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View Diary: A Hard Rain Fell on the Soul: An Afghanistan Vets Story (91 comments)

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  •  Something has changed. (10+ / 0-)

    We are able to save more coming home from the battlefield because of doctors and staff that are well trained and have better techniques that before.

    It's a small thing to be thankful for but at least we have that.

    •  Saving breathing bodies is important, even (20+ / 0-)

      necessary. Then there there's the saving of something less mechanistic,

      It is discouraging that the experience has not changed much in 45 years. In many ways I often wish that I had died there.
      shigeru, above, echoes the words of too many veterans who make it "home" breathing, but little else. Songwriters have captured the sentiment perfectly, from Springsteen's words in the mouth of Ron Kovic (who certainly never disavowed them) "and I wish I'd been left there to die" to Eric Bogle's classic And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda, "never knew there was worse things than dying."

      Unless and until we put effective tools for dealing with the aftermath of trauma into the hands of veterans the improvements in battlefield medicine are a mixed blessing.

      That's my job.

      War beats down, and sows with salt, the hearts and minds of soldiers." Brecht

      by DaNang65 on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 10:31:50 AM PDT

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      •  I am ashamed to say that I didn't read his (5+ / 0-)

        comment carefully enough.

        The tools you are working with, in my mind, are some of the best. Thank goodness for folks like you and drnatrl.

      •  And don't forget John Prine's (5+ / 0-)

        Sam Stone (sorry - can't embed from the tablet).

        Out with the gloomage - in with the plumage!

        by mikidee on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 01:58:49 PM PDT

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        •  As much as I love John Prine (6+ / 0-)

          Sam Stone's story is too close to my own for me to go there easily. The "hole in Daddy's arm where all the money goes" and the diarist's "Jack Daniel's therapy" differ only in degree, not in kind.

          Been there, done that, cost me the tee shirt off my back and a whole lot more.

          War beats down, and sows with salt, the hearts and minds of soldiers." Brecht

          by DaNang65 on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 02:07:46 PM PDT

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          •  I'm so sorry. (5+ / 0-)

            It's a painful song, for sure.

            And yeah - I know Jack Daniels therapy quite well myself.

            Peace....

            Out with the gloomage - in with the plumage!

            by mikidee on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 02:18:21 PM PDT

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            •  Me too. And some others as well. None work (9+ / 0-)

              for long. AA helps but the program touches about 50%  of the problem. The hypervigiance, startle reflex, depression and some others are only touched by some meds. And them incompletely.

              And I am lucky a minor wound, an untreated concussion (we didn't treat those then if there were no blood) , an injury or two and no intestinal lining (thanks amoeba). But still worked for 45 years now unemployable. due to Ptsd.

              Listened to this song by Steve Earle during my morning VN haunting. Here are the lines that always get me:
              " Now my granddaddy sang me this song
              Told me about London when the Blitz was on
              How he married Grandma and brought her back home
              A hero throughout his land

              Now I'm standing on a runway in San Diego
              A couple purple hearts and I move a little slow
              There's nobody here, maybe nobody knows
              About a place called Vietnam"

              I actually had to stand on the runway at SFO waiting for space on a PSA (remember them) flight, holding my 70 pound duffle bag, "moving a little slow," and being chastised for not throwing the bag on the cart fast enough. Then at LAX had to pick up the bag and carry it in.

              Only saving grace was that on the flight to LAX I sat next to some 4 year old kid who asked me to read his comic book to him. I look at this as a brief period of grace and probably one reason why I still like kids so much. This one probably saved my life.

              So whoever you are kid, thanks.

              And I am Kilrain of the 20th Maine. And I damn all gentlemen. Whose only worth is their father's name And the sweat of a workin' man Steve Earle - Dixieland

              by shigeru on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 07:34:49 PM PDT

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              •  There's another way, shigeru. (5+ / 0-)

                We'll talk.

                War beats down, and sows with salt, the hearts and minds of soldiers." Brecht

                by DaNang65 on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 09:56:48 PM PDT

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                •  Hi DaNang... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  DaNang65

                  ...I'm glad you were able to find something to bring some degree of peace and reconciliation and to share with all the rest of us.  We are all interconnected, interdependent.  

                  As Michael Kerr says in the last line of his book, "Dispatches." on being in country:

                  Vietnam. Vietnam. Vietnam.  We've all been there.
                   

                  "The only thing needed for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing." Hannah Arendt

                  by dharmasyd on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 08:55:38 PM PDT

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              •  We came home with scars (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                WakeUpNeo, mikidee, angelajean, DaNang65

                Some physical, some mental.

                There are resources, such as DaNang65 talks about, maybe something like that would help. At least it's a chance to talk to somebody who was there and knows what went on. Good luck, and keep on getting on with the coming home process. Sometimes it takes a long while to really get home again. You are not alone, there are hundreds of thousands of us who were there and came home in pieces.

                Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now 400ppm. That is "Climate Cluster Chaos". (hat tip to JeffW for CCC)

                by Zinman on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 11:28:44 PM PDT

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                •  I talk all the time and get help. Focus now on (0+ / 0-)

                  alkies from the old and new crop. I have myeloma and at most a few years. Most of the folks I knew from VN died of sudden, aggressive cancers or alcohol and drugs.

                  I help myself by volunteering and hope to do some good before I go. To date effects of this unknown. I do know I have lost all love and respect for this country. I am here because it is home, but I have more in common with a one legged NVA vet than with the mass of Americans.

                  “I wanted to leave the whole war behind me, and yet I was seeing something on that battlefield that demanded commemoration. It was unholy ground, but I wanted to thank God for showing it to me. I would never again look at a man without wondering what crimes he was capable of committing. That seemed important to know.”
                  ― Robert Hicks, The Widow of the South

                  And I am Kilrain of the 20th Maine. And I damn all gentlemen. Whose only worth is their father's name And the sweat of a workin' man Steve Earle - Dixieland

                  by shigeru on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 07:20:14 AM PDT

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