|Photo by Sgt Richard D. Stephens, USMC|
So basically how it worked was I could type out an email, send it, and he would get it printed out there, sealed and delivered to him in only a week versus 3-4 weeks it would take with snail mail. Anyways, I digress. What kind of company stops all communication between a wife and her husband in war? A bunch of assholes. I don't care, I will say it. No amount of money, quality, whatever the stupid reason may be is ever justifiable in completely taking away a wife's ability to talk to her husband who is risking his life every day in Iraq. I couldn't even take his phone calls at my desk, I had to book it outside to answer the phone. Sometimes I would miss it...and sit at my desk and cry. It was bad enough I couldn't email him, and then they didn't allow me to answer my phone. It was awful. I had full blown anxiety attacks sitting at my desk because it was weeks since I had spoken with him, and a bunch of money hungry, power controlled men in suits had the final say. But I am glad my husband fought for their freedom to make my life a living hell during that deployment. What they taught me is people truly don't know what it's like to sit at home while your husband is being shot at on the other side of the world. And lets talk about my quality of work I was doing after they cut off my communication. Uh....I watched ABC episodes on my computer, fully prepared to get fired. I had a foot out the door the moment they pulled what they did on me. I understand other social media, but cutting off a MARINE CORPS MESSAGING SYSTEM?! Oh lord, I must have really been a terrible employee, taking 10 minutes out of my day to send my husband a Motomail that would reach him in a week.
Now lets talk about what happens when said military man is injured and can no longer work. Most people who have "MR. MOM" at home have expectations. Expectations that can no longer be considered acceptable when you have someone with many injuries from combat. So my day would start with an alarm, probably just like yours. I would have to wake up 45 minutes to an hour early, because he spent nights checking windows, and didn't fall asleep til 4am. Here I am at 6am, getting myself ready for work, begging him to wake up and help with the kids. But there he lays, motionless and snoring from the night of tossing and turning, and waking up to check every noise heard. So I would always be running late, I had to get my daughter ready for school, and fed, and beg and plead for him to get up and take her to school. Does that make him lazy? No. It's not his fault his brain wouldn't turn off, and every damn medication the VA gives him makes him take a coma instead of sleeping. So we have yet to find a good sleeping medication for him that doesn't make him take comas. How does that make me look when I walked in late? It made me look lazy. How many times I got a text "please try to be here on time!" Jesus, I get up at 6am...it has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with him. I even tried telling them, but the bottom line is this: THEY DON'T GET IT. It's not their lives. In fact, the only people who really, truly understand are other wounded warrior wives. That's it!
Every wounded warrior situation is different, yet we share similarities. Mine doesn't sleep well because of the chronic severe pain and PTS. So he usually can fall asleep by about 2am these days, and will get up about 20x (no, I am not elaborating) between the time he went to bed, and the time he finally gets up, usually around 11am. So if I have him at home while I am working full time, lets talk about how well that works out. (You can see why I had to quit...) He couldn't wake up, and I would get phone calls from him in excruciating pain begging me to come home and take care of the kids because he couldn't move from his bed. And then I dealt with petty bullshit at work, that would bring me home in the worst moods of my life. Is that what my family deserved? No. I do know that petty bullshit happens in just about every job there is, but when your "attitude" is the reason they hold a raise, well, that's not exactly fair either considering the monumental pile of shit I had on my plate with my veteran, kids, and the VA. My attitude was directly because of the people I was dealing with in the office, who did not understand my life. If I wanted to be micromanaged, I would have joined the military. (LOL) So I would come home, drained from the drama, a 30 minute commute to find my house destroyed by two tiny little people that I love. I had to make dinner. I had to clean up. I had to do bedtime. Every single day I had to communicate with someone, or something Veterans related. My husband should be able to get services no problem at the VA, but even today when I write this I have another battle to take on. Example: VA sends him for physical therapy on his cervical spine (neck) where he had neurosurgery. He arrives and the guy tells him he's sending him for outside water physical therapy for the lumbar. LOL...... (wheres an emoji when I need one. It would be the eyes wide open face)
So if you are an employer of a caregiver of a wounded warrior, just try and understand that their work doesn't end when they get home, and it definitely did not start the moment they walked in the door. The only rest I ever got was when I was asleep, and many times I would wake up in a full blown panic, heart racing and everything. I never was well rested when I showed up for work. I already had dealt with a phone call from the VA before even stepping foot in the building. We are the hardest working people on the planet, but when we become the target instead of the ally, it's a painful reminder that nobody supports us besides our own, and that sucks.
FMLA Information: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs28m.pdf and yes, wounded warrior's qualify under military. Use it if you need it caregivers.