I want to throw out a disclaimer in advance regarding this blog entry…. My goal is not to be debbie-downer, but instead to raise awareness to the plight and struggle soooooo many veterans and their families are facing. My hopes are this: #1) The totally broken VA healthcare system will be destroyed and rebuilt in a fashion that properly provides the level of care our veterans deserve and extend the support their family members need to help care for the veteran and themselves, #2) Stir each of us up to be aware of those around us who need help and make an effort to extend any support we can provide, #3) Let veterans and their families know they are not alone in their struggle and battle and do all we can to encourage them to seek out help and not give up, and to keep fighting the good fight.
Anyone who follows the blog entries of the Military Mission page will notice that my entries started out being updated on a regular and consistent basis…then crickets! Nothing for a while, then one here and there. The reason for that was not from my lack of interest or dedication to the organization or those who would read the entry. Quite honestly it was due to me not having the time and/or the mental prowess to get an article submitted. Why? In the month of March, my husband visited a hospital emergency room thirteen (13) times. This month so far, I’ve taken him to an ER at least five times (5) and he was admitted to Good Samaritan for three (3) days just last week. Each time was for the same symptoms he has been experiencing for almost two (2) years now. The symptoms include SEVERE abdominal pain and vomiting. He will go literally days at a time without being able to eat or drink anything. The VA Medical Center in Lexington, KY has been apathetic to his problem and after running their standard three or so tests, without being able to locate a source/diagnosis/cause, determined there is nothing wrong and really nothing else they can do for him. We have been pleading and now to the point of threatening and begging that they give him a referral to an outside hospital that has a GI specialist. However, these pleas continue to fall on deaf ears, as my husband continues to suffer. He is in constant pain and in fear of eating. His quality of life is subpar to say the least.
It’s heart-breaking and enraging to watch someone you love go through such misery and not be able to do anything about it. It’s taking a toll on his mental health as well. He’s fighting hopelessness and depression on top of battling this unknown problem and his diagnosis of lymphoma cancer. I feel the strain as well…. Working a full time job, caring for him and maintaining all the daily life responsibilities that need to be seen to. It’s a strain on our families who are sad and worried and enraged at the lack of help and truthfully opposition we have been given by the VA.
Why am I sharing all this with you? Because we are NOT special!!!! This type of story and far worse is lived out on a daily basis for COUNTLESS veterans and their families all over this country. Every day I know in my heart there are veteran spouses crying themselves to sleep at night because they don’t know what to do to help their veteran. They feel exhausted, alone, scared and angry! There are just as many veterans battling not only the demons of war, but of depression and the fight they find themselves in now to readjust to a world they are no longer familiar with. The proof is in the news reports of veterans driving to the parking lot of VA hospitals all over the country and committing suicide. I see why they do that! I’m not condoning it or saying that I agree with it, but I am saying I understand why they do it. It breaks my heart, but I understand their rationale. Unfortunately, it raises awareness only momentarily and all too quickly, their sacrifice is forgotten.
My husband has literally given everything except his very life for this country. He started out in the Air Force working on nuclear weapons, then enlisted in the United States Marine Corps as an Infantryman. He was deployed to Ramadi, Iraqi where he was shot and blown up. Upon returning to Camp Lejuene, it was discovered what he thought was ringworm was in actuality Lymphoma Cancer from working on the nuclear weapons. He wears hearing aides, has constant back pain, suffers from nightmares, and PTSD. My husband, and countless other warriors and soldiers just like him, faithfully served. Now that they are home they should not have to fight for proper healthcare.
If you are a veteran or family of a veteran reading this right now, know that you are not alone! Know that there is help out there. Don’t give up! Keep pushing, keep fighting. Don’t stop until something changes. -Faith Wells