Wednesday, February 29, 2012

That damn text message.

SpouseBuzz had the most comments on the KIA notification texting situation, and buried in those comments were some words from some of the wife's family. I think it is only fair to share this article since I shared the other.

For me, it goes back to someone jumping on the chance to contact the wife as soon as possible. If you aren't close, if you aren't friends- just wait, but do send something a few days after. The people closest to her will take care of her immediate needs. It was crazy who came out of the wood-work within minutes of finding out about my husband's injuries. But I will tell you, the support and love we received from strangers, from other wives and families, is what keeps my faith in humanity. Be a part of that for someone else if you're given the chance. There is a time and a place for anyone to say something kind and supportive, and there's no reason that adults shouldn't know theirs.

God bless them all.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Edit: WIA Notification.

In my attempt to be helpful to explain my own experiences with WIA notification, I neglected to focus on the positives. It was completely unnecessary of me not to mention the things that went correctly. If it sounds like I'm backtracking, I am. That was- for the first time- not written out of anger or frustration but to simply educate people on something that is not set in stone in the military.

Our command did everything they could have possibly done to ease the pain for myself and Aaron. As I described in my "angry post" about the person who did tell me about Aaron: Thankfully, it was someone who is kind, who knew me, and felt a whole lot of pain while doing it. That person was our commander. I considered it a given that I wasn't judging down-range command for the actions of the stateside rear-d, but I shouldn't take it for granted that everyone can detect that. It really twists my insides that another company's decisions could possibly make our company command look poor in any way. We did have a pre-deployment briefing on KIA/WIA notification from a casualty affairs officer. It was basic, but it gave me enough information to know that when the two ACU uniformed strangers came to my door, I knew what they were there for when they asked to come in.

Perhaps it is a learning lesson that people shouldn't judge anyone down range for what happens Stateside. I know I certainly don't. I know if our captain or first sergeant could have done anything to save my notification, they would have. If I already made this clear, then I'm reiterating. Also, I know the first sergeant was there in surgery when Aaron came in. He watched my husband go through all of that. That is yet another thing I hold dear in my heart. He and his wife came to visit on their R&R, when Aaron was still really bad off. I should have addressed any personal issues I had with anyone more privately before I talked about it publicly.

 I never had any intention of making our company look poor in any way. They couldn't have done anything differently or better, and I am completely satisfied with what contact we have received from them. I take it for granted that I obviously wasn't talking about any dissatisfaction with our company down-range. The mistake I made was not devoting the same amount of energy to detailing my happiness with them that I devoted to discussing my fury over the rear-d company. It's pretty negative of me to not spend energy on being positive. I'm working on it.

Spouses get angry at a lot of things all the time, and spout off about it. I have no issues talking about my notification because I haven't said anything that isn't true. If anyone involved has an issue with it, they can address it with me. Obviously, some people I truly care about felt that I was expressing myself with malcontent. I have begun to address this privately and now I am addressing it here. I'm not doing it just to save face. I mean every word: The 760th down range and plenty of their wives back home couldn't have done anything more than they did for me, Aaron, and our families.

I'm angry about a lot of things in this situation, and I come here to vent. It's a personal issue I've been working on for months to only focus on the positive, but when Aaron is hurting or not sleeping again, things start to stew inside of me. I still get mad about everything sometimes. It's easy to tell me (and I tell myself a ton, too) to just get over it. I have been well on my way with that for a while now, but because of my history of being mad it was probably pretty easy to read my notification post as yet another furious tirade. That's a history I wrote for myself and if I want to correct any preconceived notions people might have about why I say what I do, I'm going to have to write a new history for myself, aren't I?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

WIA Notification.

Please read my follow-up post to this matter by clicking on this line. 

is but a small blog with a few hundred (awesome) followers but I hope this information reaches those who need it most. As the text message heard around the Army world goes viral, it's time to talk. I don't have much to say about such a horrible KIA notification that hasn't already been said, other than that the soldier who blabbed to his wife and the command who didn't send a proper notification team immediately all deserve to be severely punished. OPSEC isn't just about those down range; it's also about the families back home.

