Sunday, February 22, 2009

Goat guts and other tid bits...

Cory called today - after nothing for the last couple. He's been at another base having his ear looked at. All is well in regards to that - tx was successful and he can actually hear now (selectively, I'm sure :)!) I missed the first call today so I got this voicemail "Hey Dear, its me. Sorry I haven't called in a couple days. I'm back at ***. Its a long, crazy story how I got here - I'm ok, just extremely tired. I'll try and call in a few minutes and talk to you before I go to bed! I love you and miss you like crazy!" Its never good when my soldier adds "I'm ok" in a conversation - for me it tells me that at some point in time he was NOT ok...
So he called back. My first words were "What happened?" He began to share with me that 1) the weather had gotten really bad all of the sudden. 2) he had spent a while in a bunker due to a blast outside his B-hut. WHAT?!?! Again, with reassurance he was ok, he began to chuckle... NOT FUNNY for me! Long story, short, a "blast" had occured about 200 feet from him hut (which is conviently about the same distance from "the wire"). They had to go to the bunker as they thought it was enemy mortars and awaited further attack. The advanced patrol came back and reported "All Clear" and invited the guys to come and see what it was... a goat had walked over an explosive device planted by US. He said goat guts were EVERYWHERE! Of course, with my husband's strange sense of humor - he thought it was awesome!
In other news, Reese took his first steps last week. It was such a bitter sweet moment because Cory was not here. I did, however, get to video the event and send it to Cory. Now, our next hurdle- getting him to eat more than fruit and bread! He starts his new day care tomorrow and hopefully the Dr will call this week to schedule his sx for tubes and adenoids! As always, he keeps me busy!
The girls' last game is this week. Then its on to the next sport - SOCCER! Our hamster, Bugsy, keeps getting out of his cage. I found him in MY bathroom the other morning at 3am. Needless to say, I am not loving the creature. Oh the joys...
So we're trudging along... taking it one day at a time. Rumors are Cory will be home sooner than later!! Yay! Not getting my hopes up, but a girl can dream, can't she?!? Have a great week!

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Valentine never forgotten...

Here's another writing from my Valentine. I hope you all take advantage of this special day and EVERY DAY with your loved one! Happy Valentines Day!
The Inner Circle
The inner circle is completely untarnished and shines like a mirror when you look at it. very few scratches are on it, and it is very smooth. On the outer circle, however, scratches and scuffs adorn it both proving that it has been somewhere, and everywhere at once- it's sturdiness proves that it stands the test of time.
What is the inner circle? It is my wedding band. Why is it so smooth and near flawless? I have only taken it off ONE time in my life because of finger-swelling from an allergic reaction last year. When my ring slides upward towards my knuckle, you can tell it has left a permanent imprint on my finger- over the finger itself, not a strand of hair grows from where the ring makes contact with the finger. The ring never comes off no matter what the circumstance, and people have been told, (and knew) if I sustain an injury to that hand in a combat scenario, That I would rather my finger get chopped off or amputated before I allow any destruction to the ring to save my finger.
Maybe I'm a little over the top about the ring, but it is another symbol- one of many- to the love that will even endure death with my wife. Not only a symbol of love, but fidelity- a state that I hold in the highest regard in this lifetime.
Doing this job I am able to track reports of hundreds upon hundreds of patients that we have in the entire task force. about 20% of those patients are RETURNED TO HOME STATION because they are pregnant. It takes two to do the dance. And the chances of the two being married are slim. I really don't want to speculate the percentage that are practicing infidelity. And what are going to become of the children when they are born? Are they truly wanted? will they be taken care of, or are they just a product of war that 'mommy' used to get out of a combat zone? Hmm.
Marriage as it is explained to me is one of the most holiest of things you can partake in, second only to receiving the spirit of Christ in you. Although there is a human officiating the marriage, it is God himself that passes on the blessing.. and is the unseen witness in the pew watching the ceremony. Why would anyone risk losing grace itself or destroying a family by being a cheater?? Cheating is to accept death itself in my opinion. and people do not take into account the number of people affected, which is severe.
A deployment for a year is no excuse. seperation by 'area codes' is no excuse. There isn't any excuse!I know there are some good moral people, and one is a dear friend at a different base (J.S., you know who you are. Your faith in Christ and Marriage is an example that other people should follow, my friend)But there is definately bad apples here. Anyone who knows me knows that despite the colorful language that I employ at times, I hate immorality with a passion and I find immoral people completely despicable and do not associate with them. You can look deeply at those that I call true friends and see we are all like minded. I hate to lift myself up any higher than I know I am, but I am a saint among some sinners.
I personally can't stand the thought of treating my wife like this and the thought has never, ever crossed my mind. Every time I look at that rough, weathered outer circle I think of how much closer I am to reuniting with the only one that God himself has meant for me to be with. And every time I can see the smooth, flawless inner circle, I know the true meaning of enduring faith and love that has absolutely no bounds. I can also look at the tattoo on my left arm and know that no matter where I walk on this earth, she is absolutely with me.
So cheaters out there beware. If I know you I will expose you. If you make your bed you will lay in it. and I will fluff your pillow.For all the rest of us, forever faithful and good people, Valentines day is tomorrow. If you have the capability don't blow this holiday off. It's not about giving a ton of useless stuff to your significant other or about giving flowers that will eventually die (I love giving Chris Flowers, tho.. LOL) it's about celebrating love.
For me this is just another holiday that I have missed. Like many of my brothers in arms that I can call true friends. But to rejoice- this is the last one missed for me, Like Christmas, Chris's Birthday, The Girls' Birthdays, Reeses' Birthday. Next year I will miss none. I refuse to work any holiday in 2009 or 2010, I will bribe a co-worker with additional money if I have to.
On a sidenote, Most of our true ancestors can be aligned to Scottish/Irish/Gaelic lines. Very, Very true if you know your history of South Carolina. So, for my wife, I have an expression in Gaelic:
Is tú mo ghrá, A chuisle, a chroi!!
(I love you, my pulse and my heart)
I love you, Chris!

