had a soldier who survived an IED blast only to sucumb to an infection. Scary stuff. Of course I'm also thinking if he had gone to Hood would this have happened? Maybe they would've caught it sooner or maybe not even at all.

He's going in for surgery today around lunch time to have his incision in his side looked at and sew it up more. He just called back and the nurses said it shouldn't be an issue for the kids to come up and see him, provided they use the hand sanitizer stuff. Chances are though we might have to start gowning up like the staff does just for safety reasons.

I can't describe the feelings running through my mind right now. To me this is the scariest part of his recovery because I know first hand how bad things can get with a staph infection. Thankfully Paul was in the hospital when it was discovered. Had my mom been in we might have been able to save her life.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wounded Warrior Update.

It's been awhile since I last posted an update so I figured I'd share one with you since the kids are crashed out. I can't remember what all I've posted so far so hopefully I don't repeat too much. Paul is still in the hospital and had surgery last week and again today. Last week was the big one though. He had severed some tendons so they tied those back together. He also missing an 8-10cm section of his nerve so they took a nerve in his leg and in the back of his hand and transplanted it into his arm to hopefully get some of the movement back. Then they did what's called a groin flap (a little TMI here) and took skin and tissue from his side and groin area and put that into the areas that were missing and his arm is sewn to his side for three weeks while the new skin grows and heals. It really did look like a shark had bit him deeply but after seeing the pictures of his arm with the new skin I think it's going to heal really nicely. Prior to that surgery their prognosis was that he'd regain roughly 10% of the use in his hand and arm and after the surgery their estimate was closer to 80% which is wonderful.

He had surgery again today because he developed an infection in the incision in his side. I think he over did things because as soon as he was cleared to sit in a chair or briefly walk around he wouldn't get back into bed until he had to at night. He's hoping to be discharged to outpatient status soon which means I'll be changing the bandages for him but I know he's just wanting to be home again. Well that and he wants to oversee our move.

We decided to PCS here because this is a great hospital and the Warrior Transition Unit is awesome. It wasn't an easy decison and we argued a bit because he kept trying to do what he thought would be easiest for me and the kids rather than what was best for his well being. We went over every pro and con and finally came to the conclusion that this is where he needed to be. Fortunately it's only about 2.5 hours from Hood so no cross country move. I've found so much support here which I needed because I hadn't heard from the FRG this entire time until recently and by then I didn't even care. Plus it's kind of nice to already know someone here!

I've been so busy since I brought the kids here that I haven't been able to get online as often. Once I get them to bed I'm usually ready to crash right afterwards. If anything new comes up just check the blog or my status. I'm posting a kind of blurry picture of Paul with his new zippo lighter that the unit had engraved and sent to him. His had been blown off him when he was hit and they never did recover it. :(

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Paul's address at BAMC.

Here's an address for Paul at BAMC (Brook Army Medical Center). He should be there for at least three more weeks.

Brook Army Medical Center
3851 Roger Brook Drive
Fort Sam Houston, TX 78233-6200

The everything in a nutshell blog.

According to my husband I'm "one Army wife you don't want to mess with." LOL, I think that's funny. Although the irony of that is the person who he said that to was the case manager and he is the one person who has seriously pissed me off lately. It's a long story but let's just say I fought the battle of Fort Hood and won. The case manager was trying to rush Paul out the door, whether it was a transfer to Ft Hood, a discharge, whatever, he wasn't waiting for the paperwork or listening to the unit and doctors. Then he tried backtracking his words and acting like I was wrong so I set him straight each time he tried taking the bull by it's horns. I can't say I was polite but at least my trucker's mouth was parked for awhile since I got the job done without colorful words.

Anyway, aside from that if you saw my status I'm sorry I haven't explained or responded back yet. I've been so busy lately dealing with everything going on and Paul's surgery that my emails are piling up and I haven't gotten back to people's IM's and calls. Sorry about that but it's going to stay busy for awhile and I hope you know it's not intentional. I am actually waiting to catch a flight back to Michigan to get the kids and the car and start driving south again. Not looking forward to that drive but I want to get back here so we can all be together again. The kids are really missing us and we're missing them just as much.

