Monday, December 8, 2008

Injury List - Updated 12/7/09

Throughout the ordeal Paul has had:

14 surgeries, plastic surgery will be in the future

His left arm sewn to his side for 6 weeks

Severed tendons where the shrapnal sliced through

10cm section missing from his ulnar nerve from shrapnel

Severed ulnar artery that’s still not pumping blood as well as it should causing numbness, lack of movement and sensitivity to hot and cold

Burns throughout his hand and arm from the blast

Tennis ball size chunk of flesh missing from his forearm

Damaged, missing tissue from his hand and arm

Piece of his thumb missing, cuts throughout his fingers

MRSA staph infection

Other infections

Groin flap to repair the missing skin and tissue leaving a 10 inch scar along his side, over an inch wide in some places

Diminished lung capacity, breathing at 60%

Fractured and bruised tailbone

Chronic back spasms


PTSD (tested negative for TBI)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Some New Stuff Going On

It’s hard to believe that Paul was wounded 5 months ago already. It seems like so long ago that the kids and I were living in the hotel, our days centered around visiting him at BAMC yet it was only a few months ago. Sometimes I stop and realize how quickly our lives changed and how different things turned out. He would’ve been deployed for 8 months now and it feels like he was never gone in the first place. I’m glad he’s out of Afghanistan (please still keep his unit in your thoughts and prayers though) but the transition hasn’t been that easy. Some days are pretty normal but other days I think I’m ready to send him back. Not really of course but sometimes he’s a little difficult to live with. It’s not so much the physical injuries but the emotional ones are the ones that make it harder. It seems like he’ll fly off the handle at the slightest things, mostly directed at me but also directed the kids. It’s been a battle all on it’s own just to get him to apologize for his behavior and take some accountability for acting that way. I don’t know if he’ll ever be a happy person but his behavior resembles bipolar disorder at times so it’s frustrating.

As far as the physical stuff goes, his arm and left side are doing a lot better. His arm still looks disfigured (his word, not mine) and will until he goes in for plastic surgery to reconstruct that part of his arm. The scar on his side is healing although it’s over an inch wide in some parts and completely covers that side of his waist, being about 9 or 10 inches in length.

One thing I haven’t mentioned before is his tailbone. It’s always been tender for him and being in the hospital for as long as he was just made it so much worse. Upon further examination, his doctor determined that at some point he fractured his tailbone. The bone itself is bruised and that’s probably causing him the most pain out of everything. He’s not been on any pain, sleep, or mood medications for a month or so now and he’s pretty much stuck having to live with his tailbone the way it is because they can’t do anything to fix it.

A few weeks ago we took a trip up north to see our family. Paul has always been allergic to cats and some dogs but it’s only been a problem when he’s been around them or people with enough of the pet dander on their clothes. This time, however, he was still having problems when we got back. I suggested he mention it at his next doctors appointment so he could get some prescription allergy meds. The doctor sent him home with a plethera of medications, inhalers, etc, none of which really seemed to help. So then they decided to do a Total Lung Capacity (TLC) test to check his breathing. The doctor and his nurses were surprised at the results and that he was living a pretty normal life. I guess the test determined that his lungs were only functioning at 60%. They think the other 40% had been lost due to smoking (until he was wounded he had smoked for 24 years), his allergies and possibly asthma, and some of the smoke and poisonous gases from fire fighting when he was in Iraq.

So Friday he goes in for more tests to find out what caused the lung disease. I told him this means he’ll probably never be a smoker again and he said “why not?” I said it sounded like the lack of oxygen has gone to his brain already. I think he was being sarcastic but since he had smoked for so long I know it’s been hard to completely walk away from it. None the less I’ve seen my mom being kept alive by a heart and lung machine and it’s not a pretty sight so I know that diminished lung capacity isn’t something to take lightly. If Friday’s tests do find smoking as the main cause, I’m not going to say I told you so because the bottom line is that the damage is already done and we need to figure out what to do to prevent more from happening.

Aside from all that we will be going home for Christmas this year. We haven’t been “home” for Christmas since before he went active duty so we’re looking forward to it. That would be the holiday itself, not the cold. It’s been in the 70’s most days lately which has been wonderful but it hasn’t felt like a winter wonderland by any means. So while I’m hoping for a white Christmas this year, I hope it doesn’t stick around because we’ll have to leave shortly after because he has to be back on the 29th for another doctor’s appointment, thanks to his wonderful (note sarcasm) case manager. Two of the case managers he’s had have been fired, the one from the hospital who I used to rant about and one that I liked. The one now is the one who tried to say he was lying about having a PICC line because she couldn’t see it (it was covered by his clothes) and then tried to prevent him from going to Ft Hood to get our stuff moved by saying he wasn’t well enough to travel and that it was too far even though he had everything okay’d by his doctor. Then earlier this week she called my cell phone twice started at 7:03am leaving a message for him that she hadn’t seen him since he’d been back from leave. He got back the week of Thanksgiving which was a two day work week for the military so I don’t know why she was so worked up. It’s not like she doesn’t have his phone number either because the old one forwards to the new one. I think she just enjoys being a witch and making transitioning soldiers lives more difficult. Paul won’t let me go to his appointments with her probably because he knows I’ll tell her what I think of her. I just don’t think she’s the right person for the job that’s all.


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