Monday, July 2, 2012

Becoming His Caregiver


I have never blogged or written my story for public consumption.  After November 5, 2009 I have kept feelings, emotions and words to myself.  Maybe, just maybe this will allow some type of escape for my mind & soul.  

I began dating my beautiful husband (in my eyes, looks like Kirk Douglas), after meeting him on a Cruise, in March of 2009.  We knew instantly that we would be together forever.  We dated, loved and laughed…..I knew from the beginning that he was in the Army, but I was surprised and caught unaware, when he shared with me that he needed/wanted to go on “one more” deployment.   I saw how much it meant to him as his military career of 20+ years was drawing to an end….I understood that financially it was a good decision, so I trusted him, I trusted the Army and I trusted God with the love of my life.  

He began training exercises in July of that year and before we knew it, he was at Ft. Hood, awaiting deployment.  Taking my soldier to the airport that time was the hardest and most painful thing I had ever experienced.  Did I mention that I had no experience with military life? Have I mentioned we were still dating…seriously dating…planning for the future, but just dating none the less? 

Anyway, on November 5, 2009, Major Nidal Hasan entered the SRP at Ft Hood TX, my love was being processed when Hasan opened fire….barely missing love, killing 13 people and injuring many many others.  My cell phone rang, Love said, “Something horrible is happening here…..”  I hear BANG BANG BANG……I hear screaming…I hear shouts to my love, “Soldier…are you hit???”  Soldier…are you hit”  Love replied “No Sir.”  Love says to me…..”Call my family…..tell them I am OK…..do not believe everything the media will put out there.”  

This was when our journey in PTSD land began. My love became confused…..I could hear fear. He said he didn’t know where to go or what to do. I had to step up and say "find your unit….find your unit…..hang up the phone…be safe and find your unit. I will take care of everything here".  That day, I became his Caregiver, only I didn’t know there was a word for what I was going to start doing.  

My love deployed 4 weeks after that horrible day.  He was numb, angry, scared, frustrated and depressed.  He was dark, harsh and unfeeling.  He was disconnected and disengaged, yet enraged. 
When Love came home, I had taken a lot of time researching and learning everything I could about PTSD.  As soon as leave was up in January 2011, we were at the VA, knocking on doors.  We documented everything well and found a great support team for him.  I will say that support and care for me, the spouse was non-exiisting.   No one on his team, even though I went to every appointment  he ever told me about told me that I  was qualified for the Caregiver Program.   Our days are filled with meds, appointments & uncertainty.  

Love’s anger began to turn violent toward me.  Many bruises, lots of fear, life threatened, led us to seek out inpatient treatment facility.  

So what has helped us……counseling……He goes to his, I go to mine and we go to couples counseling.  Support groups, even those on Facebook.   I have learned that there is a network of women out there who have gone through and are going through the exact same things that we are going through.

I stopped expecting Love to be the man he used to be.  I love who he is and I understand that my roll in his life is critical.  I am the constant……but I do have bad days.  I recently lost my dad…..Love was there for me….as much as he could be

I do not believe that you overcome PTSD, but I believe that we have tools to protect ourselves from PTSD overcoming us.  I have learned that I do not have to be perfect in the world of imperfection, but I do have to be adaptable.   I have risen to this point by staying focused on his treatment without losing myself.  I never stop looking for things to benefit him, thus benefiting our life together.  

Hope is the key to rising above.  When I feel hopeless, I reach out to others who can encourage me.  We cannot lose hope. I have learned that the occasional glimmers of progress and hope are to be received and treated with the same excitement and jubilation of fireworks on the 4th of July.  

Happy Fourth of July Everyone…..
Kathy

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