This is about our family's journey to a new norm after our son Chris was seriously injured in an IED explosion while deployed to Afghanistan. I chose the title "A Misfit's Mother's Journey" to honor some small way all the amazing young men in his squad, "Martin's Misfits". I owe a debt to these amazing men who worked together to save my son's and his buddy's lives and to the young man who sadly lost his life. This is a debt I can never repay. I hope you will find inspiration in our story and admiration of the young men who understand the consequences and are still willing to risk life and limb in the hope of protecting others.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Now comes the "quiet"....temporarily
As I got ready to see Chris, Gitta's voice was bouncing around inside my head reminding me how theraputic running can be during times like these. I knew she was right, so I laced up my shoes so I could run after I satisfied my need to hug Chris and find out how he was doing. As I pushed open the Fisher House doors the first thing to hit me was how white the sidewalk was against green astroturf. It's amazing how the relief from knowing your son is near, in good health and great spirits can open up your tunnel vision to let the beauty of the world around you in. Behind me I heard the tinkling of a waterfall, good thing I didn't have to pee. I turned my head to see a picturesque, small, white gazebo but no waterfall. In a corner of my mind I tucked away the thought to look for it when I returned, realizing that sound may come in handy later. The trick would be to remember to pull that thought out of that corner later. As I headed up the incline towards building 1, to my left I spied several tan lines cutting through the side of the hill across the street from the hospital grounds. I wondered how long they were and where they went, guess today is as good as any to find out. I stood in front of the bay of hospital elevators and my mind began to scream...I HATE ELEVATORS!!! This will be one fear I will be forced to get over or under control while I am here that was for sure. Though there was a plus to getting there early, the elevators seemed to go straight to the 5th floor as if they knew how anxious I was to get there. I gently opened Chris' door and the room was dark and eerily quiet. Cujo was out cold on the tiny little couch, the poor guy looked so uncomfortable. Good thing he's a Marine, they are used to sleeping on anything and anywhere. Chris was awake and in pain. The nurses and corpmen here are wonderful. You can tell by the look on their faces, the tone of their voices and their gentleness with the patients that they really care about these young men and want to do everything possible to make their lives easier. I waited until they were able to get his pain under control before I decided it was time for some stress relief. The sun was now a bright yellow ball in the sky that demanded sunglasses and made the day hot and dry, thankfully there was a slight breeze. The heat brought out the most delicious smells from the desert plants along the trail. Aromatherapy brought to you by Mother Nature, gotta love it! It was my first trail run; it was different and tougher than anything I had ran yet. Watching where my feet landed so I didn't step wrong on the big and little rocks, the loose sand and critters was not something I was used to. Oh and don't forget looking out for possible rattlesnakes. The run was short, but it was better than nothing and cleared the head quite well. Chris needed a change of scenery; more importantly he needed to visit Brad so they both could see with their own eyes that the other was truly okay. There will always be a bond between the three of them; one born out of tragedy, one that no one really wanted because of it's tragic beginnings but one which will aide greatly in their recoveries. They were able to get Chris a chair and over to see Brad. When I returned to the ward after my run I sort of ruined their surprise. Chris wanted to surprise me with being in the courtyard when I got back, either way it was a wonderful sight! The trip to the courtyard was short, but as I watched Chris lean his head back to soak up all the sun he could I realized that just as plants after a torrential storm grow and thrive with the cleansing rains and warming sun that follows. Chris will grow and thrive after his torrential storms of the divorce and losing part of his legs with the help of the cleansing prayers and warming love from all our family, friends and people we don't even know. This day and the next was "quiet", relatively speaking. Keeping his pain in check was challenging at times but he did handle it all so well. Terry's voice kept whispering in my ear...make sure you keep track of his doctors and medications, it will be very useful later. I love my girls! Even when they're not near, they still are because they all reside deep in my heart and evidently in my brain as well. But Holy Hell Terry how did you do it?! There are so many, non-stop, for basically the same thing and none of their names are easy or easily readable! I know I will get it eventually but sooner would be better. So far he was healing nicely and was on track for wound closure the following day. Things are going so fast just like Terry said it would. It's so hard to believe only 8 days have passed since the explosion. His next hurdle would be the closing operation. Bring it on! We are ready for it and have no qualms with telling life that we can take anything it dishes out cause it hits like a bitch!