11.30.2006

Adding injury to insult

So, on top of everything else, I think I've managed to break my toe.


Lovely.


Please don't ask me HOW I broke my toe. I do not know. (hey...that rhymes! I'm a poet and didn't know it!) My foot started hurting Monday but the pain was very generalized and I couldn't put my finger on it (literally). Tuesday the pain became more localized and I was able to tell that it was my 2nd toe on my left foot that hurt but it didn't look broken or swollen or bruised or anything. It just HURT.


I woke up this morning and the damn thing is swollen to the point that they almost had to cut my toe ring off (managed to get it off with a lot of Vaseline and a lot of cussing!). I'm still waiting to hear what the x-rays show. But it sure FEELS like I broke it. Of course, there is really nothing to DO for a broken toe except limp and complain. Both of which I am good at.


Still, quite annoying. As if the chest and back pain (from the coughing) and sore throat weren't enough. Lovely. I'm not a fan of my body at the moment. Grr.


At least Christmas and R&R are coming!!!!! Yay! Something to look forward to!




Pau.




- hfs

11.28.2006

The DX

For those of you unfamiliar with medical lingo, "dx" refers to the diagnosis. A lot easier to write too, especially for those poor doctors who never passed penmanship in elementary school ;~)


Anyway, the diagnosis is acute bronchitis which is what I figured. No pneumonia which is good but the doc did say that it looks like I've sprained the intercostal muscles (the little muscles between the ribs) pretty well. Yay. Thankfully, no chest xray.


I was sent home with all sorts of fun meds - albuterol (a stimulant), benzonatate (causes drowsiness), Robitussin with codeine (another depressant), the ever-present 800 mg Motrin, and Zithromax to be taken if my symptoms do not begin to improve in 48 hours. The doc doubts that it's bacterial so I'll hold off on the antibiotics for a bit. And, as AWTM mentioned in the comments for the previous entry, LOTS of fluids. Don't have to worry about humidity - Hawai'i has an overabundance of that at the moment though hot steamy showers do seem to make me feel better.


So, I'm not dying though sometimes I feel like I am. But again, small blessings in that the timing of all of this is as good as it's going to get! Thanks for all of the well-wishes!




Pau.




- hfs

Still breathing...barely

I've managed to come down with bronchitis (at least I think it's bronchitis. Maybe it's pneumonia and I'll get the really good drugs!). Not fun. So I'm still alive and breathing but it HURTS. I"m hoping to head to the doc tomorrow and, if I can't get a same-day appointment I will do a walk-in at the Acute Care Clinic.


Yes, it's that bad. I don't head to the ACC unless it's that bad.


Thankfully this is happening now as opposed to 3 weeks from now when family starts to arrive for the holidays or 6 weeks from now when MacGyver heads home for R&R. Small blessings.


I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Ours was good. Not great. Not awful. All that I could ask for right now.




Pau.




- hfs

11.18.2006

Charity through the eyes of a child

Most of the time I think my children are pretty amazing. I know...I'm biased. I freely admit that. I think that, as a parent, part of my job (along with being their biggest advocate) is to be my childrens' biggest cheerleader.

And then sometimes they do things that simply blow me away (in a good way!). First, a little background. My children get 3 gifts from us (their parents). Jesus got 3 gifts on his birthday therefore my children get 3 gifts on His birthday. This does not include stocking stuffers or the gift that Santa brings - just so we're clear. But from us, as parents, they each get 3 gifts.

One of the things I try to teach my children is a concern for others as well as a sense of responsibility toward those less fortunate. One way that I try to do this is to have them go through their toys and select 3 toys that they no longer play with that are still in good condition. My goal was to have them donate those toys to an agency that gives toys to less fortunate children at the holidays.

Well, my daughter took that idea and ran with it. First, she decided that she has too many toys and that there are more than 3 toys that she is willing to part with. Then, based on the fact that one of our neighbors just had a yard sale a few weeks ago, she decided that we should sell the used toys in the yard sale instead of simply giving them away.

At first, I hesitated. I didn't want her to sell them, I wanted her to give them. But this is where she blew me away. She then proceeded to tell me that we should take the money that we make from the yard sale and use that money to buy NEW toys for other kids whose parents might not be able to buy the toys themselves.

When she told me this, I sat there with my mouth hanging open for a few seconds. Once I gathered my thoughts, I asked her what her reasoning was. She told me that just because kids didn't have a lot of money doesn't mean they don't deserve new toys and that we could probably raise a lot of money by selling our old toys so that buying new ones wouldn't be a big deal.

