On this Thanksgiving Eve and Derek's Four Month Alive Day, I want to say I am so thankful for the medical staff at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Bethesda. Thanks to all of them, Derek is alive and well and getting his first pass tomorrow. Thanks to the genuine caring from the staff, Derek is progressing in leaps and bounds.
Four months into this journey, I am amazed at Derek's progress. In the beginning, I did not think that we would still be inpatient at this point, but looking at the gravity of Derek's injuries, I am simply thankful that he has come so far.
I am also so thankful for family. My sister, brother-in-law, father, nephews and children made the trip down on one of the busiest travel days of the year to spend Thanksgiving as a family. Thirteen of us took over the Family Waiting Room on the fourth floor. Derek was in his glory. He was surrounded by so much love - the people who love him the most in this world, and the look on his face showed it.
We were nervous with AJ (age 10) and Eric (age 12) seeing their cousin for the first time after his accident, but they handled it so great. Derek greeted them with, "Hi! I have no legs!" He then whipped out his stump and waived it at them. He gave both boys a ride on his wheelchair, and they quickly realized that he was the same old Derek, just without legs.
There is nothing better than family. Family supports you no matter what. Family doesn't make excuses. Nothing will stop family from being by your side when you really need them. The love surrounding Derek tonight was truly heartwarming.
I am also thankful for the Yellow Ribbon Fund for getting my sister and her family a room for the weekend. My sister and brother-in-law have come to visit Derek so many times and never asked for a thing. They take care of my children for me, and do so much more for us. They have spent money for gasoline for the drive down from New Jersey and for food while they are here, and for food for my children at home. I have been able to put them up with me when they come, but this time, there is just not enough room with the rest of the family here (my kids - Michael, Kellina, Ryan and Sean, as well as my Dad!). So, I asked the SFAC if there was anything that could be done. They came through with a room for them. Thank you, YRF!!
Yvette and Brian also brought Jersey bagels for the staff! They are the best around and cannot compare to what they call "bagels" around here. Dr. Diego has been hassling me for the bagels all week! I bought him a bagel from Dunkin Donuts this morning, and I was going to give that to him, but I left it at the Matc. I told him about it though, and he said that was really mean of me. I have two everything bagels sitting in Derek's room for him when he comes in tomorrow.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. My hearts and prayers are with all serving overseas or who could not get leave to be with their loved ones this Thanksgiving, including the wonderful medical staff working for all of our wounded warriors.
Yes, I know there are also other medical personnel, policemen, firemen, etc. who have to work tomorrow, and they have noble professions, too. Brian is a cop and often has to work holidays, and we miss him when he has to work. Also, there are people working tomorrow so we can enjoy a meal out with Derek on his first pass. So, thank you to everyone working on Thanksgiving, but at least you get to go home to your family at the end of the day, or at least I hope you do. Our servicemen and women do not.
Please keep our military in mind this holiday season and always. May God keep them safe until they are home with their loved ones.
God bless you. Happy Thanksgiving.