Saturday, September 13, 2014


Today we really needed a reboot after dealing with the VA yesterday, it just so happened that I had plans to take the girls apple picking with my sister and nephew so Will would have some time alone.  It was perfect timing really.  I have been wanting to take the kids apple picking since the moment I found out I was going to be a mom!  Growing up in New England it wasn't really fall without a trip to the orchard. 

We almost canceled today because it was supposed to rain but the rain held off and we had a great day.  TC woke up at 6AM asking if it was time to go to the farm yet - she was beyond excited.  We had a really great day, I took the girls to Target at 8AM because I just couldn't handle the thought of them apple picking without the proper fashionable boots!  We got home with just enough time to change and head out the door to meet my sister.  It was cool and overcast and kind of the perfect day for apple picking.  I couldn't have imagined a better mother daughters day.

Will got a few hours at home alone which is a Godsend when you spend the days listening to little girls scream all week. 

It was perfect.  Tomorrow starts a new week, here's hoping it can be smooth and productive.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Fun At The VA - Not Really

When we left the army Will was told to go home and within the next few weeks we would get a letter telling him when his first appointment would be.  We waited, waited, waited...and waited and nothing.  Well long story short, the paperwork was never filed and he wasn't assigned to the VA.  We took care of that in June and in July he got a letter for an appointment in August.  The week before his appointment he was called and told he was being pushed out another month into September.

He pretty much lost his mind on the woman who called and told him this was unacceptable.  He is a 90% disabled vet who hadn't seen a doctor in over 9 months and they were going to push him out another month.  He told her that he wasn't going to let them do this to him and he WOULD be seen much earlier than September.  Before hanging up he made sure to ask that he not be put in a secret file where he wouldn't be seen until months after his death.  A few hours later he got a call that an appointment happened to open up a day before his original appointment...imagine that.

He's been going to the VA in Providence, RI because it's really close to where we are in Massachusetts but he has to drive 40 minutes into Massachusetts to drop the girls off at his grandparents' house then 30 minutes into Providence go to his appointment drive 30 minutes to the girls then 40 minutes back to our house - it's not ideal.  We've been making it work because we don't have a choice.  Yesterday he had an appointment in Providence and happened to get a letter at his grandparents' house telling him that he had to be at the VA hospital in Boston the following day (today).  He called me at work and asked me to take the day off to go with him.  He can't drive in Boston, it is just not even an option for him in his current state.  (And why did this letter go to an address we had updated months before and why did they have a phone number that had been changed months ago as well...we have been getting letters and calls from the VA in both MA and RI since July??)

We weren't really sure what the appointment was for, he had to check in the the compensation/pension desk so we thought it had to do with his TDLR (he's only on temporary disability for some stupid reason but in 4 years it will be permanent).  What this really was was singing for his supper.  He had to go prove that he is still messed up.  And apparently they can call him in to do that at any point - for the rest of his life.

His first appointment was a psychologist who went over every reason he's messed up and how him being messed up totally makes his life suck.  It was a lot of fun, really everyone should do that at least once a week.  At the end of the hour she said her report would state that his depression was sever but his PTSD seems like it's getting better...So now we are left to sit and wait for the next 4 months to see of they are going to mess around with his PTSD rating.

Appointment number two was neurology where an emotionally drained and humiliated Will had to again sing for his supper and prove to another doctor he has never seen and will never seen again that his does, in fact, have a TBI and it makes his life a living hell.  You can imagine Will was in a horrible mood at this point and was doing his best to give this doctor the benefit of the doubt but he seemed to take everything personally.  He even told Will that he should chill out because this office was pretty chill.  Will almost lost his mind so I stepped and and reminded the doctor that is was very easy for him to say sitting in the examiner's chair and that he needs to take what Will is going through into account.  A lot more happened in that appointment, I was kicked out while he performed the most basic neurological tests.  During this time Will was telling him that it is beyond messed up that He's been home for 9 months and the first neurologist he was seeing wasn't to treat but to evaluate him.  The doctor's response: "If you don't like something take it up with the VA."  Totally dismissive, cold and horrible.  Will reminded him that as a doctor with education and clout it may mean more to the VA coming from him and not some messed up soldier.

