DH and I will be making a road trip back to Walter Reed in Washington, D.C. this week. As most of you know by now, DH was wounded in Iraq in 2005. We spent about 10 weeks at "Casa de Walter" and have been back and forth a number of times for follow-ups and surgeries. I haven't been back since January 2006, although DH has made a number of trips by himself in the last year.
DH will be having surgery # 34 (on Valentine's Day, no less!). It's outpatient and "minor" compared to his other surgeries, but it's another surgery all the same. It is starting to bring back memories that I have managed to put aside for a long time. One such memory may seem a bit strange, but it's just "one of those things."
The other night at dinner DH was chugging down a glass of ice tea. And it was strange when I found myself actually listening to him swallow. (Stay with me... I have a point to this story). See, for the first few weeks DH was in the hospital he was not able to use either one of his hands. I had to hold a cup with a straw in order for him to drink. And every time I held a cup for him, I HEARD him swallow and FELT his warm breath on my hand. Odd as that may seem, just feeling his breath and hearing him swallow made me so grateful for the fact that he was ALIVE!!! And now, as I type this, my eyes are welling up with tears. I'm not sure why, really. I guess I am allowing my vulnerabilities to open up. Maybe it's the anxiety of going back to a place that holds so many emotional memories for me. I know I'll be okay because DH will be with me :)
On a different note, one thing I am looking forward to is meeting other heroes who are now living on "Ward 57." The fact that they are wounded is not good, but having the chance to meet and talk to other wounded troops and their families (while they are patients at WR) is something I have not been able to do for over a year. DH was able to do this last month, and I have to admit I REALLY wanted to go with him.
So... despite my own anxieties, I know this trip to WR will be meaningful in more ways than one. DH will be taking another step toward improving the use of one of his hands, and my longing to spend time on Ward 57 will be satisfied. AND... it's outpatient surgery and we get to come home the next day!!!