Sunday, May 29, 2011

Our Memorial Day!

We are having our Memorial Day a day early. Under the advise of many people around here we are visiting Arlington today instead of tomorrow. We have been warned that half of our country will be there. Which is awesome, but crowds are not something we are totally fond of right now, so we are going today.

Chaz and I know how lucky we are that he only gave some, but some gave all. We must all take a moment to reflect on those who didn't come home. We have lost over 30 friends to the wars and even more acquaintances and friends of friends. Every military wife I know has lost someone or like me has lost a lot more than one. I no longer can go to the memorials at Campbell, it just became too hard. It just became too difficult to go every month and see how many guys we lost that time.

Today we are taking our girls to visit my friend Kristy's hubby Dave who was killed on September 11, 2007 in a helicopter crash. I had just met Dave days before his accident. But since the accident Kristy and I have become better friends. The other day I asked if we could go check on Dave for her and pay our respects. She told me that warmed her heart and absolutely we could. Since Chaz was injured she sent me several pep talk text messages, emails and calls to help me navigate through it all. Kristy is not only helpful she is inspiring. We are so lucky to have their family in our lives.

Our Deryn and their youngest son were in Kindergarten together. Deryn remembers Dave and remembers him being killed. Let me tell you, Chaz and I were not ready to have the what can happen to mommy and daddy talk while she was in Kindergarten. But we did and she remembers it. When Chaz was injured, Deryn even said, "But Daddy's not like Mr. Dave?" She was so happy to find out that Chaz was not like Mr Dave and like me realized we could handle anything else, because we still have our daddy. We know how lucky we are and will not take that for granted.

So this Sunday we are getting up a little bit earlier than normal and we are going to share the story of a great man with our girls. We are so blessed that we have been able to be apart of Kristy and the boys lives as they have moved on. We have just been a tiny part of their lives, but watching them heal and move on has touched ours. Although we never got a chance to really get to know Dave, we see him in his family. I can guarantee he was one awesome guy and I wish we had more time with him.

This weekend while you are grilling out and enjoying the freedom to do so, please take a moment to think about the people who protect you. While these men and women are deployed they function on little sleep and dodge bullets and IEDs more times then you want to count. They toss ruck sacks that weigh 50 pounds or more on their backs and walk for miles. Their diets are super crappy. They hardly ever get to take showers. Sometimes they don't get to call home for days or even weeks. If you will take a moment to be thankful that you have a cell phone to call whomever you want, whenever you want, then be thankful for your hot shower and the food you can choose to eat, you'll figure out that life is pretty damn great and there are some incredible people laying their lives down for you to enjoy those privileges.

If you will take a moment to be thankful for everything you have you will find that what ever battle you may be going through can be handled with patience and hope. God will see you through the storm just like he has done for my friend Kristy's family and our family. Just don't give up and remember you are so blessed to have so many people fighting for you and your family's freedoms.

Happy Memorial Day!!!
=) Jessica

Saturday, May 28, 2011

One Step!

Isn't it amazing how one step can change everything?! If you miss a step in a recipe you can ruin the whole thing. If you miss a step when building something then the whole structure could fall apart. Everywhere we go in life we are taking just one step at a time. As we pass the fourth month of this journey I can't help but think of all the steps we have taken.

We Americans walk all around and never once worry about where we may step until it's too late. We step off the side walk and sprain our ankle. We step in a puddle and have soaking wet shoes. Or my favorite we step in what our dogs leave behind and have a delightful mess to get out of the cracks of our tennis shoes. We take for granted the little things we have and then in one half of a second someone we love steps in the wrong place at the right time and life as we know it is forever different.

