Friday, August 24, 2012

Another surgery, another day.

Aaron had a minor hand surgery today. His right ring finger has been bent since he was injured; it began at a 90 degree angle but was corrected a little bit over the past 11 months. Hopefully, this surgery straightened it out more and will prove to be a little more functional than it has been. Even if it doesn't do anything, the finger straightening out is better than how it was.

We began before 5am. I thought about early mornings while we walked over in the dark to the hospital. Early mornings when he would kiss me as he left for work. All the early mornings last year when I slept on the cot in the hospital room with Aaron, always feeling tired. I was desperate for sleep for months.

But the most significant parts of our new story don't involve early mornings. When Aaron got on the bus to fly away to Afghanistan it was nearly nine o'clock at night. When people came to tell me he was hurt, it was nearly afternoon. Every other early morning was a product of that day, and the life we had to lead to get this far.

He's walking more each day- nearly half a mile. He might earn his knees sometime before the end of the year. Today was easy. He wasn't even put under general anesthesia this time- all the work-up took longer than the surgery. I was more distressed by the lack of recliners in the surgical waiting room than the outcome of the operation.

But it is often still exhausting. We don't often sleep very well, but our bodies have adjusted. Yesterday, we heard about some crazy directive that our company does not feel that physical therapy is an appointment and is no longer an "excuse" to miss Friday formation. I can assure you, as long as the "big Army" is involved, we will all have reasons to cuss up a storm. There isn't a single formation more important than Aaron going to physical therapy. His service to his country now is recovering from the wounds he received fighting a war he never questioned, even when so many of us did.

His Alive Day (September 7th) is drawing near. His parents, younger brother and wife, and older brother's wife and their daughter are coming. Despite being the anniversary of his maternal grandmother's death (which is terrible for Aaron's mother, I swear) September 7th will be a joyful occasion.

Life goes on. And we're getting there.

P.S. My counselor had to take another job and I am so sad she's leaving, but I suppose it will be a testament of our work together how well I do when she goes.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Magical Uterus.

People, it has taken me days to collect a coherent thought on Todd Akin's comments about women being about to "shut the whole thing down" in terms of unwanted pregnancy from "legitimate rape."

Do what now?

It isn't even that he believes abortion should be completely illegal (although he doesn't seem to have a plan to house, feed, and properly educate all of these dependent humans because the main issue is that women should only have sex when they want kids or else they are all whores for not planning their children and it's their problem now). I am fine with people who are against abortion. I know many, and we all have our reasons for what we believe.

But no one I know- not one single person- believes women are magical and can "shut the whole thing down." I do not know anyone who thinks women have any control over their uteruses. I only know mostly intelligent humans, and even my most ardent pro-life supporting friends know pregnancy can happen any time sperm is involved, and a lot of that time it's unwanted. Especially in cases of rape. You know, because they aren't complete wackadoodles like Akin.

But did I miss something? Does my uterus have magical powers I am not using? Have I really been spending good money on various forms of birth control for over a decade when all I really had to do was not want to get pregnant bad enough that I "shut the whole thing down?" Did my mom not tell me something? I mean, I learned about sex. I learned about my period. I even learned about the zygote/embryo/fetus formation of the egg and sperm mess. But somehow, in all that science, I missed out on the ability to not get pregnant just by not wanting it enough?! I want a fucking refund, folks. My uterus isn't magical at all, unless you count the ability to be totally inconsistent for the past 15 years a special ability, and causing me a whole ton of grief. It's like opposite day up in my uterus. WHERE ARE ALL THE MAGICAL UTERUSES AND WHY DON'T I HAVE ONE?! Anyone else?!

Seriously though, that comment made me want to take a nap. Stupid old men and their stupid old opinions on something they clearly know nothing about and which doesn't affect them in any way. But that's another thought for another day. Mine are all used up on trying to tell my uterus she has been very bad and I want her to start acting magically right now.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Keeper of the Flame and other stuff.

