One year anniversary

One month ago yesterday was the one year mark of my husband’s injury and also the anniversary of the death of his best friend and other friend that were in the hummer with him when the IED went off.

I see where he has made some progress- he has put on some weight, has thought of ideas for the future, has been doing PT like a fiend to help the remaining muscles in the leg he almost lost.

However I see where the memory seems to get worse (his is moderate TBI with PTSD and a side of severe pain)and his emotions are very close to the surface. The Neuropsych doctor we met with for the medical retirement process said that PTSD can also create issues with memory, that can appear to be PTSD symptoms.

Our 16th wedding anniversary was the 15th. I actually found out about his injury on our 15th anniversary. However he wanted to keep the 2 dates separate.

Yesterday a few people in his unit called, but he got mad and said,”They don’t think about the loss of the guys or the attack until its that time of the year, but I have to look at my face in the mirror every day and every step I take, the pain reminds me of it every day.” He was angry. I said,”You know, sometimes I wonder if you would have been better off losing the leg rather than keeping it as its all messed up and causes such pain.” He said he wondered too, but I think he is better having it.

He agreed that being angry at the other guys wasn’t reasonable, I think that is big progress. he said its not fair of him to criticize them.

Don’t you all feel frustrated that life isn’t the same, that all the other husbands and wives have easier lives, have no pain..and then I look over at my poor guy and he is suffering. It makes you wonder why luck works that way.
No doubt, I know there are way worse issues out there and worse problems, but am I the only wife that thinks,”Man, he is finally home, but he can’t even sleep at night, can’t walk without falling down, and feels responsible for the loss of his best friend.” Kind of crappy.

We had hoped a year out from the blast things would have moved along better, he would have better recovery from his blood disorder (he is missing a ton of white blood cells so he doesn’t have much of an immune system.)The doctors don’t have any way to fix it and haven’t really provided a real diagnosis.

There have been some silver linings – I got to retire from my stressful job and I get to home-school my son, which is a lot of fun. My family has had a lot of togetherness, which has been great.

So, chin up, enough of my pity party and on with the new.

Today, we had a meeting (we are going through the initial doctors meetings for the med board) and we met with the Psychologist at MEB.

I learned a few things today about TBI vs PTSD.
I knew that both affect the concentration that a person can have. However, PTSD causes a memory deficit because the person’s brain is trying its best to hide the memory from the person’s conscious mind. The hiding can’t disseminate what they are hiding, whether it is the last deployment memories, or what was on the grocery list.

In the cognitive tests they give, they will be able to figure out after what is TBI related and what is PTSD. To me, that is pretty cool that they can figure out the difference. The doc told me that therapy that forces the person to confront the bad memories helps them attach less and less emotion to them and eventually, it cures them of the PTSD.

My husband said he never wants to remember everything from the day of his blast. I don’t blame him, I wouldn’t want to remember a day in which I lost my best friend, lost another friend, and lost the way my life is as I used to know it.

However, I watch him beat himself up for not being able to remember simple things he said about 15 minutes prior, or forgetting the page in the book he just got finished reading. In actuality, we got the results back from the test and it turns out they couldn’t tell him what was due to PTSD vs the TBI. They said it was all cognitive working memory. So at least everything else is ok. Now it will just take time and counseling.