Paul had surgery on Tuesday and he's recovering but it's rough. His left arm is literally sewn to his side. Yes I tried to take pictures but he wouldn't let me because his hand basically rests on his guy parts and he didn't care to have those showcased on myspace. His midsection is wrapped up like a mummy though so he can't even really move. He had what's called a groin flap, where they took skin out of the groin area and transplanted it into his arm and then attached his arm to his side to regrow skin and tissue. He also had some tendons that were torn, tied back together. He was missing an 8-10cm section of his nerve in his hand and then a small section of nerve in his thumb and the doctor did a nerve transplant to repair that.

Not an easy surgery by any means but he's surviving. He's already starting physical therapy so that his shoulder doesn't get stiffened up being in the same position for three weeks. Yep, he's got to stay like that for 3 weeks until the skin grows and heals.

Since he's going to be in the hospital for so long and this is a really good hospital, we've decided to stay here at Ft Sam Houston in San Antonio. Paul is temporarily assigned here and we're in the process of getting him permanent orders (permanent change of station) here so we can get moved down here. Don't think that was an easy decision because Paul and I fought over every little detail, and every pro and con about moving here or going back to Hood. We decided he needed to be here and fortunately they were able to still get the surgery done so he can start healing that much faster.

I do have an address for Paul if anybody wants to send him a card or any get well wishes. I'm going to post it in a separate email so it's easy to find. I'll post another update again when I can.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

10 Day Update

Sorry it's been awhile since I posted an update. Thanks again for all the comments and well wishes. It's been 10 days since Paul was hit and they were talking about sending him back to Ft Hood on Monday but then his plt sgt said wait, none of his paperwork is done and that's way too soon. The last thing we need is for him to get to Hood and have another screw up. Paul is already convinced that Hood would probably "accidentally" amputate his good arm. He wants to go home but since he's going to be inpatient for awhile longer and his doctors are all here he might as well stay. He and I talked about transferring down here since he's assigned to Ft Sam. I'm not sure if we still have to wait 30 days or if we can just request a transfer since this is technically his unit now. Obviously the job market here in San Antonio is much better than Killeen and because I firmly believe that Killeen is the armpit of America, it might not be a bad idea to come here. Not to mention our house that I just love so much is going to be costing us $1500 a month and BAH is just over half that, what's the point?

Aside from that he's going to be having another surgery (he's had 4 or 5 so far, I'm starting to lose track) and that one will be kind of rough for him. He's lost an 8cm section of his nerve so they will take a nerve out of his leg and transplant it into his arm. That's his best chance to get any type of movement back but may or may not be successful. He's still trying to catch up on sleep since this all happened. Nightmares are a huge issue so he'll get something to help with that. The PTSD is much worse this time around but he's talking to people about what happened so I know that will help him deal with stuff. He has no issues with talking to a chaplain or psychologist or even taking something to help him sleep or with the anxiety. I watched him sleep earlier and could tell when he was having a dream because his whole body moved. I moved him slightly to briefly wake him up which made him mad but I knew he'd stop the dream for a minute. It's hard to watch someone dealing with that kind of stuff when you know there's not a whole lot that you can do.

I helped him take a shower and while I was sure the next time I saw him naked it would be more exciting for me but not the case lol. He's not the type to let people help him so it's hard for him to step back and have someone else doing the work. He has gotten outside a couple of times but they won't let him smoke so that's ruining happy time for him lol.

I'm heading downstairs to eat with all the in laws, I'm sure I'll have plenty to type about that later. If I remember I'll post Paul's address here but if you want to send him a card or something you can just send it to our house.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


I feel so helpless because the Army is taking their sweet time getting us down to where Paul is at. He finally got to San Antonio only to find out that Germany lost all his paperwork so he had to do everything over again, meaning they moved his hand and arm and he's in excruciating pain. It wouldn't have been so bad but they gave him a much lower dose of the pain meds and won't give him anything to help him sleep. He's having horrible nightmares and is afraid to close his eyes because they're so bad. I don't think he's slept more than a few hours in over a week. He hasn't eaten either in almost 24 hours and unlike WR he's pretty much confined to his room.