January 22, 2011, will be a day which will live in infamy in this family. Like FDR I believe the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. (Yes my history colleagues, I know those are two different speeches, but I feel they are both relevant to my argument.) Chaz and I never feared for him to be an amputee. We always feared that he just wouldn't come home. On January 22, Chaz took one step that many people had stepped before. However, he was bigger than the guys before him so he detonated the pressure plate. Statistically he should not have survived that blast. Statistically other guys around him should have been injured. But sometimes statistics are wrong. I have never been so happy for statistics to be wrong before. I am a numbers person and I rely on statistics for a lot of things. I am thankful everyday that Chaz was able to show that stats are just stats, they don't predict it all. My awesome hubby survived and all of his guys made it out unscratched.

Now months later we are in a different part of this process. We are taking steps every day towards our recovery and towards our new normal. Now we cherish every step Chaz takes. We have to walk ahead of him and look out for cracks on the sidewalk or toys that may have been left out. We have to be cautious of where we go to eat. We have to be careful everywhere we go. Some places are just not disabled friendly enough. We "leg walkers" (Chaz's new favorite term) take all this for granted. Obviously the world is built for us, there's a lot more of us. But when someone you love becomes disabled you see the whole world differently. You seek out the obstacles so you can make them easier for your loved one.

I hope that one day you will all see Chaz walk in person. It is truly inspiring. I did tear up every time for a while, but one day the tears just stopped. One of the people here told me I am just out of tears. Here at WRAMC, they see this all the time. I have been told you reach the level of peace where you just want to heal. I truly believe Chaz and I have been there for a really long time. All we're ever wanted was to just heal and move on. And one step at a time we are reaching that goal. One day Chaz will be six foot tall again and will be running like he wants to. Chaz has proven to me that disability is just a frame of mind. Sometimes to just have to attack the plan at a different angle and go out of your comfort zone and not be afraid of the looks you will get. One thing is for sure we are not afraid anymore. We are not afraid to ask for help and we are not afraid to ask questions to make things happen.

We are so thankful for everyone who has helped make our steps easier. We are thankful for those who want us to have everything we had before. We are thankful for those who want us achieve our new normal. We are thankful for those who are making everyday normal tasks as normal and as easy for Chaz as they possibly can be. We are thankful for those who love our family so much and want to help us succeed and help us laugh our way through what could have been a tragedy. So thank you for all your support! Together we will achieve our new normal step by step.

=) Jessica

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

To Our NEES Family

I serioulsy don't know how to say thank you to you all for everything you've done, but I am going to try. Thank you to all of you for helping our family get through all of this. Deryn and Ryann would not be as great as they are without all of your hugs, smiles and words of encouragement. I am so thankful that our girls were at NEES when this happened. You all just stepped right up and became mother hens and put your wings around our two cuties.
We do not know if we will be back in the fall or not. But when we do come back we will at least pop by and visit. Hopefully we'll get to come back sooner than later and we can all just move forward. I know we have your support when that time comes. Again thank you for everything and I hope we see you all sooner than later!
=) Jessica

