“What lies behind us, and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
As many of you already know, Greg is officially outpatient! After eleven hours of appointments, last minute check-ups, and being quizzed on all his medications, Greg’s doctors deemed him fit to leave at 7:00pm on Monday. With Greg’s sister, Eva, brother-in-law, Pat, and three nephews in town, we had a nice celebration at the Fisher House, where Greg will be staying during his rehabilitation at the Center for the Intrepid (CFI).
Greg has joined the Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB) that is located on post, and designed for wounded warriors who are either from Fort Sam Houston, or who were injured overseas. This means that though Greg was JUST released from the hospital, he is still required to attend 7:30am formation Monday through Friday, for accountability purposes. As his non-medical assistant, this means I too have to attend! Beginning Tuesday, we were at formation, where we were given Greg’s schedule for the day. This week we are required to attend various appointments with finance, health services, family services, the WTB, the VA, and all other programs available to Greg during this process.
Another piece of exciting news is that the external fixator was finally removed from Greg’s arm. Unfortunately, this means that his arm is exceptionally sensitive, and requires an external brace for support. Greg refers to it as his ‘spaghetti arm,’ as there are still areas where no bones are connected. We are in the process of finding a brace that truly supports and mends Greg’s arm, but I’m afraid we remain worried that his arm may never regain enough strength for day to day activity. Watching other people walk with double above the knee amputations excites us, but then we notice their arms are in perfect condition. Greg worries his arm will not provide enough strength to learn how to walk on prosthetics. The CFI will no doubt find a way to change this, but of course we worry more and more – particularly when what’s left of Greg’s elbow is bent in the opposite direction. Once final decisions are made, the ulnar graft is fixed, and either a prosthetic elbow or cadaver is added to Greg’s arm, everything else will hopefully fall in to place.
The last few days have been completely exhausting, and the phantom pains and arm pain remain. Greg’s arm is frustrating, because we know so much would be different if it would just heal. Time is still the major player. Greg’s attitude remains positive for the most part. Becoming outpatient was a little intimidating and worrisome, but overall it is exciting and nice for Greg to sleep in a normal bed, without lights and buzzers going off at all hours. Though Greg is now outpatient, his wounds are still very much in precious condition. Pain control, sleep, stitches and sores are still a concern, but we look forward to starting at the CFI in two to three weeks. There, Greg will have new doctors that will continue his care, along with rehab. Weekends without PT or appointments will be exciting, particularly when we are given a wheelchair that can fold in the car. Mostly, Greg is eager to catch up on his sleep, and finally take me out on a date.
More updates soon.
All my best,
Note: Greg’s mailing address has changed but any packages or letters already on the way will be forwarded appropriately.