Having a really tough day today..

Ever feel like everything is your world is going wrong and no matter how hard you try or how much effort you put into things, nothing will go right? That’s about where I’m at right now….I can’t do anything but sit here any cry at the moment, everything is just so upside down.

Work…work…work…work.. Let’s see. First of all, for the most part, I love my job.  I have worked for the organization for the past 7 1/2 years, that’s literally a quarter of my life. I have worked damn hard, working full time and going to school full time, to earn my Bachelors degree to get to the position I am in today.  Last August, my boss (seriously, the best boss ever) transferred to another installation. She has yet to be replaced (it’s in the works I guess.) When I came off maternity leave, I dropped down to part time.  With Tommy’s PTSD, it’s not feasible for me to be gone from the house 11+ hours a day for work (I have about an hour commute each way because I drop two of the kiddos of at their daycare center, then backtrack a bit to my work.) Because I dropped down to part time, I had to move to another location. This meant leaving all of the co-workers I had been with for the past two years, people who became like family to me because I have none. At my new location (two of us were moved there together and the two people we replaced were moved to other locations), I have to work with a very difficult person.  I out rank this person, but they don’t really care.  I think that deep down she is a good person, but her ‘work’ personality overrides this.  She is super controlling, I tell her I need things done a certain way, and she refuses. She questions my every move, constantly steps out of her lane and into mine. I feel like every day is a battle with her.  I confronted her many times in the beginning, and eventually sat down with my ‘big’ boss and discussed my concerns.  She tried explaining that this is just her personality and just to give it time and things will get better.  Well, its been 3 months and every day its worse.  I just want to go in, do my job, and be left alone.  But ugh, I don’t even know how to explain it the things she does, constantly undermining me, watching my every move (literally, they’re like a shadow)..I am not a confrontational person. I feel like I can’t breathe there. So here I sit, looking for new jobs.  My chain is well aware of her behavior and has no intention of doing anything about it, they won’t move them to another location because “no one wants to deal with her”. It breaks my heart to know I am going to have to leave this job, but I can’t do this every day.  It would be one thing if they were my supervisor or something..but they’re not.

So, that’s stress #1. Sounds, like an easy fix, find a new job, and move on, right? Not so much.  If I find a new job, even in the same field, I am going to take a massive pay cut. Also, because our old house hasn’t sold, we haven’t closed on this one.  So I def. can’t quit until old house sells and we close on new one, otherwise we won’t qualify for the loan.

Stress #2, dealing with our tenants.  Until our old house sells, we have it rented out. It was a last resort.  I kick myself every day, this is entirely my fault, but I was handling everything on my own and going back to work at the same time and made poor choices.  We rented out to a younger girl, her fiance, and 2 other guys (all the guys were deployed at the time).  I explained my concerns about renting to them, about making sure the brand new carpets don’t get trashed, and that because it’s for sale I would be showing it often and having an occasional open house and they would need to be gone during this time, and the house would need to be cleaned. (Stupid me, didn’t put the part about them not being there and the house being tidied up into the lease).  So, every time I try to show the house, the come up with an excuse that they won’t be there or its not a convenient time for them.  I have been able to show it twice, both times the house was horribly messy, they’ve already trashed the carpets and the house and yard just looks like crap.  There’s stuff everywhere. It shows horrible now.  I’m screwed.  Until these people move out, there’s no way this place is going to sell.  I already dropped the price 5k (which is 10k under market assessment) and still nothing.  We cannot close on our new home until this one sells. 

Stress #3, little man gets sick every time he goes to daycare.  No joke, every single time I have brought him since November, he gets sick.  I cannot keep missing work to go get him. We tried to have his blood drawn the other day to have his white blood cells tested, but after what felt like forever trying to get a vein, my Tommy flipped and told them to stop and we left..so no answer there.

Stress#4+ He started school today.  He was up all night getting sick with his nerves, and has been texting me all day about how much he hates it, his professors, the people, etc.  It’s only day 1 and its already began. I cannot deal with this with everything else I have going on, but if he doesn’t vent it out to me and hold it in, he will end up freaking out on someone. *sigh* When it rains, it pours.  There’s some other financial stuff going on that I won’t get into, but what I will say is I am so frustrated with this country and our government.  Laziness is rewarded and hard work apparently just sets you further behind.  I had added another paragraph about this but decided to delete it because someone out there will probably get offended and that’s not my intention.

