Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Bucket Full.

I keep thinking that I should change my blog and make it more positive and upbeat. I've been meaning to add pictures and make it more of a family blog as a way for people to keep up with what's going on in our lives since we live so far away. Unfortunately there's not much around here that falls under the normal category. As much as I would love to, I will never be able to get the war out of this house. It's like this black cloud that lingers over our heads. Sometimes it's closer than others but it's always a constant presence. I have a hard time not letting it affect my daily life.

Sometimes I wish that people could spend a day with us and really see what it's like. I don't mean a day where they get to see the nicer side of my husband that always seems to come out around extended family. I mean on days like today where no one in this house could talk to him because he had this look of hatred in his eyes if you interrupted his tv program and he actually had to have a conversation with you.

I cringe every time he yells at our kids and hurts their feelings and leaves them in tears. I suggest to him that he apologize to them later on and it breaks my heart when he says he doesn't care. In his eyes they do things on purpose to anger him. Never mind that they are 6 and almost 4 and living in a house with someone who is the cracked shell of the person he used to be. Or that they never asked for any of this.

To say it's lonely being married to a scarred and wounded combat veteran is an understatement. I struggle just to function every day and not be consumed by constant depression. It's hard to live with someone who is so cold and unfeeling most of the time. Some days I'm criticized for everything I do or don't do. I'm often left feeling that I can't do anything right.

Earlier this week the Army declared him unfit for duty. We were expecting that and it's exactly what he wanted because he hates the Army and anything to do with it now. To him it's just one step closer to severing ties with them and being left alone. He says that he doesn't want to have to answer to anybody and has even been talking about not wanting to work when he gets out. That raises a big red flag with me. He's also not ready to go back to school (it's basically free for him plus living expenses with the GI Bill) because he can't concentrate or remember things. He figures as long as his VA disability and SSI are enough to cover our vehicle payments and rent then everything will be fine and I can just work to make up the difference. Personally, I'm ready to have both of my kids in school and go back to work since he's made it abundantly clear for the past few years that he hasn't appreciated me being a SAHM. It's hard to constantly be around someone who is so negative and withdrawn.

Recently we went back to our hometown for the holidays. I can't call it a vacation because that's where we always go anytime he has leave. During these visits, I'm often bitter and resentful towards him because he offers very little help with the kids. He prefers to park his behind on the couch with his laptop or phone and I'm left with no option but to text him to get him to help me. That of course is met with loud sighing at being inconvenienced and interrupted. My kids are smart enough to know that I'm not going to get after them the way he does so it's often a struggle for me to get them to listen to me and behave, yet they straighten up the minute my husband walks into the room. My son repeats every colorful word and phrase that my husband uses and has become somewhat of a bully. I tried to put him in time out for hitting his cousin and taking a toy from him and he wouldn't cooperate so I removed him from the situation. For the next hour, and while my husband slept until 11am, I was kicked, punched, slapped, bitten and scratched by my child, simply because I tried to discipline without raising my voice or spanking. I finally sat down and cried in frustration. I'm just so tired of not getting any help or a moment's peace to myself.

I feel guilty sometimes for being disappointed that this is the way he is now. I question whether or not he's the right husband for me. I don't understand why we can't do things as a family, or spend time with other people or go to church. I feel angry that I have to do that stuff on my own or that I have to be strong enough to shoulder the burden. Most of the time I'm not strong. His moods have an affect on me and I find myself wanting to escape and hide behind my computer or curl up under my blankets and not have to face the world.

At my follow up appointment with my doctor to discuss my vitamin d deficiency and thyroid disease, I asked three or four times if I could please be put on some antidepressants to help me feel more balanced out. My voice shook and I practically begged. My doctor told me that I'm not depressed enough to warrant being prescribed medication and that I was in a watch and wait status. He assessed my whole life in a 15 minute appointment. Meanwhile, my husband gets prescribed everything under the sun and finally told his doctor to stop prescribing stuff because he didn't want to take anything. He took himself off all of his medication with the exception of his allergy and asthma meds, which he doubled the doses of to get through the holidays. He's convinced that he doesn't need anything and swears he does much better without this stuff. I beg to differ.

Right before our trip up north, he got really sick. Despite everything he's been through, he still has a fairly strong immune system and doesn't get sick very often so when he finally does, it can hit him pretty hard. This time he just kept getting fevers and getting worse each day. He refused to call the appointment line, claiming that he's not allowed to schedule his own appointments and everything has to be done through his case manager. He also refused to go to sick call because he's never done that once in his career and didn't want to start now. When he finally got the point where he could barely stand up I said I was taking him to the ER. Our son had a 105 degree fever this past Spring and was diagnosed with pneumonia and my husband symptoms matched those to a T. By some miracle the ER was completely empty that night. We live 10 minutes from the hospital and I had to stop along the way because he had been throwing up nonstop and nearly passed out beforehand. When I stopped to get him some water, he got sick again and fell out of the car when it happened and hit his head on the ground, briefly knocking himself out.

They immediately admitted him and he continued to get sick and pass out and his blood pressure dropped. He had pneumonia and was so severely dehydrated that he had started damaging his kidneys. The cause of the pneumonia was from yet another MRSA infection and it had gotten so bad that it had turned into sepsis. As I've mentioned numerous times on this blog, sepsis was fatal for my mom so this hit close to home. His doctor told him point blank that if he had waited another day or two he probably wouldn't have survived. He spent some time in ICU and responded well to the antibiotics and was able to go home a few days later. He's still recovering and still has some breathing issues but is doing a lot better than he was.

Because we don't have family in the area and I had to take him to the ER in the middle of the night, I had to wake up the kids and take them along. As soon as I had gotten confirmation that he was being admitted (after the week we had had, I was actually relieved), I took the kids home so we could all get some much needed sleep. Thankfully my daughter's school and her teacher were extremely understanding about the whole situation. She ended up missing a couple of days because I couldn't justify sending her when she hadn't gotten any sleep and because I was just incredibly overwhelmed. While that was all going on, my refrigerator stopped working and I had to throw everything away. Seems like when it rains, it pours around here. I spent much of that week hiding away from the world and dealing with one thing at a time because that was all I could handle.

Sometimes I just want to scream until I have no voice left. It's been 30 months since he was wounded and we're still here. I'm ready to stop counting and get on with the next step in this journey. I just want to be able to look back and say that was hard but we survived and we're stronger for it. I want things to simply be normal again but that can never be.

2 comments:

Jess said...

Wow, I was browsing through blogs and I found yours. I don't know you and I don't know your complete story, but your words really touched me. Know that you are being heard and that you are one incredible woman. You see, you are still standing! Through everything that you've been through you are still making a way. You deserve so much more than you seem to be getting. I wish you the best and I thank you for sharing your life.

jo said...

Wow. I can sympathize. I'm in a slightly different situation, but I know how you feel when you say you wish people could spend a day watching your life. Many people in my life refuse to acknowledge TBI and PTSD. Even more so because my husband was ARNG and they think he had it easy going in post-"Mission Accomplished".

You're not alone. Just hang in there one more minute, one more hour, one more day ...

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