It was October 15th, 2009. This was the day that would change our lives forever. I was at my best friend’s house with my son and his friend, getting ready to go out and help throw a 40th birthday party for a co-worker of mine.
It was around 4pm on that Thursday when my cell phone rang. It was someone from Red Cross, calling to tell me that my husband and fellow team members were hurt by a roadside IED on the way back from a mission. I was totally shocked by the call. I can remember almost falling back onto the bed I was previously sitting on.
“Your husband has a broken leg and was intubated.” What?? “What is really wrong? Why is he intubated? I don’t have an MD by my name, but no one in God’s name intubates for a broken leg.” The voice on the other end of the line heard the panic and fear in my voice and said,”Ma’am, someone will call you from the medical team once he arrives to Landshtul.” I said,”Ok.”
I did not tell my son anything until I felt I had real tangible news. Every time my phone rang, it made my stomach hurt as I was on eggshells waiting for more information on my husband. I was the one in charge of my friends 40th, so I got dressed I swear I was on autopilot. I showed up, gave her the stuff I had picked up for her and the party goers. I left, went home, and threw up due to my nerves. I swear it felt like twelve hours that went by from that first phone call.
The phone rang, and it was a friend of my husbands. He was with him in Germany. He told me that he was looking right at CSF and he could see that all of his parts were still there. He said,”I am looking at his full naked splendor now.” He gave me a bit more information on the injuries my husband sustained. It turns out when soldiers are hurt, they are stripped naked and put on gurneys and covered in blankets. When an IED or an RPG goes off, the person that is struck in the blast is covered with dirt. Over in Afghanistan, the dirt is like talc, so the wounded soldier looks like a statue replica, just with blood on it.
When soldiers are hurt in Afghanistan, they are stabilized at BAF (Bagrum Airforce Base),then flown to Landshtul, Germany where there is a great first class Army hospital. Once the soldier is worked on, assessed, and stabilized, they are flown to Bethesda, MD where Walter Reed hospital is. They re-fuel the plane and if the solider is meant to go back to Texas, they fly to BAMC (Brooke Army Medical Center), which is a damn good hospital.
During the time of waiting to get more information on my husband, I mentally thought of what to do with our son. He was enrolled in 7th grade and had a lot of pre-ap courses to take. On the date of the accident, my son had already attended a few months. I went in to work the next day (I worked as a technical saleswoman) and it was our end of quarter, which was a very intense time of year and also one that sets us up well lucratively if it is a good sales season. I had a few contracts at stake that I had put together and owned the relationship with the customers. I also had a few issues that had to be resolved. I focused on work until I got more information on when my husband was coming home as that was all I knew how to do. I told my son we would get things together once we knew timing and everything would fall into place. In my mind, I was trying to figure out what would we do with him?
On October 19, 2009, I received a phone call from the medical team updating me that Todd would be arriving by the medical helicopter. I was excited to finally get to see him, as he had been gone since January of 2009. I was worried at what his injuries would be like, but more importantly, it was him! He was finally going to be there.