What I can talk to you about is WIA notification. No matter where you are in the deployment, call your rear-d command and contact the down range commander and/or first sergeant about this right now. There are no hard and fast rules for this in the Army, and I don't think it would be uneducated of me to say that there probably aren't for any branch. It's really a command decision. Aaron being EOD meant that our small company didn't have a rear-d, but the at-home battalion company managed these things- an entirely separate company full of people I didn't know. This is not uncommon. Those people could not have done a worse job with my notification if they had tried, but I did receive something a lot of families don't get: a knock. While the person notifying me lied through his teeth about the severity of Aaron's injuries, and his commander told our entire FRG email list about the amputations before I ever found out, at least there was a face in front of me. Larger Army companies regularly do not do this, for whatever jacked-up inhumane reason. My neighbor got the news about her husband when a chaplain down range called her to let her know he had just prayed over her wounded soldier, and while her soldier had all of his limbs he did not know what was wrong with him. I really, truly wish I was joking when I say it took four hours after that for the rear-d command to finally tell her he was paralyzed. That said, your soldier might be the one to tell you of his injuries. If he needs surgery but it isn't life-threatening, you might not hear from him until afterwards. This is the best case scenario, and again a command decision on how long to wait if the wounded is capable of talking. Are we detecting a theme here yet? Command decision. Talk about it.

Regardless of how it's done, an official report must be released before anything can filter in from down range if your soldier isn't conscious and can't tell you, and especially if his wounds are life-threatening. This can be quick or it can take all day. It makes me positively sick to think that about the fact that Aaron's report was delayed because his mortality was in question when he entered surgery. This is a cold, hard fact.  Soldiers pass in surgery, or even during the flight to the Landstuhl hospital. This is a "big Army" issue and while it should be a little bit more refined at this point (ya think?!), we all know not to have that expectation.

Here's where it get tricky: who needs to be on-call when it happens, which means another spouse might have to/need to know shortly before you're notified. Should an FRG leader be privy to this information prior to notification? That entirely depends and again, it's a command decision. Wether it's a phone call or a knock, make sure that a chaplain and a care team can be at your house within minutes. Talk about this with your battle buddies and neighbors. I happened to be incredibly close with our FRG leader, and all I needed to say to her was, "I need you here now." She was there all day, and my very best friends filtered in not long afterwards. A mother with two kids, a pregnant woman, a working friend, and my neighbor all made sure I wasn't alone. Do not be alone. Have someone stay with you that night if family can't arrive sooner. Talk about this in depth with the important people. Talk to your spouse and any siblings on how to notify the family. I did not receive a lot of help from my notifier, nor did I know which parent to call first. I called Aaron's little brother, who conferenced called their father. I regret to this day having to tell him so hurriedly. "Adam, Aaron was hurt pretty badly and I don't know which of your parents to call first." That sucked and don't let it happen to you.

If things have gone relatively humanely at this point, the big Army is going to start blowing up your phone not long afterwards. Someone might read you the doctors' notes on your soldier's care and/or immediate surgery. This is hard, but at least it is facts and not speculation. I still stand by the fact that had I received a phone call instead of a knock I at least would have been told Aaron had lost his legs instead of some mamby-pamby bullshit about injury and not knowing what was wrong. Obviously, I will never forgive my notifier for what he did to me, Aaron's family, and mine.

Make sure the rear-d company can be there for you. If you need someone to get your family from the airport, ask for it. Send out an urgent message about pet care. The complete asshat who notified me also told me he "wasn't allowed" to help me, so my friends helped me collect my family from the airport- over an hour away, at nearly midnight. (I later did receive a lot of help in cleaning and closing up my apartment, along with turning in a lot of Aaron's borrowed and left-behind issued gear so we wouldn't get billed. This however was not because of the aforementioned asshat, but other command and good soldiers. So there is that and I am not ungrateful for it).

Find out your branch's policy on family traveling to Germany. The Army, from what I know, flies family over when the soldier has been bumped twice from transfer to the States, or it is known as fact that he need serious care in Germany for some indeterminate amount of time. I was told the worst thing imaginable: I would only go to Germany if Aaron wasn't going to make it. That was and is not true and it took about a dozen phone calls to calm me down after I received word that I would probably go to Germany. Big-Army transportation will not do shit to help you until it's official, so don't expect it. It can happen very fast and change in an instant. The State department will help you get a passport if you need it, but try to have this ready beforehand. Also, each Army soldier gets three family members. If it isn't the given spouse and two parents, talk about who goes. Be realistic- who can go, and who is going to be the most help. It might mean hurting feelings in the heat of the disaster going on and while that must be taken into consideration, do not be afraid to do what's best for you and your spouse. Talk about this with your spouse and his family, for the love of God and Jesus.

