Tuesday, September 27, 2011

TBI Same Name Different Game

My husband deployed between June 2004-Nov 2005. He came home and we had a disaster happen. Our oldest daughter was in a car accident that nearly took her life. She was fighting for her life within 2 weeks of Dad coming home. We didn't have time for him to get some R&R. It was day and  night at the ICU. She finally came through and we realized we needed to move to be closer to her medical care. He went back to work with a high stress home life. We moved in 6 months after he came back and now his commute to work was 90 miles 1 way. We were settling into the new house and we were starting to realize there was something wrong with Dad. We joked about PTSD and thought that was what it was. We would tease him, until it
started to make him angry. That stopped. There were very volatile explosions over little tiny things! Then we realized he was falling alot and he would deny it. He fell going into church and tore his suit, shredded his knee and  he sat in church
 and laughed hysterically so we left! It was so weird! 


Another day he blacked out helping our daughter up and slammed her into the wall when he collapsed on top of her. He got angry when he came to and denied it ever happened! He wouldn't let us talk to him about it at all! It was now evident something was terribly wrong. He suffered memory problems, using his hands -especially his right side, walked funny, couldn't throw a ball, had violent out bursts, went after the kids in anger and rage, had headaches, rubbed his head all the  time, yelled at people to be quiet when they weren't even here! 

Then one day he had a stroke while he was at work. People called an ambulance and he was taken to a small little town hospital. He was upset and couldn't talk. He was talking gibberish. He was trying to leave and
wouldn't cooperate with anyone at the hospital at all. The doctor called me and they wanted to fly him to a bigger hospital near us. He refused treatment and I had to get there fast. I drove the 100 miles to get to him
and he just left the hospital when I got there. He wanted me to take him to his car. He was trying to talk but just talked all garbled. He got very angry when I tried to take him to the hospital near us that is much bigger.
He came home and went to bed after a while and in the morning started getting worse. He was throwing things, breaking things, trying to read and couldn't. I finally resorted to calling a military friend who is a
paramedic. He talked to him and he finally got him to follow orders and go with me to the hospital. He was admitted and they said he had had a stroke but it was too late to give him any of the drugs because it was probably the day before at the small hospital. He was stuck in Iraq in his mind. He did not know how to interact with his kids when they came to see him. He just stared at them. He would ignore them. I had to coax him with what to say (try to say- it was garbled). His face was drooping and he could not control
his right side. He kept jumping out of bed like he was on a combat mission and slam to the ground as his left temporal stroke was making his right side not work. He about destroyed the hospital room and they finally brought in a large body guard nurse in training to sit right next to his bed and put him back when he
jumped up!

He spent 8 days in the hospital and 2 months at home doing Physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy. He went back to work half time and then was admitted to a VA hospital a month later. He was diagnosed TBI and stroke as a result of TBI, also C4-8 radiculopathy and more. He has moderate
to severe neuropathy in his limbs and eyes. This is unexplained and a symptom of something else but we don't know what. He is getting worse as time goes on.

We have all learned. We keep alot from him in order to prevent the blow-ups. We let him sleep when ever he needs. He is working again as it is in his long term memory he did this same job for 16 years before Iraq. We will lose our home if he stops working. He is a good man who does not drink or smoke. He tries to do what he can to help, but there isn't much. A day of work requires a weekend of sleeping to function again on Monday. We will get through this. I love my soldier- life is not perfect- no where near. But it
is our life and I will stand by him. He was an infantry combat soldier who was in the streets of Iraq and around many different IED's and blasts that rattled his brain over and over again. Some less than 20 meters away, no physical injury of limbs or shrapnel injury.

It is my feeling that a TBI is different for everyone- TBI Same Name Different Game. It is the same name but everyone's story is different.  Good luck and God Bless the soldier and the ones who love him.


Submitted by: Wife of a TBI Soldier

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