Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Recovery update

Quick update on Lauren. She's been discharged. They never figured out what she had or what was wrong but her numbers got better so they let her go. They're likely going to take her to another hospital to get a second opinion.

I had another follow up with my physical therapist today and the brace came off. I'm now allowed to walk with the cane only as needed. I can bend my right knee to just over 120* and the average person has a range of motion of 130*, my left knee goes way past that but it's mostly because of how thin I am, most people have things like muscle that gets in the way, I don't have that problem lol. I still can't do PT with my unit, darn, but I'm progressing nicely. Most of my range of motion problems now are just due to some left over swelling. My physical therapist says that will go away now that I can use it unrestricted. I'll keep you all posted as I continue to recover. It's going well though.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A prayer request

One of Diana's good friends, Lauren has been in the hospital since yesterday. She's currently in the ICU and probably will be for a while. She went in with a UTI, a kidney infection, and influenza type A. They are pretty sure the influenza is going to turn out to be H1N1 so they've started treating for it. Her platelet count is also very low and there is a problem with her white and red blood cells. She's stable right now and Diana is with her but she doesn't stay that way. At this point all they can do is try to keep her comfortable while they wait for test results. I visited this evening and asked her nurse what she thought it was, she was very honest and said she had no idea. There are already a lot of people praying for her, and she's being very strong considering where she is, but more prayer never hurt anything.

Her kids are staying with Diana and I for now. She and her husband were supposed to move out of their apartment tomorrow and he's begun working on that. His unit is going to help him move everything tomorrow, so we're watching the kids so he can take care of that.

I'll post updates as we know more, but there hasn't been much news since yesterday. We just ask for prayer, not knowing is the hardest part but even if we did there isn't anything we could do, it's all in God's hands and we need to ask him to guide her and her family though this.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

October update?

Maybe I can do this once a month, that shouldn't be too hard. No big updates, just more life as usual. Another neighbor got arrested today. I know, not life as usual maybe for most of you, but in my neighborhood that's par for the course. I'd give more details but they play out like a day time soap opera and who actually watches those things.

Work is going well, I drove a HET today for the first time since my surgery. My new squad leader plans on having the squad goto Alamagordo at least once a week, mostly just to get away from the day-in day-out activities of the motor pool but it also serves to get some of the new members their required miles for their licenses so it's dual purpose. I drove one way today. I want to get "back on the horse" so to speak but I'm certainly not trying to over do it. Especially since driving these things is what injured my knee in the first place.

I've begun researching what I need to do to go CID (criminal investigative division). It turns out I won't be a special agent if I get accepted, but it will be a better career path for me than just truck driver. I need 30 credit hours as a part of the requirement but what little research I've done so far tells me that my military training alone will count for about 20 of those hours so it shouldn't be too hard to pick up another 10. My goal will be to get a criminal justice degree and end up in the crime scene investigation department at CID. I would be similar to the people on CSI then, to give a reference to a TV show. The process isn't an overnight thing but the sooner I can get the ball rolling the sooner I can get in.

Not too much more to say. Like I said, mostly just life as usual here. School and CID are my two short term goals that I'm working on. I've been off Facebook for a while and I'm going to try to keep up to date with that more than just every so often.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


No real news, I just feel like chatting. I have been thinking about going to college. I've been researching how many credits my military training coverts to. I'm leaning towards a criminal justice degree but still need to talk to a few counselors, one with the college to find out what I need to do to enrol, and one with the Army to learn how much tuition assistance I'll get or if I'll need to use my GI bill.

If I get my degree I have a few options for the future. I'd really like to get a law enforcement job back in MI, local, county, state, whatever, just something that brings me back to the state. If I can't get a law enforcement job I can drop a packet for CID (criminal investigative department). It would be a huge promotion, my rank would become that of a warrant officer, but I'd be addressed as a special agent, kinda like the show NCIS except that's Navy and TV. It would likely mean staying in the Army longer, but I have to accept the reality of the job market in Michigan right now. It's really hard to be this far away, but it's a nessisary sacrifice to provide right now.

My recovery is still going well. I can walk quite well without the crutches although I'm not sure I'm supposed to yet. I missed my 6 week appointment 'cuz I lost track of what day it was. Hopefully when I get it rescheduled I'll be allowed to walk without crutches, especially since I broke one of them already. Physical therapy has been a little unpleasant but it's just muscle rebuilding, any muscle strengthening has a degree of pain and rebuilding an attrophied muscle doesn't seem to be an exception.

