Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Thank You to V.A. Department.

Ray has finally received his pension for his P.T.S.D.

Yes it was a long wait and very trying to our health...

Both of us.

So we are glad its now all over.

Thank you V.A. for your recognition of Raymond's illness.

Raymond rarely drives a vehicle now and if he does its only in the town where we live.

I manage his doctors and psychiatrist visits as well as making sure he takes his meds.

I believe the Veteran wives deserve a medal.

This recent photo taken November, 2014 at our church.

Friday, 13 September 2013

STILL: The Waiting Game: and V.A. RUNAROUND (written by Ray's Wife)

RAYMOND is an ex U.S. Marine who served his country in the Vietnam War.
He didn't request to do this, he had no say, and still doesn't.
I AM HIS VOICE..... as the continence of this, renders him deeper into depression. 

Since I last wrote, Ray is now on a C-Pap at night to assist with his sleep apnea.
Last week he suffered from stomach ache and on assessment at the local hospital Emergency Room was transported by ambulance to another hospital for an emergency Gall Bladder surgery.
Due to the fact that I am available to tend for him at home, he was released the next day into my care.

He is doing well and feeling so much better without the pain.
Thank God for our church who supported him on their Prayer Chain.
Many have phoned to inquire after his health and one wonderful lady cooked a meal and brought is around.

YET, the struggle with the V.A. for his PTSD recognition continues.
Ray's Congressman in TN,  who was supporting him with his case, informed us that it had all been approved!
Oh...We were so relieved.. This is Great!....

THEN, we are told, "NO!!  We still haven't received your Progress Notes from the psychiatrist you see in Australia..."


This psychiatrist has sent those notes twice,  over the last couple of years!
Together with a small bill to the V.A.for doing so. He has never been paid.
The last time we sent these notes ourselves as well, and by return receipt REGISTERED MAIL!
We have the receipt, so we know the notes, were indeed received!!

I get the idea, that whoever receives these papers, consider them a JOKE...
Because, they get conveniently lost each time.
And again we are told, the same old story.... "SEND YOUR PSYCHIATRISTS NOTES FOR REVIEW, we need them"......

Has anyone else out there been given this run around by the V.A.??
If so, please tell us your story.

This photo shows Ray (back left) and I with my long time medical colleagues.
We all smile....Ray just looks. 

Monday, 25 June 2012

Night Trauma

25th June 2012, 0200 hrs,  Raymond sustained a Grande Mal Epileptic Seizure.
I woke up beside him as he thrashed and groaned.
I thought he was having a nightmare.
Reassuring, and trying to calm him had no effect, so I got out of bed and went around to his bedside.
His mouth was clenched tightly, and he ground his teeth.

Symptoms of this kind of seizure are:
Violent body contractions, loss of consciousness, a pause in breathing, urinary incontinence, tongue or cheek biting, and confusion and weakness following the event. Tiredness similar to having walked 100 miles.

Ray suffered no incontinence, however, he did have all of the other symptoms.
I stabilized him, took the pillow out from under his head and placed him in the unconscious position to facilitate breathing. At first he was snoring, then he paused, and stopped breathing. After a deep breath he commenced breathing again with a rapid intake of air. Snoring followed.
I quickly opened the windows and put the ceiling fan on, to help with O2 intake.
I then phoned 000 and rushed to turn the outside light on, and leave the front door open for entry.
The paramedics arrived in about ten minutes.
Rays blood pressure was elevated at first and then dropped back to normal.
Blood Sugar Level normal.
O2 blood oxygen sats 95%
Temperature normal.

Ray was taken to the local hospital and after observations, since he was still confused, he was admitted to a ward upstairs.
G.C.S below average with limb weakness. Eye's reacting, pupils size 3.
He had no recollection of day, month, season, Prime Minister of Australia's name.
He had no recollection of what happened, or the paramedics taking him out to their truck.
Ray was kept in hospital all day and allowed home the day after.
His C.T. scan of the head was normal.
He is to attend his personal physician and receive private care.

Almost two days later, he couldn't remember how to say Grace before his meal.
He hasn't talked very much, and is distressed at times about his lack of memory.

  A cause of seizures can be Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

* *  ADD ON:  Ray saw his doctor. He has an appointment to see a Neurologist.
                          As yet we have not been given the date. I pray it is soon.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

May 2012

 This is Rays wife writing....
Its a hard life being the wife of a Vietnam Veteran.
I thought because I had professional experience in Mental Health that I would be prepared for life with Ray, I was not!
Working in Mental Health and getting time off is different to being with a Vet, 24/7.   Ray is a good man. He is kind, however, he is still a damaged soul.
Ray spends most of the day, and much of the night on the computer. Sometimes I think he will fall off the computer chair and onto the floor. As he sits there staring at the screen totally oblivious of anything else. 
That includes me.
I call him to come and eat... No answer.
I have to say, Ray please comb your hair.