I don't mind that I blog when I'm angry or otherwise raging, but I do not like to leave it up. Most of my life is pretty great, so I try to blog about the good stuff, too.

Yesterday Aaron and I went to Fort Lee to visit Phase 1 of of EOD school and it's staff. It was a wonderful trip with some of the most welcoming people we've ever experienced. The man in charge, Col. Daly, also had a surprise for us. Not only did we get some banging goody bags, but also two very special awards. Aaron was given the Samuel L. Sharpe award for being amazing in his servie to the Ordnance Corps, and then I was given the Keeper of the Flame award for my service to Aaron (you can read about it under the Sharpe award description). It felt so nice to have my own certificate and acknowledgment.

I could be humble about it, but in honor of all warrior caregivers, I won't be. We are this amazing and we all deserve our own awards. Sure, we feel that we are just doing what needs to be done, but so many don't. So many just let their soldier flounder, or they leave altogether. The most incredible people I've ever met are warrior caregivers: siblings, parents, and spouses. It is harder than you ever could imagine. Some days it feels insurmountable but I succeed anyway. Even the kids of these warriors are great. They might have to grow up quicker because of it, but they handle it pretty well.

I smiled pretty big for our photographs yesterday.

In less-awesome news, Aaron and I are looking at another leg surgery. I asked my therapist to "shoot me in the face" to show my enthusiasm for spending more time off legs. However, it is mostly cosmetic and just on one nub (the right lump of nub). He basically needs a "tummy tuck" and a scar revision. It looks like a mouth right now and has bled where the crevice is. No good. It just feels so wrong to be where we are when so many people have come in after us and passed us. I know, I know, we do good work. But we want to be doing the kind of work that gets us out of here. We're getting there, and we're pretty upbeat about his progress lately so I know we'll weather it well. It still sucks.

I hope you all had great weeks and are going to have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I just get so angry when people constantly perpetuate the spread of complete and total spin. They take "news" from propaganda sites as fact, don't do a single search on the internet, and then spread it around like the Good Word. It's revolting.

But even worse is that people aren't thinking about our troops anymore. President Obama brought our troops home from Iraq and I trust him to bring the troops home from Afghanistan in 2014. We are not a safer country because we are there. The world is not a safer place because we are there. Afghanistan doesn't want itself, why do we want it for them? It doesn't do us any good to be there, not one little bit. Mitt Romney wants to rely on military leadership only, and as we all know leadership isn't always hot. For some, war is a business and without business a lot of people would be out of a job. I don't trust some general to not take into consideration his livelihood, which might well depend on war. Some leaders are good at taking in calculated loss: sorry about your husband, it's just part of the cause. Thank you for your service.

No, I don't trust it and no one else should, either. Yes, that's judgmental. But until you've stood in my shoes, you don't know. You don't know the cost of freedom. The only ones who know better than me are the ones who lost their loved one, and that is a hell I thank God every day that I don't know about. I just want to scream. People just don't really care, do they? They just don't really get it.

It is only because of our nation's choices that my husband and I are here. I don't think the world is a safer place because of the price he paid. In fact, the world lost something that day. We lost an incredible EOD tech, a soldier committed to his job, someone willing to fight and not question those who told him to go. He's a far better human than me. He tells me he hasn't a single regret, that he'd do it all again in a heartbeat. God, he's amazing.

 I'm angry about this war. It's personal. It's personal for anyone who has to go through a deployment, but that's not the worst. It gets worse. Oh, a deployment would be heaven compared to this. I have him everyday, and he is safe now. But I'd give anything to go back to the life that's gone, that burned up.

No one should live this life. Not another person. It's hell, it's not worth it, and it makes me angry that more soldiers are deployed every week for a cause that doesn't actually make us a safer country. This life costs too much. They all just need to come home. That's all that matters to me right now.

Thank you for sticking with me if you've made it this far. I'm ranting, I'm angry, I'm bitter. Pardon the progress, ya know?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Politics and Celebrities.