Thanks alot PTSD.  If it weren’t for you, Tommy could get a job, and some of this weight on my shoulders would be relieved.  But for now, everything’s on my plate. 

So, he starts school next week….

Happy New Year bloggies!! I hope it is treating you well! It’s crazy cold here in Tennessee today! So, not much new to report. We have tried and tried to get his mental health appointment pushed up so he can begin therapy services, but of course, the VA says no. It would be especially helpful right now because he is about to start college next week. This is really stressful for both of us. He wants to go, wants to earn a degree, but knows that realistically, being on a college campus is not a good place for him. Unfortunately, because his rating sucks, we financially cannot survive if he doesn’t attend school.

So, what am I worried about? I am afraid that when I wake him up and leave for work, he will go right back to sleep. I am afraid that he will run someone off the road who cut him off on the way there (he usually doesn’t drive except to run to the store down the road for diapers or whatever). I am worried that I’m going to get a phone call saying he has been arrested for either threatening someone or punching someone. I am afraid he’s going to have a panic attack in the middle of class, being confined in a room for hours. I am afraid that he’s not going to be able to control himself and pop off at the mouth if a professor says something he thinks is stupid or disagrees with.

What if he goes for a few weeks, and then decides its too much and he can’t do it? Then we have to cough up thousands of dollars (that we def. do not have) to pay back the VA.

Most of all, I am afraid of what it is going to do to our marriage. We are already under enough stress and pressure as it is, and this is only going to add more. Is he going to have the motivation to sit down and do his homework? Or am I going to have to be the mean wife and keep getting after him to do it? If that’s the case, I can guarantee we’re going to have problems. He hates when I have to remind him to do things or when I have to keep on top of him to have the motivation to do stuff or get a specific task done. At this point, he’s used to it for the most part, albeit still not liking it. But homework? That’s a whole new ballgame. (yes, we Bostonian’s often use baseball references lol.)

I feel like I am walking on pins and needles, waiting for the next ball to drop, the next thing to go wrong. Nothing ever goes our way, ever, and PTSD makes normal everyday let downs so much worse. No, scratch that, it makes everything worse. Hm…next post maybe I will get a little more into his systems and how it effects our everyday life? That will have to wait for the weekend though, I could probably write a book on how our lives are effected by living in the shadows of PTSD.

Feeling really alone today

Today has been a rough day all around, and has left me feeling mentally exhausted and hopeless. To start, an offer we had on our other home that is for sale fell through. We moved from this home for many reasons, mostly related to his PTSD. It was too out in the open/exposed, the neighbors were constantly hunting on their properties and he jumped every time he heard a gunshot, his one vice is fishing and he was driving 60mi each trip to go fishing and so it was just better all around for us to move to the lake. Anyways, the buyers had some drama with their realtor and their contract and because we can’t afford to pay the agents commission and the closing costs, and neither can they, it fell through. This would have felt like the weight of the world was lifted off our shoulders. We had come down on the price by 14k to get it sold. When I got the final word I just wanted to cry (but couldn’t since it would have upset him and the kids) so I have to just keep moving forward with this fake smile.

Today is also hard because everyone I know has plans tonight. I’m not big into going out but it would be nice to be able to have some friends to hang out with and watch the ball drop, play board games, whatever, just like the good old days. But his PTSD makes it impossible for us to have any friends, and all my friends I had before marrying him are gone, they don’t understand the situation or why I can never get together or attend events etc. sometimes it would be nice to have someone to talk to. A therapist is out of the question, I don’t have the money or the time.

Sorry to be such a downer. I hope you guys understand that this is the only place I have to get all of this out and off my chest. I have no one. No friends, no family, just here.

Happy New Year bloggies. I wish you a year full of love, good health, happiness, and inner peace.

Caregiver Assessment Part 1

I feel completely mentally drained. I was up all night with our sick little man, then up at 4 for work, went to Nashville in the middle for the appt, and then finished out the day back at work. So today we had the first part of our caregiver assessment. Lots of questions from the doctor about what types of help my husband needs at home..I had to answer most of them. I don’t know if it was hearing it aloud or what, but when I looked at my husband sitting in the chair listening as I spoke, he has never looked more broken and helpless. My heart hurt for him so much in that moment. I think that sometimes I am so caught up with trying to manage everything, I don’t stop and think about what all of this must feel like for him inside. I wish there was more I could do for him..he will never know how much I love him ❤

