Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Computer Troubles ~ My Apology

I got this blog up and going, and I was so excited about posting in it regularly. Last Tuesday, though, after I had completed my blog post and was trying to type an email to my stepson's teacher, my computer completely shut down on me. When I tried to access files, pictures, etc., it showed every folder empty. Eventually there was nothing I could do but turn it off. We took it to a few computer shops, and we finally found one Thursday who would fix it for a reasonable price. We received the call today that it contains a nasty virus, but they believe they can save all pictures and files. It will be a few more days before I get it back, so I may not be regular with my posts again until then. I apologize.

This also happened at a time that my husband's laptop was damaged by my carelessness. I spilled liquid on it, causing the keyboard to go out. Luckily it was covered under warranty, so we had mailed it in to be fixed the very day that my laptop crashed. When I attempted to use our trusty desktop that does not get much attention, we found that it is not so trusty. We're having to wipe everything off it and reinstall the operating system.

We may have many tech troubles in our household right now, but the way I see it is we will have 3 like-new computers real soon, so it's not all bad. Once they are all fixed with reinstalled operating systems and upgrades, I expect everything to run much faster and much more smoothly. Until then, my posts may be few and far between.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Going Back to School

My husband is going back to school. He earned his first bachelor's degree in aeronautics, but there is not much he can do with that now. He was looking at pursuing another career, but he knows that a regular job is not possible. He never knows from one morning to the next whether or not he will be able to get out of bed. A regular full-time job would not last long for him because he would have to use too many sick days. He spoke with career counselors upon his exit from the military, and together they decided on web design. It is something he can do from home, so when he has days that he cannot make it out of bed, he can still get on his laptop and work. If he is incapable of doing that, he can reset his schedule. Because he was afraid he would have to miss too many class days if he attended a regular university, he chose University of Phoenix. Last August he began working toward his bachelor's degree in Information Technology with emphasis in Web Design. He works so hard at this degree, which really shows me alot about his character. I gleam with pride as I watch him work. It is seldom easy, but as he does with most things he works hard and pushes through the tough times. Yet again.... my hero.

For further information on online education, check out these resources:

Online Education For Dummies

The Secret to Online Success at Axia College and the University of Phoenix

Rebel with a Cause: The Entrepreneur Who Created the University of Phoenix and the For-Profit Revolution in Higher Education

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pain Management Doctor

Today was our monthly doctor's appointment. I say "our" because I never let Tim go alone if I can help it. I want to know exactly what is going on with everything in his body. If they change his meds, I want to know why, how, and any other question I can conjure up. If they want to try a new procedure, I want to ask as many questions as I can, and then go home and research it. Tim was in the military for 21 years. He just takes orders without asking questions. I am extremely analytical by nature, and I want answers!

The pain management doctor Tim was seeing before moving away from the area quit his practice while we lived away. We switched to a new doctor where we were living, but when we moved back we had to switch back. Since his old doctor is no longer in practice, we had to find a new one... and fast.

Apparently we rushed a little too fast. We have been with our current doctor for about 4 or 5 months now. He originally seemed like he would be wonderful... at least, that was Tim's impression when he went by himself the first time because I was unable to get off work. As I made it to the next appointment with him, I noticed this office was unsanitary, the doctor always wears dirty jeans and an old t-shirt or scrub top, his nurses don't seem to know the first thing about the human body, they did not keep any records of what they were doing, and the doctor was rather spacey. It really concerned me. However, he was willing to try non-narcotic solutions to the pain. That's what we've been looking for! We want him off those narcotics. With his current level of pain, though, it is impossible. This doctor mapped out a plan that seemed perfect. He did an injection that decreased the pain for a few days. But when it was time for our next appointment, he had no clue what was going on, what he had previously done, and what the plan was that he had mapped out for us. As we described it to him, he didn't agree at all. So he simply refilled the prescription.

Today was even more interesting. We went in to where the nurse was sitting. She asked how the pain had been and if the narcotics were helping. Tim told her that the pain was still very bad. She said, "Then let's increase how many you're taking. What do you think you should take?" Really? This nurse is asking what narcotics we want and willing to just write a prescription? We were shocked. Tim said, "Well, actually I'd like to not take any more than I absolutely have to, so I would rather just stick to the amount that I already have." The doctor then walked in, sat down, and literally had the following conversation with us sitting there in complete shock.

"You know, I keep driving down the road and seeing these signs for Vacation Bible School. I went to Vacation Bible School when I was a kid... FOR THE COOKIES! I would go to every one of them I could so I could get those good cookies they had there. You remember that? They were so good. I'd hit every denomination... Baptist, Methodist, Church of Christ, Catholic, Muslim.... well, I didn't hit Muslim. I wouldn't go to Muslim. But the cookies were so good! Did you ever go to Vacation Bible School as a kid?"

Tim responded, "Yes sir, but I don't remember the cookies."

Doc said, "I don't know how you could forget the cookies. Wow! Those cookies were so good!"

The nurse handed him the prescription, he signed it, and she told us we were finished and they'd see us next month. The doctor never said anything about the pain. He had no clue what was going on with Tim. Never in my life have I seen someone so unprofessional, especially someone who has other people's lives in their hands. I think it's time for us to find a new pain management doctor.


