Other than playing loud music and using drugs to help me get through fireworks on this Fourth of July, I did something different.

Fireworks and Combat Veterans Don’t Mix

Other than playing loud music and using drugs to help me get through fireworks on this Fourth of July, I did something different.
Fireworks and Combat Veterans Don’t Mix

Fireworks and Combat Veterans Don’t Mix

Other than playing loud music and using drugs to help me get through fireworks on this Fourth of July, I did something different.

This is my explanation of why fireworks and combat veterans don’t mix !

Please help me raise awareness for C-PTSD and share this video with friends and family. The only way to cut veteran suicide is to be aware of the problem.

Thank you!

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Combat Medic
A soldier’s story of the Iraq war and PTSD

Next Up- Sinister Chuckles in Hell 

How to: Stop Blood Loss with Minimal Effort (3 Steps)


Before I joined the Army, I had no idea about the human anatomy. If someone got injured in front of me, I wouldn’t have had the slightest idea of how to help them. It’s pretty sad the more I think about it. If everyone was taught the basics of blood loss prevention at a young age, we would have a lot more lives saved.

Just think about, most people get seriously injured with other people around. The quick actions of one individual can be life saving when someone is on the ground profusely bleeding out.

It’s really not that hard to stop the most basic cuts and scratches. With enough practice you can even learn how to use a tourniquet to stop arterial bleeding.blood-drops

Step 1- Get over the shock of blood or death– Yes… someone just got jacked up right in front and blood is everywhere. Yes, they look like they might die and they will if you don’t get over yourself. The only difference between a hero and coward is the choice to either do something or do nothing. Both get scared and both don’t really know what to do, but the hero sucks it up and tries their best. So be the hero, tell someone to call 911 and start thinking about a course of action.

Step 2- Asses the patient– You have to figure out what kind of wound you’re working with. Not every patient is presented the same way. Maybe someone is knocked out on the ground and blood is coming from somewhere but you can’t see where. Drag your hands on the outside of their body until you find a wet spot, make sure you get a good look at the wound and the bleeding.

If it’s a deep cut and dark blood is flowing out then you need to get your hands on something to roll up and place over the wound. You could take off your shirt or their’s, ball it up and place it on the wound.

Step 3- Place firm pressure on the makeshift bandage. A good medic knows that most bleeding can be stopped by holding pressure on the wound for 10-15 minutes. Don’t let go of the pressure unless you need to get to another cut. If someone is around, tell them to hold the pressure while you dress up their other wounds.

If there is brighter red blood gushing out of an extremity ( arms or legs) and pressure isn’t stopping the bleeding, then there is an artery cut. The only way to stop arterial bleeding is by placing a tourniquet above the cut to constrict the artery and stop the flow of blood. This is more of an advanced technique, but it is really simple.  Here is a good video by ZombieStrategic that shows you how to apply a good tourniquet.

Hopefully after 10-15 minutes an ambulance will have arrived to give more advanced medical treatment and get the patient to a hospital. If not just wait and make sure the patient is comforted until they arrive.

Minimal

Ch.17 Danger


When I think of luck only one story comes to mind. This is a chapter from my book Combat Medic. Getting in gunfights had become a daily activity for my squad in 1-5 Cav. infantry. Our mission was simple, hunt down and kill any insurgents inside the Wadi-Us-Saalam cemetery and destroy they’re weapons cache. It was an experience I’ll never forget because I came close to death several times a day for a month straight. I don’t know if I was extremely lucky or extremely blessed, all I know is that I survived.

IMG_0002
Wadi-Us-Saalam cemetery- Largest in the world with a  7 mile radius

Chapter 17 begins after my sergeant took a bullet and fell off the ledge of the building. We came under heavy weapons fire that pinned us down onto of the roof. I’m the medic so I had to get over to him to patch the wound up and evacuate him. Enjoy!

Chapter 17: Danger

Bullets rattled the wall behind me, spraying chunks of rock and dust into the air. B was trying to stick his head up and look out but kept falling back flat on the ground when the rounds went pinging off the cement around us. The only thing I could do was picture the sergeant bleeding out to death.

Shit! I thought, I’ve gotta get over to him, what the fuck. I slapped B on the shoulder.

