Monday, November 07, 2005

Up on top again


Jason made it to California safely last Monday -- and I don't think he's gotten any sleep since.

I've been so excited to take him places and show him all the amazing sights in Southern California, we've been going, going, going from moring to night each day.

Here he is on top of Keys View at Joshua Tree National Park, one of the most amazing places I've ever visited. The air is crisper there, the desert sun is slightly cooler and the whole world seems a little more peaceful, happy, beautiful.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

He stands!


jason, originally uploaded by Maggiejumps.

Jason's mom took this photo of him standing for the first time since the accident in July.

It's so exciting and emotional, I cry a little every time I look at this picture.

Monday, August 08, 2005

The Memorial


Memorial 008, originally uploaded by Maggiejumps.

This weekend was difficult for us all over again, because of Saturday's memorial jump for Sean.

There were nine people total on the jump. I was one of them, skydiving in Jason's spot since he can't right now.

We formed a circle, all holding hands. At 6,000 feet, about the same altitude as the accident, I turned and flew away from the group. That empty spot was maintained for the rest of the skydive to signify our missing man. It was stark and beautiful.

Almost the instant we finished that jump, the nasty gray clouds were swept clean from the sky, and everything was blue and clear for the rest of the day.

After I landed, I hugged Jason, who was soaked with tears. I kissed him. We held each other for a long, long time. We cried together in each other's arms.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Fridge Wisdom



I was packing today, preparing for the big cross-country move from Cincinnati to Palm Springs.

As I plucked the haiku magnets off the refrigerator, I found this sweet little poem that Jason wrote.

I love that in just 11 words, he managed to express his motivation for skydiving and his passion for the sport.

My haiku, however, was about a frog ghost.

Monday, August 01, 2005

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Friday night found Jason and I again in a frigid, gray hospital room with too many machines and not enough blankets.

At some point that afternoon, it became painful for Jason to breathe. He winced every time he inhaled. His body was tense. He couldn't get through another hour without going to the hospital.

My first call was to my father, to find out exactly how he felt when he was having his heart attack. The way Jason had clutched at his chest scared me. I didn't know if the drugs had caused some sort of cardiac arrest.

Then I started calling his doctors, but it was already too late on a Friday afternoon. None of them could be reached. I looked for an urgent care clinic, but I didn't know exactly where to go in the strange town where we're staying.

So we ended up back at the ER where we had spent so much time less than a month ago.

It's amazing how little the real ER is like the show. There wasn't really a rush to help this boor guy who couldn't breathe. We waited for a few hours. I read Jason a children's book from the waiting area -- "Your Trip to the Hospital" -- that illustrated the process with cartoon bunnies. But the sick bunnies didn't have to wait half a day to see Dr. Rabbit.

Finally we got into a room. Then waited.

The doctor popped in and talked to Jason for two minutes. Then we waited.

They put weird stickers all over Jason's body and gave him an EKG. Some people stopped by a took blood. He was then given two chest X-rays.

The doctor said there was a chance that a blood clot had broken loose from the swollen part of Jason's pelvis and made its way to his heart. The blood test would determine if that was what had happened. And then we waited some more.

The blood test came back positive.

Jason was then given a CT scan, but no blood clots were found.

I left the room several times so Jason wouldn't witness my worry. The nerves caused me to bite my tongue, and I spent the rest of the night rubbing the sore part againt my teeth. The pain felt good.

Back in the room, the doc returned and said the problem was likely fluid and irritation between the lining of the lungs and the chest wall. He gave Jason a shot of ibuprofin, even though Jason was told not to take ibuprofin with his blood thinners.

And that was it. After several hours of waiting, Jason was sent out the door with essentially a bunch of Advil.

We had already missed most of my birthday party. The trip to the hospital had scared away most guests anyway.

Jason felt guilty and apologized about 4,200 times as we drove home. I told him it's not a real party until someone ends up in the ER. Besides, I always like to be fashionably late, I said.

It was a surprise to find that handful of people remained at the party, and then another handful showed up. We drank champagne and laughed and hugged and talked about how happy we are to have each other, how happy we are to be healthy, how happy we are to be alive.

Happy, happy birthday indeed.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Kung Pao Kitten



Everybody missed Jason.

Even the cat.

I Want a New Drug

Jason got sick this weekend.

Maybe it was two straight days of friends and dropzone and no naps after weeks of being in a hospital bed. Maybe it was the oppressive hot and muggy weather conditions. Or maybe it was the walking taco he ate -- a lump of ground beef plopped inside a bag of Fritos, topped with lettuce and salsa and an ice cream scoop of sour cream.

Jason spent the rest of the night shivering and clutching a trash can. His face was a light shade of gray and his stomach was all gurgly, so he took some tablets of Pepto Bismol.

After that, Jason noticed the part of the Pepto label that cautioned against taking it while on blood thinners -- another drug he's currently taking. A call was made to his brother's wife, a pharmacist.

It was no big deal, she said.

What was a big deal was his pain patch -- like the nicotine patch but with powerful narcotics.

Earlier that evening, Jason and I had already decided it was this pain patch that was making him so dizzy and nauseous. To lower the dose, we literally cut the patch in half and threw away part of it.

To me, this made perfect sense. Of course, I also believe that we should get warmer when we skydive at high altitudes because we're closer to the sun. So don't trust me.

I guess that cutting the patch in half can actually increase the dose, something I don't entirely understand. But, um ... whatever.

Jason ended up peeling off the whole damn thing. We flushed it so the cat wouldn't get into the trash and get all hopped up on goofballs.

So, for the first time since leaving the hospital, Jason was without constant pain medication. He does have a prescription for a patch with a lower dose, but he didn't yet have it filled. And the small town where we're staying doesn't have a 24-hour pharmacy. And the prescription was in his mom's purse. And she is in Indianapolis.

The lack of pain medication filled his sleep with fits and starts. Occasionally, Jason was overcome by the ache and cramps and stiffness and he would pass out from it all, his body sprawled across layers of pillows and sweaty sheets. His face was still, but his limbs were all awkward right angles. He looked as though he had lost a battle. Sometimes I quietly checked to make sure he was still breathing.

Today should be better. It has to be.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Like a Rolling Stone



Jason's home!

Not our home, exactly. He moved into a friend's house. And it's a long way from where we used to live.

But he's out of the hospital. He filled his lungs with summer evening air. And he saw blue skies for the first time in almost a month.

That means he's home.