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Little Explanation

I know what's going on with us is a little crazy so I am going to try and clarify a little. The girls and I are flying back to DC this Tuesday morning. We are staying in DC until June 4. Chaz has been granted convalescent leave to come to TN. We will be spending a little less than 30 days in our own house. Chaz can walk up the stairs now so every night he will walk up and go to bed, shower, etc and then every morning he will walk down and spend the day on the first level. Our friends will be popping by every morning and night to make sure he makes it up and down safely. Unfortunately if he loses his balance with me behind or in front of me, we will both fall down the stairs. So we need a few strong guys to help us out. I have already began the line up!
The Allen family will be in attendance at the fundraiser in Nashville on June 5th. We will also be attending our daughters' dance recital which is Father's Day weekend. Other than that we are chilling out and enjoying our family away from the hospital for a while. Chaz has to still do PT and OT so I will get that training and information when I return to DC on Tuesday. So he will still be moving and grooving but he will have a nice change of venue.
As of today, Chaz is still at risk for blood clots and it is very difficult for him to travel everywhere. I appreciate all of your invitations to come and do things, but we will have to take everything one day at a time. Please also take into consideration that not all places are wheelchair friendly and Chaz may not be up to walking that day. That will also play a big role in where we go and what we do while we are home. Chaz can only fly at a certian altitude for a certain amount of time and they don't want him in a car for more than 2 hours at a time. This is another limitation we have right now. We are really lucky that veterans airlift command stepped in! Originally we were flying to Nashville then driving to Clarksville. We were right on the questionable border. Then when we told them we are flying straight to Clarksville and it's a 10 minute drive. It was a slam dunk! Driving home was out of the question!
At the end of the 30ish days we will all four return to DC. I do not know for how long. We will be there until Chaz's therapists and doctors say he's good to go home. We want to be home as badly as you want us home, but WRAMC is the best place for Chaz to be right now. And we want the best for him. We have decided we will be in our house for Christmas. I do not have any dates, but I know we will be here!!
We are not selling our house right now. We do not know when we will be home and we will need a place to come home to when this is all over. We are going to build a new home but we all know that will all take time. So in the meantime, when we come back to TN, we will be in our current home. Hopefully the new home will be built while we are gone or will finish shortly after we come back. We do not know where we are building except that we will build in Clarksville, TN. The apartments that we are eventually moving into are funded by a non-profit so the Army will not be taking our housing allowance. Therefore will be able to and will continue to pay our mortgage. So you can see there's no reason to panic and this plan makes sense. Yes I have people checking the mail, and watching the house and etc. I will yell if we need anything, I promise.
Chaz has made the decision to return to Active Duty. I personally think this is incredible. His original goal was to serve 20 years and he is going to complete that goal. He hits year 13 on June 3rd, so he only has a few left to go. Within a few months, the Army will begin the Medical Board process for Chaz. They will find him unfit for Active Duty. At that time, he will submit a challenge package and go tell them why he should stay in and they will discuss what jobs are available for him. This is all a formality. As of today, he is leaning towards going back and being an instruction hopefully back at WLC (Warrior Leadership Course). If that doesn't work out he will look to another route. But can you imagine a more inspirational leader?! I can't!!
So that's some of future plans. Of course there's a lot of logistics and things to work out, but we'll get it all done one day at a time. You now know what I know, well most of it. There's a lot of things you don't want to know, trust me. We of course want to see you all while we are home, but please call, text or email first. We would truly appreciate it. Please don't be offended if we don't get to see you. Timing may just not be our friend for this trip. There will be more trips and one day this will all be over us and we'll be home! Please continue to pray for us. Your prayers and support have made all of this possible.
Thank you!!
=) Jessica

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The First Finish Line!!

We are almost there! Our first goal was to get Chaz well enough for the girls to be here in DC for good. For us it made no sense to have the girls here permanently while Chaz was an inpatient. We didn't want the majority of their time to be spent in the hospital. We wanted them to have their Daddy in a better setting. Originally we were told it would be July possibly June when Chaz would go outpatient. But in March we discovered things were going a little bit faster than we ready for. So I started making phone calls and lining things up to get up here for a longer basis to help Chaz transition to outpatient and into the WTB (Warrior Transition Brigade). Things got pretty crazy in April. I ended up spending a lot more time here in DC so I could help Chaz. We decided that the end of the girls' school year would be the perfect time to bring our family together. Thanks to his drive and determination and my little pushes of encouragement here and there, we cross that finish line one week from today. The girls and I will be in the air that morning and will land in DC that afternoon to finally be together. To us this is a huge milestone.

I am totally amazed at how much he and I can accomplish when we put the girls number one. We wanted to get transitioned out and know what we were doing before the girls came here for good. We wanted to look like the pros they think we are. We crossed that finish line and now we're ready for the next one so we can be together for good, like it should be. Our little family will finally be together. Chaz and I are so excited about the things we can now do together. We have a list of things we can do with our girls and we are going to slowly but surely cross those out. He is s a lot more mobile and thanks to the van we truly have no limitations. This sense of freedom is such a great feeling. Life feels normal again. We don't have nearly as many things hindering us as we did before.

