Monday, 18 July 2011

A Wounded Shocked Young Marine.

Photo taken the day after admission to Yokosuka Hospital in Japan.
This was before the infection set in. 
Ray recieves his Purple Heart Award for being Combat Wounded.

Photo's outside Japanese Hospital one month later.

Dressed to return to the Naval Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
Where I was to remain a further three months.

After that I received an honourable discharge.
Visiting the Memorial Wall for Vietnam Vets in D.C. sometime in the 1980's I discovered the names of lost friends.
I found this to be very traumatic!

You don't fully realise until you see those names, how real death is....and you think and wonder!!
"How come it wasn't me?"
And the tears finally flow, and devastation sinks in.
This is hard to explain. 
I sort of lost the remainder of my feelings about myself and what I was suppose to do.
There was an emptiness inside my chest, and life became a strange existence.
There were times when, during the night, a terrible fear crept over me.
Nightmares, crazy dreams with flashing lights and loud explosions....
I'd bury my head and shake. And I'd think about soldiers dying...

I didn't want to be with people, I felt safer on my own.
I was the Only Person I trusted!  except for my dog..
It was hard to settle to everyday life.
I married and divorced in five years.
One son was born.
I married again, that lasted six months. Following this I lived in a travel trailer for ten years.

Finally I bought a house.

During a medical examination while working for T.V.A. in 2004 it was discovered that I have a heart condition. It is known as Atrial Fibrillation.
I began seeing a doctor at the V.A. hospital for this.
I met my now wife and soon after married in 2004.
From then on she took care of my health.
She questioned the V.A. doctor about the help I could receive for my heart.. ( what help is there)??
Not satisfied with the answers, she arranged for me to see a private cardiologist.
A Catheter Ablation was successfully performed on my heart in 2005.
Following this my heart regained strength and went from being slow beats to a normal beat range.
I have since gone back into A.F. and on occasions I still suffer heart pain.
But my heart is not as bad as it used to.
NOTE: Atrial fibrillation (AF or A-fib) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia
(abnormal heart rhythm), and involves the two upper chambers of the heart.
It's name comes from the fibrillating,
(i.e., quivering) of the heart muscles of the atria, instead of a coordinated contraction.
There are many causes for this condition.
* One of these is from Infection.

My wife is a Registered Nurse and recognised my severe depression.
This was becoming worse and to the point where I was drinking to excess in my loneliness before I met her.
After meeting her I continued to drink, although not as much as I had.

We married in September 2004, in Tennessee.


 My wife can continue from here as she can describe it better than I can.

Ray is a country boy, a gentle kind-hearted soul with a love for animals, children and older folk.
Probably because he feels accepted and safe with them. 
Watching and assessing Ray I could see:
His affect was flat and blunted, with hardly any expression and he could not seem to smile..
There was no reaction or emotion.
His mood was always low, he tried to socialise but after a short time only wanted to go home.
He went to bed late and slept fretfully for a couple of hours, then got up to go onto the computer.
(He still does this.)
Life was an existence, not a joy or a pleasure.
Even with so called friends, he was quiet and did not interact well.
(He can still be like this, however, not as much when with other veterans.)
He was suspicious and hypervigilant.
(He still is)
He was labile with mood swings from calm and quiet to irritable, violent and aggressive.
(This still happens).
He isolated and won't answer when spoken to.
(He still does this.)
He could sometimes be inappropriate in speech and actions.
(This still happens).
Had several tasks pending at once and needed encouragement to follow through.
(Still does).
Impaired memory.
(Still has.)
The first time I met his family and grandchildren I wanted to take photos.
I placed the children beside him and sat his grandson on his lap.
Most grandparents will hug the children to them, Ray didn't.

The V.A. had never evaluated Raymond for depression or trauma.
(As the daughter of a returned soldier, I found this difficult to comprehend.)
 I got him his first appointment with them to be evaluated.

He was seen by a couple of psychiatrists.
The last one being Dr Elizabeth Ann Ahmad at Mountain Home, Johnson City, TN.

She diagnosed him using the DSM-IV  Axis 1 as suffering from P.T.S.D.
She recommended Ray sit for the Becks Depression Evaluation and an appointment was made for late 2007.
Due to the fact we had decided to re-locate and move back to Queensland, Australia, the Evaluation was completed instead on the 5th July 2007.
Raymonds scores were:
Becks Depression Evaluation = 33, consistant with severe depresion.
Mississippi Scale for Combat Related P.T.S.D. = 119, exceeding the cut off score of 107.

Leaving the U.S.A. to live in Australia I precured Raymond's medical notes from the V.A. Hospital at Mountain Home.
My reason for doing this was to be able to pass them on for continious care with doctors in Australia.
Since coming to live here Raymond see's Dr Chris Martin, a Psychiartist located at Buderim, Queensland on a regular basis at his Gympie offices.
He is evaluated and maintained on specific medications under his diagnosis of P.T.S.D.

The Social Security in the U.S.A. also requested Raymond see a Psychiatrist of their choosing here in Australia.
His name was Dr Chris Cantor of Noosa, Queensland.
His diagnoses was also, Chronic Post Traumatic STress Disorder, Combat related.

Three Psychiarists have assessed and diagnosed my husband Raymond with a Mental Illness Disability.
Under the Mental Health Act only one Psychiatrist is required!