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back…

Oh blog, I’m so sorry for neglecting you 😉  It has been a very busy, long couple of weeks. Let’s see…where did I last leave off? Ah yes, mystery person.  Well, this mystery person (still not sure what exactly his position was) called, and guess what?!? They put in a referral for us to be seen the next day at the local clinic….great, but also had to send the dreaded short notice e-mail to my boss about having to miss a few hours of work with less than 24 hrs notice 😦 We went to the appointment, which was basically an assessment.  We saw an older woman, we’ll call her “E.”  She was very nice, and somehow understood my husbands twisted sense of humor.  She was also an older woman (50ish maybe?)  I have found that Tommy has a much easier time talking to older people about his problems.  I think a lot of it is that he feels younger people can’t possibly understand where he is coming from and don’t have the wisdom to really respect what he has been through/is going through.  She immediately recommend that I apply for the caregiver stipend to be able to spend more time with him/helping him at home during the day, and also put in a referral for as soon as possible (note this for later discussion) therapy services to begin. We left the appointment feeling more hopeful and a little less desperate, and E scheduled us a follow up appointment in two weeks to make sure the referral went through.

The next day, we get a call saying that the therapy referral for the local clinic has been denied, as has the need for an ASAP appointment, and we will have to make the 2 hour trek to the Nashville VA hospital for an appointment, and the soonest available is in two months. So much for “local”, and “asap.” This whole situation with fighting for therapy really breaks my heart. It is no wonder why so many veterans commit suicide.  When they seek help, they are repeatedly denied it. We have contacted practically every person that the VA has listed on their site.  The caseworker, the PTSD clinic, the Veterans Crisis Hotline, the VA Emergency Room, the Vet Center, and others. Not one place/person has been able to or willing to give him an appointment within the next 60 days.  I have reached out to all of the people/places, only to be shut down repeatedly.  I am grateful that my husband has me by his side supporting him and advocating him, but what about all the others? How many places/people will they call before they finally give up? The system is failing our veterans and it truly sickens me.  I may not have the time or resources to act on this now, but mark my words, when the day comes that I do, I will make sure that people up the chain hear what we went through and how much it took to get services (or lack thereof).  I can’t help but wonder how many lives could have been saved if more immediate services were available to our Veterans, or HEROES. Ugh.

Oh and one more thing, I call the caseworker (who still never called me back after I left her a voice mail crying almost two weeks ago from the VA Emergency room) and fill her in on the progress, and she’s just like “oh, okay.”  Guess I won’t be calling her anymore.

Okay, that rant is over for now. So, in the meantime, we had been calling the VA every day to to see if they had any cancellations for his initial exam, and the receptionist (super nice lady) finally took down our name and said she would call with her first cancellation (not sure if she took pity or was tired of us calling 2x a day), but sure enough, a few hours later she called us with an available appointment for the next business day.

So, we make the trek down to the VA hospital for our first appointment.  Tommy started off driving (had to come get me from work, yup, had to miss yet more time at work…), he made is less than a few miles.  Combining his PTSD/anxiety/way too high strung, he was stepping on the break every minute and was freaking out. I think that was one of the worst times I have seen his driving effected by the PTSD. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always effected, but this was the worse. (Okay, side story. When he drives, he is not an aggressive driver to start off, per say.  But when people cut him off or drive stupid, or especially street bikers driving like idiots, it basically opens up a deep dark fire in him, like these people are intentionally doing it to him or something.  His tolerance for people at this point is extremely low, hence no friends or social life for either of us..that’s okay though, who has the time for any of that nowadays anyways, right?)

We got to the appointment, it wasn’t too bad.  The doctor added 5 more medications to the list (yup, we are up to twelve medications a day now.) Sent out about 7 referrals for various things (TBI clinic, hearing, vision, wrist, knee, ankles, and I can’t remember the other one.) And scheduled our first caregiver assessment for what is now tomorrow.  The doctor was unfortunately not surprised that he was rated incorrectly and recommended that we file for higher compensation, but to wait until more documentation is in the system (apparently 3 years worth since the blast isn’t considered enough.) He also did some labs, and ordered an x-ray that we will have to come back for because it takes time to process. His words were “you will never be 100%, but if we can get you feeling like 80%, 80% of the time, that’s pretty good.) I’ll leave that one for you to ponder over my bloggies. (If you are reading this, it has now become your new nickname).

So, that is where we are at currently while going learning how to navigate the VA. Such a mess.  We have met a few people who really seem to care and mean well, but the system blocks them from getting the veterans the help they need in a timely manner.

