"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."


  1. Oh...my thoughts are with you guys. Wow.

  2. Denise, I'm so sorry. Praying for peace and wisdom as you deal with this terrible news. -Blythe

  3. That totally sucks. I'm very sorry.

  4. Our Navy is crap and you KNOW that I KNOW pretty much how you are feeling right now. It sucks to have this happen but it sucks even worse to know that there is nothing that can be done. All the appeals in the world won't change them. I HATE this for you guys. I really do. It brings back so much pain and anger that this is how our military gets treated after the years they sacrifice. Praying for you guys.

  5. Donald,

    Let me say how proud I am to have served with you and sorry I am that your career ended this way. I know how much enjoyment and pride your service brought to you and your family. You were and are a fantastic chaplain and naval officer. I am saddened that your injury cut all of that short. I'll be very interested to see what God, in His sovereignty, has in store for your family. It is already exciting to see what he has done for both of you in terms of jobs and a home.

    Denise, we sure miss your dear family and sure wish you did not have to bear the burden of this career upheaval.

    God's best to you both,
    For the Naumans,