A spouse’s perspective on a veteran coming home from multiple military deployments.
We send these men and women to war and other countries with little to no help once they return.
My husband deployed to Japan from 2003 to 2008 and he saw things that no one ever knew about until he would begin drinking to forget about the things that he saw, then the bad memories and things would come out, how people would lose limbs from the wires that secured the aircrafts that would land on the carrier that they worked on, finding fellow soldiers that committed suicide because they could not handle the mission they were on. He comes home and 6 months later, takes another deployment, this time to Kuwait, a war zone. He was gone for 13 months this time, from 2008-2009. This time was more difficult for him to reintegrate back into our household routine. He never did tell me things until he began drinking again to heal from the PTSD of the things that he saw from over there. He was working in an Army hospital providing transportation for injured soldiers, which means he took fellow soldiers to various hospitals with injuries to receive treatment, but he did not go into detail as to what the injuries were. He comes home from that deployment completely changed and was very different and drank heavily to combat his PTSD symptoms, even though I knew they were there. We would struggle financially because a portion of the household income would go to alcohol and cigarettes and we needed to be paying on bills to get ahead on our monthly obligations. His memory was beginning to decline on doing simple tasks that I would ask him to do around the house when he was home.
The final deployment that he went on was to Afghanistan was in 2012, he said he was ok enough to go, but I knew in my mind that his PTSD was not well controlled since he was still having issues with the previous deployments and the military swept a lot of his symptoms under the rug and cleared him for duty here at the NOSC in Youngstown, Ohio. He reports to Ft. Polk and the HM there begins to see that he has a problem. It is listed on his medical records that we were just able to obtain November 17, 2020 that his PTSD is work related, however, they still cleared him to go to Afghanistan. He has PTSD issues while on deployment spanning from trying to overdose on Nyquil and not disclosing his prescription of Trazodone, as well as his alcohol use to cope with PTSD. He only deployed for 9 months, but 6 short weeks after coming home and reporting for his 1st reserve drill weekend afterwards, he and a fellow sailor come to where we live and they decide to take a walk to a few bars to drink to forget the things that they witnessed over in Afghanistan since the day that they left was Sept 11th and they were taking indirect fire from opposing forces. They decided to cross the street and my husband gets struck by an oncoming car, he was injured severely and has multiple injuries as a result from this. His PTSD is reason for the accident, but since no one at the VA will cover him for the PTSD, we have been struggling to survive on my income alone and paying for all these medical bills on our own and it has been hard to do this without any help.
Today he struggles to remember what day it is, has to put his daily tasks in a list to do them, repeats questions several times throughout the day. We go through this with little to no help, no support. He currently is waiting on surgery for damage to his shoulder from the accident, a leg wound from one of the surgery sites that opened 3 years ago, blood clots in the same leg, PTSD triggers at unknown times.
I have been his caregiver for the last 8 years and working a full time job at home. My body is physically and mentally exhausted. I handle all the household functions, medical care for both of us, cooking, cleaning, etc.
We use the VA in Cleveland Ohio and the clinic in Youngstown Ohio