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Walking With the Bakers


Getting Ready

Written by Sue Baker.

Friends and Family –

Roger had another very good day yesterday. His medications continue to work, and so he is able to speak clearly and contextually. He joked with the boys and enjoyed their visit a lot.

Today holds an intense day of preparation for surgery tomorrow. We will be meeting with the surgeons and all of the staff involved in the procedure and his recovery.

He fully intends to talk and e-mail and text until he is too tired to function…. He says he needs to get all of the stored words out now before they become stuck again. With his meds, he speaks more quickly than the Chipmunks, so please be prepared if you see his number on your phone :->

The boys were invited by the Marine Parents Association to have dinner in the Wounded Warrior suite last night. They were thrilled! Highlights included chips and salsa, soda, and homemade cookies… oh, yeah, and some cool guys in hospital pajamas. This group was wonderful to all of the patients, family, and staff who found themselves at the hospital on a Sunday evening.

My lack of ability to navigate this hospital has become legendary… my defense is that my previous experience here allowed me to walk through walls (while it was under construction).

All of us thank you for the many prayers, thoughts and kind words. We are doing OK at the moment, and appreciate you all so much – words can’t begin to express.

As always, I can be reached on my cell phone.


What a Difference a Day Makes!

Written by Sue Baker.

What a difference a day makes!

OK, well that and REALLY good physicians and nurses…..

Roger has responded well to the many medications the physicians have prescribed.

Yesterday, he was able to speak coherently with correct word choice in context. He was able to make a few phone calls and exchange some e-mails, and fully intends to talk and write to his heart’s content before his surgery. I’m just warning you.

The boys were invited to visit yesterday, and enjoyed a late picnic supper with Roger while regaling him with the tales of building benches for an Eagle Scout project. To hear Matt tell it, this was nothing short of an engineering design marvel, and Mike got to lead one of the small work teams. Not sure having an 11 year old in charge of power tools is necessarily a great idea, but they worked it out.

Roger’s sister arrived last night, and we are very glad to have here with us this week. She will be riding herd on Roger.

Surgery is still scheduled for Tuesday, and the doctors have told him to expect to be unable to speak for a few days while he heals. They also believe he’ll spend about a week in the hospital afterwards.

Thank you for your many prayers, thoughts, and kind words! We appreciate them more than you know.


How It Began

Written by Sue Baker.

Well, friends and family, it’s been an exciting 36 hours at the Baker house!

Roger (aka Rusty or Rog) is now safely ensconced in ICU at Bethesda. He is in a private room with 2 windows, a pressure bed, telemonitoring, a flat screen TV and a full-time nurse (yeah, me!).

He will have surgery on Tuesday, mid-morning, to explore and remove the mass in his left brain. A plan comes after that.

Here’s the background:

Roger has had increasing difficulty with speech in the past few weeks, and increasing fatigue. Thursday, it became apparent this wasn’t “normal” (even for him), and so we took a trip to Ft Belvoir’s ER.

Physicians there decided it also wasn’t normal, and testing revealed this mass. So, the ER transferred him to Bethesda for admission to the ICU and neurosurgery service.

His neurologist and neurosurgeon have agreed that this mass started within the last year as it doesn’t appear on any of his prior MRI or CAT scans.  His speech pathologist has done baseline testing so she can develop a plan post-surgery to work on regaining communications skills.  His nurses are watching him like hawks.

He is not up to taking phone calls, nor is he awake enough for visits at this time. He does covet your prayers.

Roger’s sister, MJ, will arrive this evening to help take care of him and me and the boys.

I will try to send updates regularly via e-mail, but you can always call or text me at 571-244-1684.

Thank you for your many offers of help! At this point, I’m still a little rattled (OK, a lot rattled). Trust me, I will contact you directly as I figure out what we need when. I have passed information on to the school for the boys so they can be watched a little more closely.