Over the years, Chaz has been gone a lot, but I have never been away from the girls so much. Also he's the one who leaves, not me. This whole experience has been one amazing learning experience. I finally understand what it feels like to leave the ones you love. I am just so thankful that I only had to leave for a week at a time. I could have lived my whole life without experiencing this, but now I appreciate our family even more and I am even more thankful for our little crew. I do not know how Chaz has left so many times for such crazy time frames. Reflecting on this makes me even more thankful for his strength and courage. And it makes me thankful for every soldier who has served. There's no way I could be prouder of Chaz than I am now. He is absolutely amazing. And the girls and I are so lucky to have him.

Even though Chaz and I have never had relationship problems, we are now even closer than ever. I have always loved him with every ounce of my heart, but now I love him even more, which I seriously didn't think was possible. I never knew how much I meant to him until all this occurred. I knew how much he meant to me, but I totally underestimated my worth to him. I never knew we were so destined to be together. We make one kick ass team that is for sure. Together we can handle anything life throws our way. We know we have crossed over some important milestones, but we have many more to come. One thing is for sure we are ready and we can handle it.

As we cross our first finish lines I want to thank everyone who helped us get here. We couldn't have made it without all the support. So thank you for your smiles, hugs, happy tears, prayers, phone calls, emails, cards, facebook messages and comments, meals, running the girls somewhere for me, for babysitting, gifts and for supporting Team Allen. We couldn't do it without your encouragement. Thank you all!
Have a great day!
=) Jessica

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mother's Day Weekend

So we've been a little busy with all this in and out processing stuff. So I just now realized I forgot to write up our Mother's Day weekend. We had the best weekend. Thanks to Cpt Phipps, our new friend Laurie and Ride-Away we got an amazing van to help us get around town. I simply double click a button and the door opens, a ramp comes down and Chaz drives up in the van in his power chair. I click another button and the ramp comes in and the door shuts, Chaz puts on his seat belt and we get to drive off. So Chaz got to go with me to pick up the girls and my mom from the airport. The van is so amazing I can't wait until we get our very own. Unfortunately Chaz's mom had to work that day so she had to take a later flight.
We grab my mom and the girls and headed back to the Fisher House to hang out for a few. Then we got ready to go to dinner with Aleethia at the Dutch Embassy. Unfortunately the bus was over an hour late so we skipped dinner. Chaz's mom was due in between 9-10 and because the bus was running late we would have not been home to meet her. Missing dinner turned out to be the best thing. Two of Chaz's friends from Ft Campbell showed up and got to have pizza with us and hang out for a bit. Then Nana showed up!! Our girls were so excited to have both grandmothers plus mom and dad for the weekend.
Saturday was birthday party prep time. I got up and made a ton of cupcakes. Then the girls frosted them all and my mom and I went to grab some hamburgers and hot dogs. At 1:30 Ms Margaret from Aleethia showed up with these huge fruit, veggie and cheese trays plus a dozen 2-liters, all the plates, cups, napkins and forks. She even brought two dozen goody bags for kids at the Fisher House and then presents for both of girls. She was so cute. She said Aleethia never gets to do things for the kids and they were a little excited that they could do this for our girls. It was so awesome. I was at a loss for words (shocking I know). Aleethia is just amazing!
Then our guests showed up. Our dear friend Tish brought that amazing cake and her daughter Sydney hand painted those rocking stringrays! Ryann loved her cake, she told me many times! Then we had friends from Ft Campbell show up. It was great to have a few pieces of home added to the party. Of course the Fisher House residents were here too. We've just become like a big family, so we're around for everything! We had a great simple party with great friends, great food and many laughs! Once again reminding Chaz and I how lucky we are! Later on I took a batch of cupcakes to the nurses at Ward 57. I made their day. They are just so thankful for anything you bring them.
Sunday we just enjoyed the beautful day. I put a rocking awesome roast on in the crockpot for dinner. And then we went to the Malogne House for a Mother's Day brunch. We had a nice quiet simple day with our moms and our girls. Chaz and I are so glad a friend planted the seed for the bring the moms up here plan. We both have missed our moms and really enjoyed spending time with them. It was a truly incredible weekend. It was simple and it was perfect. Chaz and I needed some quality family time without the hospital setting and we got it! It was long overdue and wonderful!
Have a great day!!
=) Jessica