If your command is resistant to at least attempting to set a policy for this, keep pushing. Go higher if you have to. You, as a spouse, do not have a command and can call whomever you need to, but again- start from the bottom up. The bottom being, of course, the company commander and rear-d. Do not fry your soldier's reputation with the current company and don't be belligerent, but get this worked out by any reasonable means necessary. It is not a joke, and it can happen to your company. It most likely will happen to someone your husband works with. We are/were very lucky that our actual company command is run by compassionate folks who took every notification seriously and did what they could do from Afghanistan to make sure things were right. It is really a snag in the system that so much is left up to people whom you might not know at all. I know if by time-travel magic that anyone from our company could have been there, they would have.

It is hard to find a specific number, but the rough estimate of current war wounded is around 46,000. The number of Vietnam dead is 58,195. Soldiers are surviving wounds that would have killed them in the past. After over a decade of our current situations, one would think these issues could have been worked out by now. Unfortunately, it isn't the case and there is still a huge human factor in all of this. Some people might think I'm too unforgiving about my notification, but until you've been in my shoes don't judge me. Be reasonable, though- if you don't live near the duty station or are in a Guard/Reserve unit, things are obviously going to go a little differently but you still deserve a compassionate notification with the correct information.

Here's a few words to live by on sharing information about someone else's injured soldier: just wait. Just effing wait, okay? This goes for soldiers and spouses. Don't blow up her phone if you aren't close, don't post to facebook. I had people call me who I knew for a fact didn't like me. They just should have written me a nice email. Just give it a few days. I have posted about others' injuries, but I waited and made sure the family had shared it publicly first. Just because official notification has been made doesn't mean it's time to start tagging a soldier in your Facebook post. I call this "grief mongering" or "grief leaching". "Oh, look at me, I'm posting a prayer for the wounded! I'm calling him a hero. I'm such a good person!" No, you're just an asshole with nothing better to do with your time. Get a hobby. (But do at least write, eventually. It's incredibly rude not to, unless you and the spouse just abhor each other and you both know it).

This is truly the second worst nightmare of any soldier's family, especially when the wounds are eternally life changing. Do what you can to protect yourself from further trauma. Print this out and give it to command. Link it up. Paraphrase me, I don't care. Do not screw around about this. Had I actually found out by email (or text), I would have needed immediate medical care. It is only by the grace of God I did not look at that FRG email when I had the chance. Please do what you can so in case something horrible happens, you get what you deserve.

Next up: fertility and deployment: worth the debt to secure your future attempt at a family.

Lovingly your forced-to-do-it but doing-it-good local,

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Yeah, it's a party, alright!

I spent the afternoon with the warrior mom of the other unit-wounded soldier here. We had a yummy organic breakfast then went on to Fresh Market. On the car ride over, the subject matter of all the events we have here came up. There are a lot of events- from landmark trips, free Friday night dinners, luncheons, massages, hunting, kayaking, skiing, and so on. There are near-daily giveaways of various goodies, and every so often a celebrity comes up. Facebook active folks tend to post a lot about the good stuff, and maybe not so much about the bad stuff. If someone is narrow-minded and ignorant, one might think this is a party here and we're not focusing on recovery enough. I wish I were joking, but it's heat I think every wounded family here has experienced from (not so) well-meaning friends and family back home.

Oh yeah, it's a party. Let me tell you.

There are everyday challenges and set-backs but none of it is Facebook worthy. It's really hard to comprehend how anyone outside of this situation could judge anyone inside of it, but hey- it's been done before (but I quit talking about it). When faced with something like this, something that doesn't really ever get better except for learning how to live it, every chance to forget is an honest blessing. It's worth talking about and sharing, and if someone can control themselves enough to only share the good stuff, then good on them. That person has more control than I do.

There is one teeny, tiny little phrase which could change this world, and I wish more people thought about it. I wish people weren't so angry with themselves that judging other people wasn't such a priority. So anytime you find yourself thinking you could do it better, that your grief or action or support would be more articulate, or thoughtful, or not as drug out, just remember...

