My first post…to this blog was going to be scientific with statistics and research data. After all, I am a medical researcher, data analyst, I manage information; constantly seek answers, always curious. This afternoon however, I had a conversation with a mom whose son has TBI and PTSD…and orders to deploy again. Perhaps then, you will indulge my speaking from the heart instead of from ‘my brain’. I guarantee enough of that will be forthcoming.
There is nothing more heartbreaking than to look into your child’s eyes and feel compelled to ask”what have those eyes seen?” And the eyes, well what you see is ‘dead air’. The definition of “Dead air” is ”unintended interruption in a broadcast during which the carrier signal is unmodulated-no sound on a radio signal or a black screen on a television signal.”
I’ve asked my son this very question. I imagine many of you have either asked or wanted to ask your son, husband, sister, brother, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend; Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, National Guard, Reservists…
After my son’s first tour of duty to Iraq, his wife (my daughter-in-law) asked him to tell her ”what it was like over there.” His reply was it would be very difficult for her to understand because she had no context in which to do so.
Prior to March while researching and preparing materials for my web site Military Health Matters Resource Center for “Brain Injury Awareness Month” I came upon a set of presentation/video packages designed to train senior NCOs and Officers on the proper identification of TBI, mTBI and PTSD and correct redeployment protocols. We’ve all seen films or documentaries of the wars, videos of IED explosions, combat support hospital operations, or the like but none of these have ever come as close to making the kind of impression these did. They were vignettes or scenarios with real people and real situations. Agonizing to watch but impossible to turn away from; invoking the very same feelings you may experience while watching a horror movie that never seems to end. Only this isn’t a movie…but it is absolute horror. I am writing an article on PTSD and TBI that I am subtitling: ”the living hell within”. That would be an understatement.
I was very encouraged to hear Secretary Gate’s 2010 budget proposals this week in particular the priority of investment in ‘human’ capital - our kids and loved ones. More on this next time… as soon as my brain returns.
Hug them even if they can’t hug you back.