Saturday, October 22, 2011

Light at the end of the tunnel and a bend in the road.

Today, God willing, was Aaron's last surgery. His skin grafts took nearly 100%. The wound vacs are off and any "serious" dressing change can be done down in recovery with a little twilight drugging. Everything else is bedside. Anesthesiology signed off on him, which is amazing news too. That means his pain management is doing so well that he doesn't need them anymore.

Our bend in the road is that we might have to transfer to another facility, for a little while, to do some poly-trauma care. His upper body is very weak and he might need some extra-special rehab for that. It would be great if everything could be done here, but it can't. Those recommendations and decisions will come in the next week or so. Anything can change, at any time. That alone is exhausting.

There have been parts of this process that feel like I'm trail-blazing. We would like to think that at this point, every step would be a flawless brick in the road. Unfortunately, that's not the case. The parts that I have fought for are not insignificant, but fortunately they don't have anything to do with Aaron's care. These military nurses, medics, LPNs, and corpsman are truly proud and humbled to serve our war injured.

War injured: Almost out numbers the Vietnam dead. I know, though, that while this at times as felt like a complete and total nightmare it is some widow's dream. Every day, 100 times a day, I could cry just from feeling so lucky, blessed, and overwhelmed that I have my husband.

Someone wins the lottery everyday. Aaron won his when the IED was triggered and it went off directly under him. I won mine when he came back to me alive, and spiritually whole. He's himself.

This next part goes out to a red-headed blogger who doesn't grace us with her words often enough (cough, you know who you are):

Lives not wrecked by injury and death are not insignificant. You stand and watch others go through this pain, but perhaps ignoring your own. You can observe and articulate what you see. You can tell us what it's like to care for man who delivers the bad news. You're also a newlywed, and there's weight in that experience, as well. Please write if it's in you. If you don't feel like it, I understand. But if there's something inside of you, get it out!!!! Share with us. Be angry. Someone will understand. A lot of someones, actually. Maybe someone will challenge you and you'll grow from the experience. Who knows. But don't not write because you feel there are too many other bigger issues going on.

Life still happens. I talk to my friends about their boyfriends, their babies. I miss my friend who died four days after Aaron's incident. I still have to call the bank about the car payment.

And it's all significant. I'm just in a different bubble at the moment. Promise.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Accessorizing for a cause!

So a fellow EOD spouse is having a Lia Sophia jewelry sale. 50% of the profits will go to the Wounded EOD Warrior Foundation. This foundation has paid for plane tickets for family, given us a grant, an iPad, and offered any type of assistance we need, along with emotional and friendly support. The President, Sherri Black, also bakes us yummy stuff and brings it every week. I know it's a narrow field of support, but I tell you this road is more easily traveled because of the foundation. It's amazing.

So, back to the sale. She is having a monthly special of buy one item at regular price and receive two at half-price. You can make the lowest priced item the regular priced one. The specific web page for her is: Lia Sophia/lmburkman, but be sure to type in hostess name Wounded EOD. She will send your items to the address you list when ordering, and she also sends it Priority Express with tracking. You should be able to order completely online. I really like this jewelry and what she's doing. I don't think I have ever listed a sale here before, but this is kind of a personal issue. I hope you're all okay with the not-so-shameless promoting ;)

And a big thank you for all the lovely comments and support. It means more than you know. Blogging is the only thing that has remained constant since I began this journey as a spouse. I want to send thank you's to everyone for the support it's been so awesome. And keep blogging yourselves- I do read, and I'm slowly commenting more. Your lives interest the hell out of me still!

Monday, October 17, 2011

I'm still around!

Hey there! I just want you all to know that I'm still reading you! I don't comment a lot, but I do keep up. It's getting better around here. There's a normalcy to this. Also, Aaron might have only ONE surgery left and then we're done with it! WHOO HOO. He had his skin grafts done today and if they stick then on Friday it will be the last day he "goes under". I hate that his last procedure is so painful, but it's like going out with a "bang".

This everyday life feels pretty normal most days. I live in a hotel room, my husband in the hospital. We have food and toys and books and other things everywhere. I brush his teeth, I sign consent forms, I tell doctors it is REALLY inappropriate to come knocking at midnight to wake my husband. This. Feels. Normal.

And part of me thinks that's sad. Every once in a while, I can acknowledge that I live in a bubble. There are amputees- double- everywhere. Blindness, paralysis, those who lost legs so high they can't get prosthetics. This is awful in every possible way. Everyday, this is normal here. Med staff that rocks, some that don't, school lunchroom cartons of milk. General Delivery for mail.

It's not fucking worth it. Let me be clear: This War Is Not Fucking Worth This In Any Way, Shape, Or Form. I Will Never Feel Differently.

If anyone thinks I should feel differently, go look at your spouse's feet. Mine doesn't have any. Or knees. Go to a cemetery and remember that I am living someone's dream here. End of it.

I don't feel crazy angry or sad, though. I live in a bubble, this is my normal, and usually I'm just whistling along with our new life. I can't even imagine what I'd be doing instead- drinking wine with my battle buddies, wrapping up R&R, swamped in homework, volunteering at the USO. I'd be in that normal.

I guess it's all the same.

