Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Settled In!

It's been a week and a half since we came home. I thought I would give you an update. Unless drastic changes occur, this will be my last entry.

Physical Therapy. Josh has been going to Gary Gray Physical Therapy since the Monday after he came home. Their goal is to keep his limp leg limber and the rest of his body healthy. They're doing an amazing job. He goes 3 times a week.

Thanksgiving. Josh & Haley had 3 Thanksgivings. They spent the morning & early afternoon of Thanksgiving with Haley's family. Then they drove 3 hourse to spend time with Judy's family. Then we all went down to my family's thanksgiving. It was a good time to spend with family. We missed Jennifer, our daughter. She's in Suriname as a missionary teacher. But we are sure happy that all our children are doing fine. Jill, our other daughter, is taking medical school near my sister's in Ohio. Justin is bowling for his school.

Veterans Hospital. This past Monday Josh and I spent all day at the Veterans Hospital in Ann Arbor. We went to the wound clinic where he was seen by a University of Michigan Hospital. He's very good and ordered several specialists to look at Josh in the next few weeks (neurology, hearing, vascular surgeons, occupational therapy, x-ray). Josh's wound had some bacteria in it but it wasn't anything to worry about. He gave him some cream and told us to change his dressing twice a day instead of every 3 days. He looked at Josh's records and told us a couple of things we didn't know. The bullet hit his sciatic nerve and that is why he has no feeling or movement just below his knee. He also said he lost 18 units of whole blood. That's about 5 1/2 litres. So, I asked him - How much blood do you have in your body. He said very seriously - About 5 1/2 litres. When I told him that Josh put his own tourniquette on just after his injury, he looked at him and said - Well, you saved your own life. Josh probably wouldn't have had time for anyone to get to him and do it for him. He didn't think about it, he just did it automatically. I'm thankful for all the training he went through in California (3 months) that prepared him for his 3 weeks in Iraq. We also went to the physical therpist in Ann Arbor just so they could okay him to go to Gary Gray. They gave us another boot for his foot and a bunch of medicine. It's still difficult when people look at Josh, knowing what's he's done, and then they say - Thank you for what you did for us over there. I think Josh is coming to terms with the impact of his service to our country. But it's kind of neat to have a son who's a hero!

The Brace. We went on Tuesday to have him measured for a brace so he can wear regular shoes. The doctor was great! He made a mold cast of Josh's leg. Then he'll pour a substance inside it to make a replica of Josh's leg. Then he can form a brace around his leg and foot so he can walk. It needs to be formed just right since he doesn't have any feeling. The doctor said Josh could get a license to hunt from his truck. Josh was pretty excited about that. We should get the brace in a few weeks.

Well, we're in the long haul of doctor's appointments, physical therapy, and driving Josh around. He's been hunting, but hasn't gotten anything. Haley did. He has a 30 day convalescent leave from the military. But our guess is he's going to stay in Adrian until he's all better. He will stay active duty until he's 100% or he's as good as he's going to get. Then they'll give him a disability. Nerve damage takes a long time to recover, if it ever does. We're hoping for a full recovery.

Thanks for checking on Josh's progress. We're thankful for your prayers and concerns for our family. God has been good to us by giving us such good friends who help when we need it. God bless you. You will never know how much your phone calls, emails, cards, gifts, and visits have meant to us. Even when we were at our busiest, the personal effort you made to let us know of your care for our son lifted our hearts just a little more. Never hesitate to express to someone in need what God lays on your heart. Don't wait until they ask - because they won't. But they need it. Believe me!

You can contact Josh at home. Our address is: 3633 Hunt Road, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.

Greg Burdine

Saturday, November 18, 2006

HOME!

Friday night. We left the Naval Hospital at 6pm and passed through security at Washington DC (Reagan) airport with no hitch. Josh was able to get a wheelchair in the airport, which made it a little easier. We all sat in different seats but arrived in Detroit around 9pm. It took awhile to get out of the airplane, get another wheelchair, get our bags, and get the van out of the parking lot. We finally got on the road about 10:30. Stopped to get something to eat and pulled in the driveway at 15 minutes till midnight. But we had visitors. The Schmucker's called several people who decorated our home and welcomed Josh as he came in the front door. It was real nice. It had been several months since Josh was home. He was tired and in a little pain, but he was glad to be home. Thanks to those who welcomed us!

Saturday. We slept in. For the first time in a month, Josh didn't have a nurse waking him up in the middle of the night to take his vital signs or those of his roommate. Today was the one month anniversary of his injury. It seems much longer than that. Josh went out with Chris Teague (friend at church) to shop at Johnson Sporting Goods and he put a gun on layaway. His future mother-in-law came by to take him to her house and he went out hunting for a few minutes. He saw three deer but no shot was taken. He is now out to a friend's watching a fight on TV.

Even though he's home and enjoying seeing his friends, still remember him in prayer. He has quite a bit of recovery to make, but it is good to have him home for the holidays.

I'll put another post sometime early next week to let you know how his appointments at Gary Gray Physical Therapy and Ann Arbor Veterans Hospital.

I'm a big Buckeye fan and I'm glad they won today. But I want to quote the late Bo Shembeckler about today's game: "There are some things more important than the game on Saturday." There sure are! One is family. The other is God. It is so nice when the two of these intersect. I'm a fortunate man to have a wonderful relationship with both.

Thanks for checking up on Josh!

Greg Burdine

Friday, November 17, 2006

GOING HOME!

Josh gets to go home today. He already has his medicine. We need to take back the rental car. And we are packing all his "stuff" he received while here. He has another 2 dozen cards, including a packet from Mrs. Bank's class at Lenawee Christian School. Thanks for writing. We leave at 8pm and arrive in Detroit around 9:30pm tonight.

