I hope everybody is doing well today. Thank God is Friday!!! This week has been an amazing week for me. God has coordinated many uplifting events. First I had the chance to attend the promotion of my former First Sergeant and very good friend Paul. I will start working for him again on a volunteer basis. I'm so happy he's is giving me this opportunity and that finally after so many month I'm going to start to reintegrate and do what I like to do, to be a Soldier. I don't care if is behind a desk, what I care is that everyday will be a day where I can put my US Army uniform and fulfill a mission. In this voluteer job I will be evaluated on my performance and military skills. Feedback will be given to Mentis so that rehab can be adjusted if need be. Thank you to Paul and Becky for being such a support to me.
At Mentis this week I had my usual therapies and more. Yesterday had a farewell to one of the Soldiers that get treated there. His name is SFC William Fraas (Billy). To say goodbye to him the staff at Mentis planned a special outing. He was given the opportunity to pick a place he would like to go. We went to lunch and after lunch we took a trip to the Wyler Aerial Tramway in El Paso. It was so much fun. I had a chance to talk to Billy and I have to tell you he has a wonderful story, a very inspiring story. The only thing that didn't go too well during the outing was that I rode on the back of the van which caused for me to get motion sickness. I felt very sick. That never happened prior to the BI. The day was so long that at the end of the day when I got home I had to lay down for a few hours. My mental endurance is not the same. It is very hard to sustain a good stamina whenever the day goes over 3 hours. I'm working really hard to get that endurance back. I push myself everyday. Since the injury it has improved a lot. At the beginning it was hard to go over 10 minutes and now I can effectively do arount 3 to 4 hours and if I push myself I can do more. But when I get to the point of pushing myself everything becomes overwhelming and confusing. It's very hard to organize my thoughts at that point. At the time it gets overwhelming, pushing myself has its side effects, it starts reflecting physically, I get headaches, the balance issues increase, occasionally I get shakes or tremors, fluency problems increase among other things. But I see it as if I was training for a marathon. The more I push, the farther I'll get, the more endurance I'll built. It's not easy but I have to do it.
During this week I also found out that the unit I belong to had received tickets to go see Toby Keith in concert at Albuquerque, New Mexico on August 13th. Purple Heart Recipients had priority. I was approach and asked if I wanted to attend the event with my wife with all expenses paid to include transportation and hotel. So I said yes. I wouldn't decline a chance like that to go see a great supporter of the troops and one of my favorite country singers.
At the therapies at Mentis they are starting to incorporate more Soldier oriented things. For example in Physical Therapy we are doing "3 to 5 second rushes" which is a military drill. I have to be able to perform this drill in order to return to duty. Also they are incorporating target scanning while moving to ensure I can maintain my balance. This is a very hard task for me to accomplish because moving my head scanning for the targets gets me dizzy, motion sick and upsets my stomach. But again the more I do it the better I get.
Many probably have seen the video from the National Public Radio (NPR). That video was shot several months ago. Since then I have made big improvement. Even people that see me everyday say that there is a noticeable improvement. I do feel my improvement. Recovery has been a lot of work and perseverance. Speech is the area that's has taken the longest. This area has been slow but I have faith that it will get better. Applying fluency strategies takes a lot of focus and energy. An hour of speech therapy for me feels like I ran a marathon. It is very tiring. But I'm going to keep moving forward and be successful at it.
Well, I hope you all have a great weekend. We'll stay in touch. God bless you all.
If you have any questions or comments I will be glad to address them. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org