Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Another Hurdle

The Naval Base that is being used as the location for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is not a level field.  There are many hills and steep inclines.  Getting from McDonalds back to Building Ten (the main hospital complex) or Building 62 (outpatient rehab living quarters) or even the Matc in the America Building is quite a feat.  The incline is very steep.  But that's not my main concern.

The incline leaving Building 62 is also very steep.  Guys in their manual wheelchairs struggle to push it up the hill to get back to their living quarters.  More disconcerting is when they are going from 62 to the Matc.  It is difficult for the guys to slowly go down the hill when they are in a manual wheelchair.  The electric wheelchairs handle it pretty well, but the manual ones go fast!  If one of the guys hits a rock or a crack in the sidewalk, they will be catapulted and/or the wheelchair will tip.

This happened to one of the Marines I love.  He was leaving 62 and could not slow his wheelchair.  He hit a rock and was thrown.  His wheelchair does not have a seatbelt, but if it did, he may not have been knocked clear when the wheelchair tipped, and it may have landed on top of him.  It's a concern. I plan on raising this to the powers that be to see if there is something that can be done.  It's too dangerous.

Derek made it to the Matc today.  That's two days in a row!  Before his OT appointment, Derek had the hip bucket fitted.  Mike had already molded it, and now he was checking to see if it fit okay and where it had to be adjusted.  By this time next week, Derek should have both prosthetics!

After the Matc, Derek and I stopped at Red Box.  I looked up and walking towards me was an amazing little boy.  I guess he was around 12.  He was walking tall and proud on two prosthetics!  I broke into a big smile, and he smiled back at me.  He was amazing.  And to think that grown men and women with two good legs complain about getting up and walking!

When we got back to the room, Derek rested.  Trips to the Matc really wear him out.  But his spirits were good.  He joked around and was his normal self.  Krystina and I "yell" at him when he gets really inappropriate.  Most of the time, we just laugh.  The nurses sometimes come in and join us when they hear us laughing.

Today, an LPN we have never seen before came to the door.

LPN:  I'm going to close your door.  Okay?
Me:  Um, why?
LPN:  We can hear you at the nurses' station.
Me:  No.
LPN: So, you'll be quiet then?

Hells to the no!  We were not disturbing other patients.  If we were, the charge nurse or service chief would have asked us to quiet down.  We can hear the nurses' station from our room, too, and we don't complain!  We were just laughing.  She needs to get a grip.

I am tired.  I am tired of battling.  I just want Derek to make it to outpatient and get better!  He still needs to get the pain under control and get off the IV pain meds.  He will probably always have pain, but the level it is now is not acceptable.  He is working on it.  His amount has been reduced, and he is trying. 

Once he is off the IV meds, he will be given an overnight pass in Bldg 62.  Whatever problems he encounters will be adjusted, and then he will have another overnight pass.  When he has a successful one, he will then have a weekend pass.  If the weekend pass goes well, he will be moved to outpatient.  It is a gradual process to ensure success.

Derek has overcome so much to get where he is now.  Today, we were told that his triglycerides are markedly high.  When he was 17 or 18, he had then checked and they were high, but because of his age, the doctor told him to just watch his diet. He didn't want to start him on medication at that age.  Now it is three times higher than it was.  So, he is back on a special diet.  Damn.

But Dr. Sam said today that no matter what hurdles life puts in front of Derek, he clears them.  He will get his triglycerides under control.

Now a corny little chuckle for the day.  We were sitting in Derek's room and heard, "It's elementary, my dear Watson!" from around the corner.  What was it?  One of Derek's doctors speaking to the one of the nurses!  Holmes and Watson are alive and well and at WRNMMC!!!
After we took the picture, he exclaimed, "Maybe we'll make the blog!"  So, here you are, Sam.  Happy now?

Today Derek had another big boulder placed in front of him.  We know he will climb over it and continue his climb to glory.  When he gets there, we will have a big party at the summit!


  1. Praying in Seattle!
    Psalms 69:1-3, 13 Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God...But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O LORD, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation.
    Prayer Bears
    My email address

  2. Sending prayers knowing without a doubt that God is listening! Stay strong!

  3. Thanks so much for the continued updates AND for your genuine concern for the safety of other patients! I can just imagine how heart rending it must be to watch those wounded warriors who are trying to regain their dignity tip over in wheelchairs because of the steep incline. Imagine if there were snow/ice on the ground to contend with as well. I have confidence that you will make it known to the powers that be something must be done to correct the situation....and I know you will persist until something IS done. You are such a wonderful advocate for those soldiers. Again I say YOU ROCK!!

  4. Know that you're always in my thoughts and prayers!
    Philippians 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
    Prayer Bears
    My email address