Thursday, October 20, 2011

5 Months Later...

And now the rant...

I want to preface this by telling you that we are incredibly lucky. My husband spent two years at war in Afghanistan. Despite multiple nasty situations, including IEDs and a kill box, he came home with all his appendages, and nothing blatantly, apparently wrong with him.

If you've read previous posts, you know that he has TBI. Most would categorize it as mild. You know that he was not examined, given the "mandatory" 24-hour rest, nothing. He was kept out late to fix the truck, and sent back on patrol the next morning after only 4 hours sleep.

Maybe this is why I feel an uncontrollable twinge of hurt, anger, and frustration when the Army toots its horn about how they care for soldiers, or tells me about the wonderful ways the ensure that soldiers receive immediate, in-field care. Bullshit.   Or talk about programs they are implementing to take care of soldiers, or talk about new programs to check in with Reserve members after they redeploy. Bullshit.

Here we are 5 months later. The headaches have eased and are not nearly as frequent, but he still has ringing in his ears and problems with his memory. Given his current situation, this is problematic and stressful.   But I think my favorite part of it all is that now, 5 months later, the Reserves finally felt the urge to check in on him. They did a wellness survey over the phone. They seemed shocked that he was diagnosed with TBI (a couple months later once back CONUS), but hadn't been to the VA. And now they harass him. Literally, gave him a referral number on a Friday night, and called on Saturday to see if he'd made the appointment.

Sorry people. Over the summer, he could've maybe wiggled some time off work to go to the VA (not likely. He wasn't allowed ANY time off and we were 'lucky' to get the day before and the day after the wedding.) BUT, when he called the VA, the woman who answered the phone 1. didn't know what TBI was 2. was a rude, condescending bitch when he tried to get an appointment.   Yes, this kind of treatment usually results in a person giving up.

So what Reserves? Now that he's in serious training relating to his civilian job and cannot possibly see a doctor (sorry that he's not allowed even 5 minutes off during business hours), NOW you want to get him help. Where were you when he was in Afghanistan? When he was going through the demobilization process at Camp Shelby? Over the summer?

(This whole subject links me back to the Active wife who told me she had it so much harder because her husband couldn't take time off, and can't see a doctor because it'd go on his record, etc. etc. Sorry honey, you ain't the only one who faces these issues. And going into the civilian world doesn't make life easier, because often times, they could care less about your Army life.  But we've done that rant..)

There is an entire generation of men and women who will come home from war over the next few years. Who, due to the drawdowns, will come home for good, or hopefully home from anything substantial for good. And I believe that the military is woefully unprepared to deal with the multitude of health issues these young men and women will come home with. Especially the unseen issues. The TBI. The PTSD.  I'll give them credit. They're trying.  But don't tell families like mine all the wonderful things you're doing. You didn't do right by this family. I damn sure hope you figure out how to do right by all the others.

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