We're all, as military families, in a bubble. There are bubbles inside bubbles. And there's a whole America out there that has no idea. But I try to avoid those people. I suppose the upside to the bubble I'm in is that people get it. There's less stupidity in here, because everyone is suffering.

I did cry last week when *yet another idiot* reminded me how lucky I am that my husband is alive. I won't comment further on it, other than: No shit, Sherlock. No one needs to remind me of anything.

Love and miss you all. Hope you're all well.

P.S. "Ironman" just came on TV and I couldn't watch the beginning without crying. Fucking bullshit.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Day 39.

We are, thank God, nearing the end of the road for surgeries. Aaron will have his skin grafts done on Monday. We might only be two surgeries away from this part being over. He has not faced infection in weeks and his mental state is great. Our biggest concern right now is that some doctors think he might have a moderate TBI and therefore we'll be temporarily transferred out-of-state to another facility. I am weary of this simply because of the meds he's on and the fact that he's had 3 surgeries a week almost the whole time he's been here. There are a lot of outside factors I feel are affecting him, and it feels premature to judge his TBI status. But also, I realize my limitation- his personality is so in tact that I might not see everything clearly. However, his base line isn't far off from where he is now. I am going to find out what the doctors expect out of him, what the results can be, and where they think he was beforehand. So we'll see how that goes.

We're getting to a point where we want to work on our marriage. It's time to start growing as a couple with this, and I look forward to it. It's going to be a dance, but I know we'll figure it out soon enough. It's very much an "emotional space" issue. That's the best way I know to explain it.

I'm good. We're good. And I hope to write more regularly. I miss it. I actually miss my life up at Fort Drum tremendously, which isn't surprising. That place is full of wonderful, wonderful women.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something."

And thus is my favorite quote from The Princess Bride.

As I combat my own possibly negative thought on what life is, I can't help but realize what I actually find important. Love. I spent the weekend with two amazing friends I met my first year of college. I could talk them about missing Alex, my friend who died four days after Aaron's accident. I missed my girls up at Fort Drum. I talked so much shit about that place but some of the greatest friendship I'll ever have came from that place. I miss people I've grown up with- and I feel lucky to still know them. One of my facebook friends dates back to kindergarten. Two of them go back farther than that, and these aren't cousins.

I have love in my life. I have family who doesn't share my blood. I have a siblings. I have a mom whom I look just like. I have a fantastic relationship with my in-laws. It seems blasphemous to even call them in-laws because things are so great.

I have Aaron, my husband.

Love is pain- it always has been and it always will be. We're all lucky to know one person who can break our little hearts, and I'm beyond grateful that I know a few who can break mine. They are all worth it. My only regret is going to be not spending more time with the people I loved and who loved me. I should work on that.

Life is not safe. Perfectly healthy young adults aren't safe from an early end (while some worthless humans live until 100). It isn't fair and I don't understand it. I can't possibly think that the pain of the loss of a life taken too soon is all part of God's big plan. How can that be? Perhaps God helps us through the things that happen, though. Life can't be stopped but perhaps there's something out there that helps ease the pain. Something we can't see. I'll let you know when I figure that out.

Time for bed. I hope I can dream about some fo these amazing people until the morning...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It should've been the airport...

Today would have been the start of our R&R. Since this was our first deployment, theoretically I don't know what I'm missing. We had some great reunions in airports when we dating while he was in Germany and I was Stateside. A lot of our unit has had their 2-week break, so I've seen the pictures and cheered them on. One of the battalions is coming home, too so that's all over Facebook. Sigh.

To tell the truth, I don't feel much of anything about all this. No negative feelings, resentment, or even anger. I'm not one to get too worked up over "what might have been". I think that hope kills anyway, so I try not to hope for things. That seems to always get me in trouble.

I think, for the most part, I've settled in here. Im tired a lot but I'm making do. I eat well at least a few days a week. I finally paid some bills and responded to some emails. I even watched an episode of "Glee".

Aaron is about 80% himself. His arms are all wrapped up so he's needing a lot of assistance. We're sweet to each other, and have even gotten in a few French kisses. Those are the highlight of my life. Love it.

His parents are still here and I'm grateful for that. I don't know how I could balance all of this alone. They're great people.

He's getting the best medical care in the world and I know it. Usually they take care of us, too. The system is working.

Hopefully, everything stays on track and his legs can stay closed and in a few weeks the skin grafts can start. I think we'll be in the hospital for about 6 more weeks.

This is it, folks. But there's never a moment of getting it, it's living it. Living with it. This new lifestyle, leaving my great friends at Fort Drum (I left Roswell, GA in April 2010 and Mannheim in August 2010 and now Fort Drum in September 2011, so leaving people I love too soon is a theme), and feeling like I'll never be caught up again are it. I'm also still processing the loss of one of the best friends I've ever had. Shit can really suck, life is full of it and it's up to us to make it happy. Life in it's natural state isn't usually happy. That's just how I feel.

Someone sent me this quote early on, not knowing the author is one of my favorites. I adore this:
     “I said to my soul be still, and wait without hope; for hope would be hope of the wrong thing; wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith. But the faith, and the love, and the hope are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: so the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”
T.S. Eliot