My Head is Whole!!!!!!
On December 14, 2007 I left RIC Chicago and came back to the NNMC (Navy) Bethesda, MD hospital. I was there for 2 weeks and they attached an acrylic plate to my left skull. The first couple of days was good. I saw family and friends, it was very nice. I still needed to sleep often. My body was weak and half of my head was gone.
One time Patty helped me get in the shower. I was sitting down and cleaning. Dr. Armonda came in. (Great doctor!!! He was there to put my head back together) He was dressed up pretty nice, in his class “A” uniform. He saw that I was in the shower. We walked over and said, “Hello. How are you?” Then I said, “rsh. Ethan smfem yt ghurxw fgdc onivw.” (I couldn’t speak yet) Then he walked into the shower and touched my skull. I realized that he was getting wet. He said, “It is not a big deal. How is your head doing?” I wondered why was he in the shower with me.
The next day the doctors put my acryllic plate back together. The surgery was very early in the morning so I don’t remember it. The surgery took almost 4 hours. Dr. Armonda appeared in the waiting room with an object wrapped in a towel. He talked to Patty about the surgery. Once finished, he dramatically revealed a resin model of my skull that had been hidden under the towel and presented it to Patty. It was missing the left part of the head. I woke later and my eyes were swollen. It felt like I got beat up playing rugby.
I worked for 2/3 IN when I went to Iraq. Lt. Col. Barry Huggins was in charge of 1,500 soldiers. He was incredible. He knew what he was doing. He came to come see me in Bethesda. It turns out that was the day that I get my head back together. He went to go see me. But I don’t remember. Lt. Col Huggins came right into the ICU. I had two drains coming out of my head with balls on the ends where the bloody fluid was pooling. Poor Huggins. I was scary looking. He had come all the way across country to deliver my Patriot’s mug. In my Battalion it was tradition for each officer to get their own mug which was housed at The Fort Lewis Officer’s Club. Once a month the officers in the battalion would get together and have drinks to relax and tell jokes.
A few days later, I think it was December 19, when I met President Bush. I was finally out of the ICU and on the 5th floor. I was doing better now. My swelling stopped. The doctors used big staples on my head. So I was still bleeding a little bit. I had Patty, Chris, my dad and my mom there. They were very dressed up to see the president. But, I had come down with C-Dif so everyone wore ugly yellow gowns including the President. He was a nice guy. He actually talked almost the whole time. He said, “Son, do you even know who I am?” He gave me the Purple Heart. I felt it was pretty fun to come see me.
About a week later Patty and I moved to Pomona, CA. Casa Colina!!!!!