Wow.

So that's what we're going to do. We are going to have a toy sale and sell off a lot of the kids' older toys. My children are not usually too rough on their toys (though there was this one time...) so most of their toys are in pretty good shape. Most of us know that people tend to donate more when a price is not named and the proceeds are going to a named charity so we are not pricing any of the toys. It will be donation only and we will have a specific entity that the proceeds will be benefitting already chosen (we're looking at choosing children from the Angel Tree on post). My hope is that people will be generous and therefore allow US to be generous. I have a budget already set aside for this purpose so any monies raised from this sale will just add to that. I would love to be able to buy gifts for an entire family and not just 1 or 2 kids. We will see.


Sometimes I forget that she is only 5. She loves to surprise me in ways that I never see coming. She is amazing (and so is he).




Pau.




- hfs

11.13.2006

You know what sucks?

When I was a teenager, we used to play the game "You know what sucks worse?" It went something like this:

PERSON 1:
"You know what sucks?"

"No. What?"

"Getting a flat tire in the parking lot at school."

(people nod their heads in agreement)

PERSON 2:
"You know what sucks WORSE?"

"No. What?"

"Getting a flat tire in the parking lot at school and not being able to run from the cops when they roll up to catch you drinking on school grounds after hours."



And so on.



So, today it is my turn to relive the glory days of that game...

You know what sucks?

Being sick.

You what sucks worse?

Being sick while one of your children is sick.

You know what sucks worse?

Being sick while one child is sick and the other is healthy as a horse and running around like a maniac because he's BORED.

You know what sucks worse?

Being sick while one child is sick, the other is healthy as a horse and running around like a maniac because he's BORED and you live too far away from family for them to help.

You know what sucks WORSE?

Being sick while one child is sick, the other is healthy as a horse and running around like a maniac because he's BORED and you live too far away from family for them to help and having your husband deployed.




You know what sucks worse???

Being the deployed husband and having to listen to your wife complain about being sick while YOU are sick in the desert.



He wins. Dammit.




Pau.




- hfs

11.11.2006

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(via Cox and Forkum)



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via Military.com:

A Brief History of Veterans Day

Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was originally set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor the end of World War I, which officially took place on November 11, 1918. In legislature that was passed in 1938, November 11 was "dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day.'" As such, this new legal holiday honored World War I veterans.

In 1954, after having been through both World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress -- at the urging of the veterans service organizations -- amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

In 1968, the Uniforms Holiday Bill ensured three-day weekends for federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. Under this bill, Veterans Day was moved to the last Monday of October. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holiday on its original date. The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on Oct. 25, 1971.

Finally on September 20, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed a law which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of Nov. 11, beginning in 1978. Since then, the Veterans Day holiday has been observed on Nov. 11.




To ALL of our veterans...thank you.





Pau.




- hfs

11.09.2006

Colbert calls it quits

The Colbert Report


I must admit I have not watched either The Daily Show or The Colbert Report as of late. I think I'll start watching again. I'm curious to see how the Democratic majority is treated by these two.




Pau.




- hfs

11.08.2006

What I want

The elections are over (for the most part...there are a few races still to be finalized) and the message has been sent. Time to get to work. I am not going to do like Uncle Jimbo and list everyone I voted for in my state of record. I will say that, even though I tend to fall in line with the Republican party, the majority of my votes did not follow party lines. But who I voted for is a moot point.

It is now time to get to work. President Bush has 2 years left to do his job. This new group of Congressmen and Congresswomen has 2 years to steer this country on to a new, and hopefully better, track. Here is what I want:


1.) Iraq - I want a clear policy on what needs to be done to secure our withdrawal from that country. I want to see our government (and the governments of the Coalition and the International Community) say to the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people that it is time to get their shit together and begin to take responsibility for the future of their country.

I want to see our military given the go-ahead to do what it does best...fight. I want to see them given the go ahead to do so with both hands, not with one tied behind their backs like they are right now.


2.) Immigration and National Security - It was tough for me to make this my #2 issue. I think immigration and the war in Iraq/GWOT are intrinsically linked. I want to see a coprehensive and STRICT policy here. I want TIGHT border control. TIGHT. Not 700 miles of chain link fence with a sign that says "Keep Out" but an honest-to-God, we're not letting ANYONE in, sign-the-MinuteMen-up-for-Border-Patrol and arm-the-National-Guard-to-the-teeth policy. Anything less is not good enough. This policy should also include a way for illegal immigrants to earn their citizenship as well as some kind of temporary guest worker program.


