It has been a nice vacation from husband and son.  They will be back tomorrow morning and I’m finishing the glazing on the room right now.  I didn’t realize how much I needed time to myself and I have really been able to take an inventory of the past year.  I also have had more time to read and this USA Today article has helped to clarify so much for me pertaining to my husband’s stress problems and hopefully how that will all fit into the big long term picture.

When I put up the room photos you may notice that there is a lions head painted and glazed into a wall.  It wasn’t there when we moved in.  It was an addition that my daughter and I had requested and I found it at A Touch of Class.  We both liked the shape and style.  We ordered it and it came and my husband hung it up for us over a big hole that was in the wall that wasn’t there when we had moved in either.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Thirty percent of U.S. troops surveyed have developed stress-related mental health problems three to four months after coming home from the Iraq war, the Army’s surgeon general said Thursday.
The survey of 1,000 troops found problems including anxiety, depression, nightmares, anger and an inability to concentrate, said Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley and other military medical officials. A smaller number of troops, often with more severe symptoms, were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, a serious mental illness.

The 30% figure is in contrast to the 3% to 5% diagnosed with a significant mental health issues immediately after they leave the war theater, according to Col. Elspeth Ritchie, a military psychiatrist on Kiley’s staff. A study of troops who were still in the combat zone in 2004 found 13% experienced significant mental health problems.

See my husband and I had had a fight.  Just your regular garden variety spousal spat, but since he had gotten back from Iraq our garden variety spats were starting to get kind of spicy.  During this particular spat though it finally dawned on Tracy that maybe we had a tadbit of a problem of a yet unidentified nature.  I’m not sure if it was the first time he put his own head through the wall or if it was the second time that he planted it in the same spot and made the hole bigger, it was one of those times that it finally had occurred to me that something wasn’t quite right.  I have since also said a special prayer of thanks that there wasn’t a 2×4 behind that particular spot that my husband chose.  Nothing like having a damn stress adjustment disorder and a concussion!
My daughter and I hadn’t been having a whole lot of fun lately with husband/dad.  When whatever was going on with him began to be addressed I guess out of our anger somehow we both came up with the same idea about the lion.  I remember feeling so pissed about what had happened to him and now what was happening to us and I looked at that hole and thought that a roaring lion coming out of it would be very appropriate.  A few days later when my daughter was checking out the hole she said close to the same thing so that sealed the deal and we vowed to hang a lions head over the hole.

What my husband is dealing with and how it is healing has been so difficult to really put my finger on but this article has helped me understand how the terrain many of the returning combat soldiers are facing isn’t black and white and a lot of it isn’t going to be PTSD or GAD in the clinical textbook sense.  They can call it this or call it that, but I haven’t been able to really get a commitment to a diagnosis on my husband.  Looks like some of our guys will have PTSD and some will just be “crazy” for awhile…. EITHER WAY HOW NICE…..A WONDERFUL ADDITION TO SERVING THE CHIMP AND HALLIBURTON!  I suppose that’s what the lion is about, roaring at the fuckers!

Screenings of 1,000 U.S. soldiers who returned from Iraq to their home bases in Italy last year found that three to four months later, 30% of them had some mental health difficulties — a much greater incidence than expected. Kiley attributed that to post-combat stress problems taking time to develop once the danger has passed.

Only about 4% or 5% of troops coming home from combat actually have PTSD, but many others face problems adjusting when they come home, Kiley said.

Such problems are sometimes more acute in members of the National Guard, who return to a civilian job when they leave active military duty, Ritchie said.

Military medical officials, however, cautioned against people reading their data as suggesting the war had driven so many soldiers over the edge. Instead, they characterized the anxiety and stress as normal reactions to combat, seeing dead and mutilated bodies, and feeling helpless to stop a violent situation.

Still, such reactions can lead to problems with spouses and children, substance abuse and just day-to-day life, they said.

I didn’t realize that the first doctor to be seeing my husband was in the Guard.  He was here in a private practice with a bunch of psychiatrists but Tricare had assigned him.  He was somewhat reassuring at first but I found myself starting to not care for him as time wore on.  I went to talk with him about the added stress of an upcoming surgery that my son was about to have and he doodled the whole time that I was there.  Maybe about a month later my husband was talking about him and mentioned that the doc had told him that whenever people were talking and he felt it wasn’t of importance he blocked their talking out by doodling and saying uh huh a lot.  What an asshole!  My husband didn’t do very well with that particular surgery either and it isn’t as if I didn’t have enough stress all on my own then.  I suppose what comes around goes around though because that doctor got called up by the Guard and he is currently in Iraq.  I WONDER HOW HIS DOODLING IS GOING?

My husband’s new doctor though is a civilian doctor and I have met him and like him very much.  He is very sensitive and very caring…….no doodling.  Before I met him the people who knew him here kept saying He’s Pakistani, He’s Pakistani, He’s Pakistani… that should mean something or I suppose they were warning me so I wouldn’t pass out or anything when I met him.  For crying out loud, I have been to the big town and I have actually paid people whose family origins were from Pakistan for many professional services…..what is up with that?  I don’t care if he is Martian and green with purple spots.  My husband looked so bad and his eyes were so black for two weeks I thought he was going to start bellowing ADRIAN any moment.  He told everybody at work he fell off a ladder……what, on his face?  That’s quite a fall! Is the guy a good physician people?  Does he doodle?

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