Our kids have really started to become more aware of the changes the PTSD is causing in Tommy.  I see their relationships with him diminishing.  He isolates himself from them, has unrealsitic and does not have age appropriate expectations. His patience for them is pretty much gone, and he is raising his voice more and more often (which I immediately stop because I will NOT let my children grow up being constantly yelled at or criticized like I did.) The girls come to me more, and even our middle one, who is 3, has noticed the change in the way he talks to me…she has begun to tell him “stop screaming at my mommy”, and will step in between us.  When this happens, he’s not actually screaming, but talking in a firm/louder tone of voice, and she picks up on the difference, and well, to a 3 yr old who’s never heard an adult scream (thankfully), this is what she considers screaming.

As for Tommy, every day is an uphill battle for him.  My heart hurts for him.  I see him slipping more and more into isolation from our family, and into a deeper depression.  He has really stopped taking care of himself..at this point I am literally reminding him to eat and take showers.  When I am at work I am having such a hard time focusing, always wondering about whether or not he is okay at home, did he take his meds, has he eaten, has he even gotten out of bed? *sigh* It’s a bitter edged sword.  If the VA somehow miraculously compensates me enough to stay home with him, where does that leave me? How will that effect us? Will I end up resenting him for having to put an end to my career? I am only 27, and I have literally spent a quarter of my life at my job, working my up the chain, and if I leave the position I am in now, there is a very likely chance I would never get it back. My heart wants to be home with him supporting him and taking care of him, and of course, if it comes down to it, I will, that is what marriage is about.  But does that mean I say goodbye to me, to my own individual identity?  Will I have to spend the rest of my life living in the shadows of PTSD?

Waiting….

Today I have spent a majority of my time researching PTSD, the VA, available resources, anything I can get my hands on.  Unfortunately, a lot of the information is redundant, and there are so many broken links on the VA website, go figure.I also decided to make sort of a caregiver bible, with all the pamphlets, appointment slips, medication listing, resources, contact information, and most importantly, I am going to start documenting every time I call the VA, who I have spoken to, and what information they have given me. People in this agency need to start being held accountable, and for those who actually do their jobs and care about the veterans, commended for their compassion and hard work. There’s nothing else I can do to help my veteran right now other than be here for him.  We are waiting to be able to call this mystery person the crisis hotline has given us the number to, tomorrow. In the meantime, I have decided to write to our local senator and congressman, enlightening them on what the process is really like for a transitioning soldier with PTSD. Maybe I will hear back from them, but I won’t hold my breath.

His PTSD is worse than ever…what now?

Emotionally, I think this is going to be harder for me write than I expected..it will probably be easier for me to update as events occur and are fresh, rather than doing it later on and having to re-live them.  So, this post will catch you up to present time. Well, from the past week’s events anyways. First though, why am I writing this? Well, to start, I need to get this out.  Sometimes, I feel really alone. I have my husband of course, and a few friends from work, but that’s it.  No close family, no close friends, no one to talk to.  And I can’t continue holding all of this in.  Writing has always helped me feel better mentally, so I guess it’s back to the basics for me.  Secondly, this story needs to be told.  I want others going through this struggle to realize they are not alone, and I hope this brings them some comfort.  Thirdly, to bring awareness to PTSD and help others understand how crippling it really is to a person and their family.  Before my husband, I had no clue how severe PTSD could get.  And to be honest, I don’t even think I 100% believed in it. Don’t get me wrong, I knew and had seen first hand soldiers coming back from war struggling mentally, but the ones I knew always seemed to recover.  Long term wise, I didn’t really think PTSD was that much of an issue. I know, that sounds horrible. But until you experience observing PTSD first hand in someone you love, you really have no clue what it can entail.

So, back to Tuesday night…I’m sitting on the floor in the shadow of my broken veteran, curled up into a ball between the bed and the wall.  By this time, it’s almost midnight, and I have to be up for work at 5am. Eventually I fall asleep, and wake up the next day feeling uneasy and sick to my stomach, still trying to accept what happened last night. I get to work a few minutes early, and put in a call to my husbands VA Caseworker he has been assigned.  We haven’t talked to them yet, but received their card in the mail, so I figured maybe they would be able to offer some advice on what help I could get him.  For the past two years, my husband has been in therapy, but not that he is out, he wasn’t offered any transitional therapy services until his first appointment with the VA in January.  Anyways, no luck reaching the casework, so I call the VA medical clinic, and try to explain what is going on.  I tell them briefly about last night, that he needs therapy ASAP, and cannot wait another 6 weeks to get a referral at his appointment.  The woman at the clinic tells me “well he is just going to have to hang in there”, because there is no way of getting therapy until he gets a referral.  I hang up the phone and just stare at it.  Did she seriously just say that to me?  “hang in there?” Does she have a freaking clue what PTSD is and what it can lead to?  What the heck kind of training has this agency given their receptionists? Wow.  Okay.  Deep breaths.  Time to go into work, I’ll deal with it on my 30min lunch break.

