I spent several months in the hospital recovering from my injuries and even after being released from the hospital I was on and off crutches twice spending nearly 7 months between the metal kickstands.
Now, what most people don't realize about getting wounded, is that you don't go home as soon as your out of the hospital. No, you go to a wonderful place called med hold. Med hold is basically a military unit. A company like any other in its structure, except that it's composed entirely of outpatient soldiers. Soldiers with injuries that make them ineffective for their normal duties; or who are awaiting processing through the military's medical discharge system.
The system of holding onto soldiers until they complete the odyssey that is army medical treatment, is all well and good for active soldiers. They're still at their post where they lived before it happened, their life is different only because they're in a different unit.
For us national guardsmen, however, it means spending months (6 months to a year if awaiting a medical discharge) away from your home, your friends, your family. 5 hours away in my case but far more for other guardsmen from places much further south in Florida.
For me, the medical board proceedings kept me at Fort Gordon until the 23rd of November. 3 days after my 1 year woundiversary. I coped by driving home nearly every weekend for months, 10 hours a week; over 20,000 miles on my vehicle. It was hard, there were times when the separation and boredom left me cripplingly depressed. Even after med-hold sent me to work at the legal assistance office I found myself missing home constantly. Eventually, however, I made friends, I picked up some hobbies, I got to know Augusta and I was able to ride out the final months of my captivity.
Now, I'm out of the army, 100% civilian. I walk without a limp, I skate as well as I ever could. I wasn't able to enroll in school for various timing related reasons, but I'll soon be working again and come next semester I'll be back in the fray. I'll never run again beyond the short jogs that make up the average american's cardio for the day, but if you met me, you would never know that I'm a combat wounded veteran who the Army has declared 20% disabled.
So thank you to everyone still out there who sent me letters and packages and moral support. This is my final entry; it only seems fitting since I'm starting a new life after 2 years away with the army. For those who are interested I've started a new journal for my mundane, infrequent postings. It can be found at sandwichmcgyver.
P.S. No, I can't ever be sent back, everyone asks me this question. Army contracts come with a certain inactive reserve commitment, which, until recently, was never used. I, however have been completely discharged from the army on the grounds that I am no longer physically capable of doing the job I was trained for. No, what if's no "but can't they..."'s I am totally useless as a soldier and the army wouldn't take me back if I begged them.