Monday, October 15, 2012

Needing a wheelchair

It seems so strange to me that 1 1/2 years of taking care of Dean could result in me still learning new things about his injuries, but it's happened.

We don't go many places and I always thought that with the diagnosis of PTSD it must be that all the people and bustle was just too much for him. I was almost right. There is actually another piece in there that never occurred to me until one day at the VA.

I took him to the VA for an appointment one Monday after he had been at drill all weekend (drill always wipes him out). He was beat this day and I talked him into letting me push him in a wheelchair around the VA and he complied. We were there for many hours and through much stress. Now normally after a day at the VA when he gets back into the truck afterwards, he is putting off an air of "get me the hell home and don't talk to me" and he is very shut down. But this particular day after having been pushed in the wheelchair at the VA he was jovial and happy in the truck on the way home. I asked him if he thought the wheelchair had anything to do with it and although he didn't like admitting to it, he said the wheelchair helped him.

We tried the wheelchair routine for the next couple of appointments and it worked the same way time after time.

It was a weekend camp retreat where we had to do lots of walking in this most beautiful forest setting (which is Dean's favorite place to be) where I was really wishing he had a wheelchair. I could see how much mental energy the walking was taking from him. He said that every step was like stepping off of a moving cart and that it really just wipes him out.

It was this weekend that I realized that the main reason we avoided leaving our house was not due to the PTSD, it was that walking took so much concentration and mental energy that he didn't have any brain function left to deal with the people, the bustle, the noise, etc. When I remove the need to walk from the equation, he can handle the other stuff 100 times better!

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