There but for the grace of God go I. 


Homecoming is looming and of course we're going; all the wounded currently in treatment are going. All I can think about right now is that I didn't get to hug Aaron for the first month he was in the hospital. His arms were very bandaged up and he was in the hospital bed. It took him getting into the electric wheelchair for me to get that hug. He stiffly wrapped his arms around my waist, and I could look him in the face as he did it. I immediately wept.

Must be nice to run into your soldier's arms after a long deployment.

I don't think I'll ever really be over it.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sigh. Again. Day Number... infinity.

My battle buddies came to town! Yesterday was full of yummy food, attempts at day drinking, and a lot of walking. Last night we all had a nice, long drink-y dinner. I had a bit of an anger meltdown and of course it was with the right people. These ladies are just want I needed to gain some perspective back. I've really come to a low point here lately (I'm sure it's just another rut, just another piece of the never-ending puzzle), and I feel a bit saved by my girls.

Aaron is really struggling with this new pain management medicine. I am beginning to think it's a load of shit. He does not sleep. It isn't sleep hygiene habits, it's simply that he's so uncomfortable all of the time. Two nights in a row he has gotten dressed and rolled downstairs to go outside, just to get some air. He has never had to do that before. I think he's having dreams, too- not necessarily bad ones, not really ones he's remembering, but something is screwing with him when he's asleep, too. He can be snoring away and wake so easily from what looks like a deep sleep. Something has got to change. When he doesn't sleep, I don't sleep, either. We're both zombies.

I need to get into some kickboxing, I think. I try to be all zen about this, but I'm perhaps discounting the "get mad" way of dealing with it, too. I've obviously got some issues I need to work out.

This just sucks. His legs aren't coming back (go figure). His hands won't magically start working like they did before. We're going to have two steps forward and three back lulls in recovery, and we're going to be here a good long while. There's no real getting better has much as there is getting used to it. Adapt or die, right? My little motto. I don't know how much it's helping lately.

Something went horribly, horribly wrong about five months ago and it isn't getting better. I'm not ungrateful for what we have, I'm just really pissed at how this all turned out. I didn't want to have a special deployment. I want to take it all back and have an ordinary deployment, for the love of gods. Aaron really hurt my feelings a lot arguing about money over Gchat, and I'd go back to that in a heartbeat. It sucks that so few Americans have to deploy to keep the rest of the country safe and that in and of itself makes deployment special in American society. But for military society, it isn't special; I've said it before and I'll say it again. It's hard, it sucks, you do it. Mental problems, PTSD, TBI are very real injures so that, too, makes deployment special. But usually- and just that, usually- everyone coems back relatively okay and you move on.

 Marital issues aren't hard for me because either you do what it takes to work it out or you decide that it's best to move on. I have little patience for people who allow their spouses to treat them poorly because it isn't that hard. Get counseling or don't. Figure it out or not. But if you have a "regular" experience and everyone tries to work it back out, you've got more than anyone here at the hospital has. So I suppose what I'm saying is that life isn't all that hard on a day-to-day basis. We make it hard. I'm sure I'm making this harder than it needs to be, but that's the fun human factor in all of this.

There is no structure or beauty to this post. I am a much better writer than this and I promise, at some point in the near-ish future, I will return to that. I hang on to the beauty that is my husband, friends, and family with all I have because well, it's all I've got lately.

I'll get better at this. I'll get good at it, and own it, and be happy all the time again and okay that Aaron's missing legs and fingers. I am the warrior wife. I'm just going to pack up my weapons and sulk in the tent on the edge of the battlefield for a bit. I'll come back out fighting soon enough (probably after homecoming, which is whole other ball of mental goodness...)

Friday, February 17, 2012

A bit of everything.

Aaron's mother has been here all week, feeding us and keeping things running while I have immersed myself in schoolwork and other projects. It's been pretty nice to live like a kid again.

Speaking of schoolwork, learning at 30 is not easy. There is a very good reason people knock this college mess out before 25. I seem to be doing okay, and only one of my classes concerns me. It has taken me about three weeks to figure out a schedule that doesn't involve hitting "enter" five minutes before midnight. I might just pull this off.