“I’m climbing over to Hunter! Give me cover fire.” I handed him the SAW and crawled across the floor. B planted the SAW on the roof and fired down range swearing and screaming. I was pinned down again when I came to the drop off; bullets ripped through the air above my head.

“Fuck!” I yelled, and then threw myself over the edge, landing hard on my side; knocking the wind out of me. I pushed myself up, and ran over to Sergeant Hunter, who was lying on the ground twisting and moaning. Blood was seeping out of his right shoulder. He was covered in dust.

I radioed to Martinez on my way over to him, “I need my bag and a Medivac. Sergeant is down. We’re by the blue door near the street.”

“On my way” Martinez radioed back.

I fell onto my knees next to Hunter, “I’m here Sergeant; let me take a look at you.”

He moved his hands off his shoulder; I tore open vest and blouse. “You feel hurt anywhere else?”

He shook his head, “No, just my shoulder.” I looked him up and down to see if he got hit anywhere else like I was trained.

“Here!” I heard Martinez yell from behind the door. I looked up to see the bag fly up and over the door, landing on the ground. I ran over and grabbed it then ran back to the sergeant.

I took the scissors from my bag and cut his shirt open; a bullet hole the size of a quarter was blown into his shoulder. Blood was slowly running out from the sides. I broke open a field bandage and pressed it on top of the wound. Martinez was trying to kick down the door without any luck.

“Here hold this tight and don’t let go,” I said, placing his hand on the bandage. The door had a metal chain looped through it and was padlocked. Martinez and I both tried kicking it open but it wouldn’t budge. We would need bolt cutters to get through the lock. Mortars started landing, scaring the piss out of me.

“How the fuck are we going to get out of here? Does the Bradley have a chain to tear the fucker off?” I yelled at Martinez.

“No!” he screamed. “There’s nothing!”

“Fuck!” I shouted, kicking the door. The ground shook underneath me over and over again; the explosions sounded close. I couldn’t think of anything but going back up top and jumping off.

“We’re going back over!” I yelled, “Give us cover while we jump off the other side!”

Martinez gave me a nod, “Shit, ok!” He radioed the lieutenant to help give us cover.

I ran back over to the sergeant, radioing B, “I need you to help me with Hunter!”

“Roger that!” he replied.

“We’re going to have to go back up!” I yelled to the sergeant. “There’s no other way out!”

He looked pale and frightened, “You ok?”

“Yeah, man. Fuck,” he tiredly replied. I tied his bandage the best I could and closed his vest. After I got him to his feet B yelled down to us, “Ok!” holding his hand over the edge. I handed B the sergeant’s rifle then lodged my pack up top. Next, I crouched against the wall with my hands clasped together and boosted Hunter up. He grabbed B’s hand and I pushed him until he was over the edge.

After a moment B reached down for me. I got a running start and scaled the wall grabbing his hand. With his help I pulled myself up; bullets zipped past as I dragged my body over the edge. All three of us were now up top hugging the floor.

With the mortars landing closer I knew it was only a matter of time before they started hitting the building. Rounds were bouncing off the wall, blocking the way we originally came up. We figured the only way down was to walk across the top of the wall we just climbed and jump off; like walking across a balance beam in clear view of the enemy. There wasn’t a floor on either side of us so we would take the chance of getting shot and ending up back were we started, trapped. But there weren’t any other options.

“Ok,” B said, “I’ll help Hunter while you lay down cover fire.”

“Ok! Let me know when you’re ready!” I grabbed the SAW then crawled over to the edge of the building. B strapped the rifle on his back and grabbed the ammo. On the count of three I started relentlessly firing downrange.

Once Hunter and B made it to the edge and jumped off, I strapped my bag on then shot a couple more rounds downrange. After slinging the SAW over my shoulder I took a second to pray:

Please don’t let me die; I don’t want to get shot. After a count of three I jumped up and started across. “Shit. Fuck this shit,” was the only thing I was thinking and said as rounds zipped past me. I tried my best not to fall off as mortars shook the wall. My heart sank when I almost slipped off, causing me to stop for a second. I felt like one of those ducks in a carnival game, running in clear view, hoping to not get shot.

“Shi-i-t!” I yelled as I jumped off the side of the building, landing hard on my legs next to a grave. My right knee popped, causing me to collapse in pain. I looked up to see a grave only yards away blow up from a mortar; another one exploded close by a second after. I forced myself up and ran over to B and Hunter. On the way a mortar hit the ground a couple feet from me and didn’t go off.

