Saturday, October 27, 2007
The Georgia-Fort Gordon Experience-day one
Sat. October 21, 2006 As I said in my last post I finally made it to Georgia and I am finally where I need to be. It feels like such a relief to finally be able to totally concentrate on Rodney and his care.
I spent the night in the recliner-so not the best sleep-with nurses in and out all night (doing their job!) They were all kind and apologized every time they had to turn on the light. I told them that I wanted them to do whatever it took to take the best care of Rod. The medical staff was very informative and answered my questions with respect and understanding. I just liked being able to open my eyes and look over and see Rod. Sometime in the am I left to go over to the Fisher House to catch a short nap, shower and unpack. It was a nice day and about a 10 minute walk.
I came back over to the hospital around lunchtime and went to the cafeteria and ate. That is one thing that would be really nice-is if they could figure out a way to serve meals in the patients room for the caregiver also.(the cafeteria had really strange and short hours) My meal were all paid for though, so that was a blessing.
Rodney was eating really well and said the food was good. He had lost a great deal of weight in a short period of time, so I loved to see him eating and getting his strength back. He was in pain still so he was still recieivng morphine. Dr. said he wouldn't heal as fast dealing with pain.
I did get the ok from the nurses to take Rodney outside in a wheelchair-it was the first time he had been outside in fresh air for over a week. We weren't out there to long-he got tired easily, but he seemed to enjoy it (except for the wheelies!whoo!-just kidding:)- We spent sometime talking-about what he could remember about his experience, what I had been doing to get to him and how the kids were doing. I had brought cards from many well wishers and we were receiving phone calls from family throughout the day.
We also had some very nice people from the 352nd out of Macon, Georgia call or visit us. We were a little confused at first-but soon figured out that the 353nd was the Battalion command Rodney's unit was under in Iraq. It was so awesome to have people show such kindness and sincere concern-good old fashioned southern care and hospitality. We even heard from the battalion commanders wife Julie Eveker-she called to check on us a few times as well as stopped by. The Family Assistance Group along with Mr. Joe Dingle made sure we were well taken care of and had all we needed in our home away from home for 12 days. I made a very special friend whose husband was the 1st SGT,of the battalion over in Iraq.She came t Rodney's room as a total stranger but we soon clicked and I felt so much better having someone to talk to. She hauled me around for the first few days until I got a rental car. She took me to the PX to shop-very cool and great therapy. I bought Rodney some clothing-shorts, jacket,t-shirt, magazines, and a gameboy as well as some stuff for myself!!She even came and brought me food one night because I missed dinner in the cafeteria. Pamela you were a godsend and will always hold a special place in my memories of Georgia.
We had doctors, chaplin's, case workers, social workers and volunteers from many organizations visiting us throughout the day (and entire time we were there).
I must say I felt very cared for as very thankful Rodney had such a good team taking care of him. He did start getting up to go the short distance to the restroom and took an actual shower. Moving in the right direction. He was complaining of his heel hurting and wanted me to rub it. I took a look at it-thinking it was probably no big deal. I realized from my experience from previous jobs in a nursing home situation-he was having skin breakdown on his heal-(most likely from the 10 hour flight from Germany). I told the doctor and he was concerned and put a special boot on him-he said skin can start to break down in only 2 hours in the same position-and can lead to some pretty nasty situations if left untreated. So I served as the advocate like I knew he needed!!!
I stayed pretty late at the hospital but wanted to sleep in my bed at Fisher House-but I soon found out that transportation on Fort Gordon was not a easy task. I called for a cab and waited for a hour-no show even after a couple calls. so I ended up going back up to the floor where the kind nurses called security for me and had them take me to the Fisher House. (the walk was very dark across parking lots-Rodney was concerned for my safety)
We had a full day so it felt good to actually sleep in a comfy bed and know I was able to go back to the hospital at a moments notice. The Fisher House is an amazing place by the way!!! I am thinking Georgia is also the best place on earth right now.
Finally in Georgia-a beautiful place