Thursday, December 15, 2011

Going from 0 to 60

Warning.  Sort of an odd entry tonight.  I'm out of it.  Severe migraine.  Not thinking clear.

I have two normal speeds.  0 and 60.  Sometimes I hit 120.  Some think that is a problem.  Maybe it is.  It works.  It has gotten me far in my career.  It has gotten me far in helping Derek in this situation when he needs me to fight for him.  It has gotten me far when my kids need me.

I've been this way my whole life and I think I will keep it.  I'm too old to worry about changing now.  It is hard for me to just veg.  I try.  I really do.  But I can't.  So, it is easy to tell when something is wrong or when something is bothering me.... it is when I am quiet.

The last three days I have had a severe migraine.  The worst I have ever had. A band of midgits are on duty with ice picks trying to work their way out of my skull.  Just moving my head caused a sharp pain in my neck and through the right side of my head.  Ugh.  I usually do not miss Derek's Matc sessions for anything, except if there is a really good reason.  The last two days, I was physically unable to go.  So, today, during Operation Ward 57's Christmas Party on 4 Center, Dr. Kim told HM3 Jason Young that she would not give Derek a pass tomorrow night if I did not go get it taken care of, so HM Young called the Warrior Clinic and got me in.  The problem is that they usually only refill what the caregivers have been taking, but he hooked me up.  I was evaluated and given something that hopefully will work this time.  We will see.  I do not like taking narcotics, and that's good because they do not like giving narcotics, but I got something that will hopefully get this under control.  I have to go back next week for a re-eval.

I was also given my first acupuncture treatment.  I keep thinking I will take a drink and it will come out my ear and the top of my head!  The pins in my feet and left hand hurt!  Overall, it wasn't too bad.  I cannot say that it helped, but then, I cannot say that I was relaxed during the treatment. 

Coming back from the Warrior Clinic, I ran into my favorite resident at the moment ... I've had three faves (Obi, Ben and now Diego  they are tied overall).  We chatted for a while.  He always chats with his "Mama McConnell" and gives me a big hug.  Why he won't simply call me by my name I don't know.  I'm not that old.  I'm beginning to get a complex.  Sob!

When I told him about the new blog site he asked for it, so I said I would say something derogatory about him on it tonight.....  let's see.....  what should it be?  He's a brat?  Yes.  That's true.  Oh geeze.  I can't think of anything.  He annoys me!  I love that kid.  Even though Derek is not technically on his service any more he still comes to check on him.  Derek has had the three best residents on the trauma service.  Obi, Ben and Diego.   

Bottom line.  Overall the medical staff at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda is phenomenal.  Of course, there are some exceptions, such as Dr. Random, Dr. Doom, Dr. Hand Pain in the Ass, Dr. Mickeymouseowich, and various nurses with whom we have had issues, but there are always personality conflicts and those who do not make the grade.  For the most part, we are more than satisfied.  I told Diego tonight that I would say something derogatory about him and I guess..... OKAY!!!  I just thought of something!!!  His A&M hat is ugly.  I don't really think so but Derek does, so there you go.  There is his derogatory comment.  It's not much but I love that kid, so I cannot think of anything else right now, even though he did yell at me.

Derek had a rocking session in the Matc today.  I didn't make it but Krystina told me.  She said he got on his stomach, balanced on his side while Krystina tickled him, got in and out of his chair by himself and did ten lb weights on his leg.  That is awesome!

When he got back, the Battalion Commander was visiting while on leave from Afghanistan along with Master Sgt VanGorder from the Rear D from Fort Drum.  Always nice to see him, even though he annoys me to take care of myself.  I do.  Sometimes.  The Commander was amazed by how good Derek looked.  The last time he saw Derek was when he was in Khandahar.  He looks so much better. At that time, they did not expect him to live.  Now look at him.

Tonight, Krystina and I left a little early so that we could get some rest for tomorrow.  She has a cold, I have a migraine, and tomorrow night we are going to dinner at the British Embassy.  We need to be rested and feeling good.

Yes, there are benefits to this. But before discussing the benefits, let's look at what we do.  We are up at 0600 on average each day.  Sometimes we sleep until 0900 on a "late" day.  We spend the day sitting in an uncomfortable chair in a hospital room while assisting with PT and OT several times a day.  We order meals, assist with the service of those meals, assist with bathing and toileting, make sure that medications are correct, talk to doctors, interact with nurses, deal with medical personnel, deal with morons, deal with the masses that frequent the rooms on a daily basis, etc.  The day is busy and stressful and does not stop.  We are on the go from 0700 until 2200.  When we get back at night, we have to cook for ourselves most times, do our laundry as well as Derek's laundry, clean our room, because the Fisher House does not have daily maid service, etc.

Now, what are some of the benefits? The Yellow Ribbon Fund will arrange spa days and massages periodically.  Those massages are 90 minutes once every month, IF you take advantage.  We have taken advantage only once since we arrived.  They also offer manicures and pedicures, for which we went once.

Other advantages are weekly dinners from nonprofits, such as Marine Moms, Armed Services, Operation Ward 57, etc. who come to the hospital and serve you on the floor.  The food is sometimes home made, sometimes California Tortilla, sometimes Boston Market, sometimes Wendy's.  It's very nice of them and very much appreciated.  There are also weekly dinners by the Aleethia Organization off campus at places like the British Embassy, Austrailian Embassy, Press Club, etc.  The Wounded Warriors are invited and have to have a pass to attend.  They are extra special.

Other advantages are the special visitors like the celebreties, four star generals, etc.  Yes, it is very nice to meet these people.

Other advantages are invitations to red carpet tours of places such as the White House, the Pentagon, etc.

While all of that is nice, look what we had to go through to get it?  I would rather be back in my own little life, not knowing anything about any of this.  I would rather have never met Montel Williams or anyone else.

Look at all of the stress that we have to deal with in order to get these "benefits."  I'm sorry.  I would rather pass.  I would rather have my old job, my old life, my old "stress."  I always went from 0 to 60, but now I have a new reason.

Tomorrow, Derek will be in the Matc at 10 for OT and PT and then resting for a trip to the British Embassy tomorrow night.  And hopefully, we will be meeting with a new hand surgeon tomorrow!

Have a great Friday!  Climb to glory!


  1. Migraines are the worse. I hope your goes away soon and you feel better soon. I am go glad that Derek is doing so well. He is such an inspiration to many who has kept up with the journey he has been on. I will be leaving next week to go to my son's homecoming. I am so thankful that his is coming home safe once again. Have a blessed day!

  2. Siobhan - as I was reading - I was thinking - I bet a million bucks that she would do anything to not have those special things... I am sure you would rather not have the privilege of a dinner at an Embassy or meeting the President... I bet you would give it all up in a minute to go back to the beginning of July and have things happen just a little differently... But since it did happen and Derek is where is he - fighting the battle that he is... then those things are the least of what can be offered to all of you... enjoy them as best you can... and keep fighting the fight with Derek and Kristina... you are all amazing and inspirational reading your updates... it keeps things in perspective!

  3. You are right. Actually, I think I said that. I would much rather have my old "boring" life back. The "boring" stress. The regular worries. Because I still have all of those regular problems about paying bills, taking care of kids, etc., but now I do it from afar with no job and a son fighting for his life!