“What started out as a beautiful day, working in the yard and by the pool, turned into a day that will never leave my mind. The call came at 11:30 a.m. that my son Kevin, was injured in Afghanistan, stating the list of injuries Kevin had, and that he was on life support. My stomach just sank. It was something that we had naturally feared, but like most, I always thought it would never happen to my son. When it did, all I wanted to do, was get on a plane and be with him, but that wasn’t an option. I was told to stay home. Kevin had multiple surgeries in Kandahar and Germany, which we were kept informed of, he did really well, and we were even able to speak with Kevin! He was in good spirits, so much so, that I didn’t think he knew he lost his leg. But that’s Kevin!
Once stabilized, he returned to the States and thankfully to WRNMMC. It was such a relief to see him get off that bus, but broke my heart to see what had happened to his body. How could anyone recover from this? But, as soon as Kevin got to his room, with his family in tow, we knew he was in the best hands! What the Doctors, Nurses, and therapists did for Kevin was truly remarkable, but they also taught me how to care for Kevin, what issues to look for, and what questions to ask. It wasn’t always easy, we had good days and bad, but Kevin was doing the work. It was his body, and He wanted to do whatever it took to be whole again. He was so good at explaining how and what he felt to the doctors and nurses which I know they appreciated. They wanted to help, but they can’t help if they don’t know!
Our family was nearby, so they could visit, which was such a blessing! So many didn’t have that luxury, but we all tried to make the best of it, and tried to have some laughs. We also met other families, that are now and always will be forever friends. By talking with them, I knew they understood what we were going through. Not many understand if they’re not there…We shared our day’s events, appointments, worries and accomplishments, or if we just needed to vent.
For me personally, all I could think about every day was how grateful I was. I had nothing to complain about. I have to do what I have to do. To this day, I still feel the same, Thankful Kevin didn’t come home in a box… that he survived catastrophic injuries, thankful that he had the best care, and most important that I was able to be with him and care for him.
For anyone going through this now or in the future, my advice would be to communicate! Talk with the professionals, ask questions, understand what they’re doing and why. I don’t say that to second guess any doctor. We had a good relationship with everyone involved in Kevin’s care, but the more you learn, the more you understand, the more help you can provide to your wounded warrior.
And now, 8 years after his injury, Kevin is thriving! What more can a mother hope for?”
– Karen, Mother of Kevin Jaye