Saturday, May 14, 2011

People Along Our Path!

 It seems like everyday we are blessed with another person (sometimes persons) entering our lives to help us on this journey. When I got that phone call on January 22, I feared for what may or may not come. I worried about everything I did not know. Then I was overwhelmed with a sense of peace and I just let go. Ever since then, Chaz, the girls and I have been blessed again and again.

I knew we had amazing friends, but our friends have totally exceeded our expectations. Chaz and I are truly simple people. We have always given to others with no expectations of anything in return. We are not the "tally marking" kind of people. We don't keep up with what we've done for you, so you give back to us. We could care less about receiving anything in return. We believe it's our duty to help others. We are both called to serve, that's for sure. Actually we've had a hard time with all of this receiving. It's crazy! Things just keep showing up. We have a ton of homemade blankets that are just awesome. Each one was made with so much care and love and you can see that in the work. We have a full box of T-shirts, a full box of hats and a full box of cards and drawings. That's just what's here at the Fisher House, this is not counting everything at our house. And this is just the beginning.

We are totally overwhelmed by the generosity of others. We are amazed at the Team Allen website and now the Team Allen fundraiser. This is all insane, in a great way! Chaz and I were very scared when this all started. We knew our lives had changed forever. We knew we would have to adjust everything. We knew we'd have to build a new home and change every single detail about our current daily living. Within a few days here at WRAMC our worries about daily life went away. We discovered we were in great hands. We knew Chaz would get back to totally independent life in all due time. It was nice to be able to check that box! And look at my amazing hubby, in less than 2 months he was up and walking!

With the daily living activities box checked, we moved on to working on the house, in baby steps of course! Secretly I pray every night Ty Pennington is going to show up and take all of our worries away. But realistically I know that is not going to happen. So we started the financial and construction plans. We will be maximizing our short time in TN next month meeting with a few people who will help us get this all started. It is going to take a long time to make all this happen. It is going to be a while before we get back to TN for good and it will be a while before the house is built, but we're at least starting it all. Just getting started is one important part of the process. The most amazing part is how God just keeps putting all these people in our path to help us along the way. We are truly confident in the people who have been put in our path.

It is so awesome to know that everything will be fine. I know we'll have hiccups and set backs, but I know we'll be fine. God is doing great things for us. Before we know it all this will just be a distant memory. One day we will be settled into our new house and back to a normal routine. But in the immediate future we are focusing on healing Chaz physically and we are going to finally be a family. I've only waited 12 years to have Chaz to myself and the girls are truly looking forward to having their Daddy for a while. Ry says she is so glad Daddy doesn't have anymore big work to do. (She calls deployments big work). We are going to have a great healing process for sure. We're going to make it that way. God has given us the resources to make it great and therefore it will be!

We are so thankful for all the incredible support from our families, friends and strangers that have now become friends. I don't know what we'd do without all of the support. You all are just so amazing. Thank you for everything!!
=) Jessica

Friday, May 13, 2011


I am so excited to see all of the homecomings. I am so happy for all of my friends. I am so thankful that they are reunited and their kids have their Daddy's back safe. But at the same time I can't help but feel a little jealous. I can't help but wish that we could have had that simple homecoming. We just wanted Chaz to just get off a plane and move on with our lives, just like we've done after ever other deployment. I told Chaz I just keep reminding myself that we just got our homecoming a little early.

