I seriously walk around in a happy bubble. I think everyone is kind and cares for others. I love my happy bubble. (I am the yellow fish from Nemo, "My bubbles") When you pop my bubble, I get a little upset. This weekend I discovered I am not the only one who has had people say some truly ignorant things to them as they have tried to heal their loved ones. I woke up this morning with it on my mind. The mom said to me this weekend, "I'd give anything to have your strength and nerve." Well I've got plenty so this one is for her and all the other girlfriends, wives, moms, dads, brothers, sisters, uncles, etc, etc who don't have my nerve.
(clears throat and grabs soap box and stands on it)
Do you have any feasible idea how incredibly hard it is to heal a wounded warrior? Have you walked in our shoes? Have you given up your friends, family, job, life, everything to heal someone you love? Have you had to build up a young man or woman who sacrificed his life and returned from his job overseas only to relearn his entire life? Have you had to sit down and have a thousand conversations with your children on why they can't go home yet? Have you had to take a crash course on narcotics or wound care or PIC lines?! Have you had to change your whole life? Do you get up everyday thinking about what you have to do for someone else so they can have a good start to their day?
If you answer no to these questions then don't judge me for my actions. Jealously green is not a becoming color and you shouldn't wear it. It is like spandex, just because it's an option, it doesn't mean you should wear it.
Yes we get to meet the President, various celebrities and athletes. Yes we are given opportunities the average American is not given. Yes we get to go places and people step up and bless us with vehicles, concerts and gifts and even trips. Yes we go and get massages and have the option for spa days and such. And you know what? We deserve every single thing that is given to us. Our warriors have been through so much and they deserve every freaking smile we can put on their faces. Our children deserve to get out and have fun. We NMAs and caregivers deserve to go have a 90 minute massage. We deserve to go have a day away from the hospital. What we are doing is absolutely positively exhausting. That 90 minute massage may be the only thing we get to do for ourselves for days or even a month. We get up everyday thinking about our warriors and our families, not ourselves. We don't get up thinking, well what can I get out of this for myself. (Yes I know those people exist around here, but they don't last because we weed them out.) We get up at 5 or 6 am and hardly sit down to eat much less rest. We don't stop until 10 or 11 (or later). We finally do stop our bodies now get coma like sleep because we are so exhausted. After the first few days or this crazy pace, your body just accepts it as your new normal. We have a crappy diet of whatever we can get our hands on while our warriors are in-patients. When they go out-patient we finally develop some sense of normalcy. But that is quickly interrupted by the WTB or random appointment or repair that has to be done to a wheelchair or prosthetic. From the moment you get the phone call that your soldier has been injured, your life is no longer yours. You willingly give it all up for whatever is in their best interest. Sounds like the life, huh?! You may think you have something to compare this too, but unless you have experienced a traumatic injury of this caliber you've got nothing in the vicinity that remotely compares to this. So please don't try to compare it, just try to support us.
But wait, you go on trips and meet celebrities. First let me tell you those celebrities take time out to thank us all for our service and sacrifice. It is so awesome that they take time out of their busy lives to come say hi. If they have enough time they hang out with our families for a few minutes. They don't come everyday. But when they do come it's only for a little bit, you get to take that little break and then it's back to business. The business of waiting for the human body to heal itself. The business of every day filled with appointments and doctors and therapists. As for the trips out and away, we all deserve to get away from the hospital. Gees, you try being there every single day and see if you don't need a break. It's not like all we do is hang out with celebrities and go on trips all day every day, we don't even do this every week.
I double dog dare you to swap lives with one of us for just a few hours. Those of you who are pointing fingers and judging us, let me assure you, you would not survive here. You would tuck your tail between your legs and run like the coward you are. Sure you can type things out on your keypad and hit send or post. But I'll bet money that you will not dare bring that to my face. Let me heed this warning to you. If I find out you bring that crap to one of our families I will happily take time out and sit you down and lay all this out for you. You will not like the dose of truth that I will dish out to you. When I have to lay out the truth to my clients I always ask are you ready to rip that band-aid and get to the truth of this and heal this wound. I also always remember my Grandaddy always said, "Be careful when you are pointing that finger, because you have 3 pointing right back at you." That's what we have going on here. It's called projection anger. You are so angry about what is going on that you project you anger to the person who looks the strongest. You take your own insecurities and toss them at someone so you don't have to confront your fears.
So let's rip that band-aid off and look it that wound. Here's the truth, someone you care about has been hurt. They chose someone that is not you to take care of them and you are extremely jealous of that and that pisses you off. So what do you do? You attack that person and try to tear them down. You look for any sign of weakness. You tell them they are too happy, or disillusion, you ask stupid crap like "Are you happy they were hurt?" You accuse them of making you loved ones' injuries about them self. You question them leaving the hospital for a break. Well that is just genius right?! Why don't you sit down and look at your own insecurities rather than picking apart someone who is going through so much right now? The bottom line is they are finding their inner strength and are driving forward and are driven by the best interests of the warrior they love. You just don't get it. You want to sit in your corner and cry. You just can't stand up and do what they are doing and you are jealous. You are jealous because you are not that warrior's soft place to fall. You want to be their everything. You want that front row seat, but they didn't choose you. Well here's what I say to that. We are a little busy healing over here and they last thing we need is your drama. We've got our own soap opera going on and we don't have time to fade into another story that is all about you. Get over yourself, and here's a news flash, THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU!!!! Suck it up, get over it and go find a hobby!!!
Our families are going through so much! We have to physically and psychologically heal our loved ones. We are in the middle of a hospital merger and are trying to sort it all out. We have the Army and the Navy fighting over territory. Then we have to deal with the Army and VA policies. We have to help our soldiers figure out what's next for them. We have to get help them get what they need for the rest of their lives. Then caregivers like me have kids to raise. NMAs/Caregivers are balancing so many full-time jobs that I lost count and we get a whopping $71 per day for all of this glamorous work. I bet your job is looking really good right now. So what in the world makes you think you have the audacity to questions or motives or attack us for our choices.
The last time someone attacked me for the choices we have made for our family I told them this. I will pray for you. I will pray that when you have a bad day someone is kind enough to put their arm around you to help you. I will pray that God will lead you to the light of hope. I will pray that your family never ever has to endure what my family is going through. But until you come and spend one hour in my shoes shut the hell up.
I stand 101 percent behind what I say. Caregivers need these breaks so they don't exhaust themselves from compassion fatigue. I can speak about projection anger and compassion fatigue because I fell victim to both of them. I am thankful I endured both because now I can help others heal from it and hopefully avoid it. Our warriors are given so many opportunities but our Caregivers and children are not. So when the opportunities arise I jump on them, because I don't know when the next one will arrive. I am sorry you do not understand. However, you can move on with your idiocy and leave us to heal. We need support, smiles and hope. If you cannot offer those to our families then best wishes to you.