3.) Taxes - DON'T TOUCH THEM UNLESS YOU PLAN TO CUT THEM. Period.


4.) Energy - let's get serious here. There have been a few baby steps made toward making alternative fuels more mainstream but I don't think we've been aggressive enough. Time to step that up. Additionally, I'd like to see the issue of ANWR revisited though I am not holding my breath. However, with a Republican set to take the reins in Alaska, this might be possible. We'll see.

5.) Health Care - I hope and pray that the concept of "national health care" doesn't rear its ugly head again. The idea of socialized health care terrifies me. I have no problem with privatizing it and letting the forces of competition and such keep control of prices but I am NOT in favor of any kind of governmental control on health care. I still say that the government can't seem to run Tricare properly. What makes you think they can do better with a larger concept.

6.) Those pesky things called ethics and morals - It's time for the Republicans to clean house. Booting Dennis Hastert is a good start. Let's keep that momentum rolling. The scandals, the sleaziness, and the bullshit are some of the things that cost the GOP this election. Fix it before 2008.

7.) The economy - Time to start living within our means again. I don't know what the hell happened to the idea that the GOP was the fiscally conservative side of the house but they sure haven't been acting like it. Fix that too.




All in all, this should serve as a wake-up call for the GOP. There are some serious issues within the party and within the leadership. Fix it now. Otherwise you'll have 4 YEARS to fix it following the 2008 election because you'll lose that one too if you don't.




Pau.




- hfs

Donald Rumsfeld is stepping down

Rumsfeld resigns.

I can't say I'm surprised nor am I disappointed. My hope is that this signals a new focus for the war in Iraq and a renewed focus for the Global War on Terror. Let's "git'er done!".




Pau.




- hfs




11.07.2006

Happy Birthday MacGyver!!!

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You are the love of my life and I cannot imagine myself without you. Happy birthday babe! I can't wait until you are home...




Pau.




- hfs

11.06.2006

A confluence of circumstances

It takes a lot to get me dressed up. I am decidedly "low maintenance" when it comes to clothing. My favorite outfit consists of denim Old Navy shorts and a t-shirt and slippahs if I need shoes. Thank goodness I live in Hawaii.

Saturday night was the "Hail and Farewell" for the outgoing commander's wife who is also our FRG (Family Readiness Group) leader. Saturday night was also "Parents' Night Out" at the child care center on post. Nice timing. Saturday was ALSO the day I bought a new blouse. Completely out of my realm of style but I liked the colors and the price was right (read: on sale!). So I grabbed it, thinking it would be a nice "going out" piece and perfect for the evening.

We ate at a local pasta place and I ordered the Garlic Steak (because, you know...what did you expect me to order at a pasta place?) which was quite yummy. I also ordered a Creme Brulee martini. Those of you who know me know that I rarely drink and when I do it tends to be at home because I hate paying $6.50 for a drink I can make on my own for less than $2. But it sounded yummy. And it was. It was a great evening though I am sad to see our commander's wife go. She's a sweet person with a heart of gold.

Nine times out of ten, on occasions such as this, I forget my camera. Not this time. AND I had the presence of mind to ask one of my friends to snap a picture of me. I am putting together some scrapbooks and it dawned on me how FEW photos I have of myself. I'm usually the one behind the camera. Hard to be IN the picture when you're taking it.

So, given the fact that all of these forces had combined into that point in time, I did something I rarely do which was ask my friend to take a picture of me. You'll notice I am wearing jeans. The only other times I get more dressed up than this is church, weddings, and military formals. So this is as good as it gets!

When I went to pick up the kiddos from Parents' Night Out, my daughter told me I looked "wonderful". I'll take it.


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UPDATE:Eric is stateside and on the mend. He has a bit of a long road ahead of him but he's alive and that's the most important thing. Thank you for your prayers and good thoughts. I'll keep you all posted.




Pau.




- hfs

11.04.2006

MacGyver is just fine.

Apparently, there was some confusion with my last post. Just to clarify, MacGyver is perfectly fine. Our good friend, Eric, was the one who was injured when his Humvee hit an IED. He's stateside again, experiencing all that Walter Reed has to offer - especially the narcotics.


Chuck stopped by to leave a comment on my previous post that eventually turned into a novel (those of you who know Chuck know how this is par for the course) and I wanted to reprint it here for everyone to read.