I know this is totally normal. The one thing I have realized in all this is if you do not acknowledge your feelings then things will get worse and you'll explode over something ridiculous. So ladies I am jealous. I am jealous that you get to just move on while I get to travel an uncharted path and try to figure everything out. I am jealous of everyone who gets to just live a normal life. I am jealous of those who don't have people look at you with pity. I am jealous of those who don't have all this medical and Army drama. I seriously just want our lives back. And I know that will all come with time. But like the rest of our generation I want instant gratification. I want to push the easy button and make Chaz well, build the home he needs and move on with our lives. But I know that will not happen and I am prepared to keep moving forward towards that goal no matter how long it takes! This is where I thank God for all of my stubbornness.

So how do I get past all this jealousy? I simply remind myself that we have so much that others may not have. Chaz and I have an incredible relationship. Many people will live their entire lives without half of what we have. We are so blessed. I know that we will come out of this even better than we were before. I remind myself this is all temporary. It will pass. We will get our lives back and they will be better because of all of this. We will be examples of courage and strength to our little girls and they will benefit from our trials and tribulations. When our girls grow up they can look back and say wow look what mom and dad had to go through and look how they handled it. We are and will be an example of courage under fire for them. They already have our DNA and we will enhance that DNA with knowledge of how to handle stressful situations with grace, faith and strength that comes from within.

Please know my joy and happiness supersedes any and all negative emotions. I am a happy person. I am a thankful person. Because of my thankfulness and joy I can acknowledge and move past any anger, frustration or minor set backs. But if you don't acknowledge those feelings then they will take over like a virus. And I will not allow that. I will not allow those negative feelings deter us from the path we are on. I will not let them ruin the awesomeness God has blessed us with. I will give them a passing glance and move on with our journey. God has great things in store for us. Look at what He has done already. I know there is more to come. God just keeps putting these incredible people in our path. And we are so thankful for each and every one of you. We are thankful for all of your prayers,smiles,  emails, facebook comments and messages, letters, gifts and all of the above. Please keep it all coming! Thank you for everything!
Have a great day!
=) Jessica

Friday, May 6, 2011


So first we get to go outpatient on Monday and now we have vehicle to go around town in. I went to the Yellow Ribbon Fund and rented a car to discover the only thing they rent is PT Cruisers. They doors do not open wide enough for Chaz to get his wheelchair close enough to the seat so we have to use a transfer board. So we weren't going off campus very much because it was just too much trouble. Chaz only has one weight bearing arm so that made it even harder to get in and out of the car.

There's an organization here that takes your VA adaptive car grant and goes to Dodge and gets you a new Dodge Caravan that is fully handicap assessible and adapted. You can check them out at and read all about everything they do. The van costs us nothing, we simply give them the grant. Pretty awesome, huh?! So the day we did our interview was the same day Dr Oz came to visit us. Our rep for the organization is Laurie, who is such a great lady! We found out that she actually recorded me talking to Dr Oz. She said she was just amazed at my positivity and could tell we were reaching straight through to Dr Oz. She took that video to her meeting and they unanimously decided to help us with the van. We were in shock that we were approved so fast! The sad thing is, I have no idea what I said to Dr Oz that was so inspirational. I was just running my mouth!
So once you get approved the company that equips the vans gives you rental to drive so you can get comfortable with the design. Well I called Monday about the rental and they didn't have any available. Then Laurie calls to tell us we were approved and wanted to know about the rental. I told her none were available. She replies with hang on your girls are coming and that PT cruiser will not work. I tell her I know but we'll make it work. She says no way let me make a call. So yesterday afternoon we get a phone that the van is on it's way!!!!!
Of course we have to take it for a drive, duh?! We ran to the store to get a few things. I double click a button and the door opens and the ramp comes down. Chaz absolutely loved being able to use his powerchair and was able to zip up the ramp lock his brakes, put on a seat belt and let me drive. Then he zipped back down and got to go into the store and pick out his own stuff. How amazing is it that the people here care so much about our families that they help us get all of our freedom back?! It is going to be several more days before Chaz can be on his legs full time. But now we have the ability to go anywhere as a family and not be hindered. Wahoo!!!!
Today when you pray please give glory to God for these amazing people and organizations who care so much about our soliders and our families. Now today Chaz will get to go to the airport with me to get my mom and the girls. His mom had to take a later flight and we'll be having dinner at the Dutch Embassy when she lands. We have our LNO going to grab her. But we'll all get to the Fisher House at the same time this evening. We are going to have one great weekend!!!!
Have a great day!!!
=) Jessica

