My son James and I (his caregiver and mother) live in Grenada, MS
Jim as we call him returned home in 2006 from his fifth deployment to Iraq. He had some injuries although physically not life threatening for which we were thankful but as time went on the PTSD began to present itself in many forms for which he sought treatment for there in Cheyenne, Wyoming at Warren AFB, But at one point things got just really tough and because another deployment was upcoming and he had 20 years in he decided to retire out not even considering asking for a medical retirement.
Not long after retirement his wife left him and he was having issues with severe headaches, Back pain, and neuropathy had started presenting itself in one leg. So he just felt like giving up and that is exactly what he tried to do. At that point the his psychiatrist called and said she felt it better he come home and be with family instead of trying to go it on his own and so we brought him home in November of 2010.
His health continued to deteriorate and so by suggestion of our family Doctor I registered Jim at our State VA in Jackson, MS and we have been going there ever since for most of his issues. It is very evident to a lot of the health care providers I have seen on the outside of the VA because of the distance and lack of being able to get referrals to some of the specialists I thought were needed that a lot of these symptoms were due to the Burn Pits he was involved in his first three tours as he was in Hazardous waste. And then in his last deployment he was involved in an IED explosion, so we have been living a pretty hectic life for the past 6 years .
When Jim came home I was working a s surgical tech as I have always loved the medical field but was married to a man that believed the woman’s place was home raising the children so I was late going to school but enjoyed the short career that ended when I had to come back home to take care of Jim. I have found that Caregiving is a very lonely life as it seems at least in this small town you are more like a disease then an old friend and church member. And Jim does not want to come out of the house if he does not have to so what use to be a pretty active social life is now one you need to find things to do on your own.
I became the state Fellow for the Elizabeth Dole Foundation a couple years ago and that has been my life saver as though this organization I met many other Caregivers and learned of the resources available to both the Caregivers as well as the Wounded Warrior and the whole family. I was able to enjoy a retreat of just caregivers all of whom like me forgot how to relax and enjoy life and although the worry of our Wounded Warrior at home never leaves us and we are always on the phone checking on them We can relate and laugh, cry and enjoy ourselves for a few days which is really something I know now we as caregivers deserve as well as need for our health’s sake. Both mentally and Physically.
Resources brings into this story a very special group of people and that is the Quality of Life Foundation. Against the better judgement because of a pride instilled in me in childhood, and a very urgent need we had at the house that was way beyond anything we could do ourselves I called QoLF ! Best thing I have ever done as when my request was out of their reach we were able to also involve another resource to cover what they could not . Because I have 2 1/2 acres to mow and it was the one thing Jim would like to get out and do when his back was not killing him I needed a lawn mower he could operate and I could to when he couldn’t . WE GOT IT !!yep a TORO zero turn heaven on wheels when you gotta mow grass. These people were the most generous and most helpful people I could of ever asked to be involved with Sarah took my application and helped me get into the foundation and then turned me over to Sharon as our case worker who, oh my goodness was definitely an Angel sent from above because she not only helped me get this lawn mower but when she heard Jim was having some really bad shoulder and neck pains and did not sleep in a bed but a recliner she took it upon herself to work out getting us a recliner that sleeps well but massages and since it turned out Jim had to have surgery due to some old herniated discs that had just gotten so bad that another one had started in due to scar tissue and it involved a nerve that was causing excruciating pain. It has been a God send as well . Don’t tell them but this caregiver mom also gets in it when I can.
Then on top of all this goodness they got me fixed up to go out to dinner one night to a very nice and elegant restaurant something we never get to do and believe me it was totally enjoyed and will never be forgotten.;
Quality of life is all it says it is and more they care not only for our Wounded Warriors but they CARE and I MEAN CARE for those of us who face the trials of caregiving each day and I thank God he lead me to them when the need arose.
My favorite Verse in the Bible (one of many) is that “I can do all things through Christ who comforts me” and so if you are new to the Caregiver world please number one do not fail to take care of yourself first because with out you your Wounded Veteran would be in real trouble as well as your Children if you have a family. And DO NOT be afraid to ask for help when you need it there are people out here that want to help you that is why they got these organizations up and so with out you their cause would be in vain.
Again Thank you and God Bless richly Quality of Life Foundation for all you do to help us as caregivers to make it through the times when we think there is no hope at all.