My education and career experience are in Exercise Physiology and Kinesiology. Naturally, I want to heal my husband with exercise. Working with him is a challenge to me because his conditions are a far cry from anybody else with whom I have worked. He desperately wants to get back in a gym, but with his current condition it would be a waste of time. Plus, he is too ashamed to go in and not perform as someone without injuries. I finally convinced him last week to walk up and down our driveway 3-5 times in a row, once or twice a day. We do not have a long driveway, but it is inclined. One time up is a difficult task when you cannot use your calves to propel your gait. He decided that he will walk the driveway when I go out for my daily run. The first day he did incredible! When I got back from my run he made it up and down the driveway 15 times. I stretched him when he finished, and he felt good. His pain was tolerable, and he had a happy energy to him. The second day he also made 15, but this time was pushing it. Seven more days have now passed that he has been unable to tackle the driveway. It is difficult for me to figure out how to convince this overachiever that more is not necessarily better in this case. We'll keep taking it one day at a time, though, and hopefully soon he can build up to consistently doing it every other day or every day.

Here are some good resources for further reading on exercise for spinal cord injuries:

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Wanted: Baby

I have a wonderful stepson. I am extremely blessed with him. However, my number one goal in life has always been to be a mother. I always thought that I would be married for a few years first, and then we would start trying. If it happened along the way, so be it. But we wouldn't actively try for awhile. Because of my husband's injuries, though, we decided to start trying a few months after we married. It has now been 10 months that we have been working toward this goal, but still no luck. We both want a child together more than anything. As of right now, we do not even know if it is possible. We are very aware that our odds are not as great as the average couple. But the way I see it is that my husband should not have lived through his crash, but God is a miracle worker. I believe my husband is nothing short of a miracle, and I believe that God can work a miracle in this case, too.

Here are some excellent resources if you are trying to conceive:

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Our Story

In 2003-2004, my husband, Tim, lived in Arkansas with his first wife and two-year-old son, and he was deployed to Iraq for 12 months. In 2003-2004, I lived in Florida and had a boyfriend-turned-fiance who was stationed in Germany, and he deployed to Iraq. Based on location and jobs, it is highly possible their paths crossed in Iraq, but we will never know. They both made it through their deployments without a physical scratch on their bodies. Tim returned home after his deployment to find his marriage had failed while he was away. My fiancé was transferred back stateside, and a year later our relationship failed. I moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas. Tim was a helicopter pilot and the Commander of the Counterdrug Aviation Division for the Arkansas Army National Guard.
On August 9, 2006, he was flying a counterdrug mission in Northwest Arkansas. His engine failed, and he plummeted 800 feet to the ground. After a year in Iraq without a scratch, he now was facing death from a mission in Arkansas with shattered and compressed vertebrae. Luckily, his extreme musculature protected him from fatal damage. He was flown to a hospital in Fayetteville, and a friend of mine who was also on the mission planned to fly over to visit him. He asked me to pick him up from the airport and take him to the hospital. I was warned before entering his room that he had not yet been told that he would never walk again. He seemed in good spirits as we went in his room, but the load of pain medications they had him on were probably to credit. He was very sweet, fun and flirtatious. I left his room that day with the belief that this poor 36-year-old big, muscular, athletic, tough guy would never walk again. My heart was broken for him. But my heart was also very interested in him. I asked about him, but my friend informed me that he was dating somebody. So I did not go back to visit him. I thought about him quite often over the next 3 years, assuming he was married and learning how to handle life in a wheelchair.
In May of 2009 one of my clients told me that she would like for me to meet her best friend’s brother. She said that we had so much in common, but he could no longer do many of the activities he once enjoyed because he was in a helicopter crash in 2006 that broke his back and left him with severe nerve damage. The more she talked, the more I realized that was the guy I visited in the hospital. I was immediately interested in meeting him again.
When we first met I was amazed at how well he got around. He could walk! In fact, other than a slight limp, some muscle atrophy and his scars, you could not tell he had been in such a horrible crash. I could tell he pushed to do things he once did because he was determined to still do them. At that point, though, I didn’t realize what a challenge it was for him.
In less than three months we were engaged. We both had known from that first weekend that we were meant for each other. As I planned the wedding, he was transferred to Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, to their Warrior Transition Unit to process his disability retirement from the military. After our dream wedding and honeymoon he had to return back to Oklahoma to finish his retirement process. Nearly two months after we married, he got to come home and for the first time since we had known each other, we not only lived in the same house but actually lived in the same town. That was when I began to realize what my husband experiences on a daily basis.
He would get out and mow our yard in the morning. By the time I came home from work, though, he was on the couch unable to move without a tremendous amount of pain. He would sleep that night and still be in bed when I left for work the next morning. When I came home for lunch he was lucky to have made it to the couch. He would spend all day in too much pain to function with any normalcy. The next day would be better, so he would get out and wash his truck. That would knock him down for another day or two. All the activities that I saw him perform when we were living in separate towns, I thought he could do with just a little push. What I did not see when I would leave to go back to my home was that he could not function after those activities.
My husband is my hero. He gives it his all in everything he does. He pushes through the pain for as long as he can bare it. He tries to not let others see his pain and struggles. He is too proud, and he does not look for sympathy. He is the toughest man I know. Although he does take strong narcotics on a daily basis to help him cope with the pain, he always tries to take the least amount he can take and still function. He pushes, he strives and he never gives up.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wounded Warriors ~ Heroes

Watching your husband deal with daily pain and setbacks can be one of the most difficult things a wife must experience. Our "Wounded Warriors" are tough men. They are men who served our country and paid a price, whether stateside or on an overseas deployment. They are men who previously could do anything, who were athletic and tough fighters, and who were accustomed to excelling in every task they performed. Now, because of their injuries, they struggle with otherwise simple daily tasks. Because they were selflessly serving our country and doing their part to make our lives better, many of them now endure pain that is beyond our comprehension, both physically and mentally. These men and women are heroes. They are incredible people who deserve praise. This blog is my story of living with my hero. I thank God every single day ~ in fact, many times a day ~ for my incredible husband who I view as my hero. And I thank God for every Wounded Warrior, their heroism, the sacrifice they made and the sacrifices they continue to make on a daily basis.