Saturday, July 18, 2009

The long sigh...

Finally, after three years Seth was fully retired with permanent disability status.


It is hard to explain the relaxed mood in the house this week, overwhelmingly lethargic, everyone is sleeping better, eating less, smiling more. I had no idea how wound up we all were, at each other over so many things, small thing, insignificant things. And now..... finally closure and recognition, finally a stamp of approval and a promise for the future. For those who are new to our story here is a quick summation:

Dec. 2005: shipped out to Iraq
April 2006: the first of 10 explosions rocks Seth , and he survives
July 2006: medically evacuated from Theatre
September 2006-July 2007: waiting, sometimes going into work, mostly being paranoid, anxious, and sore. I spend my time fighting with his superiors who keep calling him for duty that his official physical profile restricts.
July 2007: He makes the temporary retired list and no longer is on active duty
July 2007-August 2007: we wait with baited breath for rating and payment from the VA, very scary to have a one year old and no income for the family.
September 2007: 100% disability rating from the VA
September 2007-July 2009: waiting to see if they will take everything away from us and put him back on active duty. Waiting and reassuring, trying everyday to make it positive and not let the fear show.
Finally: July 2009 permanently retired.

It's done, we can relax and just live now, work on him getting better instead of being afraid of getting better. INstead of being worried that if he showed imporvement they would take it all way and push him into the workforce that he so blatantly can never enter again. We live with the paranoid fear of someone else mowing our lawn, being a failure because the recycle man didn't take all the recycle, being completely unable to enter a store like Costco or Walmart alone, forgetting where he parked the car ( every single time), any loud noise is a morter round/gunshot/IED, weekly and sometimes daily nightmares of scenes in theatre, an inability to interact with any stranger for any reason, and walking the dog down the dirt road triggers full body visceral flashbacks resulting in loss of cogniscence. Physical limitations of little to no lifting, walking with two crutches, a bulging disc in his back and neck, a raging ear infection that has presumably moved into his brain and is causing swelling and fluid to remain on his left lobe, as well as migraines that can last 2 hours or 5 days. Then there are the cognitive difficulties losing and forgetting words, missing meaning, stark inability to read and retain information, little to no short term memory, loss of logical sequencing and priority problems.

But I love this man,

we are doing fine

and we are a family.

We still go to Costco and Walmart, we go as a family, and stick together and keep him safe. We work through the loud noises and the flashbacks we talk about them constantly so they aren't scary or strange. We work on word loss, we play games like trivial pursuit for knowledge retention and we read to the girls all the time. Somethings will never get better like his back and his knees but we share the loads and move on, always moving on. And someday he is going to only have nightmares every month or two and flashbacks will recede into the background. It will still be there and it will still be hard sometimes but really what marriage isn't?

Don't ever let anyone tell you that something is impossible. call me a romantic idealist but really baby I've lived it, I'm 26 and I've been there and you can get through anything if you love someone.

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