SPC(P) Cory M. Trotter
Medical Operations SpecialistCommunications

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Happy Birthday....

BRIAN!! I am heartbroken that I cannot be there with you to celebrate. But I know you guys will have a blast tonight! Please know that I love you dearly and could never ask for a better big brother! You are the greastest! I look up to you more than you will ever know. Have a wonderful day! I miss you guys and hope to see you soon! Happy Birthday, Bubba!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Under my umbrella

Today I went back to the Dr to check my H. Pylori levels. They are still elevated and the dr gave me some new meds that he promises will make me nauseous and there's nothing they can do about it - NICE. I'm sure it will be a good weight loss program, but I absolutely hate to be nauseated. I would rather puke my guts up continuously than be nauseated. So I went home and took said medication and went to bed. I woke up with the feeling that if I moved, I would vomit. I had to get the girls from school. On my way, Reese's daycare called to tell me that he had a temp of 101.7! So I called the pediatrician to see if it was "doctor worthy". (On a side note - we go to Palmetto Pediatrics in Spartanburg and I absolutely LOVE all the staff and doctors; if you are in the hunt for a good peds office - I've got the perfect one for you!) They said they would work us in, so off we went.
To make a long story short, Reese STILL has bilateral ear infections and upper resp infection - and a REALLY bad one at that... we've been on oral antibiotics for the last month with no relief. So now we are onto IM injections (aka shots) of Rocefin - 2 a day x 3 days (minimum). We had the first two today, we'll have 2 more tomm before heading to Chuck Town and he'll get 2 days for his body to "rest" from antibiotics and then its back on Monday for 2 more.
Call me a weenie - whatever you will - but today when he got the first 2 , I cried. It's just these times that I miss Cory more than ever. I'd just like for him to be here. I know this will not kill my child, but as a mother, it breaks my heart to see him suffer and have to get 1 shot, much less 6!!!
And to top it all off, if the shots do not work, its on to IV antibiotics which could mean another bag of goodies to deal with. I have my Paramedic Refresher scheduled for next week (9-5 ALL WEEK) that is mandatory or I lose my registration and to retest. Why is it that the ONE week I have something I have to do, my baby boy is sick and may need extensive treatment? I guess its true - when it rains, it pours... so here I sit - under my umbrella.