Aaron came off all his nerve and pain meds last week and started Suboxone. It's an alternative use of the drug, and apparently once the transition is over everything should be ponies and rainbows. I, of course, am holding out my judgement. I am not sure there are any ponies and and rainbows left for me here, but I am not going to kill them all off just yet. Maybe they just wandered away for a bit, or found new owners.

I'm feeling better. Emotionally and physically. I think I've entered into some acceptance of this place and circumstance. We're here, we're definitely going to be here for awhile, and I need to get over it. Aaron's recovery has hit a lull and we're both feeling it. This is going to be a long, long process with a lot of slow parts and even steps backwards. We just have to laugh while we can, and enjoy the good parts. Nothing like a little amputee humor to get you through the day.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Love Vomit Cuteness Day!

Love Conquers All. Throughout the past five months I have grown only closer to Aaron. Deployment kicked our asses and we were going to need some help when he returned. Instead, we got what we got, but we've turned it into something beautiful. At less than 2 years in, before kids, a house, and all the other ordinary things life brings, I know where we stand. I know what we can do. I know that we're limitless. So, not just today (greeting card day that it is), but everyday- I'm a hell of a happy woman.

A lot of things have gone wrong in my life, or I've taken the long and stubborn way "home". But this man and this life, I got this 110% right. I wouldn't turn back for the world.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Take it back.

The other night I found myself in bed, cuddled tight against Aaron, begging the creator of the universe to take it all back. I want the past five months to disappear. I want him to have his legs and fingers back. I want the scars to vanish. I want him whole, and still in Afghanistan. I want to be at Fort Drum, preparing for his homecoming. I want it all to go back where it came from, and we can pretend the whole thing didn't happen. I'll even make a deal for it.

Five months. I don't even know where it went. We're been here almost as long as he was deployed. Recovering, adjusting. I had a mini-meltdown today because yet again, a doctor's appointment ran long and I had to miss something I had been really excited about- a 90 minute hot stone massage, gifted by The Yellow Ribbon Fund. Nine o'clock came and went, with me feeling stupid for even thinking I could accomplish that appointment. I should know better by now. If Aaron has any appointments, I shouldn't try to do a thing within 3 hours of that time. His mom is even here helping out this week, and I still missed something.

I can't even begin to wonder where this road is going to take us. I'm feeling frustrated with the whole situation lately, but then again I've been on a steroid pack so who knows where all of these feelings are coming from or if they're even valid. I just want things to go smoothly at some point. Everything from a broken soda machine (which the front desk duty troops don't care about) to craptastic internet to showers that flood and the lack of a wheelchair ramp in the parking lot. Just everything. I hope it passes soon, and I go back to the land of "everything's great". Well, almost everything.

I just want to take it all back and return to being a normal couple. Deploy, come home- most military families get to experience that cycle, yet we didn't even go through it once. I am beginning to feel that deployment isn't anything special. It's special in the grand scheme of our country, but not for the military family culture. It sucks, it's hard, we get through it and they come home. I'm not going to ever think that deployment is the worst thing to go through. If that's the hardest circumstance you face in your married life, then good on you.

I'll get over it. It just isn't always easy to only see the bright side.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Today was... well, today!

The Wounded EOD Warrior Foundation had its annual polar bear plunge this morning. I'll never be able to unsee grown men in Hooters outfits, speedos, tutus, and penguin outfits. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here it is... speechless.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Still here.

Nothing like paying $260 out-of-pocket to see an orthopedist PA, but it was worth it. I'm taking steroids to try and calm the nerve down. I will also seek massage and acupuncture care next week. I'm sending in my application for US Family Health Plans so I can start receiving a different kind of care on March 1. I know there are just as many bad civie doctors as there on at MTFs, but I'll take my chances. I hope I never have another reason to be treated at this hospital ever again. Aaron got so mad he managed to get his hands on a "patient resolution" person. We'll see. I frankly don't think things can change around here. It is what it is and all we can do is take care of ourselves. I feel blessed and lucky that I could afford to pay for decent care when I needed it, instead of entering the PCM-referral process that we all know and love.

I'm not knocking TriCare as a whole. I've seen it work. But it didn't work for me, and the TriCare standard in this hospital is "get them out as quickly as possible". Throw meds at me, watch me sob in pain, but don't dare try to figure out why I'm actually hurting. Assholes.