Our Rental Van! Thank you Ride Away!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Going Outpatient!!!

Going outpatient in the Active Duty Army is so not like anything else. So normally you are discharged from the hospital and that's it, right?! Here we have to have our living quarters approved, talk to doctors and social workers to make sure we can handle the responsibility, and then I have to learn the nursing stuff. And in the midst of all of this we have to go on a scavenger hunt to obtain over 30 signatures.
So Monday we started all the fun. We went to PT and OT and then came back to Chaz's room and got his IV meds. Then we were told at 1 to clear his room because they were kicking us out. The nurses were so sad that we were leaving, it was really sweet. One of them followed us out and down the hall. I know I have written before about how amazing Ward 57 is, and trust me it's all real. Chaz's squad leader showed up to take our stuff from the hospital to the Fisher House where he seriously piled everything into one place and then told us we had to go to the WTB to get our paperwork started. This is where we learned about the scavenger hunt. The whole time I am sitting there just thinking and what if I wasn't with him, and what about the guys who don't have anyone, and seriously you guys are not tracking all these little details, so we need to go get signatures to prove them.
I totally understand this is the Army and they have a system, but sometimes a little common sense needs to be injected into the situation. I understand they have set this system up for a reason. There are really young people being injured that need all of this, but we don't. There should be an initial meeting with whoever then they should decide who needs the additional help. I told Chaz I have no problems meeting with the WTB, the Nurse Case Manager, the social worker and his primary care manager. But explain to me why we need to meet with Tricare, if there aren't any issues and with the mailroom before we are officially inprocessed into the WTB. There are more "seriously we have to go see them" lines on the paper, but I'll just let you use your imagination. We need to be focused on healing and moving forward not wasting our time going on a hunt for signatures, especially when some of them are so pointless. I did say to one person, "You are tracking that these are wounded warriors, can we not just go through the computer system and double check the info and then let them get back to healing?" He looked at me like I was crazy. I followed with, "Wow, crazy idea huh?"
Monday I also learned how to flush Chaz's PIC line and how to give him IV meds. I have also been schooled on wounded care, amputee care and many other skills. I am learning so much that sometimes my brain hurts. Then we get to add inprocessing to all of this. I am so thankful Chaz is in such a great spot. He is so much better off then a lot of other guys. I am so lucky that I have so little to do in comparsion to others. I only have to give meds and get him to his appointments and little things like that. They all keep me super busy. So busy in fact I haven't started my new book that I bought on Tuesday.
This is beyond a full time job and I truly wonder when will I get back to my fellowship and my CFP and CTC licenses, but I know I will one day. And I will finally get to law school, but that all can wait. Right now I am going to focus on healing our family and enjoy the fact that we are still together. I am going to rejoice in our little family. I will thank God everyday for what he gives us. God has given us so much. His gifts have made this journey so much better!
Right now I am the most thankful that every hardship God puts us through because God rewards us with something great. There are some super cool things going on with us right now. I have some rocking awesome surprises in store for my hubby and kids. Two things I love are birthdays and surprises!! And boy do I have some good ones coming up. Just wait you'll find out when they happen. Believe it or not I am a very private person. These notes have become my therapy. These notes are my way of letting out what needs to be let out and still keeping in what I need to. But my surprises are mine and they are really good ones. We have met some truly amazing people and they are making these awesome things and surprises happen. And I give God the glory for making all of this happen.
Most importantly we have been supported by all of these incredible people and we are so thankful for everyone. There's no way any of this could have worked out if it wasn't for all of the amazing people helping us. Many thanks to you all for your prayers, cards, gifts, emails, smiles, hugs and everything else. We are so thankful for you all. You all have made this journey easier. God bless you all!
Have a great day!
=) Jessica