“Shit!” I screamed, jumping to the side. When I got to Hunter I threw his arm over my shoulder and started running. Rodriguez came around the corner of the building firing downrange then waved us over to him. We ran to the front of the building and jumped inside through a doorway inside a small room. Each of us hugged the walls in the shadows on either side. I watched as bullets zipped through the doorway and rattled the brick wall, shooting clouds of dust into the beam of light shining in.

Mortar rounds landed all around; the blasts shook the building, engulfing the room with dust and smoke. I thought the building was going to fall in on us as they came pounding in. Bullets kept hitting the wall between us, making Rodriguez and me jump back. We were trapped; there was no place to go.

Rodriguez was terrified; his face scrunched up as if fear was causing him pain. My body shook harder with every explosion; it felt like my brain was shaking against my skull. I closed my eyes and saw flickering lights. Suddenly a warm vibrating sensation ran through my body; I started reciting the Lord’s Prayer in my mind. Our father in heaven…

My grandma appeared in front of me, her face an array of different colors: Purple, white, blue and orange. We were engulfed in darkness. She rocked in her chair moving back and forth praying. A bright orange light shone on me as we prayed together, eliminating the darkness we were in. It was warm and peaceful, wrapping me with comfort. All my fear and pain were taken away, filling me with nothing but joy and love.

I heard explosions and felt the ground shake, but it was in a separate place. It was almost as if I were in both places at once. The thought crossed my mind that I died. My whole life was in front of me; it seemed like time was non-existent. I stood next to my grandma waiting, not knowing what was going to happen next. I didn’t care. Everything was going to be ok. It felt like I was there for hours, maybe days.

I heard tracks slamming against the pavement outside, its engine getting louder as it moved up the street outside. The Bradley’s gun got louder as they got closer. Martinez was muffled as he spoke, “Come on; let’s go!”

Everything disappeared. I was pulled back into the building as my eyes opened. Martinez popped two smoke grenades out the doorway for cover; thick red and yellow smoke filled the air. The medical track stopped and dropped its back hatch. Rodriguez and I lifted Hunter and ran him over to the track. Bullets came zipping by as we moved. We handed him off to the medic and threw his gear on the floor.

Martinez gave us cover fire while we ran back through the smoke, into the room. It sounded like our Bradley dozed over graves as it pulled up on the side of the building. I could hear bullets bouncing off its armor as it fired down range. We ran outside and jumped into the back.

The door slammed shut while the Bradley moved away; we watched the screen as white bodies darted away.

“Fuck!” Martinez kicked the metal seat before sitting down. We were all panting hard; I was worn out.

“Drink water.” I said, tiredly lifting my canteen up to drink. As we sat I finished closing up my pack, making sure all the medical supplies were in the right spot. I made a mental note to pick up an aid-bandage when we got back to base. When I went to close the pouch it was in, there were two small holes punched through it. I stuck my finger through them; it went clean through.

“Shit,” I said, tapping Rodriguez. He opened his eyes and looked at me.

“Look at this shit man; I can’t believe I got that close to getting hit.”

“Shit bro. I think we all got lucky. That shit was close.”

“Yeah man, I know.”

I sat back and closed my eyes, wanting so badly to go to sleep, but my mind kept racing. Thoughts about the guy I shot, how close I came to getting shot and the bright lights. What was that? It felt like I had died back in that room. How do I know I didn’t? I was going to say something about it before the lieutenant’s voice came blasting over the radio.

“Alright boys! Gotta go back out in 5.”

“Fuck man I’m tired!” Rodriguez shouted back. There was no response. I didn’t want to go back out, especially with a man short. B was lying back with his eyes closed shaking his head. We sat in silence for a minute; the only sound was the motor of the main gun moving around looking for targets. When I thought about Sergeant Hunter again I remembered something funny and started giggling.

“What’s so funny?” said B. “I’d like to hear something funny right about now in this shithole.”

“Did you guys hear Sergeant’s voice?” I asked; “he sounded like a little girl.”

