Friday, August 31, 2012

Walter Reed Side Effects

So these are some of the effects of living at or leaving Walter Reed....hopefully it gives a little insight into what life can be like there. I know sometimes there are people who have nothing but bad things to say about it. But its all what you make it. One thing is for sure it WILL change you, even after just 1 day there.

  • You speak a new language. Its a combination of military and medical jargon and acronyms that very few understand, so you constantly have to back up and explain yourself. 
  • When driving you stop your car for any pedestrian to cross the street, even if they aren't quite to the corner yet. 
  • Seeing people without prosthetic limbs is just weird. 
  • Seeing someone in the real world who is missing a limb, for any reason, makes you feel more at home. Thus prompting you to be the chatty stranger who wants to suddenly know their whole life story.
  • You hate that every day you're forced to look at your own worst fears played out in the lives around you.
  • You leave grateful for the fact that you know now that even when those worst fears become reality, life goes on and people still thrive. 
  • Fewer things scare or worry you. 
  • When you get on facebook "for a quick minute" you end up spending hours connecting with the wounded warriors at WR and check on their daily progress. 
  • Its a little heartbreaking to see WR pictures posted by friends because it makes you miss "home." 
  • Its totally normal conversation if it starts out with "When my husband was blown up..." or "Yeah, when I was blown up the same thing happened." 
  • Parking around cars that don't have anything "combat wounded" related on them makes you wonder if you are allowed to park in this section of the Target lot.
  • You gained 5 pounds from the chocolate chip muffins and Girl Scout Cookies available 24/7.
  • When you kid trips she grabs her leg and says "Oh my! I can't walk on this thing anymore! Its useless!" ~This is especially fun in public :) People really don't know what to think about that.
  • Your child who hasn't entered school yet can explain to you what prosthetics are made of and what their function is. 
  • It seems weird to hear a dog bark or see them jump. You think that's a super cool new age trick or something because service dogs don't usually do things like that.
  • You want to run screaming away from that place when a friend dies or when some new tragedy hits, but once you are out you just want to run back.
  • Meeting Chief's of Staff, your husband's group's commander, or the President doesn't make you nervous. Its just another chance for someone to thank your warrior for his sacrifices and for you to speak out for the Warrior Community. 
  • A Chief of Staff wife begs for your phone number because she is just so moved by your description of what happens at WR that she wants to come visit the Wounded Warrior families there herself. 
  • Anytime someone uses the word "Warrior" your kid shouts "HEY! MY DADDY IS THE WARRIOR!" no matter what the context is. 
  • Cadre adore your kids and everyone from Sergeants to Commanders miss them when they aren't around the office. 
  • You count limbs, and left side vs. right side amputations, when identifying someone across a room. 
  • Watching grown men learn to walk again never loses its powerful impact. 
  • Leaving to move home doesn't truly mean leaving, because a piece of your heart WILL stay behind.
 From our room at the Fisher House

At the Beach! First time away from the hospital! ~April 30th


Jen said...

A humbling experience for sure.

Lori-Ann Cantu said...

Very well written! Much heartfelt remeniscing as I read this piece to my husband! Miss your family and the experiences I'm sure will be bittersweet when our bags are packed and the gate is in the rearview mirror! Blessed we are......

Wife of a Wounded Soldier said...

So very true! Loved this list. I miss our friends that would tell kids they lost their legs because they didn't eat their vegetables. HAHA!

I miss strangers willing to do whatever you needed and now fully knowing what it means to be American.

Mrs. Yellow Ribbon said...

Great pic of you two!

Loco YaYa said...

i have been following your posts and love that you love the wonderful side of the healing: the people you heal with. wait...did that come out right?

trooppetrie said...

i am so excited for the update. I have missed seeing your post

Meara@MyHomeIsWithYou said...

This made me cry and laugh! I don't think it could have been put any better!