To make matters worse he was told that it's likely that he'll never regain more than 10% of use in his left arm or hand because he's damaged some major nerves and sorry for the TMI but there are parts of his arm that are missing. He called me pretty much freaking out because the realization set in that in his mind, he's going to have a handicap and can't do a lot of things. I told him that he needs to prepare for the worst but hope for the best. Also that as difficult as this is, that he has to accept that this happened to him and realize that life is going to be different but it's going to be okay. I've done everything I've can to reassure him that I'll be here through it all and that we'll just deal with the adjustments as they come. He's still mad as hell at the Taliban for blowing up his arm though.

Honestly I've never felt so helpless before. I wish I could just get there because he keeps asking for me and says he needs me there to help him deal with all this. I'm not even there yet and I'm already worrying about what's going to happen when I have to leave to come back and get the kids. Right now it sounds like we'll be PCSing to Ft Sam because he's in pretty bad shape. So I'll be packing up the house myself and coordinating the move but thankfully it's only a 2 hour drive south. Nonetheless, a little scary!

Along with everything else though, Paul has burns from the explosion so he'll need skin graphs to help repair that. I just hope I can stay up there with him at night when I do get there so he will feel more at ease. Hopefully I'll be able to fly down there tomorrow or Wednesday at the very latest but if they don't get this flight stuff taken care of, I'm going to get in the car just so I can get there ASAP. It's so frustrating!!! I'm grateful to be surrounded by my family here in our hometown but I just can't help but think that if I had waited to come up I'd be there with him right now!

Monday, July 7, 2008

The latest. (well at least for today).

Paul made it back to the states, he was at Walter Reed for the night and is flying out to Brook Army Medical Center at Fort Sam. I'm probably flying back down there to see him either tomorrow or Wednesday and then flying back to get my kids and my car and driving back to TX. On one hand it was nice to have been with my IL's when I got the news but on the other it's a long way from home and now I'm kind of stuck.

Paul can't even really move his fingers and the wounds on his arm are so deep you can see the bone so avoiding an infection is a big deal. That kind of infection is how I lost my mom during the first deployment so I'll be watching him closely when I get there. He wants me to be there when he gets there and I can't and that really sucks. He needs help doing normal things like showering, getting dressed and brushing his teeth. He's actually looking forward to helping Kyla writing her letters and numbers because he pretty much has to learn all over how to do it again.

He's having a really hard time sleeping and dealing with nighmares and stuff. It's hard because he says he wants me there to help him but I have to wait for authorization from the Army to get there.

I still can't believe all the wonderful donations from different ogranizations for him. Upon his arrival to Germany he received a $250 Aafes card to buy clothes since he didn't have any, got a really nice brand new pair of shoes, got a backpack to put his stuff in, another $200 to use for other expenses, and a bunch of calling cards everywhere he's gone. Oh plus a handmade quilt with a note attached from Soldier's Angels. I still have to write the Angel who was assigned to him who's been writing to him and let her know that he's not been able to write back and what happened.

Just the support and prayers our family have received has just been phenomenal. It will be a long road to recovery for him but I know someone was definitely watching over him over there because it could've been a whole lot worse.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Just a quick update.

Hey, just checking in real quick here. Paul made it to Germany and he's been there for a couple days now. He was given a few calling cards that were donated so he's been able to call me and the rest of the family. The military also allows me to call him twice a day on their time so it's nice to hear his voice on a decent connection for a change.

He seems to be doing alright and has kept a pretty positive attitude throughout this whole ordeal. He's on nerve blockers for the pain and says it's the worst in his hand because he lost a big chunk out of his palm (sorry for TMI) and pieces in his thumb, plus the top of his thumb. He's had two surgeries to remove all the shrapnel out of his arm so far. The doctor said he will probably never regain much grip strength back and also won't regain full use of his arm. This means he will probably have to learn to write with his right hand and need help with little things that he was used to doing without a second thought. He was happy that he didn't lose his wedding ring but ended up with a large chip in it. I told he him that his marriage was a whole lot more than a ring and we could have it fixed but he said no it was a souvenir. And twice now he's said he wished he had his laptop or his PSP because he's kind of bored lol.

