I chose to defend my country, yet what kind of thanks do I get? Nothing but grief and intense heartbreak.
I was badly burned in a grenade attack in Iraq right after the war started in 2003. I wasn't even there a month when I got badly injured: I was burned over 60% of my body.
I was in the hospital for months and have had numerous surgeries, but face many more during the next decade or so. I was once boyishly handsome: I now resemble a Frankenstein monster. I am not fit to look at; if people do look, they stare, call me horrible names, or worse, spit on me.
I can no longer work: I have terrible flashbacks and ongoing pain as a result of what happened to me. I saw and heard terrible things that no human being has a right to ever witness. The experiences I endured in wartime have left me a shell of my former self: I am no longer able to hold a job or be around people without wanting to hurt somebody, panic, or run away.
The only one who does seem to accept me for all that has happened to me is my beautiful wife. She has stuck by my side ever since she first heard of my accident; she even went as far as going to Germany, so she could be with me during those difficult first weeks/months of healing and rehabilitation. She continues TO stick by my side; she thinks I am beautiful. Why she would say that I have no clue: I look at myself and I have to fight with every fiber of my being not to get sick.
I am a fright mask.
That's probably the best way to describe how I look. I look like I should be on display at a Hallowe'en display or at a haunted house; I would fit in better with all those dummy plastic monsters, witches, and hobgoblins than to be seen in the general public eye.
I don't know what is going to happen, but life has got to be better than this. I hate living with the ongoing pain of more surgeries or hospital stays, and the torture of physical therapy and counseling sessions. Having to live with what I have gone through is hard enough: do I have to be reminded of it too, every single day??
~To be continued!~