I squeaked in a high-pitched voice, “I’m hit.” Everyone laughed. That opened up a doorway for more shits and giggles; it was like everyone needed to joke around to keep our minds off of going back out. Martinez took charge of the team since he had seniority. We were one man short and no one else was coming out to replace Hunter. We had enough firepower to keep going, so we filled our water and restocked ammo. The back door dropped open.

“Ok guys. Watch your six out there.
Luck

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Sinister Chucke

Danger – Gunfights in a Cemetery

In the 1-5 Cavalry Infantry, gunfights were a daily activity for our squad. Our mission was simple, hunt down and kill any insurgents inside the Wadi-Us-Saalam cemetery.

It was an experience I’ll never forget. I came close to death several times a day for a month straight. I don’t know if I was extremely lucky or extremely blessed, all I know is that I survived.

IMG_0002
Wadi-Us-Saalam cemetery- Largest in the world with a  7 mile radius

The chapter begins after my sergeant takes a sniper bullet to the shoulder and falls off the ledge of the building we were engaging from. We came under heavy weapons fire that pinned us down onto of the roof. I’m the medic so I had to get over to patch his wounds up and evacuate him.

Chapter 17: Danger

Bullets rattled the wall behind me, spraying chunks of rock and dust into the air. B was trying to stick his head up and look out but kept falling back flat on the ground when the rounds went pinging off the cement around us. The only thing I could do was picture the sergeant bleeding out to death.

Shit! I thought, I’ve gotta get over to him, what the fuck.

I slapped B on the shoulder.

“I’m climbing over to Hunter! Give me cover fire.” I handed him the SAW and crawled across the floor. B planted the SAW on the roof and fired down range swearing and screaming. I was pinned down again when I came to the drop off; bullets ripped through the air above my head.

“Fuck!” I yelled, and then threw myself over the edge, landing hard on my side; knocking the wind out of me. I pushed myself up, and ran over to Sergeant Hunter, who was lying on the ground twisting and moaning. Blood was seeping out of his right shoulder. He was covered in dust.

I radioed to Martinez on my way over to him, “I need my bag and a Medivac. Sergeant is down. We’re by the blue door near the street.”

“On my way” Martinez radioed back.

I fell onto my knees next to Hunter, “I’m here Sergeant; let me take a look at you.”

He moved his hands off his shoulder; I tore open vest and blouse. “You feel hurt anywhere else?”

He shook his head, “No, just my shoulder.” I looked him up and down to see if he got hit anywhere else like I was trained.

“Here!” I heard Martinez yell from behind the door. I looked up to see the bag fly up and over the door, landing on the ground. I ran over and grabbed it then ran back to the sergeant.

I took the scissors from my bag and cut his shirt open; a bullet hole the size of a quarter was blown into his shoulder. Blood was slowly running out from the sides. I broke open a field bandage and pressed it on top of the wound. Martinez was trying to kick down the door without any luck.

“Here hold this tight and don’t let go,” I said, placing his hand on the bandage. The door had a metal chain looped through it and was padlocked. Martinez and I both tried kicking it open but it wouldn’t budge. We would need bolt cutters to get through the lock. Mortars started landing, scaring the piss out of me.

“How the fuck are we going to get out of here? Does the Bradley have a chain to tear the fucker off?” I yelled at Martinez.

“No!” he screamed. “There’s nothing!”

“Fuck!” I shouted, kicking the door. The ground shook underneath me over and over again; the explosions sounded close. I couldn’t think of anything but going back up top and jumping off.

“We’re going back over!” I yelled, “Give us cover while we jump off the other side!”

Martinez gave me a nod, “Shit, ok!” He radioed the lieutenant to help give us cover.

I ran back over to the sergeant, radioing B, “I need you to help me with Hunter!”

“Roger that!” he replied.

“We’re going to have to go back up!” I yelled to the sergeant. “There’s no other way out!”

He looked pale and frightened, “You ok?”

“Yeah, man. Fuck,” he tiredly replied. I tied his bandage the best I could and closed his vest. After I got him to his feet B yelled down to us, “Ok!” holding his hand over the edge. I handed B the sergeant’s rifle then lodged my pack up top. Next, I crouched against the wall with my hands clasped together and boosted Hunter up. He grabbed B’s hand and I pushed him until he was over the edge.

After a moment B reached down for me. I got a running start and scaled the wall grabbing his hand. With his help I pulled myself up; bullets zipped past as I dragged my body over the edge. All three of us were now up top hugging the floor.

