Sunday, January 13, 2008

In a Holding Pattern and Feeling Defeated

I haven't wrote much about our life now and how we are dealing with being a family with a "wounded solider"? Where are we in the process? How does this still affect us on a daily basis? What could still happen? Have we been forgotten and do we have all the information and resources available? Is the system for wounded warriors working any better? These are all such emotional topics for me to tackle especially when I don't even know what questions to ask anymore nor who even to ask.
What I do know (or think I know?)---Rodney's situation is this: he is still on Medhold-which means he is still being treated by doctor's for his injuries or symptoms due to the mortar attack, as of today we are at least looking until June 2008. There are many issues still unresolved. He hasn't been released nor has he been rated for his injuries for any sort of disability from the military or VA. He is still considered on active duty with orders from the federal govt. so he is being paid by the Department of Defense. While he is on Medhold he can't be promoted. He can't go back to his civilian job which actually pays more. (there are actually a lot of can't do's) He is part of the Kansas National Guard but not to the point where they have any say over what happens to him in the system-he is commanded by the unit that handles medhold out of Ft. Robinson, in Arkansas where he spent 3 days in Dec. 2006. He works at the armoury close to home but they aren't in charge of him really either. So essentially we as a family of a wounded solider are out here in limbo. He is supposed to be a part of programs like AW2 (wounded warrior)but that hasn't happened. We were told that we qualified last summer??After countless phone calls and emails no response. We have been ignored and avoided more often than not...It is emotionally exhausting as well as confusing. Sometimes I think parts of the system think we will give up since it is so time consuming and so difficult to navigate thru. I am sure many do give up.
Soooo what happens when we need answers to a question or for that matter any kind of assistance. Well we start asking and calling whomever will listen. We get forgotten or passed over a lot. We have been promised many times results or actions that didn't happen. I have said so many times to people I just wish people would do their JOBS! I am so pessimistic about when someone offers help or advice and I hate being like that. It is now to the point that I really don't want anything to do with the Army. I will admit I am so distrustful. At one point I wanted to make a difference-to somehow fix the system. I don't think that is even possible most days. I just don't understand-why does it all have to be so hard! We have never been sent to a support group for wounded warrior families nor do we know if one even exists.We don't have a peer group or others to turn to to say hey what did you do??? We are struggling as a couple but do not really know where to turn other than the private sector for counseling but that doesn't always take in the 'military factor's of our unique situation. I know Rodney is a solider and he did what he did because he is patriotic. I have stood by him through this 24/7 and am very proud of his sacrifices but I believe we deserve more as a family-not recognition, nor parades or ceremonies-we deserve a system that takes care of our needs that are based on the sacrifices he made as well as the other four of us. We deserve to know what is going on. We deserve the emotional support in so many ways. We deserve fair disability pay. We have had so many groups, organizations, and individuals step up throughout this last 15 months-and we wouldn't have made it without them.We are so thankful, grateful and humbled. These organizations are taxed though-there are so many others seeking their help. We have pretty much exhausted our resources. We have exhausted ourselves. Our family is starting to sink, to drown and to suffer with no where to turn. I don't understand how the military can continue to stand back and watch the families of the wounded destroyed.

But it is happening to us...we are losing the battle...we are growing apart so I ask for help from Rodney's case manager whom is in Arkansas. The topic is private but I will say it is something that took me a lot of courage to call about. Rodney didn't want the help but I know it was needed. She was the one I turned to for the first time about a very important family matter-she basically said the Army couldn't help-we were on our own. So what now??? I have no idea other than praying (which never hurts :))-and getting on with my life without the Army as much as I can?? It hurts too bad to be constantly disappointed in system that is supposed to be there. At least that is how I feel? Army Strong...Not so sure!
Sorry to be do negative but I needed to get it out and let you all know what the system looks like and how there is so much room for improvement.
I suppose this all sounds like ranting and raving-maybe even selfish and ungrateful.
If that is the impression-you have not been in my shoes-and I wouldn't want you to have to be. If you are then you do know and I would love to hear from you.
I really need to know we are not alone-I am not alone as the only national guard wife of a wounded solider on medhold!
So our holding pattern continues but I hope every day to be able to take control of my own life in some way so as not to be defeated. I will admit sometimes I don't want any part of this all anymore.All I know is I am so tired of spinning my wheels and getting no where. I guess for today I do give up...Hopefully tommorow I will feel differently and feel up to fighting the fight for us!

I will try to Keep Imagining and praying (please do the same for all of us in this situation)Thanks for listening!


Ness said...

Tracy, you have just written what has been my biggest fear since giving my blessing for my son to join the National Guard...that he won't be taken care of later when he returns and needs the help he so willing gave to his country.

You are in Kansas..right. If this is redundant, please forgive me, but can you get the paper or the local TV station to do a human interest story on your husband and family about you slipping through the cracks? This is an election with your state reps. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. I don't know who you are supporting in the Presidential election, but whoever is bound to have a campaign headquarters near where you live. Go there. Talk to them. Have the candidate of your choice come and see you and hear your story. You have all my prayers and support. Bless you and yours.

Kristi from NY said...

I am so sorry about what your family has been through and is still facing. My husband and I often have conversations about how sad the state of our government is. He currently works as a civilian doing construction work on a base near us. He witnesses much waste of materials and money as one hand does not know what the other hand is doing. I sense much of your frustration from calling one place and being sent another but noone being willing to really help. I certainly don't know the way to make any positive changes. The advice offered in the above comment sounds good to me, although being a squeaky wheel can be very exhausting. I will continue to think of and pray for your family. Hold onto your family - that is what really matters!

Tracy said...

I think all you have said is definitely worth hearing and we will be praying for you. I think there are so many organizations but too many times so many things fall through the "cracks" of things and there seem to be so many cracks. I really pray you can not only get the help you need but to also know (and this is sad) that you really aren't alone. Sadly, there are really so many out there in your shoes and hopefully that won't be the case as more and more speak out. I appreciate you always being there for us. Know we are always here for you. Love, Tracy