Anyway, like I said, no real news, just felt like chatting. Can't wait to visit Michigan again. Hopefully before the end of the year, but I don't know when yet.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Update 9-16-09

I meant to post this last night but I got too tired and fell asleep. Things have been progressing nicely with my physical therapy and Friday I was given the OK to drive again. The car needed a little work and I took care of that Saturday with a friend at a Self-serve shop here on post. Since then I've been driving myself to wherever I need to be.

Friday's physical therapy appointment not only allowed me to drive but it marked the 4 week mark since the surgery and meant that the physical therapy can be taken to the next stage. It's basically more muscle strengthening, which is what I've been working on this whole time, but now we're using weights and a bike to regain the rest of my range of motion. Yesterday was my first visit with the new regiment and I felt it right away. It never really hurts but the joint feels very stiff from not being used much, so working the range of motion often feels like a good workout by itself. If that wasn't enough we're still working on rebuilding my quadricep in my right leg. Part of the rebuilding has involved using electrical stimulation to force the muscle to contract. The muscle is still so weak that the machine can barely force it to contract. I can do it on my own, but not to the same amount I can do the left one. So basically, Tuesday's session left me quite sore.

During my pre-surgical consult a female captain, who was my surgeon's assistant, asked me to research a condition she felt I might have. I'd been asked a similar question while in Iraq and I didn't have it. Basically my joints are so loose, even though there isn't anything wrong, that it makes them wonder. The condition I was asked to research this last time was Ehler-Danlos Syndrome, it's a syndrome that effects the bodies collagen, which controls how the connective tissue in the body develops. It's not life threatening, in most cases, and there is no treatment, but as I began to read through the list of symptoms I found that many of them fit. Things like my flexibility, the way I scar, and a good many other things fit. The type I have is non-life threatening, if I indeed have it, but it means that I need to be more careful to situations that will lead to injuries like my right knee.

Yesterday was also my first day back to work and I'm getting used to waking up at 0400 again. I didn't do anything yesterday because the whole day was consumed by doctors appointments, but it felt good to get back into what I've gotten used to as a normal routine. I'm on restrictive duty, or as we call it, a profile. The profile determines what I'm allowed to do and for how long, things like running, walking, lifting, etc. When they are ALL checked NO we refer to it as a "dead man's profile". Along with the "dead man's" I've been given a soft shoe profile which means I wear tennis shoes instead of boots with my uniform. Additionally I'm not allowed to stand for periods of time longer than 10 minutes, I have to continue wearing my brace, and I have to walk with the crutches for at least another two weeks. Every two weeks my progress is re-evaluated and I imagine my profile will be updated along the way to reflect my progression. Right now this one has been written to cover the next 30 days to be safe.

So basically things are moving along just as they are supposed to. I'm one month into a six month recovery and it's going well. There is still no way to know if I'll ever run again but we're all OK with that as long as I can return to full duty.

As for right now, I think I'm going to take a nap. I still have to go in for PT in the mornings to show my face for accountability but I'm released to go home after the first formation. That leaves me with about two hours to kill before I need to return for work call. I'm interested to see what they find for me to do, if anything, and I'll try to keep this updated more frequently so everyone can follow along with my progress.

Until next time;
God Bless and take care,

SPC. Pahman, Jesse C.
United States Army
Ft. Bliss, TX

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Physical Therapy

I've been able to walk around a bit during the day, even without the crutches. I'm also down to about 2-4 Percocet a day, a huge improvement over how I was when I first came home. I decided that if I felt good enough to be up and about that I should really get on my physical therapy.

I found the sheet of paper my physical therapist sent home with me last week and began to look at the instructions. It turns out I should be doing a bit more than I've been letting myself. I no longer have to keep my knee locked straight all day and I'm allowed to walk 30-45 minutes a day at this point. The exercises are all straightforward, basically leg lifts and knee bends. The leg lifts aren't so bad, the knee bends, well those are a different story. It's amazing how quickly muscle atrophies. Naturally there is an amount of pain from within the knee but mostly I feel it in the muscles of my upper leg. It's almost like I'm too weak to actually bend my leg. I've set my brace so that when I'm up and about I can bend my knee to up to 60* of rotation, which is what I am allowed to do. When I'm laying down I lock the leg straight, still a good deal of pain if I bend it, but I'll be working to lock the leg less and less. I have a follow-up with physical therapy Friday and I'm hoping to be on schedule with my recovery by that time. I got a late start but I'm feeling a lot better than I did last week so I'm hoping I can catch up the time.

