Chicago/Brooke Army Medical Center

We’re back from Chicago and Texas! It can be hectic and a little crazy getting ready to go on trips with kids so I apologize for not writing as I should have. My house looks like a tornado blew through here between the dogs, kids and husband. The one thing I can say is that I finished washing clothes from both trips the other day. It never ends though. There’s enough junk mail, newspapers and school paperwork to save the entire rainforest in my opinion. Nothing is vacuumed or dusted but I’ve been wiping down stuff and cleaning the kitchen for what seems like all day and part of the night. How does it get so dirty? I leave when it’s decent and when I come back its filthy! Typical.
Chicago was interesting! LOL! Everyone went once but I went twice; once to just see the sights, see a Navy Graduation and get the lay of the land. The second time was just this past weekend for about 36 hours to actually see my cousin in her Navy graduation from bootcamp. She’d gotten a stress fracture before we’d gone the first time around but we decided to go anyways since the days off were already scheduled and everything was a go. Whoever named Chicago the “Windy City” was not exaggerating. It’s breezy here in Oceanside due to the constant Pacific Ocean breeze. We were NOT prepared for that weather and were reminded of that fact as soon as we stepped out of the rental car and onto the streets of downtown Chicago. This second time around Chicago wasn’t windy at all and I swore US Airways dropped me in Texas because it was in the 80’s when I got off that plane. The next day it was in the 40’s by the time graduation was over so it was never boring weather wise. LOL! We’re very proud of our new Sailor and know she’ll do great in Engineering school. Marine Corps & Navy = interesting holiday get togethers. LOL! 
Our Texas medical trip surprisingly was a lot of fun and very laid back. We drove all around the hill country and back to Houston like we were truck drivers! The kids and puppies stayed with our family in Houston and the doctor appointments were in San Antonio which isn’t too far away. Somehow we crammed in a lot of activities in such a short time. We got to go to some of our favorite Texas restaurants like Whataburger, Shipley’s Donuts, Taco Cabana, Casa Ole, Bill Miller BBQ, and Jacinto City Café. Being able to see and socialize with relatives we hadn’t seen in quite a while is always so great!
Anthony and I got to meet some really great people at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. This base is home to a very prestigious hospital that has a separate clinic called Center for the Intrepid that specializes in helping those who were wounded and have limb limitations. On day one we got our bearings on this new base, checked into the Army database system, found the Marine Corps area, and as an example if he had broken a leg he was casted for a tester brace. We went back on another day after the tester had been molded for fitting. The doctor needed to see where adjustments would need to be made to accommodate his leg shape, range of motion inabilities with Anthony’s goals in mind for physical activities and exercise. We got to see online the previous case studies where the Soldiers and Marines would walk with no braces, their prior brace and then this new dynamic one. Seeing was believing and I still couldn’t believe it! With no brace and even their original brace these guys were cautiously walking slowly with an obvious limp. When placed into this new dynamic bracing system which is not bulky, heavy or binding these heroes were able to perform fast agility movements where there were none before, climb mountains and not just pass but excel in PFT’s & CFT’s. We were only there a little over 2 weeks but we’ll be back in June and July for a whole month for his physical training with this new brace so he can learn how to walk, run and function in this brace. It will be like nothing he has experienced yet. We are just so blessed and thankful for this opportunity and hope that others have outstanding doctors and case managers like ours who will offer this brace to them to help improve their life.
What has improved my life as the matriarch of this family is once again the people who have stuck by us through all of the changes, ups and downs and irregularities in our life over the past year. Everyone is always busy it’s just part of this life. Everyone helps someone in their own way whether big or small. While in Houston I got to see my friend from grade school in Texas which I consider my sister since we’ve known each other so long. Even though we don’t see each other everyday or talk our conversations are just as we do speak everyday and are so deeply meaningful. I love that girl to death and will always be here for her no matter what. As far as this time zone; I’ve been under a lot of added stress here lately and no matter what’s going on in their lives a few ladies have made the effort to help us out even when I didn’t ask for it and more than ever expected. They may not know it themselves but somehow they’ve been able to pop up at the just the right times when I needed an ear, a pick me up, a shoulder, or a helping hand. I’ve said it before it does take a village to not only raise a child but to thrive being a Marine loved one. Having friends and loved ones is that special incentive to get me through the day sometimes when nothing else is going right. The ladies and their husbands enrich our lives and make it so we don’t have to stress as much about the little things in life. Our biological families may not be here physically but we do have each other on this base and I am thankful for that. All of my friends though have been this outstanding and I wish I had more time and the resources to catch up with all of them because friendships are very important. Even though I know it’s impossible I wish this atmosphere never changed and it was always family oriented and inspiring. When it’s good it is very good and when it’s not gelling it is all jacked up. Thankfully the amazing women in my shoes in one way or another have been here (but are always still here via FB) or are here to help get each other through the not so good parts.
We go back to Texas soon and the husband can’t wait to endure this physical therapy at BAMC to get back on track with the Marine Corps career he always wanted. Anthony signed up for a marathon on base and we are looking forward to doing more in the near future for Wounded Warriors Battalion and with the Marine Corps.

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