Friday, June 24, 2011

Walter Reed, Again

This week I made the trek from Kansas to California, spent the night, then flew with Allen and Frankie from Sacramento to Washington DC.  My head was spinning with just trying to figure out what time zone I was in!!  It was so amazing seeing Allen again, but at the same time a little awkward.  We hadn't seen each other at all since September so it was much like a reunion after a deployment.  And yes, it is awkward just admitting that seeing your husband is awkward!

I was a little bit anxious about traveling with Allen all the way across the country after not having been around him for so many months.  However, the day was very uneventful and Allen and Frankie both did great!  I am super proud of how well Allen handled all of it as I know it was stressful for him.  We arrived on Monday afternoon and got checked into the Mologne House (the hotel on the campus of Walter Reed that the families and many outpatients stay in.)  We spent the night in my room, and then Tuesday morning went over to the hospital to get Allen checked in.  He is now an in patient on Ward 58 until Monday.  They hooked him up to the video EEG and then got him settled back into his room.

The schedule here is crazy!  That first night, there were people in his room until 7:45 at night!  It was a long and exhausting day and the next day was about the same.  They are giving him the full TBI workup as well as doing a sleep study tonight and a slew of other tests.  So far, that is all that has been going on.  I know that much of this is really difficult for Allen, but aside from a few mood swings, he is handling like a champ!

On Monday afternoon, Allen will be discharged and then we will move to The Fisher House at Bethesda Naval.  He will then be an out patient at the NiCOE (National Intrepid Center of Excellence) where they will do further testing and come up with a treatment plan for him, something he has never really had!  I'm  anxious and excited to see what all of this shows and the plan they come up with.  I'm also ready to see what the sleep doctor has to say after his sleep study tonight.  He is said to be one of the best sleep doctors in the country and we really like him.  He was very hopeful in being able to help Allen with his sleep which in turn should help with everything else.

Coming back to Walter Reed was full of emotions for both of us I think.  For Allen, it caused a lot of anxiety and dread.  He was worried that we would get stuck here for several months, like we did when he was initially injured.  For me, it was both good and bad.  I was nervous about being thrown back into full time caregiving after being apart for so long.  However, I was excited about the possibilities of what these tests and all could mean for getting Allen better.  I also was excited to be able to reconnect with some friends in the area, which will hopefully happen.  We have several friends here that we made last time we were here as well as other's we have met along this journey.  It will be great to get to see some of them as it's been a really long time.  The other nice thing about coming back here is that it is familiar which helps both of us.  Unfamiliar places are a trigger for Allen and I get nervous trying to find my way around.  Coming back here to Walter Reed though is almost like coming home, just because we were here for so long before.  It is nice to be back, especially since it is for a short time.

Another benefit in all of this is that it will serve as Allen's TDRL exam.  (For those non military, Allen was temporarily retired from the military.  This is because when he was retired, his condition was not considered stable.  So they temporarily retired him, which is not uncommon, to see if he condition would stabilize.  He can stay on this status for 5 years with a required exam every year until they deem his condition stable.)  This will hopefully be made permanent after this first exam, which his team feels will be.  They explained to me that 85% of the first year exams are then made permanent.  This would be a huge relief, especially for Allen, as he is very worried about losing benefits.  With a 90% rating from the military it is doubtful that he would lose benefits, but never the less, is a huge burden for him to carry.

I am constantly amazed by the people I meet and the new information I learn from the amazing people within this community of wounded warriors.  We are both very confident in the provider's we have here this time and have once again been touched by other families and service member's going down this road.  I have met some of the strongest, most determined, most caring people along this journey that have given me strength and courage to continue on.  I'm thankful for all of the wonderful people who continue to come into our lives.

Even Now........Gina

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My Crazy Life Just Got a Little Crazier

It's been awhile since I blogged or at least I've slowed down on my posts lately.  I've been crazy busy and have not had time to be on the computer at all.  So, lots of updates I need to write about!!

First of all, Dreyson has kept me incredibly busy running him to rehearsal's at Starlight Theatre which is an hour drive from our house.  He has rehearsal everyday for his role in the upcoming musical, The King and I which is starring Lou Diamond Phillips as the King.  Dreyson is loving every minute of it and I think I am getting more worn out than he is!!

Next, we have sold our house!  This is both good and bad.  The good news is that we sold our house in this economy pretty quickly.  The bad news is that as of June 10 we will be homeless.  We originally were not supposed to close on our house until July 1, but today that all got moved up because of some stuff with Allen, which I'll explain in a minute.  So, for now, the boys and I will be staying with family for awhile.  We are frantically packing and moving stuff to storage in between trips to Starlight.  Panic is beginning to set in!!

Now, for Allen.  When I was in DC in May, I met Gen Chiarelli who offered assistance to us in getting Allen some much needed help.  His office has arranged for him to go back to Walter Reed and then onto Bethesda for his TDRL exam, and to get some further testing and a better treatment plan in place.  We will both be placed on Invitational Travel Order's as he cannot travel alone or be left alone.  I will be his NMA and we are supposed to plan on being there for 3-4 weeks.  They originally wanted us to go next week, but I had to have a couple of weeks to finish this house sale and get Dreyson through The King and I.  The boys will be staying here with family, so once again, we will all be separated again.  However, hopefully this will be a huge step in getting Allen some further testing and some much needed answers.

Just like everything else we've been through, we will get through all of this as well and be stronger and a closer family when we are on the other side.  I just hope that after all of this and we get a new home, our life will get a little less chaotic and more peaceful.

Even Now.......Gina