We will be taking this up with the VA, Will is going to go out of his way to be sure that everyone knows just how horrible this man was to him - telling someone with a TBI and PTSD to well as so many other issues. 

Tonight we are drained and emotional.  We feel like Will is being treated like an unwanted stepchild.  But at least TC told me that I'm a bad mom so that was a nice cherry on my shit sundae. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

My Sept 11th Story (repost)

This is a repost from my old blog

This is long and very personal so I understand is not everyone reads but I think it's time I put this down so I always know what that day was like, everything about that day.

I looked back and was surprised to see that I hadn't posted this before.  It seems that we all know where we were, what we were doing and how we reacted the on September 11, 2001.  The day has a whole extra element for me because I was horribly violated the night before.  I thought the most I would have to worry about that day was dealing with being date raped but I would soon find out that wouldn't be the case.

I remember stepping out of Hall 10 on campus around 8:45 EDT.  It was one of those perfect fall days where the warm sunshine mixed fall air in a way that you only find in New England.  I tried to appreciate it but my head was swirling, what was I going to do about what happened the night before?  I wasn't even sure what happened - I said no over and over but I didn't scratch or scream or really do anything other than cry.  With that on my mind it's not surprising that when I heard the girls talking about the plane crashes I only half listened and assumed it was a new movie or something. 

It was clear that word had not spread on campus yet, the rotunda was bustling as usual, the Greeks were in their spots, the jocks in their spots, the student government in their spots and the rest of us filled in the holes.  Class went as scheduled, Business Law I think - the professor made no mention to what happened.  At 9:50 when class was dismissed I made my way back to the rotunda to find the entire student body gathered together watching the tiny TVs in horror.

I couldn't believe it, the first thing I did was call my sister at her school outside of Boston, I knew her boy friend was flying out to California but I didn't know what day.  He was safe.  I made my way over to another building on campus and once again the students were all brought together watching in disbelief.  There were hugs and tears and terrified faces.  Many of the students were from New York and New Jersey, our campus was just 50 miles south of Boston - this was happening in our back yard to people we love.

I spoke to my mom, my siblings, my stepmother.  I wanted nothing more than to call my father because he is who I turn to when horrible things happened but he had died 4 months earlier.  I remember feeling helpless and terrified.  I wondered about my brother who was stationed in Japan with the Marines.  I will admit that I didn't know where Afghanistan was so I looked at a map and wondered if he would be sent.  I couldn't imagine someone I love being sent to war - it was just impossible to wrap my mind around.

I got back to my dorm and talked to my roommates about it all, we were party girls at the time.  We were just getting to know each other but this brought us together in a way we could have never imagined.  I called my office in down town Providence, we were open so I went to work.  Radio stations had stopped playing music and people were just calling in and talking.  It wasn't the angry anti Muslim crap we hear today, it was from the heart words of love and fear.  At this point flags were at half staff.

In the office the phone didn't ring, no one was thinking about commercial real estate.  The agents were watching a little black and white TV with a bunny ears antenna.  I spent most of the day on my phone and in tears.  At one point Providence officials were searching for a suspected terrorist who ran off a train, thank God it was nothing.  I learned that a friend had not heard from his brother who worked in the North Tower.  It was the longest 4 hours of work.

By the time I left the office at 5 EDT there was an obvious mood shift.  The radio was playing music, songs about peace, songs about country, and songs about heroes.  The flags were back up and being flown proudly.  People had started putting flags everywhere they could.  The unity that I had seen on campus was spreading to down town Providence and across the country.

