Over the last few years, I’ve had my fair share of exposure to caregiver websites. Being a rural caregiver in a way forces me to rely on websites, forums and other networking options to communicate with other caregivers and find information. But there are a few things I’ve noticed reading some of these sites and forums. I am not saying that they are all bad and completely shitty, because they are not. Many of them have a TON of information. It is the language some of them use to provide other caregivers with this information. And that many of them don’t address three key concerns that other caregivers and myself have talked about plenty of times.
1.How crappy the VA really is
The VA can be an absolute hell-hole. *ahem* I mean, shit-hole. Sorry!
Excuse me, I meant to say: The VA can be a place where (some) receive absolutely great care and have been helped tremendously.
Now, that we have acknowledged the almighty greatness of the Department of Veterans Affairs, let’s talk about how shitty they can really be! Now, I am not accusing other caregiver websites of not addressing our concerns as spouses, family members and caregivers when it comes to the relationship between our veterans and the VA. Some do mention how veterans often times deeply mistrust the VA, and some do mention the frustrations of having to deal with this bureaucratic behemoth; but far too often the VA seems to ‘get away’ with many of their shenanigans. I wonder if it has anything to do with the VA not wanting any negative information being placed on these sites in order for them to receive acknowledgement from the VA; much like they told me to not say anything negative about the VA. (Again, I am NOT saying that this is a fact.)
Let’s just be honest here
The VA can be a massive shit-hole, dressed up in a marble and gold-plated $73.5 billion facade. From dealing with crappy employees who decide to write random shit in your veteran’s medical records and doctors suffering from some kind of superiority complex that makes them believe they are somehow far above the average veteran’s intellectual abilities, to the medical assistants and nurses eating their $15 lunch from the VA canteen while checking in a veteran, joking and laughing with the other employees and playing Majong or checking Facebook all at the same time! Normally I would would be really impressed with such individuals for having the ability to multi-task on such an advanced level; but we are kind of talking about people’s lives, illnesses, conditions, medical and mental health here!
Should we have networks that encourage healthy and positive living for us caregivers? Yes!
Should, especially those of us who live in rural areas, be able to connect with other caregivers without having to learn how to read maps to find a caregiver support group meeting in the middle of downtown? Yes!
Should we have the opportunity to connect with other caregivers and exchange information? Yes!
I am actually excited to meet other caregivers, because it allows me to talk to people who know what I am going through.
But, for goodness-sake, please talk shit about the VA every once in a while! Don’t try to shut me up when I get frustrated about the VA, believed I was in the circle of fellow caregivers and could vent!
Every veteran, especially combat-veterans, I have ever met, loves their guns!
Considering that the sole reason for our men and women in uniform to go to war is to protect our nation, our way of life and our Constitution, one would think that these men and women are more than capable of owning them. Not to mention, it is kind of a constitutional right; you know, the thing they go out and fight for!?
Why, then, do they have to justify their use and ownership of guns to the military, the VA, and other entities; and in some cases even risk losing that right without due process?
Why don’t we talk about that?
Why don’t we address the simple violation of a constitutional right, all because it entails guns?
On the other hand, the discussion of going to the shooting range after leaving the military seems to get lost in the political correctness our country has plastered itself with. I wonder if talking about the potentially therapeutic sensation of going to the range may have on veterans struggling with anxiety and other conditions, makes many feel uneasy. Because so many people out there don’t understand what it’s like to live with a combat veteran- let alone understand what they are going through?
Or truly understand guns, period?!
3What it’s (really) like to live with a combat-veteran
I have absolutely no idea what my husband deals with on a daily basis. I do not know, nor will I ever know, what he has been through, seen, felt or experienced on his multiple deployments. And I have absolutely no intention on trying to act like I know- because I don’t!
What I do know, however, is what it’s (really) like to live with, and be in love with, a combat-veteran.
It is a roller-coaster ride!
I understand all the technical and medical mambo-jumbo that I often times read about on caregiver sites. I am sure many of us have researched, looked for this information and were glad to find such sites to explain all the professional speak to us. This is great. But there is a difference between someone telling me how to be positive and take care of myself when I see my husband having a panic and anxiety attack in the middle of the store, because there are too many people and his PTSD kicked into overdrive, and then telling someone that it is OK to break down in such a situation!
But promoting positive thinking is good for the well-being of caregivers, right?
It seems like many sites preach more about how to stay positive and practice a healthy life-style (which is totally cool and we should really try to do that more often), but not many get down to the nitty-gritty and reality of the true suckiness (y’all like that word? 🙂 ) that accompanies living with a combat-vet. There is very little mention about the frustration, anger and worry they may express when having to deal with the VA. There is very little mention about the level of unpredictability that us caregivers often have to deal with. Why are we not talking about what it is like to have to come to terms that our families are far different from everyone else?
It’s OK to talk about the shitty-ness of not always recognizing your loved one and often times not knowing where your place is in the relationship. It’s OK to talk about how exhausting it is to have to do it ALL! And it’s completely fine to talk about how frustrating it is to not know when the line that separates your role as caregiver and your role as spouse/daughter/son/family member/friend blur so much that you don’t know which side you’re currently standing on.
Well, at least it should be OK for us to talk about these things!
What do you think?
Disclosure: Everything I share is solely based on my personal experience and is for informational purposes only. Some posts contains affiliate links. For more details please view my disclosure policy.