My husband, Willis, is a brave man in every sense of the word.
He is on the mend from devastating injuries that have seriously affected just about every aspect of his life. He will never be the same again, and now I am not only his wife: I am also his full time nurse, his full time caretaker.
Willis was hit in the head by shrapnel while fighting in Fallujah, which is near Baghdad, and he suffered devasting injuries. He is now brain damaged, and he is like a little child: he gets frustrated when he can't remember things, and he has had to relearn just about everything. He can't walk but for short distances (he mainly prefers to use his wheelchair), and he suffers from devastating flashbacks that have ripped me from a sound sleep in the middle of the night.
Willis goes to the VA every week for therapy and ongoing medical care, but I don't know if that is a good idea because they treat him like he's a criminal: they don't give the medicaton he needs (if they do give him medication, it's not the strength he needs in order to ease the constant pain he is in), and they say that there's no need to get more in the way of VA disability; "he isn't disabled enough", they always tell me.
Every time I take Willis to the VA, I get so mad I could spit. Can't they see that my husband has serious health issues, that he is in need of help, that he deserves to be treated better than he is at the current time? Can't they see that they are only prolonging his agonizing pain, or that they are denying him the money he needs in order to survive? He does get some disability, but it isn't nearly enough for us to live on comfortably.
After bills, we are left with virtually nothing, and there are times where we eat canned tuna or baked beans for breakfast, or drink powdered milk, which is nothing short of disgusting. Or we eat a banana or an orange or cold cereal if we don't have the beans or tuna or the canned fruit. We don't eat out, and you can forget about luxuries. We have a black and white television (small), but no phone. We sleep on mattresses, we don't have beds. We have a small apartment that isn't in the best of condition: something is always breaking down, and we have had to stay with friends when we lost power or something major goes wrong.
It's very frustrating, more than you will ever know.
I am not asking for charity, but I am asking for respect or understanding of what has gone on with my husband. He is no longer the same, and I am often homebound because he requires so much care. I no longer have a social life: all my waking hours are spent with Willis, and I often get frustrated because I am missing my times with friends, and I don't get to do much getting out. It's really bad.
I wish people understood what is going on with my husband or know what he was like before he got injured. He was a wonderful Christian man, and he loved life. He loved people, and he loved helping out people in any way he could. He loved to laugh, sing (he loved traditional country music, particularly Loretta Lynn and Hank Sr.), watch NASCAR on television, and play baseball with friends when he was on leave. Now he is a shell of his former self, and he will never be like he was ever again. People don't understand the constant srress I'm under, and sometimes I wish he were in a nursing home or hospital; it'd probably be a lot easier for me.
~End of part one.~