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It’s Time Now

Moving forward, maybe.  

To be totally honest I remember things in bits and pieces. Most of the two and a half months I spent with Jason in the hospital were the same. We did most of the same things every day; most of the milestones memories were based on just that, his milestones and improvement.

The beginning of our journey in Bethesda Naval Hospital was about a month long. He spent equal time between the ICU and the third floor.  The third floor was preparation for him to be transferred out of the hospital to a facility that could help him rehabilitate.

Surgeries mark most of the memories of Bethesda. Jason has had two craniotomies, surgery to remove shrapnel from his brain, face and remaining eye. Shunts were placed to help release pressure from brain due to his traumatic brain injury. He no longer has the right frontal lobe of his brain. Surgery to place a tracheostomy and a feeding tube. He was left missing eight teeth; five on top and three on bottom. Massive open wounds on his face and upper torso.

Living life from surgery to surgery at this point. Jason was in a medically induced coma after he was blown up until he was moved to the third floor. During the later half of Bethesda he was kept comfortable on a cocktail of pain killers including dilaudid as he suffered extremely debilitating headaches after his craniotomies. He didn't know where he was, what was going on or if he even wanted to be alive.

These details are boring. They are just details to a horrific thing that happened in our lives. Details don't seem to do it justice. My memories are in still frames of seeing him for the first time, reading books to him during the night while he was still in the ICU. Helping the nurse wipe him down while he was still in a coma. The first time the coma inducing medicine was lowered enough for Jason to somewhat process what was going on and he squeezed my hand after being told I was there.

Holding on to the hope that somewhere inside of his mangled body the Jason I knew was still there.

The hospital makes you feel useless, even more so than the waiting game I had just completed. I am not a nurse, not a doctor, have no medical knowledge what so ever. I am merely an observer. Watching, waiting, hopeful, tired and pushing forward.

I am in control of nothing, nothing, NOTHING! I am merely along for the ride that I choose to get on but cannot see the end of. I'm not even sure this ride has seat belts and there were certainly no attendants to check that I was buckled up properly...

But here we are, years later walking through the pain, fear and emotions of all of it. You see hospital life doesn't give you the time or the grace to walk through and process all of the pain and emotions you are currently dealing with. Hospital life puts you on the fast track to physically healing which is so important, but helps you bury alive all of your feelings deep down inside while trying to keep up with every surgery, meeting, and milestone or lack there of that the day presents.

The hospital helps you to adjust to your new normal. This is life now. Adjust or get left behind.

What never happens is the funeral for everything that is no longer. You see feelings buried alive don't die. Lots of quotes apply that to forgiveness which I believe is true, but I think it's not just limited to that. That's where we are at now, fifteen years later.

Realizing that none of this whole traumatic event was acknowledged or dealt with and that goes for both Jason and I. Tearing off the bandaids that held together the wounds of the past pushing forward  to find wisdom and healing.

Photo by Gabriela Gutierrez on Unsplash


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