Juliette, Georgia, USA
January 01
Hippies & Heros
My Marine and I have been married sixteen years and counting. We love each other a great deal, even if our day to day existence can get quite testy. We say we are each other's last spouse. CC was hit by recoilless rifle round in Vietnam in 1969 and was retired from the Marines with over 100% in disabilities. He has led a colorful life and now struggles as his mobility deteriorates and the amount of pain he is in accelerates. I am the Aaron to his Moses because I am his story teller, the chronicler of his escapades. This blog is mostly about our current VA experiences and what is like to live with a war veteran 40 years after the fact of war. PS, I am friending all who are veterans, or families of veterans (whether I agree with their posts or not) This is to make this a site where you can see the full diversity of those who pay for our wars. So if you "come out" as a veteran, family member or someone devoted to their issues, I will friend you.


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JULY 23, 2010 7:18PM

Surgery @ the VA

Rate: 5 Flag

It's been awhile. Blogging here got complicated when CC wanted to be involved in the message. Our desires for this public forum are at cross purposes. He's talking to the VA through it, but what I really want to do is keep a simple journal about life after war and how it continues to impact not just the warrior, but the family too. War is never left behind. 

 Many battles have been waged in our own home; especially since a service officer recommended CC apply to the compensation and pension board for a PTSD rating.  This involved proving he has it.  You would think two purple hearts and being medically retired with 120% disabilities shortly after a recoilless rifle round blasted his right side damn near off his bodywould be enough proof he has more than 30% post traumatic stress disorder. Then look at his personal history of four wives.  And the seizures, hmmmm, maybe traumatic brain injury... 

 But no, the VA has things they are looking for before they'll let just anybody have the crazy diagnosis. Veterans prepare for these examinations, learn what is key in proving they deserve enough percentage to receive compensation.  The more my marine maneuvered his behavior to achieve this crazy grail; the more it became true. Before I knew it, I was living with someone with full blown PTSD and he wasn't pretending anything.

The VA became the enemy. Then me and another family member or two. Without anger, there is no animating force to get him moving.

 Our marriage has been in tatters. I've considered leaving so that I could have some peace. The cost of peace - quitting a man I love, a home that is my sanctuary, leaving a history I have painstakingly built - the cost is too high. I'm not ready to pay the price.

 I'm not the submissive type. I do not follow orders well. To me conversation is in the details. If he says something is blue, I'm liable to chime in and describe the color more thoroughly - such as calling it blue green.  To CC, this is equal to insubordination - I am disagreeing with him.  I forget over and over what I think of as conversation; he believes is arguing.

 It's a losing battle. I long for the easy going, funny, and affectionate man I once lived with and wonder who is the angry, bitter and resentful person who took his place.

As I write this, I'm sitting in the Family Waiting Room while CC undergoes carpal tunnel surgery.  The last time the VA had him for surgery they chiseled on his knee with a hammer, tying him down and giving him nothing but a local for pain.

His blood pressure was elevated as they wheeled him away this morning.

 In about five minutes they will begin the cutting process and in a couple of hours I'll be making a three hour drive home with my hopefully heavily sedated CC. 

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Keeping my fingers crossed for you both . . . sending good thoughts/vibes/prayers . . .
I hope all went/ goes well. I have had the surgery on both hands but not at the VA. I truly hope things change for the better very soon.
Fight, fight and fight the VA.
"I long for the easy going, funny, and affectionate man I once lived with and wonder who is the angry, bitter and resentful person who took his place.'' I know, I know. Rated.