*On a different note - if you haven't read the post below, please do so! I love you, baby!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Voice from within

Cory asked me to post this for you guys. He's finding solace in writing it seems and I LOVE IT!! Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers! He's in there - and here's proof!
I wanted to give everyone a little glimpse of what it's like for me over here in Afghanistan. Everyone's individual situation is different and I am no more important than the next soldier who's in a different area than me getting shot at every day, But we all have our different roles.I spent the first couple of months getting shot at almost daily. I had literally spent every day wondering if it was going to be my last. I was sleeping in a flea-infested cave carved out of the side of the mountain, and the enemy was both everywhere and nowhere at the same time. I slept about two to three hours at a time and spent every minute that I had awake either swatting flies, chasing rats, or having my ear glued to the radio. Frequently our day of just 'sitting there' was interrupted by gunfire and the sounds of mortar rounds going off. You could never tell where they were coming from unless they were right in front of you. The enemy would hide in the village about three hundred meters away from our location, blending in perfectly with civilians. There is no way to describe how fast your heart rate elevates and how time seems to slow down to a trickle when you come into contact with enemy fire. Some love it- or act like they do- for me it was horrible. Having to set up an area in our cave, completely dark- to deal with any casualties we might incur.
Fortunately for me there were only minor injuries during my time in the Valley.On my first day out there, apparently I slept straight through a complex attack. I woke up and walked out of the aid station and there was a crater in the ground five feet away from the aid station front door- Barely missed by a mortar round. It became too intense for me to handle mentally, so I was rotated out to go to the Aid Station at a more built-up location. I spent a few months there treating thousands of local civilians- mostly children- with various injuries ranging from boils to horrible wounds sustained in combat crossfire. The ones that stand out the most are the children. Females are not particularly celebrated here in this country, and are frequently abused- most often by burning- these little kids for doing anything their caregivers seem wrong. One was burned so badly that over 80% of her body was covered in second and third degree burns. Even when we gave her Ketamine- An extremely strong sedative- I could still hear her crying in her sleep and watching her shake. A few feet away was her 'caregiver'.. the one who burned her. Every time I walked into the room I thought about shooting him or slitting his throat, but obviously I couldn't.
I come home on Leave in September and I had a blast with my family. The worst part of leave for any soldier is realizing that it shall too pass- and right back on a plane to a combat zone you will go. I injured my shoulder severely and thought I was going to be having surgery and was put on some hardcore pain pills and was shocked to find that I would have to go back in lieu of surgery. This shock happened at the last minute, and ruined my goodbyes with my family because it was so abrupt.I did get moved to where I am now because of my shoulder- I can't really pick anyone up in an emergency by myself anymore, so I am now dispatching medical helicopters to pick up the sick and wounded.
In response to me being moved, the majority of my friends I have made since I have been in the Army- Even the unit- turned their back on me. I would have never expected some of them to do that, but it is a part of human nature to backstab- even a little. The good thing is I've made new friends rather quickly here, and for the most part it is going well.
The base I'm at now is incredibly quiet, minus the constant noise of Jets and Helicopters taking off. The only problem I have is with a certain individual who is high ranking. The guy gets off by being a bully, especially to me- because I have so much "history" with my old unit where he came from as well.. and usually resorts to talking to me like I'm worse than a dog in front of the entire battle staff that I work with every day here. I guess he's still sore for the fact that I wrote the white house.. I put the unit under a congressional hearing before we deployed because I did not feel that our medics were quite ready to be deployed. As a Paramedic with almost 9 years experience, I know failures when I see one. It wasn't that I was being a direct A-Hole to the people I work with.. My job is to SAVE and CONSERVE lives, so I was thinking about every single grunt with a weapon I've ever met, in case they were severely injured. Most of my days are good.. Boring (which is a good thing... I don't want to medevac our people) but I have to deal with that guy. My dilemma is trying not to let my hate completely consume me and lash out, and do something I regret. I pray every day that God will curb my temper with some people.
I live in a little building called a "B-Hut" now. Most of the time I get very little sleep in those things because I am mixed with both day and night shift workers (I work straight 3rd here) and some people are very inconsiderate. I've been moved more than 4 times since I've been here which is a strain because I have more stuff than the average soldier here, stuff that's quite heavy, and requires more than several fetchings of the stuff.
I know the usual thought about soldiers who return to the US might have "PTSD" or be a completely different person. I am still the same Cory Trotter that alot of you know and some have met. Death has been a part of my life since I got into EMS so this is not something that is going to effect me. The only difference from being in the civilian world and being deployed over here is the massive amount of pressure I'm under, from making the right decisions on my job that could effect whoever I medevac out- Or having to deal with people I would tag with extremely colorful references. Once I return home I will deal with people again that are alot closer to normal. This is abnormal.
I'm not saying that everything will be just like it was before I left- The girls have gotten a year older and I have missed out on almost all of the major milestones of my son, that I can never get back. My wife has held down fort living room well, and my family and in-laws have done a tremendous job helping back home while I've been away. I'm sure I'm going to be sleeping different for awhile, very cautious of people I don't know for awhile, and probably be over-defensive of my family. I am around sixteen weeks or less of finally being done here and I am probably more nervous than my family of my return.
I promise however that I will slowly ease back into being a husband and a father, a friend, and a healthcare worker because many people depend on me. I will not fail my family. The Army may have had a claim on my head for a long time now, but in August when my time is up they can have me no longer.
If you have a family member serving that is due to return soon, I wish you all the best. One thing that is going to help me is that I am very open with my wife and there is nothing that I won't tell her... no matter how bad it may be. Being open is the key to the liberation of your soul. Hold back, and you will always be wearing virtual chains. Not only will I talk to my wife, I will talk to a pastor. I will talk to a psychiatrist. I will get this all out and get it past me.
I just wanted to share a glimpse of how it's been for me over here. It's almost over, thank god, and I am healthy minus a stomach virus I have now. Thank you for all the prayers and support, they have definately helped. But I am still me- I am not a 'caged animal', nor am I a warped version of me- I'm still the same 'ol me. Uncle Sam can't change me. Viva La Revolution.
Have anyone thinking about the military? Have them give total control of their life to a complete stranger for about 9 weeks. See how they like it.I will see you soon-
Medical Operations Specialist