All morning long as I try my hardest to focus on my work, my mind keeps going back to last night, my husband screaming, the empty look in his eyes, the hysterical crying, and then the nothingness after.  My co-workers who share my office can tell I am off, asking me if I’m okay.  Great.  The last thing I want to do is burden them with my family issues, or let this effect my job.  Screw you PTSD, I have worked too hard to get where I am now.  Time to focus.  I force myself to focus for the rest of the morning, and finally fill a co-worker in on some of the details from last night.  She puts me in touch with a friend of hers, who happens to be a psychiatrist for the VA.  I call her, she listens to me, and right away you can hear the anger in her voice, telling my how often she sees this and how she hates watching soldiers slip through the cracks and not receive any transitional services. She tells me a few places to try and call, and says she will ensure my husbands caseworker is reached and contacts me.

At this point, all I am trying to do is get my husband into immediate therapy so he doesn’t have to wait until January 17th. That is too far way.  I’m scared of what can happen between now and then.  What if he becomes suicidal? What do I do then? I spend my 30min lunch break in my car trying to call various resources.  No one is able to help.  The first recommendation I get is to try to find a Tricare provider (but they are unsure if Tricare even covers therapy) who will provide a few limited sessions.  (Here’s the thing.  The Army has already tossed him around between multiple therapists, and each time he has to start over, re-telling everything, and any progress he has made is lost.  He is unwilling to see a therapist short term, he needs someone who he will be able to see on a regular basis. )The only other recommendation I keep getting is to bring him to the VA Emergency room in Nashville (which is two hours away from our home) so that the on duty psychiatrist can try and put in a referral for therapy services to get him seen sooner. There is no estimate of how long this can take. I explain over and over again that my husband cannot do a 4hr round trip alone (hello, PTSD=road rage and no patience for idiot drivers, not to mention driving in the city). Over and over I hear “oh, well can’t you just call out of work?”  Let me explain something to you, as I did each and every one of these people.  Our income is already significantly lower than what it was a few months ago.  My husband is out of the army and getting half of the pay he was when he was in.  I have had to already cut my hours back at work to be able to be home with him more and run his errands with him or for him, and deal with everything at home and registering for school and everything else. Not to mention, whenever I call out of work, I have to use leave.  I am a government employee.  If I have no leave to take, I don’t get paid.  And in the position that I am, people depend on me. I cannot keep missing work. I am a professional, and as much as I love my family, sometimes my mission has to come first if we want to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. That night I go online and chat with the VA’s Veterans Crisis hotline, guess what they suggested? Yup, go to the VA Emergency Room.  This must be a standard response they are told to give because literally every person I spoke to at the VA told us to go there.

Okay, rant over, on to the next.  I go back to work, and when I get home that night, I log onto Ebenefits (a website for veterans and family members to view appts, see documents, etc) and see that his 1st VA appt for January 17th, has been CANCELLED BY THE VA CLINIC.  What??!?!? Are you kidding me?  I’ve been on the phone with these people all day and no one cares to mention this to me?? Lovely.  I break the news to my husband after all three kiddos are in bed, and he immediately breaks down crying again.  (seriously, he has never cried like this before, I am really freaked out now). He lays down on the bed and just starts saying things like “I don’t want to live like this anymore, it’s not fair to you, you guys deserve better, you’re better off without me, why did I have to get hurt, why did other guys get hurt and not have PTSD, why can’t I get over this, why can’t I get help, why did I fight for a country who has turned it’s back on me.” He continued on for awhile..another sleepless night.  I get up early the next morning, and call the VA before heading into work.  Of course, I’m transferred around a few times, and no one can tell me why his appt. was cancelled because his provider is working that day.  They reschedule his appt for 6 WEEKS LATER! Yup, that’s right folks, they reschedule his appt. for February 28th.  At this point I’m bawling my eyes out, begging for a therapy referral, telling them neither him or I can wait that long, and I’m scared of what will happen if he doesn’t get help soon.  I am transferred to one last person, who says she will call us back later in the day and see if she can get us seen sooner.  I head off to work, hopeful that the VA will finally be able to help.  No such luck.  I call my husband mid-day, who tells me that the VA called back and said all he can do is head to the VA Emergency Room.  Sound familiar? *sigh* Okay, fine, that’s what they want, we will make the 4 hr round trip on Saturday. If that means my husband getting help, I’ll do it.