I got back to school quickly because most offices had closed and there were few cars on the road but people weren't speeding, people weren't cutting each other off, people were being respectful.  Without planes flying it was quiet.  I still felt lost and scared.  My roommates and I decided to go to a chapel service that night.  The priest told us that he really didn't know what to do, what do you say when something like this happens?  He said that when he doesn't know where to go when seeking God's guidance he starts at the beginning so he read from the book of Genesis.  I don't remember exactly which passages he read but I do remember for the first time in over four months I felt my father's presence.  I had heard about it from other people who lost people but I knew I hadn't experienced it.  It was what I needed at that moment.  It was reassurance that alive or dead when I need him he would be around.

Later that night my friend's brother made it home a hero.  The intercom in the north tower told everyone to stay put but he knew better and being the loud Staten Island boy that he is got his entire office out of the building safely before the tower collapsed.

In the days and weeks to come campus was on lock down.  Classes were welcome distractions.  Our school lost two alumni, one of which was from my home town and very close to a close friend of mine.  Flags popped up in every dorm window.  There were still parties but they were patriotic parties, I know it sounds weird and disrespectful but is how many people coped.

As for me I decided not to do anything about what happened the night before.  My brother went from Japan to The Philippians but would never go to Afghanistan.  In 2005 he was one of the Marines taking Fallujah and has since retired from the military.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Working Mom Struggles

I never thought it would be easy, not once.  I always knew and appreciated the time I was able to spend home with my babies - even when it meant that we were searching the couches for spare change!  We had our ups and downs these past four years since becoming parents and since Will's injury.  But Will can't go back to work - not in the state he's in now so we knew it was my turn to step up.  Yes, I have been working since February but that job was mostly at night and I got to spend the best part of my day with my family - but that was the only good thing about that job.

These days I out of bed at 5:30-6:00 depending on if I am going to run.  My girls should not be out of their room until their clock light lights up at 6:30 but that almost never works.  So I am showering and getting ready while changing a diaper, fixing breakfast, and dealing with whatever toddler crisis comes up.  Will is usually still in bed.  If he's not downstairs by 7 I wake him up and try to remember to east some breakfast and brush my teeth before heading out the door no later than 7:21.

I spend the day at work trying to stay busy - which is not always easy - and fighting the physical pains of missing my children.  Some days are better than others but at least once a day my abdomen feels like I am being stabbed and the desire to put my arms around them is overwhelming.  I want to know what they are doing, if they know that I love them...pathetic, I know.  I do my best to take control of these feelings but some days the anxiety takes over and I have to deal with a mini panic attack prying that no one notices.

I call home on my lunch break, checking on everyone.  I make sure Will is feeling well enough and the girls are behaving.  At 5:00 on the dot I am out the door and speeding down the road to beat the commuter rail traffic to get home by 5:30.  When I get home Will is stressing over dinner and the kids are running around in their disaster of a playroom.

The house is a mess, we eat dinner as the girls start to wind down and become unraveled.  Bedtime is at 7 but the tantrum start well before.  I am home for their worst part of the day.  We put them to bed and it takes over an hour of screaming and crying and potty trips and whatever else they can thinks of before they are finally asleep.  Now I try to clean up, without Will seeing me clean because he feels bad that while he has all these grand plans to keep the place clean nothing gets done.  I try to not hold it against him, because of his injury he has a tunnel vision issue where if he's doing one thing nothing else in the world exists.  I would rather have toilet bowl ring than a toddler who wonders out of the house alone.  But damn it sucks.  Somehow he does find a way to clean his fish tanks twice a week though...  His social anxiety wont allow for us to hire a cleaning lady.  Then I finally get to try to relax and Will is all over me about why I'm so anxious.  But what can I do?  I know his limitations - complaining to him about things he wishes he could fix is just going to leave us both miserable.

I really hope starts to get better, I don't know what will change but hopefully something.  But I can't really think about that now, I have to meal plan for the week and get my shopping list together because guess what - I still have to do that too.