Monday, February 2, 2009

One step at a time...

I know that's the song that begins to play as you are reading this, but it is just fitting for my life right now. Its 1234 am and I am still awake. Call it anxiety or whatever you will, but Cory has not had a good day - which translates into me not sleeping. I feel like for us its 2 steps forward and 3 steps back. Hes has several good days in a row, but then there is a set back. Please continue to pray for him. He's got a long road when he comes home and I think the closer it gets, the more anxious it makes him. I don't know whats worse for him - being on the other side of the world in a war zone or returning home to face the demons that have been rearing their ugly heads for the last few months.
In other news - my hours have been cut at work. But surprisingly, I am TOTALLY ok with it! I'll be working a couple 12's, a couple 8's and a couple 4's each pay period. Sounds confusing, but I think I'm gonna love my job even more - and who thought that was possible? The job I made reference to recently is on hold - at least until March as our hospital is on a hiring freeze. I'll let you know if and when anything comes of it! Has anyone figured out what the job is?
The girls are doing well. They've survived 100days of 1st grade. They are both excellent students and are reading at least 2 grade levels above what they should be! If only I could get Samantha to stop talking all the time, we'd be good! They are doing Cheerleading still and LOVE it! They look so cute! And their coaches have been wonderful and always give them the cutest cheers to do! With any luck, I'll get some video soon and post it!
Reese is going to have to have tubes put in his ears in the next month. I have to be honest - I can't wait! I am so ready to not have to see him suffer anymore. He's been on antibiotics for almost a month straight with no relief. Nights are exceptionally bad, but luckily during the day, he's such a happy little boy! Looks more and more like Cory daily - its scary! He' s walking with assistance, I look for him to take off on his own soon! He's growing so fast! And he's so stinking cute!
This weekend we are heading to ChuckTown to celebrate my Bubba's big 3-0! Wow, he's getting old! I really hate we don't live closer so we could spend more time with each other! I love you Brian!
So that's it. Just taking it one day at a time, usually one step at a time. Its served me well thus far! Happy Groundhog Day!!!