-- Download Surgery Day=Waiting Day as PDF --

Friday, surgery day.  Taylor and I were up at 5am this morning getting ready for the day of surgery we had ahead of us. Brushed both of our teeth, washed both of our faces, and whipped Taylor’s body down so it was nice and clean for surgery. Oh yeah and brushed both our hair (and his beard, I think he is starting to get spoiled with beard brushings).  We were ready for our 7:30 surgery time at 6:00, so we could get down to the PACU, post-anesthesia care unit, and check in.  We sat there and chatted as the anesthetist, nurses, doctors, pain team, and trauma team came to ask us questions and sign consent forms.  Taylor has now entered into two research project, where they will use discarded tissue and study to further the development in the medical field.  Anything he can do to help.  At about 7:35 they took him into the OR.  I headed back to the hotel to get a few hours of sleep, workout, shower, and head back to the hospital by the time Taylor got out of surgery.

The nurse from the OR called to let me know everything went well during surgery and they actually closed up Taylor’s right leg.  That’s right they have now closed up both arms and his right leg.  Only the left leg to go.  The nurse said they were just finishing up and he should be out of surgery within the next 20 minutes.  I finished my surgery day regiment at the hotel and headed over to the hospital.  Juli said that Taylor wasn’t in the room yet.  So on my way up to the room I stopped by the PACU to see if Taylor was there waiting to be cleared to go up to his room.  Taylor and I ended up sitting in the PACU from 1pm to 6:15pm.  We were officially one of the first people in that room and the last to leave.  Not to mention the doctors had told us that today should be a relatively short surgery day since the arms were already closed up.

When I first got there Taylor was again in excruciating pain. This time all the pain was in his legs.  He said it was a 10 out of 10 pain.  The surgical nurse was waiting to get orders for more pain medicine and we had a call into the pain team to come help him but while we waited Taylor was in a horrible amount of pain.   I tried to sidetrack him by reading him emails people had sent me that were for him.   I would read them and then ask him to tell me what he wanted me to say back to them.  A lot of the emails were people he was working with over in Afghanistan.  Hearing him reply to the emails so nonchalantly was mind blowing.  One of the emails was even from the medic that worked on him for hours after the accident.  As I was reading it, tears started streaming and my voice started cracking.  The email showed another side of to that day and it made that day so close again.  Before Taylor told me what to reply with, he asked me if this was too hard for me and if I wanted to stop.  Once again, mind blowing, he is the one that lived that day and who has been fighting an even bigger battle every day since then. By the time we finished going through all the emails the pain team and extra pain medicine arrived and the pain began to subside.

But that wasn’t the end of the PACU for us.  We sat there for another 4 hours. In this time, Taylor decided he wanted to start setting goals.  He said his goals for this week was to be able to eat enough that he can get off the feeding tubes.  I told him that I thought goals were great and that we should write them on a piece of paper and put them at the foot of his bed so he can see them every day.  I also told him they should be SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely; Thank You University of Iowa).  He said that he wants to eat three high protein meals a day and be off the feeding tubes by next Thursday.

While we were waiting to be release to go back to the room Taylor starting working his arms like the physical therapist and occupational therapist had told him.  He looked at me and said, “I really wish I had one good arm or one good leg, so I didn’t have to start from zero.  That would have been nice.” Then just started working range of motion of his arms again.

We finally got back to the room at  6:15 where Juli and Dan were anxiously awaiting.  They had dinner order since it was already so late.  We all touched base about the days occurrences.  Then Dan and Juli were on their way back to the hotel.

Tonight was a good night.   Taylor tried to pump the calories and protein since the nutritionist told Juli that he needs 100-150 grams of protein a day to be able to maintain a healthy recovery and get off the feeding tubes. We both brushed our teeth. Then I pulled up a TV show (Private Practice) on my computer and we watch the episode together.  During one the commercials Taylor said that he thought his arm was strong enough to give me a hug.  It sure was! He called it his “little” hug because he couldn’t reach all the way around.  A little bit later our TV show was interrupted by our old nurse from the ICU.  He came to check up on Taylor and see how he was doing.  He was blown away by the fact that both of Taylor’s arms were closed up with no wound vacs during Wednesday’s surgery.  And now during today’s surgery the surgeons had closed up his right leg.  He told Taylor how good he looked and was excited to follow his recovery. When he left both Taylor and I turned to each other and said you got to love that guy.  What a genuinely nice man.


Taylor’s wheelchair came in today.  There is hopeful talk that he could be up and mobile by next weekend.  It will be great to go outside, get some fresh air, and let him see something different than a hospital or operating room.



  1. Tony King says:

    Terrific – my friend. 3-down and 1-to go. Then you can get on with rehab and real goal setting. Think about you every day.

  2. You are so sweet! Never knew about these emotions til now…never saw 1st. hand the implications of War, and what Sacrifice really means til being amongst these heroes! Thanks from the bottom of my <3

  3. Kim McGrath Sirvan says:

    I am a close friend of Debbie and Tom Harris – Jon Rowe's in-laws. First of all I want to thank you from the bottom of my family's hearts for your service to each and every American. We owe you a debt that we can never repay. My father and brother were Veterans (WW2 and Vietnam. I keep you and all our amazing "heroes" in my prayers every night. God Bless you both.

  4. Heather Dexter says:

    You guys are awesome, good to know Taylor is doing better. Despite everything that has happened, Taylor really has a great attitude about the whole thing. Take care <3

  5. I should have said, Proud of you all, There's a big team up there working together!

  6. Joni Bickerstaff says:

    Praying for you al.

  7. Taylor, I had your parents in school and know that their love and prayers will surround you. I am praying for you and your family.

  8. I total agree the strength that this family has and the amount of love is more than an inspiration. I believe it should be considered as a part of the definition of FAMILY. God bless you all in the long road ahead and remember ALOT of people are praying for you me included.

  9. Eleanor Nelson says:

    What courage and strength. It is amazing. Prayers continue to come your way.

  10. I'm on this as well. Thank you for your service, Taylor. You are so appreciated.

  11. Kim Juhl King says:

    I don't personally know either of you but am so amazed by your courage, strength, and love!! You are genuinely an inspiration. We continue to pray! Kim King

  12. Proud of you two! What a team you are! oxoxo

  13. Paul DiMarco says:

    While this is an extremely unfortunate situation and cirmcumstances the two of you are dealing with, both of you are making EVERY parent in Cedar Falls (and everywhere) who know the two of you VERY proud of your dedication. love for each other and approach to this recovery.

    Danielle – the majority of adults who have worked for years would not have knows what a SMART goal was. You are absolutely on the right track. Keep it up.

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