Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Update 13 July

Another day, another post! Alice and I went to the post office today to mail some things and we were excited when we saw EIGHT cards in the mailbox! Thank you all so much for the cards! I opened each one and gave them to Chuck to read. He is able to hold the cards b/w his fingers on his right hand. He was very touched by the cards and I know they are helping him keep his spirits alive! I have also read (to him) all of the other cards that he has received. So we thank you all for the cards!

Chuck had surgery again today. They removed all of his wound vacs, cleaned and redressed his graft sights, and they plan to graft his right thumb on Friday. Chuck had some great milestones this week. On Monday he brushed his own teeth, shaved part of his face, and managed to feed himself some of his dinner. He also sat up in his bed yesterday (and today). I helped him sit up and he was able to stay in the position for about 3-5 minutes. As I held him up, Alice and the OT scratched his back and we washed his back for him. We were all very excited that he had the energy and ability to do these things. He is improving more and more every day. The OTs and PTs are hoping to have him sitting on the edge of the bed in the next few days.

We might be leaving Walter Reed (temporarily) in about two weeks or so for Chuck to take 30 days of leave. We will have to come back after those 30 days, but it will be nice to get away from this place for a while. We don't know for sure if we will return to Ft. Riley... that is our hope. The kicker is that Chuck needs very specific OT and PT while we are on leave. He needs therapists who have experience with burn patients, due to his skin grafts. I have a wonderful friend who is looking into this for me in Topeka, KS (Thanks, Christina!). The other kicker to all of this is that our son Creighton starts Kindergarten next month. Please pray that we can logically find a solution that best meets the needs of both Chuck and Creighton. We just don't have enough info yet to make a decision, but we have started coming up w/ some options. This is tough for me b/c I need to be with Chuck, and we both need to be w/ our kids... and Chuck's OT and PT are crucial to his recovery. So more prayers are welcome!!!

As far as the last post about some of the staff at Walter Reed goes, I want to make it clear that not ALL of this has been a bad experience. Just certain people and certain situations seem to be a pain in the butt. I am glad that Chuck is at Walter Reed b/c the surgeons are incredible!!! He has had military and civilian surgeons and they all seem to know their stuff. It's been a ball of confusion many times, so Alice and I advocate for Chuck and ourselves. We have others who are advocating for us as well (at the hospital), but we do a lot on our own b/c there is a lack of continuity of care, and that is frustrating. When we first got here we were told "continuity of care" is the most important part of all of this. Well, Chuck has not had that continuity and it has become a thorn in our side. It's really too hard to explain it all...

I want to make a note that Alice often gives me input on the blog. I usually read her what I wrote and she gives me more stuff to tell you all. So I want to give her some credit on this blog b/c she has reminded me of some very important things along the way.

One more thing, a good friend of ours (CPT Joe Albright) was injured in Iraq this week. We met him and his wife Lisa while stationed at Fort Knox, KY. As far as I know Joe is still in Germany and Lisa is not sure where he will go stateside. Please keep Joe and Lisa in your prayers as well. Lisa said Joe is still in good spirits and he has not lost any limbs. I don't know his exact injuries so I won't try to give any details.... just please pray for them and continue to pray for all of Armed Forces and their families.

I must close for now. You all are amazing and much appreciated for your comments, cards, prayers, etc.

Take care and God Bless!
Carren and Alice (and Chuck)

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