I know it's my choice to seek outside care and deal with those potential (financial) consequences, so I'm not even going to bitch about taking that on. Emergent care at Bethesda initally failed me and I had no other choice but to go to another ER. Try and make me pay for that ER visit.

I don't eve know what non-spouse caregivers do for medical care. I guess you just hope it's nothing serious and the noncommittal attitude of the hospital doesn't actually hurt you. It's just like the lump of asphalt in the parking lot, in lieu of an actual wheelchair ramp- it works until someone gets really hurt. Then all of a sudden, it's priority and no one knew.

As for right now, I think something is up with the ovarian cyst. We'll see. I'll pop some pain meds and get a ride to Sibley. NOT going back into Bethesda ER, that's for sure.

I wander if I could do an ICE complaint drive in the lobby? Hmm.....

Until the next time, I am still the (slightly injured and still pissed off)-

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Update on me.

 Well, I have all I needed to know to change my health care option from TriCare to off-post. It all began yesterday.

I was overall pretty disturbed that the gynecologist wasn't interested in an ultrasound/sonogram with any expediency. She could tell me it was a large cyst but didn't want to know what kind or the size. I was told to make an ultrasound appointment through radiology, and if I went off post I needed to make sure she got the results. After the ultrasound, I could schedule another appointment with her office, so I'm looking at about a week to get everything to a point so it could be worked out. She prescribed me birth control and Flexeril, but only after I asked for pain medication. Motrin 800 (ranger candy) had not been cutting it for a few days. My back was hurting more than it ever had before. Also, an intern examined me first. He didn't even tell me he was an intern until he came back with the doc and nurse. It was like a party in my vagina, I guess, since he didn't know what he found (the cyst) and the doc needed to get a feel. And the nurse was looking over their shoulders the whole time. Weird but okay. I would've said yes if they had just asked!

I decided to go into the ER because the back pain (in the sciatic nerve area on the right side, same side as the cyst) had reached an unbearable point. I didn't know if it was from the cyst or something entirely different. I suspected it was something different, but without any knowledge on the cyst or the back pain a conclusion couldn't be made. I had to leave the ER after checking in to go get Aaron, since they didn't have a hospital phone book to look up the rehab desk number. Cell phones do not work in most of the hospital, especially the rehab area, so I knew it was fruitless to call him. Walking was utterly painful at this point.

I was triaged in the ER; blood pressure, temperature, and weight all accounted for. I then went back to a room and waited. And waited. Eventually, a "doctor" came in. I say this because i don't know if she was a med student or an actual doctor. This is a teaching hospital, so it's hard to tell. Anyway, she started asking me the exact same questions the triage nurse had. I asked her if she had my chart. She said yes, but that she liked to be thorough. I told her all my answers were the same since nothing had changed within the past hour. She then asked me a few questions about my leg, lifted it, asked more questions and then left. I had told her about the preliminary cyst diagnosis and lack of ultrasound. At this point, I WAS in tears. The pain was just awful. She told me that there won't be any tests run since it was clear to her my cyst had not ruptured. The back pain wasn't even addressed, probably because she was attributing it to the cyst. She offered intravenous medication but at that point I just wanted to leave. No one was going to make any attempt to find out just exactly what was wrong with me, and I was over it. She asked what medication I wanted and I told her I didn't care. Narcotics make me nauseous as all hell but I was in pain. She called in Tramadol to the pharmacy and that was that for the ER. No referral about the back pain, just told to follow-up with my primary. The ER does not act treat illness, but is only interested in pain management with medicine. Got it.

I was so upset at this point and I didn't know what to do. The appointment hotline was always busy and I didn't even know who my primary doctor was. I had not not needed medical care before, other than ER trip for a migraine (in which I was way over medicated, but no surprise there). A family member took me to a local civilian hospital (Sibley). I was put on a stretcher and told to relax. The doctor came in and ordered an ultrasound/sonogram and X-rays. The sonogram and ultrasound showed a hemorrhagic ovarian cyst, 4.5cm by 3.3cm. Anything over 5cm is an actual concern for torsion. I was referred to a gyno, and given stronger pain meds. The X-rays came back clean, meaning that I needed an MRI to find out what was wrong with my back. That couldn't be done there on an emergency basis, but I was referred to an orthopedist, as well. My cousin is a radiologist doc and is willing to help me out with whatever he can, too. Thank God.