For four years, the V.A have been denying the fact that Ray has Chronic P.T.S.D. even though there is evidence proof.
As Raymonds wife, I would like them to live with him for a time, and see how it is for themselves.
It is no picnic.
I am Raymond's carer as well as his wife, he depends on me for almost everything.
Without me he would no longer be able to live alone.
Bills, hygiene, medications,and a proper diet would be forgotten.

We attend church every Sunday.... Ray often sleeps throughout the service.
When I look at photos of a young man, hardly more than a child, who went to war and returned half a person....
When I understand what he has suffered in the years following!
I know, he has not been sufficiently rewarded for his valor!
A country may be quick to send their men to fight, BUT, they are very slow in rewarding them.
My husband Raymond Isaac Lindsey today, with the animals he so loves. (This is a wallaby)

15 comments:

  1. God Bless you Ray and thank you for your service. Crystal, this is Robbie your aussie mate in NY. My John's story is so similar to Ray's in so many ways and I am sure he is still suffering the effects also. love to you both! xx

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  2. Hiya mate, great to hear from you chooky. Gosh this V.A., they are sending Ray around the bend, it is so hurtful. The good part is that I have Ray talking some. No much, but some, and then he clams up again... It is so hard.
    When are you coming home? Kerrilyn is back, we are meeting them on Friday. love to ya.xxxxx

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  3. In searching for a website for Memphis Vietnam Veterans Organization I found this website and read Ray's story. My heart goes out to him and to you. God bless you both.Thank him for his service to our country. I'm saddened that our Veterans are not taken better care of.
    Melanie

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  4. Oh my, my heart goes out to you dear vet and to your lovely wife. I know there are many, many veterans who had not been properly recognized, rewarded or treated for various things that happened to them in war. Especially it seems where PTSD is concerned. Though I'm from Canada, I say thank you to Ray for his service to mankind. I know the thanks is not nearly enough. But some day He will be rewarded and you too CM for your dedication, love and care. God bless you both.

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  5. Ray I do apologize, I thought this was Crystals blog.....it doesn't take much to confuse me! Nice to see you have a blog of your own and I will follow it too if you don't mind. :) I am sorry that the VA are messing you around. We will probably be in the same situation in the long run. Scary!!! Hope things improve for you..

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  6. A government that doesn't look after thier vets should be ashamed of themselves!! This is appauling and I am sorry for you Ray that the reward and thanks you deserve is so harshly unrecognised. I will be sharing this with many of my peers. Thank you to your lovely wife who so obviously cares and loves you very much...you must be a wonderful human being. C.Stuart

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  7. I stopped by from Spiritual Sundays. I'm sorry to hear all that you have been through Ray. I will keep you in my prayers. Thank you for serving our country.

    Charlotte

    May you have the peace from God that passes all understanding, to guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

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  8. Hi Ray,
    Thanks for sharing this. My father was in WW11, which I understand is nothing compared to Vietnam. It was very hard for him to talk about the trauma he went through but eventually he did talk and tell us kids stories.

    God has blessed you with Crystal Mary, a woman that I know if we lived near each other we would be very close friends.

    Keep talking Ray, it is very good for healing.

    God Bless,
    <><

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  9. thank you Ray
    I too know PTSD all too well
    A wonderful tool given me by a wise Phyc is a drug the VA does not recognize for use with ptsd is
    lamotigine tabs 100 mg
    it stops the cortizol flush from the triggers
    when i used it at first the raging stopped! now i can manage the triggers or stress that would send me into a state me
    you can see my story here http://aliferestored.blogspot.com/
    my md specializes in ptsd in Vets, I am not a Vet of a foreign war
    at 50 now managing has become good as long as I take the meds as soon as one is missed the ptsd effects raises
    more info is on the site

    again Ray thank you for giving your life
    im sorry my keyboard is messing up

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  10. ray see some of the older post
    on the side bar as well

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  11. Hi Ray,
    I am Poet Starry Dawn. I follow your blog. Your dear wife, Crystal Mary told me that you began to write your stories. I have got many US. Veterans friends, and they also survived. It is good to be alive after all. Thank you, Ray for sharing your stories with the world!!
    God bless you, Ray, and all those you love!!
    Your wife is an amazing friend, and if I ever visit Australia, I'll certainly visit Crystal, if she says OK. I'll be reading your posts, Ray. I am an animal lover too.
    All the best,
    Poet Starry Dawn.
    Thanksforthegiftoflife.blogspot.com

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  12. Welcome home, bro. I passed this link to a friend of mine, another Marine who also served in Nam. I know he'll want to read your blog. I was in the Air Force, 4 years in a Titan II missile silo on a combat crew, then 9 of the next 10 years in Special Operations as a PJ. I've been extremely lucky with the VA, have an excellent team, a great doctor and getting excellent treatment but my medical problems are non combat related. Once again, welcome home!

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  13. There are many wars that are fought and the wounded survivors forgotten or brushed aside. There is no excuse for war, it only ends in suffering. May God bless you. I am familiar with PTSD and it is really difficult to deal with.
    May your life be filled with joy and contentment from now onwards.....

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  14. Ray, Crystal Mary, thank you for sharing this! A lot of us hear the words PTSD, but really have no idea what it entails. I wish you both all the best, and will pray for your full recovery.

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  15. The fullest of respect... for ALL of you!

    DMS
    http://www.thedeadmarshes.com

    http://www.bravo-25th-infantry.com

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I am very interested to hear your comments, both in regards to the Veitnam War and to the V.A.'s handling of veteran's compensation. Thank you.