On Friday, we finally hear back from my husbands caseworker.  She is surprised but at the same time not, that with his symptoms and history, he has not been given a full 100% rating for his PTSD.  She also recommends I apply for the VA Caregiver Stipend to help me recover some of my lost wages and it will pay for my gas money to transport him to his appointments.  Sounds great, but I’m not very hopefully given my few but unpromising relations with the VA.  She too recommends that we go to the VA Emergency Room and he will receive help there.

Saturday rolls around, and we finally make the 2 hour drive to the VA Emergency room.  I had found a civil war relic show online and we stopped by there first, hoping it would lift my husbands spirits a bit.  After, we head to the ER.  We sign in, just he, myself, and our 5 mo old son.  After alittle over half an hour, a nurse comes out and calls him.  I stand up and start to walk behind him, and am told “the baby cannot come in here.”  Hold on.  You all saw me walk in here with him, no one said a word, there are no signs posted, no information about this on your website, and we are here to see a psychiatrist, not for a physical illness.  My husband explains that I am his support system, and he needs me in there with him.  The nurse says “that’s not going to happen”, and explains that no one under the age of 14 is permitted.  I try to call the caseworkers cell phone, no luck.  Tommy takes the baby out to the car, and I beg the lady at the front desk to let us in.  She won’t.  I ask to speak to someone in charge, and she asks if I want to complain. Seriously, no, I’m going to tell them about the fantastic customer service we have received here. (I didn’t say that but I def. was thinking it).  She tells me there is no one there on the weekend and gives me a form and an envelope and says I can mail my concerns to patient advocacy. I feel like I am going to throw up.  We get out to the car and I call the Veterans Crisis hotline.  On the VA’s Facebook page they say that by calling this hotline “support is always available.”  The woman answers and I tell her our situation.  She tells me to call the ER and ask to talk to the charge nurse (which I was already told by the receptionist there was no one else to talk to), or to call the operator and ask for the AOD (Administrator on Duty) and that they should be able to make an exception given the circumstances.  So, I call the AOD.  She was not very pleasant from the start, and sounded very annoyed that I had called her.  She explained that the policy was to protect our infant (pause..I get and appreciate that they worry about children’s health, but we are going to be going into someone’s office?!?) I beg her to just let the psychiatrist come into the waiting room, or outside, or call us, anything, just to get the referral in. No such luck.  Then she crosses the line and starts saying things like “well, don’t you guys have a babysitter, or any family?”  And then things like “well Ft. Campbell has psychiatrists and daycare’s ya know.”  No shit lady really?!? (pardon me but I’m getting worked up again). She does not at all understand that this is a time sensitive issue, not to mention there is no therapy on post for retirees, at least not without a REFERRAL, which is all we are trying to get. She ends the conversation with me by telling me there’s nothing more she can do.  Well, some help she was.  I call back the VA Crisis Hotline, and am now bawling.  The poor guy who answered the phone tried to help, he even tried calling the AOD and talking to her, explaining how dire the situation was. She apparently also does not understand why my husband won’t just get seen alone.  I swear, these people just don’t get what the symptoms of PTSD are.  If I am there, I can help keep my husband calm.  For the most part, I know the right things to say, the squeeze of the hand, etc, to calm him down.  I can also help him answer questions when he gets so frustrated to the point he can’t put his thoughts into words. (Sidenote, anyone who deals with the VA constantly hears how important it is to have a support person and making sure they attend your appointments with you to help answer questions and keep track of everything, so what we are trying to do is not out of the ordinary.)  So, Crisis Hotline guy gives us a number to call on Monday after 10am, and says he will put in a note they we called him.  He can’t make any promises that this mystery person can help us, but it’s not someone I have called yet so he says it’s worth a shot.

So, now we are home, waiting again, wondering what Monday will bring.  In the meantime, I am here, alone, sitting in the dark, praying my husband is able to make it that long.  Dear PTSD…please go away,  I am tired of living in your shadow.