Then, one day, something clicked. He was ok with photos. He was ok with trips. Wheelchair or on his two legs. Why? Because, he said, "I want my boys to remember that I tried to have fun with them."
John's memory started declining after his last deployment. It was on that deployment that he received his Purple Heart for wounds from an IED blast that decommissioned his Bradley Fighting Vehicle. He told me this week, that his vehicle was subjected to 113 IED/Explosions prior to that final one that took it out and left him with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
|Trip to Universal|
MRIs have shown that his brain is loosing mass and volume as a result of the brain injury. It is basically shrinking. Therefore, he experiences dementia like symptoms at times. Sometimes he doesn't remember that he's eaten, sometimes he can't recall facts.
New research is focusing on younger veterans and their caregivers and many of those caregivers have been reluctant to discuss their life with others. They hide it well. PTSD/TBI are thought of as invisible illnesses and many like John, can look and function "normal" for limited times when passerby's would not think they have severe disabilities.
|Posing for a crazy picture|
Sleep vs. Picking noses!
Look at my photos on Facebook and you'll find a combination of me, my husband, my kids, trips we've taken, and so forth. Now, John will agree to put his arm around me and smile, usually. But what you don't see is the before, after, and in between.
|EPCOT 2014 - John asked for a photo and|
waited for the PhotoPass Photog to take it.
When you look at my photo from last week's one day trip to EPCOT, you see we appear normal and smiling. What you don't see is that after only 15 minutes of being in the park, he was profusely sweating from physical pain and discomfort of being around people, in closer proximity than was comfortable. What you don't see is that immediately after lunch, we went back to the room to take pain meds and to rest. Sleep. Sleep for two hours with a bathroom break and a seizure in between while he was sitting on the toilet. What got my attention was the nose bleed from his right nostril, as characteristic of his seizures, splattering on the floor.
We made it back to the park but we couldn't take the complimentary bus transportation because he didn't feel like he could wait for a bus to run if he needed to come back sooner. At dinner, we had to be selective in where to sit in relation to his back towards the least amount of people or so that he could see the door or windows. He couldn't focus on the menu. He couldn't see it. Headache commenced. I ordered his food for him. A waiter dropped dishes at dinner, he jumped. Where do we sit in the American Pavilion for the show? Luckily there were only 6 others in the last showing of the evening and that was comfortable, as none looked like a stereotypical terrorist. All clear. Relax for a few minutes.
Then sleep for almost the entirety of the next three days as the two nights away was too mentally and physically exhausting.
|Great Photo but you missed the|
before and after. Thanks for
So before you are quick to judge about someone else's injuries or their need for disability or compensation…I'd urge you to think hard about all that you might not be seeing. These vets like to look like they are doing good when people see them. They really, in most cases, don't want sympathy. They just want to be treated like anyone else. Hopefully, you will never hear me passing judgment on someone because of their illness or injury and I'd urge you to do the same. If you had to walk a mile in their shoes…you would likely be very surprised.