He will go to Gary Gray Physical Therapy in Adrian on Monday. And will report to the Veterans Hospital in Ann Arbor next week.

Thanks for checking up on him! We'll try to add to this blog daily until there's not much to report on.

Greg Burdine

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Visit by NYFD

Not Home Yet. We haven't left yet. Josh has been visited by his surgeon's and the physical therapists. The surgeon's thought they might have him go through another "wash out" surgery to clean his exit wound, but decided against it. They will teach us how to pack it and also to give him some shots. The plan is to leave tomorrow but we haven't been given the final okay nor the plane tickets.

NYFD. Josh was visited by a group from the New York Fire Department. I happened to have on my New York Police Department sweatshirt on. They shook my hand anyway. He was also visited by a 2-star general and his wife. One of the nurses lived in Adrian for a few years. She's the same age as my daughter, Jennifer, and was probably in the same classes at Garfield Elementary. Small world.

We'll let you know if we leave tomorrow. If not, it may not be until Monday. Not much happens here on the weekend.

Thanks for checking up on Josh. He gets around pretty good.

Greg Burdine

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Stitches Gone

Justin (Josh's brother) and I arrived at Bethesda Tuesday night. It was Justin's first airplane trip since 3rd grade.

Tuesday. Not much activity today. Josh stayed in the hospital but got up in his wheelchair and on his crutches. He also went to the Navy Exchange to do a little shopping. He received about 25-30 cards today. Some from people we don't even know. It was really good to hear from so many people. Justin and I arrived about 8 pm.

Wednesday. In the morning, Josh had his stitches removed in his lower leg. Now he has no stitches left. He had close to 100 stitches on the outside, not counting the interior stitches. These incisions (one on each side of his calf) were made when his lower leg was swollen to prevent his arteries from collapsing. His social worker called and said he has been released by physical therapy and his surgeon. All we are waiting for to go back to Michigan is to get a customized boot for his bad foot, schedule his physical therapy, and get everything okayed with the Veterans Hospital in Ann Arbor. He was visited by several people today. Two military cartoonists. One of them did a cartoon of Josh. He was also visited by a Medal of Honor recipient (he's the current secretary of the Navy) and Wilford Brimley (actor from Movie "Cocoon" & "The Natural." I remember him from the Quaker Oats & Liberty Mutual commercials). He was a sergeant in the Marines. He also had the colonel of his battalion come by to thank him for serving. Then, we all 4 took the subway (Metro) to see the White House and the Memorials (Washington, Lincoln, Vietnam, Korean, & WW2). It was a long walk. We came back and Josh had Mexican for a late dinner.

We're hoping to have Josh home by the weekend. But we aren't holding our breath. Once we find out when we're scheduled to come home, we'll let you know through the blog.

Greg Burdine

Monday, November 13, 2006

Josh, Haley & Dennis Miller (comedian)

Josh & Haley near the Washington Monument

A Quiet Weekend with Dumire visitors


I promised a picture of Josh & Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac) so here it is.

Josh is doing great with his mom taking care of him. Justin & I will be going to Bethesda on Tuesday.

Sunday. Josh had a quiet day. He slept in until after 9 am. The Physical Therapist took him around a little and showed him how to climb stairs. Terry & Cindy Dumire (from Adrian) were visiting in West Virginia and drove over to see Josh. He really enjoyed their visit. It was good to see new faces. After a nap, Josh, Haley & Judy went to his favorite Mexican restaurant, Guapos, and had dinner. He asked for a free dessert since it was his birthday (his birthday was Friday, but anything for free). They came out, put a sombrero on his head, and sang to him with a Mexican guitar. Judy said it was great.

Monday. Josh had another quiet day. Haley left early in the morning to go back to college. It's rainy and windy outside so he stayed inside. His physical therapy left him a little winded. He was too tired to climb stairs, so they put him on a high protein diet. When I talked with him on the phone, he wanted me to stop by Cabela's to get him some ammo for hunting. His first roommate, Josh Bleill, left for Walter Reed Hospital today. He's a nice guy and we'll miss him and his family.

Thanks for checking up on Josh's progress. We aren't for sure when he's coming home, but we are hoping this week.

Greg Burdine

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Trip to Washington DC with the Cisco's

I came home today. We've had a couple of busy days.

Friday. Josh had his first big day. We had a field trip. We took the Metro (Subway) to the Washington DC Memorials (Washington, Lincoln, VietNam, Korea). Josh was in the wheelchair. Haley & Judy came in Thursday night. Haley's mom & dad were still here. We took lots of pictures and walked a lot. Josh met a lot of military guys welcoming him home. I think it made him feel good. We got back in time for Josh & Haley to go to the Marine Ball. It's the dinner celebrating the Marine Birthday. They had good food, got lots of stuff, and met a lot of Marines. It was a long day for Josh. He was up all day.

Saturday. I left at 6 am. Everyone was asleep. When I got to Detroit, Judy said Josh was still asleep (at 9:30). I guess he was very tired. His uncle, Don (Judy's brother), came in from Pennsylvania. He stayed a few hours, then Josh wanted to go visit Arlington Cemetery and see the Iwo Jima statue. They didn't get to see a whole lot, but he got his picture taken at the statue and saw all the crosses. They went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner and since it was 'close' to Josh's birthday he asked if he got free ice cream. They brought it out, put a sombrero on him, and all sang to him with a guitar. Judy said it was real funny. He was tired again. But I think he's getting a little stronger.

We still have no time table on when he gets home. I'm flying back out on Tuesday (unless things change). We will find out Monday if his progress is good enough to come home.

I've placed a picture in the blog of Josh meeting the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

Thanks for checking up on him and praying for him.

Greg Burdine