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Stage We Are In!!

I know all the Army stuff is so confusing. It is even confusing for those of us who've been around for awhile. So I am going to take a few minutes to explain.
Obviously you know Chaz is active duty Army. When he goes from one section to another here (usually it's base to base) we have to out-process then in-process. So yesterday we out-processed from the main hospital. The doctors decided that the nurses have trained me well enough that I can care for Chaz on my own. I am now Chaz's Non-Medical Attendant (NMA). As his NMA I have now in-process into the Warrior Transition Unit with him. He has to do all the soldier stuff and I have to do the medical stuff, most of these meetings are together, which makes it easier. However, I think they should give us a license after everything they put us through (just saying). In-processing takes about 2 weeks. We have to take all sorts of classes, attending briefings and Chaz has to see a few new doctors. The great news is we keep his OT-Stephanie, his amputee therapist-Bo and his main doctor- Dr Himmler. These three woman are fabulous and I love them. We were incredibly relieved when we found out.
Today we have 5 appointments and luckily they are close together. But we have to get about 20 different signatures on these pieces of paper in order to fully process. These different signatures come from different departments all over WRAMC's campus. I seriously feel like I am back in college and am at Freshman Orientation, which is why I refer to this process as being a scavenger hunt. It's insane! In addtion today I have to meet with home health so I can learn how to administer Chaz's IV antiboditics. I am also trying to get us a handicap accessible rental van so we can get around more easily.
After we fully in-process, or complete our scavenger hunt as I call it, we will simply stay in the Warrior Transition Brigade until we get to bring Chaz home. We do not have a time line. Here's why, in less than 90 days Chaz was up and walking laps around the MATC. Come to find out, that's not normal, at all. He is doing really well. Back in January, we were told we'd be here for 4 years. Chaz has messed the plan up just a little, in a super great way. So the other day Bo said, I am not giving you guys anymore time lines. But there are a list of things he has to do to get out of here. Most importantly he has to walk around the MATC preferably with only one cane or no cane at all and he has to have a workable knee and be able to go up and down stairs before we get to go home.
So for now we will stay at the Fisher House. To me it's like a Bed and Breakfast where you cook your own meals.The Fisher Foundation has an amazing thing going on here. It's a home away from home. The nice thing is we are on campus so we don't have to deal with traffic yet. We will stay at the Fisher House until the WTB gets us an apartment. We are on the waiting list, but we have to fully in-process into the WTB to move into the apartments at 1200. So hopefully we'll get all the in-processing stuff done the beginning of this month and then move out to the apartment later this month. But who knows, the important thing is our family has a nice place to call home while we are dealing with all of this. We are planning take leave (civilians that's what we Army folks call vacation) in June and come home to TN for a little bit. But that could all change too. We have to get medical clearance for him to travel. He can only fly at certain altitudes and they don't want him in a vehicle for an extended time. I keep telling him baby steps dear, baby steps.
Most importantly we are all doing fine. The girls arrive on Friday and so do both of our moms! We are really excited! We are going to celebrate Ry's 6th b-day and then Mother's Day all together. Chaz is excited he gets to have all of his moms together, even his little mommas. We are going to have a fabulous weekend for sure!
Now we've go to get up and on with In-processing Day 2. We hope you all have a great day!
=) Jessica