"Not all those who wander are lost" J.R.R. Tolkien

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Worst?

Today I am reminded of Shakespeare (the Bard, this time, and not my neurotic dog) who said in King Lear:

"The worst is not
So long as we can say,
'This is the worst.'"

I wonder when one know that the worst is actually the worst.

We were dealt the death blow by the US Navy today.  I arrived home from a long day working for my lunatic boss, who is convinced that by having the internet we are at risk for people hacking into our dental files.  Never mind that we don't accept credit/debit cards of any kind and the only personal information we keep on the computer is possibly (but not always since we don't require them) a social security number.

The look on Donald's face was not good but then, given our particular circumstances, not exactly unusual either.  He handed me a letter and I saw the certified envelope in which the devastating missive had arrived.

Let me preface.  When last I blogged, Donald was on his way Bremerton, WA to be evaluated by a psychiatrist.  Her notes indicate that while he is showing some improvement, her recommendation was that he continue as before and come back in a year.  Remember, when Donald was medically retired in 2010 we were told he would have five years to remain as such before he was formally re-evaluated.  He has been officially retired 1 year and 355 days.

Back to the letter.  A team of three 06's (read:  high ranking and important) decided that he no longer had PTSD or a major depressive disorder.  He only suffers from anxiety but as such is unfit for duty and can no longer receive his retirement pay, his health insurance or commissary/exchange privileges.

Merry Christmas, Lieutenant Twist.

Oh, and he has fifteen days to sign the letter and return it to the powers that be.

I wonder if these 06's know what it is like to live with someone who may or may not speak to anyone in the family for weeks on end.  Someone who can barely get out of bed some days.  Someone who, after giving everything at work, has zero to give at home.  But what do I know?  I'm not a doctor or a high ranking military officer.  Empirical evidence is obviously of low import to the "experts."

Yes, we can appeal.  But we've been there, done that and Do Not want another t-shirt.  Two appeals and one official hearing before the Washington Navy Yard.  Nearly ten, emotionally exhausting months upon the Navy Roller Coaster of Not So Much Fun.

So.  We looked at each other in sadness and said, "Is this it?  All those years?  For what?  To be injured and just released?"  We agreed we cannot go through the appeals process again.  It was too much the first time.  The Navy will give us a small severance and we are going to take it.  The money, while not large enough to be worth the damage, will be helpful in small ways.

Then, this will all be over.  A beautiful Naval career cut short by an unforeseen injury, one brief day in which my husband went to work and came home an entirely different person, changing our family 180 degrees.  It seems small but it broke my heart when he said to me tonight, "I can't even keep the title Retired anymore.  They'll even take that honor away from me."

LT Donald Twist, USN CHC, you faithfully served God, Country and your Family.  "You don't need to wear a patch on your arm to have honor."

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy (belated) Halloween!

Another sugar fueled Halloween has come and gone and with it, the two year anniversary of the blog.  And, by default, the two year anniversary of being out of the Navy.  Except that we've recently discovered, we sort of aren't.

Let me esplain.  No, let me sum up.  (Princess Bride, anyone?)

Donald is on temporary retirement for five years, at the end of which he will be reevaluated as to whether or not he goes on permanent retirement.  He's been diligent about jumping through the yearly hoops, seeing mental health and tracking with his meds.  About a month ago, the Navy called.


Two years and not a peep but when they call and say you need a full physical and mental evaluation, asap, you really have no choice.  Furthermore, when they refuse to accept either your local doctor or the doctors at the VA, you have no choice but to haul yourself to the nearest naval facility.

Does the Navy not realize that Oregon has a VA hospital but not a single naval installation?  Going to the army hospital at Ft Lewis, WA wasn't good enough either.  Absolutely had to be the hospital at Bremerton, WA where his complete breakdown originally happened.  Oh, goodie.  Let's stir up the PTSD pot, shall we?

So, Donald complied, staying in Bremerton less than twenty four hours.  And really, we aren't even sure why it was necessary or what will come of it.

Happier topic:  I thought I would post photos of the boys from last night.  #1 did a reprise of the Headless Horseman, last seen in Portsmouth, VA.  He had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction while trick or treating (apparently not being able to see ruins the fun just a tad) so he came home to hand out candy with me.

I tried to convince him that I could nip up to the attic for the costume box we've lugged all around the world.  The conversation went like this:

"You could wear my coconut shells and my grass skirt!  It would be hilarious.  Come on, just Do It!"

He turned very slowly to me and said, "Yeah, that would be really funny.  But my DIGNITY is worth more than a sucker!"

Have I mentioned that I love this kid?  This is what I get for trying to talk him into being a transvestite hula dancer!

#2 went as a Werewolf, which only got as elaborate as a mask.  But hey, I am not into spending a gajillion dollars on costumes worn once.  I try to emphasize the creativity aspect of Halloween.  After searching dozens of youtube videos to make our own wolf costume, we discovered that a.  the most authentic one was worthy of Hollywood and took over 300 hours and hundreds of dollars to make and b.  gluing hair all over my sensitive skinned kid was probably not a great idea.  He actually had the nerve to roll his eyes at me when I suggested he just draw a werewolf on a brown paper bag!  So, we bought a mask and that's as far as that went!  He insisted on carrying a pillowcase after hearing about childhood stories fed to him by his father and he came back with a serious load of candy.  I don't know if I should be embarrassed or glad that I work part time for a dentist!  And he was a little disappointed to find out he would be sharing with his brother.  Oh, the agony of living with unreasonable parents!

Savor that tea!


Why does this photo frighten me?

Pretty relaxed for being headless!