Let Macgyver (and your friend) know that it really isn't the end of the world, it's a setback. I love working with my hands, and do lot of projecs too... everything from brewing beer to refinishing furniture. It takes longer, and I have to take my time and actually watch what I am doing, instead of working by feel, and I think my playstation days ended a long time ago, but the hard thing to get through my head was that it wasn't the end of the world. You have tyo adapt, and the fixes are neither immediate or easy.
Things that used to be easy, or even so simple I didn't consider them, are now often insurmountable (like buttoning a cuff or collar.) I was once completely unable to bathe myself, my hands were so sensitive I couldn't hold the poofy soap things. Hell, at one oint, I couldn't even wipe myself. Luckily, I was unable to kill myself, too.
It wasn't luck, it was love thsat saved me though. Carren and my Mom spent months picking up the pieces, putting me back together, and pushing me to do the little things that make up a normal day.
Don't get me wrong, I wanted to do things, but everything was so hard I had no idea where to start... They stuck by me and kept me focused. Valour-IT was a start, of course. As swelling went down and "angry" nerves calmed, I slowly regained strength and flexibility. I re-learned how to do things like get dressed in something other than sweats, and (the matterhorn of challenges) tie my kid's shoes. (It still takes a while.)
It's been 17 months now, and I am so far from where I was on 22 June 05 that it's hard to believe it was only a year and a half.
The surgeons and nurses at the Army Medical Centers are geniuses, as are the occupational and physical therapists--all the kings horses and all the king's men, as it were.

I never planned on any of this. I'd never have considered it, given it a second thought, except maybe to think "wow, better him than me." This was never part of my career path, not the way I envisioned my personal or professional life. As I look to the future, I see a lot of changes... I'm probably never going to tech the boy to throw a fastball properly, and never start that second career as a brain surgeon. Okay, so that was a long shot to begin with.

Things get better. Even if my injuries had been worse, things would've eventually gotten better. I doubt things will ever be the way they were (unless I sprout some nerves and bones--damn you, BushMcHalliburton, why can't we do more stem sell research?) but then again, it'll never be last Thursday again either. Plans change, life changes. Sure, when the movie we wanted to see isn't showing, we see someting else. Not hard, really. When something requires not only a conscious decision to do something else, but long, determined action(s) to make them happen (some of which fail, miserably) it is much harder to see the point in trying, and continuing. You continue anyway, making adjustments as you go, because the cost of quitting is too high--wallowing in self pity, failing to continue enjoying life, in effect, you were killed when you were wounded, you just took longer to die. (Wow, sounds like current our President's Iraq policy vs. Kerry, Murtha, Pelosi, and the rest of those cowards.)

Sounds pretty grim, doesn't it? Well, the good news is that, although life is a zero-sum game, I'm still living, still healing, still able to do things. I'll be here when my son pins on his bars, and when my daughter pins on hers. I'll be here to give her away, to whichever brave soul measures up to my standards. I'll even be around when Carren and I decide to sit outside nekkid in separate bathtubs and watch the sunset -- what's up with those cialis commercials, anyway? If he's taking stiffy meds, why aren't they in the same tub?

Plus, you get drugs. Lots of drugs.

Finally, if Macgyver hurts his hand(s) I'll deliver his Valour-IT laptop in person. And remind him, it could be worse, imagine losing a nut or two.

Recovery is a long, hard process (speaking of cialis). Remind your friend that if it was easy, we wouldn't call it rehab, we'd call it the Air Force. Life has a funny way of coming at you. As long as you have people who love you, and people to love, it's worth living.

--Chuck





Now, I would HATE to think that it would take MacGyver getting hurt to make it possible for me to meet up with Chuck again (after having met him in DC at the MilBlogging conference) but that would definitely be a silver lining in an otherwise dark cloud. Actually I'd be just as excited to meet up with his wife Carren again, if not moreso.


The one thing I've learned over the past week is that there are some truly wonderful people out there. People who are more than willing to bend over backward and do whatever needs to be done to help out. And I am greatful beyond words for that. This was "just" a friend who was hurt. Not my husband. I cannot tell you how comoforting, reassuring, and GOOD it is to know that should I EVER find myself in the position where my husband is hurt, I will be well-taken care of.


Thank you. And please, if you haven't already, head over to Project Valour-IT's website and make a donation today.




Pau.




- hfs

11.03.2006

Better late than never

It's been a rough week. I had every intention of jumping into the Army's effort on behalf of Project Valour-IT with both feet.


And then I got the text message while I was at church on Sunday. Our friend had been injured.


IED.


