Friday, October 19, 2007

The System is Broken...

I wanted to add a post describing what my biggest issues and frustrations were up to this point in my story. I had little experience dealing with the military so I wasn't a veteran military wife who knew how the "military" worked. I didn't understand why things took so long-so I was inpatient. I didn't understand decisions weren't just made and then action was taken and followed out. I didn't know that to get from point A to point B that sometimes things were handled by going from A to E to S back B, in other words the system wasn't working and I wasn't pleased at all. I feel the men and women in service are giving a huge sacrifice and that really they have one of the the most unselfish jobs there is-so why didn't people care or have the answers when one of their own was wounded-I will admit I am not the best at handling chain of command or protocol-but I will say I am diplomatic,I tend to believe most people are truthful and give people and situations an opportunity to work out- after that I become (put nicely)tenaciously obsessed and pissed off!!! I know most people would be so surprised to know how complicated and messed up getting to my husbands bedside was as well as finding out information about what happens now... If you don't ask and look for it yourself you don't know about it. That was and is so difficult for me to swallow...

So recap on why the experience was a nightmare:

1.) I wasn't contacted when my husband was seriously wounded in a war zone. I was listed as next of kin and contact person. My in laws were contacted instead at about 1am by the company commander because he felt this was in my best interest based on meeting me 2 times.He stated my husband was unconsious so he took it upon himself to make the decision on who to call (which according to my husband and others he wasn't the entire time they were working on him) What is supposed to happen is this; The company commander is to contact the state (in the case of National Guard) and the state liaison/officer assigned from rear detachment, then contacts the spouse/next of kin listed,but not between the hours of 11pm and 7am (I think that is right on the times?). The liaisons job is to then stay in contact with the family and help them thru the process of knowing what happened and what was going to happen next. (Just so you know that the commander did inform me after I wrote a detailed email and sent it to anybody and everybody that he was reprimanded for making a decision that wasn't his to make).

2.)The officer from the state of Kansas that first contacted me ( I guess he was my liason???)-pretty much left me on my own after a few days and then wouldn't return my phone calls on a timely basis then when he did I actually knew more than he did.
He couldn't handle it if I got emotional at all.

3.)No one could tell me when or if I would be able to be at my husbands bedside when he got back stateside nor for sure what medical facility he would be going to. There are many hoops to jump thru or in military talk-certain things have to happen before we can make arrangements for you to fly to him (like the dr. saying he can have visitors???)-I will say when all was said and done, they did make my flight arrangements and pay for my flight to and from)

4.)I call people and they don't call me back or they pass the buck or they pass along a lot of mis-information. (mis-information is a huge issue-I got to the point where I would start every conversation with I need your help but if you do not know the answer just say "I don't know but I can help you find out"-don't give me information that may or may not be the case. I really hated that no one in whatever dept. of the govt. I spoke to seemed to be held accountable for the information they passed out.

5.) I hated that my wounded soldier was being treated in a foreign country and he was unable to speak for himself or even understand most of the time what was even happening and he had no one to advocate for him-this made me physically sick to think about.

I think for now that was my major concerns-I will say I was very proactive in calling the hospital in Germany and making sure they knew his medical history, that he had a family who loved him and trying to get myself physically to him. I more than likely was at times over-sensitive and very emotional but the situation warranted these as well as so many other emotions. I had to do what I had to do/I had to be strong and persistant-The Army was so new at dealing with so many wounded soldiers-especially national guard. The system wasn't set up for it-not that I got much comfort from that was a fact. I will say in the year since we were initially in this situation many parts of the system have been changed for the better. I have been in contact with whomever will listen in DC as well as our own state capital telling our story-I know it has made some difference and we are part of the change....that makes me feel good that some other family won't have to go thru all we did. I just hope I can be looked at as a strong advocate instead of a troublemaker. :)

More later to my faithful blog followers...
(not a novel yet)

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