I tried for three days to write what I want people to know about PTSD. I was pretty busy living with it though so I just had to put it to the side.
And then this morning, instead of Mr. Wonderful heading off to a driving job like we thought, we went to the emergency room. Not what we had planned.
He turned gray in front of me. Started sweating so bad he drenched a long-sleeved sweatshirt. He was nauseous and was having pain and since this isn’t the first time this happened, we went to the ER.
Let me tell you a little something about what happens when you go to the ER and you’re someone who has a list of meds you take for PTSD. They write you off. They make up their minds that you’re probably just having a panic attack rather than trying to figure out what’s wrong.
As I’m not a doctor, I only know what to demand you check for based on my vast knowledge of Gray’s Anatomy. So because cardiac stuff is scariest, that’s where we started.
Good news: he wasn’t having a heart attack. Bad news: they didn’t really try to figure out anything else.
Not to worry though, as a lawyer I have mad research skillz. And I’m totally up for doing the hospital’s job of trying to determine what in the world made him turn gray.
I don’t like it when I’m advocating for my husband who’s feeling so poorly I need to tell the doctor what’s wrong and the doc talks over me. I don’t like someone looking at me with pity because they think I don’t know what a freaking panic attack looks like when worn by Mr. Wonderful.
Oh, we know from panic attacks.
You, Dr. Doctor may know trauma medicine. You may have gone to med school and done extra training to end up with ER medicine as your specialty. You may know how to stitch people up and set bones and stop a stroke. But today you showed you don’t know jack about mental health.
Here’s a refresher course.
I could understand your reasoning if you would’ve taken the time to listen to me (the caregiver) and heard me (the caregiver) say something like we were newbies at this PTSD thing and we just have no idea what to expect (bats eyelashes as a single tear runs down her cheek).
But when I (the caregiver) tell you that as the caregiver 24/7 for the last three years and on and off for two more years previous that this is not what a panic attack looks like in my house and something is wrong with my husband, you should listen.
Because though you’re an expert in trauma medicine, I’m an expert in Mr. Wonderful. I know, sometimes before he does, that he is getting ready to have an asthma attack or a panic attack and I can usually pinpoint which one it will be.
I’m the emotional barometer in our house, predicting with 97.9% accuracy, when a seismic shift has occurred that will be causing the ground to rumble beneath our feet. I’m pretty confident in my abilities to advocate for my husband so he can get whatever treatment he needs.
He is alive because I’m so good at this.
So, Dr. Doctor, before you dismiss another combat vet who protected your right to wake up and get to work today to help people, here are some tips:
Keep an open mind.
You’ll save the rest of us a lot of trouble if you’ll just help look for an answer instead of taking the easy way out and blaming it on the PTSD.
It could be something else, you know.
And now I have to use my mad research skillz to do the job you should’ve done before sending us back out into the world. But don’t worry, I got this. And God’s got us.
And by the way, I’ve already set up an appointment with the specialist you should’ve sent us to.
(Photo credit Meredith Shafer) ©Copyright Meredith Shafer