War and Dementia

My husband is an old warrior.  A Marine. A boots-on-the-ground grunt who served in Vietnam, though who the hell it was he served over there in that hot, green jungle, I can’t tell you.

But, I can sure tell you with certainty that he has never recovered from the experience, never really come home.

I can tell you with no hesitation whatsoever that his overwhelming Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has intruded on every day of his life since they flew him home after he disarmed a landmine the Marine Corp way–by stepping on and detonating the little bomb.

But all this is old news.

What I want to talk about today is the little known fact that veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder have twice the chance of developing dementia than those without PTSD.  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100831073805.htm

My husband is one of those old warriors who, after forty years of living with PTSD now lives with the diagnoses of dementia.

Let me give you an example of what this means.

This past weekend we traveled a few hours up the road to Springfield, Missouri. We stayed at a motel just over a mile from where, on Saturday morning, I talked to a wonderful group of writers at Sleuth Ink. http://sleuthsink.blogspot.com/  My husband did his best all weekend to be helpful and supportive.

On Saturday morning, I drove one mile down highway 44, from the motel to the library, left the truck with my husband.  He was to return to the motel, hang out a couple of hours and then return to meet up with me at about 1:00.

He got lost.  Tried to enter the freeway on the exit ramp. Which frightened and further confused him.

When I finished my meeting with the writers, he was sitting on a bench in front of the library.  He’d lost the keys to the truck.

Here’s what I want to share with you.

Love is complicated and I’m beginning to understand that God tests those he loves most.

And here’s another gem of wisdom.

War sucks and then it sucks some more and then it gets worse.

For the love of God, isn’t it time we figured out a way to resolve our differences that doesn’t involve blowing each other up?

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About Author and Speaker Pamela Foster

Pamela Foster is a speaker and author. Her first book, Redneck Goddess, is available at local bookstores and on Amazon. Her second book, Bigfoot Blues, will be available in August 2012.
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11 Responses to War and Dementia

  1. My heart goes out to you and Jack. Every time I read a book or see a movie about war I want to scream out in anger and disgust that we humans have to resort to such violence to settle our differences. And what we do to an entire generation of young men is the worst possible action we can possibly condone.

  2. Erin York says:

    This was a really powerful post (one that made me go back and dig through your archives for me and follow you). Thanks for sharing. My grandmother is suffering with dementia and has been for many years. It’s one of those things that never seems to get any easier.

  3. Denton Gay says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Pam. I’ll keep ya’ll in my little prayers. I had no idea about what Jack is going through. I wholeheartedly agree with you and deeply resent what our government has done to thousands of our patriotic soldiers and their families with the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. My heart also goes out to all the innocent Iraqis and Afghanis whose lives have been taken and the misery war has caused them. The world needs more Jimmy Carters, peacemakers who are willing to find peaceful ways to resolve our differences. Give Jack my condolences in regards to this recent incident. That’s got to be spooky.

  4. Yes, war leaves so many in its bloody wake. And it doesn’t end when the shooting stops. Not for anyone involved. Watching Jack deal with all this, while difficult, has made me see him as a hero all over again.

  5. You and Jack are both in my thoughts.

  6. Linda says:

    I have to say you americans are hard on your young people. Jack has been through soooo much and for what?? We are sorry you left Panama when you did, but it was good timing so it seems. We miss you down here and will send you pics of the finished remodel of the house.
    The heroes of these terrible days keep piling up and no one seems to know how to help them without all the bullshit red tape. Tell me again who’s faking reality???
    We are happy for your success Pam, we knew when we read your first story that you were on your way! Kuddos! Linda and Doug

    • Hey Linda. Thanks for writing. We think of you often. I still miss Panama’s late afternoon light. You’re right, though. We needed to get to the states and a VA. I’m glad you’re enjoying the house, though I bet its a whole new place now! Can’t wait to see pictures. Send them to my email. Not Jacks. pamelafoster2011@gmail.com
      Enjoy the warmth as our days grow brisk and we head into another winter.

  7. keliwright says:

    How wonderful that Jack has someone who loves enough to really be there for him even when things are worse.

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