He has lost a lost of weight. 
He chews tobacco and drinks a beer rather than eat.
He lives pretty much in a world of his own. 

I had thought I was the only woman/wife with much to say about the hurt of being a veterans wife.
Then searching the net, I found out I am one of many.
In fact, many of us deserve a medal, yet we go unrecognized from saving the government thousands of dollars.
How you may say?? 
Well our care-giving saves much.
We love them, we care for them and we defend them...

Friday, 30 March 2012

Getting There

You try to forget much, yet today is Vietnam Vets Day in my country, and I remember again. I think of my friends who gave their life, and never returned. One of these was my best friend Thomas McStoots.
Never forgotten buddy.

IN THE WORDS OF:             Laurence Binyon.

They shall grow not old

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them. 

Monday, 18 July 2011

"50,000 Names" (George Jones)

Always Remembered, Lest We Forget.

The Story of a Marine Who Served in VIETNAM.

My husband finds it very hard to speak about his painful experience.
Bit by bit, I have gleaned his story...about the Vietnam War.
I feel it is only fair to him, that it be told and shared.
You see, it's not just his tale!!
It also belongs to every other young innocent who have been sent to fight for their country.
Who willingly gave away his/her youth for what they considered an honour to serve.
Only to return and be neglected and forgotten....

THIS IS HIS STORY: put together in puzzle pieces until it completed an understandable rendition.

I grew up in east TN, the eldest of two sons.
We lived on a farm and my father made his living delivering milk.
We weren't rich, but we got by.

When I was thirteen my life changed almost overnight.
My brother R aged ten, got badly burned on his legs and was put into hospital.
My father aged thirty four died from leukemia.
And my mother had a nervous breakdown and was also admitted to hospital.
I was alone at home.
 Aged fifteen.

Life didn't get easier, so I got tougher.
I rebelled and began missing school.
My mother had to go out to work.
Eventually she married again to a widower.
He and I didn't get on, so I went to live with my father's brother and his family, in the next town.
At eighteen I decided to join the Marines.
I was fit and strong, always having been a keen sportsman.

Here in Boot Camp. 

After training....
In 1969 I was sent with the 1st Marine division to An Hoa, Vietnam.

We marched from Alligator Lake up into the mountains in sweltering heat.
Agent orange had been sprayed over vegetation to kill it and assist our progress.
The going was rough and the mosquito's ravishing.

The second day of arrival on that mountain the fighting began.
I was a private firstclass rifleman.
I saw one of my friends shot in the chest on the first day by the Vietcong.

I knew it was bad because there was so much blood.
I helped to load him into the poncho to be Medi-vaced out.

I wanted to vomit when withdrawing my arms, as they were covered with his blood.
The smell, the red pouring from him. 
He was my friend and his name was Jim.

I will always remember receiving the news not long after the copter took off.
Jim had died!
It was no surprise?
There was no delay in our day, no silence in remembrance, NOTHING!
We just kept on walking to the top of the mountain.
We needed to move and not think. This was war!!  Revive and Survive.

That night gunfire was heard from across the river.
Next day I learned Giovanni Campbell and Thomas McStoots were killed in Action.

On the second day while searching for a North Vietnamese Base Camp, I was hit in the wrist by a sniper richochet bullet.
A short time after that a mortar round landed about ten feet away.
I was hit by shrapnel in the chest and stomach, POW!
A fellow marine in front of me took the brunt, much worse than me.
He survived, but he was a bad mess.
When I saw him in hospital weeks later, I didn't recognise him!!
At the time we were air lifted out to Yokosuka Japanese Hospital.

In this hospital they dressed my wounds and applied a plaster caste.
After about three days the pain was persistent, unrelenting and sending me wild.
No pain relief helped and the agony was beyond belief.
My temperature soared to over 103degrees., and I was placed in ice water for two to three hours until my temperature began to drop.
That ice water was as much torture as the pain!
I was then taken to surgery and the caste was cut down one side for removal.
My arm was so swollen it burst open.
It was then I was informed I had a staph infection and my arm needed to be amputated. 
(Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium responsible for several difficult-to-treat infections in humans) ...
I was terrified!!
My arm stank!
The pain was excruciating and I could not move my hand or fingers, it felt like I was paralysed.
A terrifying fear gripped my heart!

They couldn't take my arm, not my arm! and I told the doctor 
"No!! I won't let you take my arm!"
My weight on entry to this hospital was 205lbs.
After one month of not being able to eat due to constant nausea my weight plummeted to 125lbs.
My only sustance life line was the intravenous feedings. 

Lying on right side with
left arm showing wound.
Photo taken approximately
two weeks after admission.                     HEAD >