Not much more than that to update, I'll likely post again after my appointment on Friday.

Monday, August 17, 2009

It's Monday?

I really hate coming up with titles for blog entries. I don't have that much to update but I am bored and I did go to rehab today so I should at least post how that went.

Today's visit wasn't so much to start working on the knee as it was us getting to know each other and setting some goals for the recovery. Being that this wasn't a simple debridement -- look who learned how to spell -- the recovery is a bit different than I initially thought. I'm going to be stuck in a brace (we'll get pictures online soon) for at least 9 weeks while I begin to work the knee. They're not anticipating a full recovery for 6 months. Most of what I'm going to be doing is ROM (range of motion) exercises and leg strengthening. I have a sheet that details what I can and can't do right now and what exercises I should be doing now but I can't remember most of it. It's amazing how much of a cloud the Percoset puts my head in. I only need to take 3 or 4 doses a day depending on how much I'm up and about. Also they took off the wrap that was closest to my skin so the brace I've got with ice water pumping through it is far more effective.

In any event, I'm doing well and they say I should do just fine. I have a follow-up with Ortho on the 25th and another appointment with rehab on the 28th. I'll have Diana snap some photos of the braces and stitches and the setup I've got for myself in the recliner so ya'll know how I've been doing. My head is in a bit of a fog and I'm having trouble sorting my thoughts so I'm going to wrap up. I'm off for 30 days, so 25 more I think, if you wanna chat give me a call or look me up on AOL's instant messenger as jcpahman77 if you're the chatting type. I'll be here and I'd love to talk.

Friday, August 14, 2009

I'm home from surgery!!!

I really should have posted more about this earlier, like Tuesday when I had my pre-surgical consults but I forgot.

A little background for those not in the know... I injured my knee while in Iraq back in September of '08. They didn't know what the extent of the injury was then because medical facilities in Iraq are pretty much limited to life saving equipment. I had been complaining about knee pain after long convoys; in fact it was so bad that after a long convoy I couldn't bend my knees. Each time I went I was told that it was overuse and that I needed to "take it easy". Finally one day in September I was sitting on the side of a trailer with my feet on the tires. The tires on these trailers stick out several feet wider than the deck and pretty much run the length of the deck. Anyway, I went to stand up and turn at the same time to get up on the deck and just as I put weight on my right knee it snapped or popped. The kind of sound and feeling you get when you crack a knuckle for example. The leg gave out and I ended up on my butt on the deck. I couldn't fully extend my knee and I couldn't bend it past about 20 or 30 degrees. I was put on crutches for about a week and they tried to drain my knee once, but other than that not much was done while I was in Iraq.

It took a long time to get taken seriously once in the states but around May I was diagnosed with a pair of meniscal tears in my right knee. There are two meniscuses in your knee and they act like bushings between the upper bone of the leg and the lower two. An MRI showed that both my medial and lateral (inner and outer) meniscus had torn but didn't give enough resolution to see exactly how bad. The meniscus grow out of the tops of the lower bones and because they rely on the bones for blood flow they grow slowly. The plan was to go in orthoscopically de-breed the bad cartilage and then sew the ends of the good cartilage together to make the meniscuses whole again. Unfortunately when they got in there they discovered that one of the meniscuses was torn so badly that it had flapped forward into the middle of the joint. Naturally I don't remember any of this because of all the IV drugs they gave me but they told me and Diana that everything went smoothly. All I know is when I woke up it felt like someone had taken a sledge hammer to my knee and it took 6 mg's of Morphine to dull the pain.

Looking forward I have a fairly long recovery since it was not just a simple procedure like they had hoped. It's going to be three days before I can take off a brace they wrapped around my right knee and both legs have special stockings on them to help blood flow while the IV drugs work out of my system. I start physical therapy/rehab on Monday but they don't project that I'll even be able to drive a car for 6 to 8 weeks.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


I think I mentioned having an orthopedic and optometry appointment coming up in my last entry. Those dates have come and gone and there is some info that is newsworthy. My orthopedic appointment was supposed to be on the 30th, but I ended up being scheduled for a mission, so it was moved to the 6th, and now as it turns out I have funeral detail on the 6th (three funerals to do) so it's been moved again to the 20th. So sometimes no news is good news, but unfortunately I still have to wait to find any sort of prognosis for my knee.