Rear d kind of screwed up and didn't officially notify me so all the info was going to his parents. Well they didn't kind of screw up they did screw up and then tried to say that my husband must've had his info down incorrectly. I told them to pull his paperwork on that and that he did it exactly right and they were wrong and needed to fix the situation ASAP. Sure enough, they were wrong and then tried to backtrack and say they had been trying to contact me. I said that I would've known if they had tried to contact me since my home phone forwards to my cell. I got a pretty lame apology if you want to call it that but at least things got straightened out and it's okay now.

I get medical updates on his condition every 24 hours, sometimes more often than that. I still don't know where he'll be coming back to but it sounds like he'll be there for a few more days. Since I'm in my hometown right now my SIL will be taking care of the kids and the military will fly me to wherever he is and pay for meals and lodging and then fly me back so I can drive home. If he's there over 30 days they will make arrangements for us to move there. So even if they send him to TX to recover I'll still fly down there for the time being.

His battalion commander called me on my cell phone from overseas to tell me how impressed he was with him. He said he expected Paul to be in alot of pain and complaining but instead he wanted to make sure the rest of the guys had made it back safely. Some of the guys panicked when they were hit (pretty traumatic for all) so it was actually Paul who got on the radio to report the attack and tell them he was hit. Had he been in something different more than likely he wouldn't have made it. As it was the medic was awesome and saved him from bleeding to death. The BC told me that he thought Paul was a wonderful soldier, a fine young man and he was damn proud to have him in the unit. He said he was very deserving of the purple heart and the combat action ribbon so hearing all that was really nice. Then he asked me for my email address so he could send me the pictures of it so we'd have them lol. Gross! I know he lost alot of blood and I don't need to see that!

I'm really glad he's alright because I know it could've easily been so much worse. I had thought many times of the scenario of getting the knock on the door but not so much if he were injured. Ironically I was watching Army Wives last week and when it showed the part where Roxy got the call that Trevor was injured I turned to my stepmom and said that's the call that I dread. Little did I know that just two days later I would be getting that call and it wouldn't be made for tv. It's been a lot to take in and I've been dealing with things okay. The kids know that their dad's coming back and that his arm is hurt but that's pretty much it. All I know is that someone was definitely watching over him and hundred's of prayers all over the world have gone up for him since this happened and that's just awesome. A lot of things are going to be changing for us and it's not going to be easy, especially for him but we're just going to make the best of things. I'm so excited to see him again even though it's not under the best circumstances. I watched the fireworks tonight throught teary eyes because I'm so grateful to be married to a hero.

I will try and keep y'all updated especially when I know where he's going to be sent to. Thanks again for your support and all those prayers, let me tell you they've really kept me going this past week!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

My husband is coming home.

Well the 15 month deployment just got a whole lot shorter. Paul called again early this afternoon and said they are sending him to Germany and then back to the states. He'll either go to Walter Reed, Ft Sam (San Antonio) or back here to Hood where he'll have a long road to recovery with physical therapy. Chances are he'll eventually be medically discharged after it's all said and done but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

He was awarded a Purple Heart today so I'm proud of him for that but it's pretty scary how he got it. I told him before he left that he didn't need to try for one and he said sometimes life has other plans, lol.

I'm probably not going to continue on up to Michigan to see the rest of my family unless he goes to WR and that will only be to drop the kids off and fly out there. I have a feeling they will send him right back to Hood since that's where we live. I'm not crazy about the hospital there but that will be the easiest.

Thanks for all the comments, IMs and replies, your support has been wonderful and made it easier to deal with. I'll let you all know when he gets back in town. Rear D has been less than steller with notifying me about stuff but they did say they expect him to make a full recovery so I'm hopeful. Right now he has zero movement in his arm and hand so he's got a long way to go.

I got "that" phone call this morning.

Sorry to just tell everybody in a blog but my husband was injured when his humvee hit an IED. I had just talked to him hours before and he was in good spirits so it must've happened shortly thereafter. I don't know if he'll be sent to Germany or eventually back home but he's already had surgery on his left arm and is supposed to have a few more. Hopefully he won't lose his arm when all is said and done. He was the one who called after he was medivac'd out of there so that's a good sign. He said he'll have to have physical therapy for a while and sounded pretty doped up from the pain pills.

Right now I'm waiting to hear if I need to go back to Texas or if I need to get a passport. I'm kind of numb and in shock but I guess that's normal. I'll post any updates I get.


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