There was mention of a broken leg and injuries to his hand.


He was being prepped for evacuation to Germany.


And then there was silence.


He's ok. Thank goodness. No word on the long term prognosis with regard to his injuries but he's alive and that is THE most important thing. But his recovery may take a while. And while he's recovering, he may need some help. Which is where Project Valour-IT comes in.


Here is the bulk of the post that I made for the Project Valour-IT fundraiser last year. It still holds true today.


One of the things that MacGyver and I have talked about it how we would handle things should he be injured in the line of duty. It's not a pretty conversation - things like that never are. But I am not a fan of surprises so I'd rather discuss this now, before he deploys.

Those of you who know MacGyver know what type of person he is. He is a very "hands on" type of person. He works a LOT with his hands. He is a mechanic by nature - at the age of 2, he took apart a transistor radio while he sat in his crib. Our 2 car garage is full of his projects - the BMW 2002 that he is restoring, the Yamaha YSR 50cc motorcycle that is his labor of love, the oddball projects that he always seems to have more of than time - and his tools. His hands are strong. Not necessarily big - small, in fact, for someone who is almost six feet tall. But they are powerful hands with scars that show where he has been and what he has done. Each scar has a story. There are the scars that have come from working on our cars (we don't own new cars...). There are the scars that have come from working on helicopters. There are the scars that have come from who-knows-where. It's not uncommon for MacGyver to come in and be bleeding and not know how he got hurt.

We've talked about the different injuries that can be sustained in combat and the one injury that worries him most is the loss of his hands or the loss of the use of his hands. He can deal with spinal cord injuries, shrapnel injuries, leg injuries. But to take his hands away from him would mean taking life away from him. He's a strong man but it would take every ounce of strength he has (and then some) to overcome that.

When CPT Z was injured, it really illustrated how big a challenege it is to function without the use of one's hands. They do SO MUCH over the course of a day - things you don't even THINK about. Here is just a small sampling of the things I did with my hands this past weekend :

rubbed sleep from my eyes
brushed my teeth
washed my hair and body
dried off
buttoned the button on my shorts
brushed and dried my hair
typed e-mails to friends and family
typed a blog entry
chatted on IM
made a few phone calls
put on my makeup
fixed my children waffles for breakfast
brushed my daugther's hair and teeth
tied her shoes
opened my purse
buckled my children in their car seats
started the car
cleaned the laceration on Little Man's toe
bandaged Little Man's toe (three times)
wiped tears from Little Man's face


And the list goes on and on. How many of those things - little things, really - could I have NOT done had I not had the use of my hands?

Think about not being able to do those things AND not being able to be in contact with friends and family across the globe. Let's face it...most of us are (or were) military families and very few of us live close to friends and family. So the phone and the internet are incredibly important to us. Imagine how important those things would become if you were trapped - literally - in a hospital bed on the East Coast...thousands of miles from anyone you know...with a debilitating injury and no way to speak with family and friends without the help of another person.

How helpless and frustrated would you feel?

Tie your hands behind your back for a moment and then try to interact with the world.




Not easy is it. And you're not injured. You're not hurt, scared, or alone in a place you don't know.




There are 4 days left in this fundraiser. Sgt. Hook had a good point - if everyone who reads my blog (I average about 80-100 hits per day) were to donate just a couple of bucks - say $5 - that would just about raise enough money to purchase one fully-loaded laptop computer with software. Five bucks. That's not even lunch money anymore. It's a latte at Starbucks.




The next person that needs that computer could be MacGyver. Or someone close to you. Five bucks is nothing compared to the freedom and independence and healing that computer would provide.




Five bucks.



This year, everything hits a little closer to home. Like text messages during church. I don't know if Eric will need the help of Project Valour-IT but if he does, it is because of people like you that he will get what he needs.




Please give. Give until it hurts. THEY did.





Pau.




- hfs

The balance between chaos and silence

I can't find a balance. There's no happy medium.


During the days, silence is non-existent. I have a hard time, with two energetic children demanding and deserving my full attention, eeking out a moment to have a thought of my own. From the moment they get up they are talking, moving, needing things, demanding things, requiring my attention, my love, my patience. My time.


There is no break. No rest. No silence.


At night the silence is deafening. The only noise heard in my house is the TV if it's on. And the ceiling fan. There are no discussions. No debriefing. No aimless chatter or intimate conversations.


Nothing but silence. Oppressive silence.


And I hate it.


How can you crave something all day long and hate it at night when you get it?




Pau.




- hfs