More importantly, Dan came back with his personality changed. He was given badly cooked or undercooked rice to eat during his captivity with occasional pieces of badly cooked fish or vegetables, so food was a huge issue for the rest of his life. There was never enough food to satisfy his psychological hunger. For the last two years of his life he was on dialysis, which is a long, slow, difficult road, but the worst part was the diet. Dialysis doesn’t take all the excess potassium or phosphorus out of your blood like your kidneys do, so you have to be very careful about how much of these nutrients you consume every single day or you can die. This was, and I use the term advisedly, torture for Dan; he became completely miserable and I became his warden, having to enforce the rules. His mind was so consumed by what it felt to be the deprivation of this diet that it rebelled and he began to eat in his sleep. He literally had no idea that he was doing it until I showed him the evidence. Even then, he was powerless to stop.
The nightmares were the worst though. He would scream out in pain many nights, even all these years later. In fact, they became more prevalent after the current war started, probably because the news brought it all back again. Often, he would speak urgently in Vietnamese in his sleep, which he had been taught as part of his training. It seemed as though he was trying to convince whoever he was talking to of something. There was a sense of desperation in his voice that was chilling and agonizing.
Almost four years ago, after four years of being disabled with diabetes and congestive heart failure, and two years on dialysis, Dan had a heart attack and didn’t come back. It has become my mission to try to live up to his legacy.
I need your help.
I need each and every one of you to stand up and tell the President, the Congress, and the Attorney General, that those responsible for torture MUST be held accountable, legally accountable. That you will accept nothing less.
I am at the beginning of gathering the people and organizations to bring together a March for Accountability. If you would like to be involved, my email address is in my profile.
Please stand up and give Dan the legacy that he deserves.
With gratitude and standing for justice and accountability,
This is the start of a series of diaries which I will be writing daily about the effects of torture from the persepctive of the person being tortured. I hope it will help to open some hearts and widen some perspectives.
My friends, I must take my leave of you for a few hours, to attend a meeting, but I will be back later tonight to respond to each and every one of your comments; they have truly overwhelmed my heart. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
My friends, I apologize. I returned home and began to reply to all of your very kind and generous comments, and I feel asleep before I had finished. I have now awakened again, but will reply in the morning as more sleep is needed. You humble me every day. Dan is smiling.
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