MARCH 2011

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John's surgeries were occurring every other day since he was admitted to the hospital.  These procedures have lasted several hours at a time.  The pace & extent of these procedures are beginning to slow down while he continues to receive extensive medical care for the other injuries sustained from the explosion.  Soon he will be moved to Walter Reed Army Medical Center where he will have grueling days of rehabilitation and continued medical care.  John's progress will continue to be updated.  His spirit is strong and he has moments of encouragement which is offset by periods of pain and exhaustion.  All to be expected during the long recovery process. Your mail & Facebook postings give him hope & encouragement...keep up the great support you are providing him.
John was moved to WALTER REED ARMY MEDICAL CENTER today.  John had his first experience being in a wheelchair for a short period of time and it went well. 
John stated that his goal is to get stronger & learn how to walk with prosthetics.  He gets intermitent periods of sleep during the course of 24 hours.  His spirit is strong & totally amazing.  His voice is small but his spirit is big, he keeps trying to rise up when he experiences periods of exhaustion & fatigue. 
He is unbelievable...they took the stiches out of his forearm today, cleaned the wounds on his hands and got him started in physical  & occupational therapy.  I asked him how it went and he said when they stopped he wanted to do more.  He was the one to decide when the therapy would begin and he was ready to go at 8am...he did tell me that he got to nap today, for about an hour.  He gives me strength.  We are so honored to have him as a member of our family.  He is a true Marine with strength, dignity & honor.  I texted him today and told him he is a ROCKSTAR!!  Will be checking in with him tomorrow.  I am keeping him updated as to what is going on down here...he doesn't have Internet service so he will get the information one way or the other...
John tried to do physical therapy today without medication and it didn't go well and he was in a lot of pain.  We talked and I told him he might be trying to do too much too soon and he agreed.  He sounded a disappointed in himself for not being able to accomplish what his mind wants to do and how his body is not ready for that yet.  We spoke about how he needs time to get adjusted and he understood.  They cleaned his wounds today and he said the woman physical therapist is really nice.  He said in occupational therapy he has to do a bunch of all kinds of random things. John will be moved from Walter Reed to Mologne House as quickly as they can.  The process is fast paced.  While he is in Mologne House they will bring him back to Walter Reed for several more surgeries that need to be performed.  This gets complicated as he becomes inpatient / outpatient as the restrictions and military benefits change as to what services are provided to the family.  It also adds to chaos and confusion of moving back and forth.
While John gets moved back and forth the family members also have to move themselves and their belongings.  They find out day to day where they will be and if it is covered by the military (while John is in-patient) or if John is outpatient then the family must cover the expense themselves or find out if there is a resource that will cover these expenses.
Message from MaryAnne
John had a very bad day yesterday, pain was very bad.  He had some visitors from home which helped to distract him for a little while.  We feel helpless when he is like this.  Weekends are hard on the patients because staff is low and you have to wait hours for a doctor to come up to see you because they are so busy in the operating room.  We tried rubbing his back and moving him around in the bed, ice packs, heat packs but nothing helped.  Finally around 10:00 pm the Dr. came up and prescribed him some medication.  He was still in pain when we left him last night around 10:30 but the medication had not kicked in yet.  He tries so hard to deny more medication because he doesn't like being all doped up, but I tried to tell him this is not the time....he doesn't have to lay there in pain.  He's a Marine!  I hope today is a better day for him. 
 John had another bad day today, he was unable to make it into his chair.  He has strained his lower back with the taxation on his muscles compensating for his injuries.  The medication they are giving him makes him very sleepy and incoherent.  However, he did have his epidural removed today, one less tube attached to his body.  They are going to work on him tomorrow to get him on the mats to help alleviate some of his back pain, however, this will slow his progress down some.  Just another speed bump! 


John has been in severe pain for the past three days.  He has not been able to leave the bed as he had thrown out his back.  Today he had Physical Therapy & Occupational Therapy for short periods of time.  He still can't do some of the random things he was previously doing in therapy because of his back.  He had about 300 stiches removed from his legs today.  His left leg looks like it will heal, there was a strong chance that they were going to have to bring him back into surgery to remove more of the leg but at this time it appears that surgury will not have to happen.  This takes a procedure off the list of numerous surgeries that have yet to occur.  His left hand is healing as expected.  John had his first "bath" in about two weeks.  He was cleaned from top to bottom and even had his hair washed.  MaryAnne requested that he have his hair washed and was initially told, we can't wash his hair.  MaryAnne said yes you can, put his head over a basin and wash it, and it got done.  John told me "I'm feeling pretty good right now".   
The extent of damage and the degree of his injuries, from all aspects, are still being assessed as a result of his injuries.
John has had all the stitches removed in both legs and hand,  he only has a few left in his left leg.  Pain still takes over after PT an OT as the pain medication is being reduced slowly and they are moving on to the pills.  He is very anxious to be more independent , get out of that bed and off the IV'S and catheter. All's he thinks about is getting his prosthetics.  Depression and anxiety are playing a big part in his recovery and they continue to do so...with many hgihs and lows.  The lows are the hardest ones to overcome.
John states to me that after P/T & O/T he gets unbearable surges of pain at night.  He is given a very stong pain medication by mounth.  He reciecves it in both extended relief form and a pill which provided automatic relief.  This makes it more bearable.
John had his catheter removed Tues. am, he was able to unhook his last IV.  He was able to get into the wheelchair by himself and then he & his brother Ben went outside where they spent some time together.  This was his wish & goal from 3-18-11 & within a small window of time was ready to accomplish those things.  Now it's time to set the new goal for the next step...prayers are working...strong signals being received ...keep the prayer lines open and help them grow.