I went to the good- no, great- gyno in question today, armed with the report and ultrasound disc. He confirmed the finding and we talked about what the plain of action should be. We also discussed the back pain, which he (and the Sibley ER doc) believes is a different issue, and then sent me to a very good orthopedist. I go see that office tomorrow.

I just don't understand how the gynecologist nor the ER doctor could just pass on trying to figure out what was really wrong with me. I made it pretty clear how much pain I was in and what type. It was just washed up to "cyst pain" but nothing was really getting done about that, either. I also find it hard to believe that a gyno's office doesn't have ultrasound machine and tech on hand. It was so disheartening and frustrating to feel as though no one was interested in figuring out what was going on. I have a husband to take care of, a wheelchair to lift, a household to tend to- and I need to do this without all of this unbearable pain.

The hospital here might be okay for other people, or maybe I'm a fluke (probably not). I don't know. We all know the statistics of military care, though. I really tried to appreciate the TriCare here at the hospital, I did. But they failed me at every turn. I'm changing to US Family Health Plan (John Hopkins for this region) tomorrow and not looking back.

Thanks for listening. Hope you're all well.

Monday, February 6, 2012


I finally went to the gynecologist today because I thought I had an infection. The good news is that I most likely don't.

The bad news is that I have what seems to be a huge cyst on my right ovary, which is causing me to have some pretty-near excruciating back pain. I started to cry when the doctor told me I couldn't exercise much or make sudden movements. I am going to take a wild guess here and conclude that lifting a wheelchair counts as something I shouldn't be doing. I'm not going in for an ultrasound until Friday (yay for TriCare, bad for taking so long) and frankly I don't know what the course of action is going to be. I was given birth control pills but that's about it.

I know that the pain can't get much worse without me melting down and pitching a toddler sized fit. My back hurts. I am taking Motrin and Flexeril for it, but it honestly doesn't do much good. I can't decide between walking or sitting being the most problematic. Help is on the way this weekend; I just don't know what to do until then. This pain has been building for about tow weeks now. We'll see how it goes.

This is exactly what I don't need. I don't even know how to cope without bursting into tears. I'm here to help my husband, and now I can't do as well as I need to be doing. This just sucks.

Start of my day.

I see the sky lighten up over the tower at Bethesda. I can peek out one of two windows at night and catch the MEDEVAC helicopters roaring in with a life in danger.

And I can hear him sleep. His body tries so hard to rest, but it has yet to be consistently fruitful. He snores, turns, and slides his arm onto me. It isn't until the day is about to begin that he finally reaches some type of meaningful slumber. He steals a few hours before I open the curtains and take the covers away. If I could, I would let him slumber all morning so he could feel better in the afternoon.

But he still holds me tightly, every morning, and fights his groggy mind to tell me sweet things or give me something funny. And I'll take it, every time.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Worried Mind.

"And the verdict comes from those with nothing else to do.
The jury's out, but my choice is you.
So don't you worry your pretty little mind
People throw rocks at things that shine.
And life makes love look hard-
The stakes are high, the water's rough, but this love is ours."

My husband is amazing. I know this is what he was trying to tell me about a month ago, when nastiness reared its ugly head. People are always going to try and bring you down, no matter what it is you're doing well. Someone is always going to perversely jealous of your situation, albeit how effed up it really is. 

We will sunshine our way out of this. And I have to think that of course people would be jealous of what I have with Aaron. We have by far one of the best marriages I've ever seen!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

On Occasion...

This is a lot.
It can be too much.
And I admit I wasn't ready for it.
But I've done it, and done it good and proud for nearly 5 months now. I added school to it, with the support of my husband.
But then he had hand surgery.
And the laundry piled up. And the unanswered emails. Throw in everything. My poor husband has learned to dread, "I'll take care of it", because he knows it means I am frustrated. My list is too long for the next three tomorrows and there is still stuff to do on each of those days.

I read the trials of mothers and I feel like I can truly relate.

I just want to know I have all the time in the world to take care of it all, to actually take care of it, and maybe get a little help while doing it. Then I can have more time to be romantic with my husband, more than "on occasion". I want to be lovey, and cuddle, and all of that. But I sit down, zapped already, and read some more. Or zone out. Or anything else but be lovey.

It's just a lot, on occasion.

Today was one of those days.