I did have my optometry appointment on the 31st and it went well. They did about every test I've ever seen before on my eyes, very thorough. They have to measure the lens and eye shape and a few other things. Additionally you have to have an exam that's a year old to compare with a current one. I just happened to go to optometry in Iraq on the first of April so it was perfect. He then gave me a full eye exam on the 31st to compare. This doctor was good. He not only understood the troubles of a lazy eye he was impressed with the control I have over mine. I guess most people who suffer from a lazy eye have no control over when or how much that eye will drift. As some of you have seen I can move my left eye pretty much independently of my right eye. Also he said the extent to which my eye drifts in is pretty severe which added to how hard it is for me to control it. He spent about an hour on my eyes, different combinations of lenses, eye drops, filters, everything, and we came up with a solution I'm excited about. He's adding a good deal of prism to my lenses. The prism moves the image that my left eye sees to align it with my right eye, so both eyes are working together. I'm also getting two pairs of glasses; the army only allows one frame to be "wearer's choice" i.e. normal looking glasses, and the other set has to be the standard ugly Army issue frames. What's noteworthy about the two sets is I'm going to get the set of frames that looks normal in a mono-focal and the ugly Army issue frames in the bi-focal. I've often found that when I'm driving, for example, that if I need to look down to check a gauge, like my speed, that I have to move my whole head to avoid trying to see through my bi-focal lens. So I'm going to get the mono-focal set tinted ($10 at the PX) and use it for any time when I'm allowed to wear sunglasses. Formations and other formal times I'll have to wear the ugly frames since they won't be tinted but I'm going to look into having the lenses cut at the optical shop in the PX as well to see if they'll fit in my old frames.

No as far as the PRK (lasik), all the tests have been completed but they have to be submitted to the optical clinic at Ft. Hood for review since that is where the procedure is performed. Even if they approve me based on what they see from these tests there are a few more tests that can only be done at Ft. Hood, so even if I get sent to Ft. Hood I still may be denied the procedure. If that happens it really won't bother me, I've been wearing glasses since something like Kindergarten and as you can imagine I've gotten used to them.

I'll try to keep this blog updated more often now that I'm home. Work has kept me busy during the weekdays but I usually have weekends pretty free.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Knee injury update, Mom and Mr. Jones Visit

I finally have had my MRI reviewed. They verified I do have a torn meniscus, how long ago did I know this? In any event I now have an appt. with Orthopedics on the 30th to see what they are going to do. From what I understand there isn't a lot that can be done, but hopefully they know more than me. On the 31st I'm also having my eyes checked. If the lenses of my eyes are thick enough, and my eyes are bad enough, they will send me to Ft. Hood for PYK (lasik) surgery, all on the Army of course. I know my eyes are bad enough, I've been told before, but I've never had the lenses measured so I'm anxious to see what the results will be. 

Also Grandma and Grandpa Jones came down Tuesday for a visit. We went to Alamogordo yesterday to see the Toy Train Museum, a small Zoo that was excellent, and White Sands. I've never been to any of these places and it was a great trip. I've got about 400 photos to go through that are basically just yesterday and today (we went bowling today). We've been having fun all together and tomorrow is their last day here because they are moving on very early Monday morning. It will be very bittersweet because as much as we don't want to see them go Monday will be good for me since I'm still off work on my four day and the kids will be back in school.

I'm going to try to add some photos, just a few because I have such trouble with it, but hopefully they'll show up well.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The new car

I took home my new car last night. It's been a drama filled event that I'm sure is not over yet. It was for sale at a mechanic shop who was selling it for the owner. I put $100 to hold it and then came back with $900 more when our tax return came in. They didn't bite and I told them I'd get the other $300 (still a good deal for this car). What started to upset me was the fact that they couldn't get a hold of the owner to get the title. In fact I still think they charged more than the owner was asking, I'm meeting with the owner later today to get the title and straighten out any pricing issues. Yesterday they wrote me a bill of sale and I took the car home. The rules have changed on post so all I need to bring a vehicle on is my ID. Today I'm going to take it to the craft shop on post (garage) and take a good look at the car all the way around.

I have some pictures that I took last night and a couple I took this morning so I'll post those up and update things as the day goes along.