*A repost of a blog Justin wrote on The Simple Things on 26 March 2013 – the very first blog he wrote to start chronicling our life together.
If you read the “About Me” section feel free to skip or scan the next string of words as it’s basically going to be a recap of that section, though as I’m writing I’ll undoubtedly expand on a few things. Currently I’m 30 and about to enter into the institution of marriage for the first time. Though the wedding date is now only months away I have no nervousness or reservations about it. For me, it’s not that hard to make the promise to stand by the person I love; it’s what makes life worth living.
My fiancée has an 11 year old son who’ve I’ve already come to love as my own. I have a pretty good relationship with his dad, as does she, as well as with his wife. For all the BS I’ve seen with people arguing about the care of their kids once a breakup happens, I couldn’t have asked for a better situation to walk into or better people to do this with. The one thing I have yet to question from any of the parties, including myself, is whether or not the best interest of little man is truly at the center of any issues. After seeing some of the things I’ve seen in these types situations, I’m very thankful for that.
Now that the basic introduction is done, I guess I’ll get to the meat of the matter…what this blog is really all about. The current generation of men and women have been at war since 2001 (though officially, we’re not since there was no Constitutionally mandated act of war declared and ratified) and we’re seeing the destruction it’s inflicted on our own soil with the high percentage of soldiers returning with both physical and emotional degeneration and injuries. For many, it’s simply something they see when they turn on the news or read the occasional news story. They might share something in support they see on Facebook or Twitter but most don’t know the actual day to day struggles these men and women go through just to live life after they return home.
Though I may get into some things about PTSD and other emotional and mental discussions, that’s not what I’m really going for with this blog. My aim is to give a view into our life; our struggles and our triumphs in the hope that some may get a better understanding of what it’s like to both be an injured veteran and their loved ones as well. What neither of us is looking for is pity. There are people who are a hell of a lot worse off than we are and we’re thankful for what we have and that includes our wonderful family and friends. She’s been on me for a few months to begin this is the hopes that others may realize they’re not alone in their struggles and also to give those who don’t know or understand some insight into our day to day happenings. With that, I’ll begin though I apologize if this first entry runs a bit long.
My fiancé was sent home 7 months into her deployment as an Army Medic from Iraq after she began suffering from Grand Mal Seizures. Though some of the members of her unit both then and now believed her to be faking to get out of finishing her deployment, how the fuck you fake a Grand Mal seizure and the resulting effects is beyond me. What has taken place since has been a litany of Dr. visits, meds, questions, theories, and increasing symptoms and/or side effects (currently, with no diagnosis it’s hard to tell if it’s one or the other or both). As if the seizures didn’t suck enough, in the past year she’s lost much of the strength and dexterity in her legs and it’s relegated to using crutches on her good days and a wheel chair on the bad ones. On top of that, she’s lost a portion of her short term memory. Again, no one has any idea why.
I met her two years ago October 15th. At that point she had already been retired by the Army and attempting to figure out what her next move would be. During our first date she laid the whole thing out for me, basically giving me the option to walk away if I chose. I didn’t. As a matter of fact I didn’t even flinch. At that time she was walking just fine and seemed no different than anyone else. A month or so later I witnessed my first seizure and while admittedly scary, we’d talked before hand about what I needed to do when the situation arose and I handled the situation quite well for someone with no medical training I think. Just like anything, when you’re in the situation you don’t think about it, you simply react and fall back on what you’ve learned and your training. Now a days I’ve seen enough of them that I just fall into the needed responsibilities (I’ll get into them on a later post) without a second thought. So much so that when her sister was visiting this winter and witnessed it for the first time, I didn’t notice how it affected her and it wasn’t until an hour later that I was reminded how scary and uncomfortable it can be for those not accustomed to it. It really is amazing what you can get used to I guess.
Sitting here now, thinking about everything that has happened and will happen in the future, I’m thankful for so much. Do I wish for better days ahead, good luck, and fortune? You bet your ass I do. It’s human nature not to want to be static, to want to evolve and improve. But no matter what happens, I’ll always be thankful for the little things…