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Some may not take the time to read excerpts from an email (see below) that I just received from Lt. Colonel Tim Maxwell, but those that do will be inspired. Colonel Maxwell was the subject of an article I wrote some years ago, titled Heroism:
“Lt. Col. Tim Maxwell, a 20-year veteran in the Marine Corps also knows what war is like. While stationed in central Iraq in October 2004, he laid down for what he hoped would be a ten minute nap. His brief respite from battle was rudely interrupted when a mortar round exploded nearby and knocked him unconscious. He would later wake up in Bethesda Naval Hospital with tunnel vision, broken bones and severe brain damage. As an officer who for years had led men in battle with a compass, he would now have to re-learn what one is.”
Since writing that piece, on this true American Hero, I have received news from friends about Colonel Maxwell’s medical condition. It is not good. However, Marines who know him personally have told me that he accepts his many illnesses with an admirable patience. The most amazing thing about this man is that, in spite of his wounds, he continues his excellent work for other wounded servicemen through Semper Max Mission.
Please keep this true American Hero in your prayers.
You have not heard from me in quite a while. For the last 2 months, I’ve been on vacation. Free! Yup, it’s been great. If you have never been on the Bethesda National Naval Medical Center vacation ship, you don’t know what you’re missing!
OK, it’s time for the truth.
It has been a terrible summer, but I think it’s over now. Late June my left arm, the one with the shattered elbow, was hurting… rear bad. Being that it is the arm that does work, and it was not working without extreme pain, it wasn’t very much fun. I went to the ER 3 times. For 2 weeks they (Orthopedic Doctors) had checked the fluid that is in all of our elbows for infection. Nothing…
It took 2 weeks for the Orthopedic Doctor to admit that he didn’t know what to do. Finally, he went to his boss, who immediately contacted Dr. M. She is a wrist/elbow expert. She immediately made me and inpatient at Bethesda NNMC. The next day she went in my arm and removed the steel that had been there since 2004. The infection had not gone to my elbow, as the initial doctor thought. Apparently, steel attracts infection. Go figure. She told me that when she had open my arm puss had poured out. I had surgery 2 more times over the next couple of weeks. I’m not a big surgery fan.
To fight the infection I had a pic lines inserted in my upper arm. That is run through your veins to your heart. Like an IV that lasts for 4 weeks. Good news in that every time, I say again EVERY TIME, someone tries to give me an IV, they fail. Usually it takes 3 attempts, with 3 different people. It has always been that way. No idea why, but it is. It had gotten so bad, I had an IV in my throat/neck. I was running out of areas available for an IV. So the pic line seemed good.
But, alas, it also got infected. I went back to the hospital and had it removed. Thankfully, the infection was not too bad. That’s the good news. The bad news? The medicine that I am now taking is causing quite a few problems. 2000 mg of any medicine is too much. But it was messing up my brain. I took that much for several weeks. No one knew that that was the problem I was having. My neuropsychiatrist, Dr. W., has been involved the entire time. He knows about my surgery and my medicine. So we kept modifying my medicine, not including the penicillin, trying to fix my new problem. Changes were not working. So I contacted the infection specialists and asked him if I could reduce the amount from 2000 mg to 1500 mg.
This just happened 3 days ago. So far, things are much better than they have been in some time. Having conducted my own research over the Internet, I found out that this type of penicillin I am taking can cause “confusion”. Pretty good explanation of my problem. Of course, seizures are a big concern of the doctors. Like the arthritis arguments, many doctors think I am having mini seizures. And like the arthritis, I know they are wrong.
So from June 14 to August 8, I have been miserable.
On top of it, my computer is all screwed up. I had to have a specialist come and fix it. Then, I find out that the company, *****, has subcontracted all e-mails. In the new company, whoever it is, has decided that I can only send 50 e-mails at a time. Given that I e-mail 500 wounded warriors and 1000 supporters, it’s a little tough. Still working on this, actually.
I wish I had a better story to tell everyone.
Maybe next month?