I always have an opinion and I am not afraid to share it, especially about politics. After Aaron got hurt, however, I cared less. I still do. I got sick of hearing about religion, government, who was concerned for troops and who wasn't. What does it mean to really be an American? For me, people who pay taxes (including sales tax when they purchase things), pay their civil fines, obey laws, and want to bring our troops home are real Americans. Religion doesn't matter, party doesn't matter. It is all so polarizing. There are a few other issues I care about politically, but nothing else concerning how patriotic someone is. It's all about good citizenship! And honoring our Constitution, of course- which says nothing of what religion an American can be to be considered worthy. Or whatever. Racism/classism/denying other Americans their rights because they aren't white, straight, and middle class/religious judgment suck. All the time.

With Mitt Romney announcing his running mate, my brain overloaded. I can't handle it anymore without getting really angry about what people think is appropriate and best for our nation. I've decided to quit commenting politically, and each time I feel the urge I am going to update about celebrity drama instead. So today, I really wanted to talk about certain politicians who voted to keep soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan longer than already planned (which is so unAmerican it isn't funny), I commented on Miley Cyrus's daring and sassy new short hair cut. I am going to go for a record here on unimportant status updates. I just can't be serious about politicians and politics anymore. It hurts too much, but discussing Jennifer Anniston's engagement isn't painful at all!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Beautifully Terrible Year.

Tomorrow, I am 30 years old. Actually, not until about 10:30pm. But tomorrow is my day. I even went to David's Bridal and bought a sparkly headband. I thought I'd end up with a tiara, but the headband can be worn again. An epic dress was purchased weeks ago. My hair has been dyed back red and cut into something cute and shaggy.

This past year has been something else, most of which I would like not to repeat ever, ever again. But also, it's been incredible. I have helped nurse my husband back to health. I have experienced paralyzing anxiety and am learning to overcome it. I went from "the unlikely wife" to the warrior one, the woman leading the charge to make sure Aaron got the best. My marriage has gone places most will never know- wonderful, deep, and heartbreakingly perfect places. I have experienced real altruism, true charity from so many complete strangers I can never say thank you enough. These people have restored my faith in humanity. I learned who my friends are. When Aaron got hurt, I was immediately surrounded in love. And while some of those initial friendships from Drum have suffered, I will always hold my time there and those that were there for me close to my heart. Nothing can taint that.

I started school again, took too many classes, and have at last learned to pace myself. Aaron and I have an idea of when we would like to start a family (it's a ways off, but it's still nice to still have that hope for the future). My dogs have been very well taken care of on a horse farm nearby. We have made new friends and family which I honestly feel like we will never not know.

I got to know my-laws and we have a fantastic relationship, mostly because we lived at this hospital together for over 3 months. I know my husband's brothers and their families better than most people know their in-laws. Those relationships are beautiful. I have also grown more attached to my family, at times desperately wanting a piece of me around. I can't say I ever felt this way before the accident.

So many things. So, so many things. This has been an incredible journey. Had the mess and horror of September 7th not happened, I would probably be blogging about my 20s and everything I've learned since my last decade birthday. That seems pretty trite now, though. I lived on my own, moved around, worked too much for too little, had my heart broken, broke a few myself, but ultimately my 20s weren't terribly unique. Towards the end I hung out with amazing people and got married. That's about the only part that matters. Everything else was just the normal growing-up most people go through in their 20s. From the utter nightmare of Aaron nearly dying and losing his legs, having the hopes of conceiving "normally" dashed, and all the other complete shit has come the most beautiful moments of my entire life. I have experienced total joy in the simplest, smallest events. These are the things from my 20s that matter most.

So tomorrow I am 30. Next month is Aaron's one-year Alive Day. We are wrapping up an eventful, terrible, lucky, blessed, beautiful, tragic year in style. My parents and best friend arrive today and Aaron has planned surprises for me tomorrow. This is all about The Happy, and nothing can bring me down (not even the not-funny but not-real bomb threat called into the hospital yesterday).