Standing in front of The Fisher House of Las Vegas

I’ve been remiss on giving props to an organization that assists soldiers and their families, so let me take a post to correct that right now.

Back in October of last year, I had to get my back worked on. Radio Frequency Ablation, a procedure to kill the nerves in my lower back… L-1 through L-5 using radio frequency heat directed down through needles onto the nerve. Since those nerves can be regenerative, I was told that I might need to have the procedure done at least once…maybe two more times to where those nerves cannot regenerate. That was October of 2017. By February 2018, I was feeling that lower back pain in full force once again. So when I came back stateside from Guatemala in March for my mother’s birthday, I made arrangements for the upcoming JUNE to return again and get the second procedure on my back.

The problem though was cost. I am backpacking abroad and coming back stateside to stay in hotels and renting cars for a few weeks is not cheap. Not to mention, my daughter and granddaughter were also coming to help look after me for a week. So despite the fact that I’d be there for a little over two weeks to recover and for follow-up appointments, my main concern was for the week that my kids were there.

8 injection sites to burn nerves

That’s where the Fisher House comes in. I had no idea until someone at the hospital told me about them, but its an added, but private benefit for soldiers and their families separate from the VA. Surprisingly, they are located right in front of the main VA hospital of Las Vegas. I never knew what that building was. I know now.

The assistance they provide is actually not for the veteran themselves, but for the veteran’s family and care providers who help take care of the veterans while they are hospitalized. My procedure entitled me for one week of stay in their facility. I say one week, but after my stay was complete they offered me to stay for the remainder of my time in Vegas, which was to be another week to 10 days. I declined the offer because my daughter had already departed and I did not want to take advantage of this benefit. I was so honored at the services they provided and already felt indebted to this organization.

Let me outline the services a little bit. We got a room, of course but it was in a state of the art facility that was merely two years old…well-kept and well-maintained. They also had kitchen facilities that were well-stocked with food. If I can recall correctly, there were 4 industrial class refrigerators and two freezers of the same quality. The cabinets and cupboards were filled and stocked with food, plates and dishes, pots and pans, snacks, fruit, etc. You could have anything you wanted. They just asked that you be respectful of others and cleaned up after yourself.

There was a family room that had board games, videos, an X-Box, cable TV, and a back patio. There as a front seating area with plenty of books and magazines, and a large dinning room. I could tell that there was a mutual respect of all those that were guests at the Fisher House. Everyone that we met when we got there greeted us, introduced themselves, and showed us around. They asked me about my procedure and told me of theirs. Some had been there for months, while a husband and in one case a wife was being treated across the way at the VA Hospital. Incidentally, I found myself doing the same exact thing toward the end of my stay, now that I was a veteran of the Fisher House. I greeted the new guests coming, showed them around, told them how awesome the place was. My daughter helped with demonstrating how some of the appliances worked.

Not trying to look mean. Just got a mouthful of sunflower seeds.

Many of the guests were much more senior than myself. Everyone marveled at my granddaughter’s hair. I actually think she was getting fatigued on being told how cute she was. It was especially hard on her being the only child there and having to “keep it down” all the time. So after our stay, I took her camping up in Utah to let off some of that energy. Granted, a kangaroo rat brought everything to an halt around mid-night, so we didn’t get to actually sleep camp, but the hiking as fun. I may have challenged my back a little more than I expected. This procedure was much more painful and it took much longer to recover than before. The last time was mere days and I was good to go. This go around had me still feeling pain for weeks after. Its been a month and a half and I’m still making adjustments. I sincerely hope it takes this time and I don’t require a third.

At any rate, I definitely give props to the Fisher House for being there for myself and my family. They saved me a ton of money and helped me feel at home. All I had to worry about was my recovery and not financial strain or anything else. So, my thanks to the Fisher House for all of that. I’m back in Guatemala and ready for my next venture in a couple weeks in Colombia.