With the mortars landing closer I knew it was only a matter of time before they started hitting the building. Rounds were bouncing off the wall, blocking the way we originally came up. We figured the only way down was to walk across the top of the wall we just climbed and jump off; like walking across a balance beam in clear view of the enemy. There wasn’t a floor on either side of us so we would take the chance of getting shot and ending up back were we started, trapped. But there weren’t any other options.

“Ok,” B said, “I’ll help Hunter while you lay down cover fire.”

“Ok! Let me know when you’re ready!” I grabbed the SAW then crawled over to the edge of the building. B strapped the rifle on his back and grabbed the ammo. On the count of three I started relentlessly firing downrange.

Once Hunter and B made it to the edge and jumped off, I strapped my bag on then shot a couple more rounds downrange. After slinging the SAW over my shoulder I took a second to pray:

Please don’t let me die; I don’t want to get shot. After a count of three I jumped up and started across. “Shit. Fuck this shit,” was the only thing I was thinking and said as rounds zipped past me. I tried my best not to fall off as mortars shook the wall. My heart sank when I almost slipped off, causing me to stop for a second. I felt like one of those ducks in a carnival game, running in clear view, hoping to not get shot.

“Shi-i-t!” I yelled as I jumped off the side of the building, landing hard on my legs next to a grave. My right knee popped, causing me to collapse in pain. I looked up to see a grave only yards away blow up from a mortar; another one exploded close by a second after. I forced myself up and ran over to B and Hunter. On the way a mortar hit the ground a couple feet from me and didn’t go off.

“Shit!” I screamed, jumping to the side. When I got to Hunter I threw his arm over my shoulder and started running. Rodriguez came around the corner of the building firing downrange then waved us over to him. We ran to the front of the building and jumped inside through a doorway inside a small room. Each of us hugged the walls in the shadows on either side. I watched as bullets zipped through the doorway and rattled the brick wall, shooting clouds of dust into the beam of light shining in.

Mortar rounds landed all around; the blasts shook the building, engulfing the room with dust and smoke. I thought the building was going to fall in on us as they came pounding in. Bullets kept hitting the wall between us, making Rodriguez and me jump back. We were trapped; there was no place to go.

Rodriguez was terrified; his face scrunched up as if fear was causing him pain. My body shook harder with every explosion; it felt like my brain was shaking against my skull. I closed my eyes and saw flickering lights. Suddenly a warm vibrating sensation ran through my body; I started reciting the Lord’s Prayer in my mind. Our father in heaven…

My grandma appeared in front of me, her face an array of different colors: Purple, white, blue and orange. We were engulfed in darkness. She rocked in her chair moving back and forth praying. A bright orange light shone on me as we prayed together, eliminating the darkness we were in. It was warm and peaceful, wrapping me with comfort. All my fear and pain were taken away, filling me with nothing but joy and love.

I heard explosions and felt the ground shake, but it was in a separate place. It was almost as if I were in both places at once. The thought crossed my mind that I died. My whole life was in front of me; it seemed like time was non-existent. I stood next to my grandma waiting, not knowing what was going to happen next. I didn’t care. Everything was going to be ok. It felt like I was there for hours, maybe days.

I heard tracks slamming against the pavement outside, its engine getting louder as it moved up the street outside. The Bradley’s gun got louder as they got closer. Martinez was muffled as he spoke, “Come on; let’s go!”

Everything disappeared. I was pulled back into the building as my eyes opened. Martinez popped two smoke grenades out the doorway for cover; thick red and yellow smoke filled the air. The medical track stopped and dropped its back hatch. Rodriguez and I lifted Hunter and ran him over to the track. Bullets came zipping by as we moved. We handed him off to the medic and threw his gear on the floor.

Martinez gave us cover fire while we ran back through the smoke, into the room. It sounded like our Bradley dozed over graves as it pulled up on the side of the building. I could hear bullets bouncing off its armor as it fired down range. We ran outside and jumped into the back.

The door slammed shut while the Bradley moved away; we watched the screen as white bodies darted away.

“Fuck!” Martinez kicked the metal seat before sitting down. We were all panting hard; I was worn out.

“Drink water.” I said, tiredly lifting my canteen up to drink. As we sat I finished closing up my pack, making sure all the medical supplies were in the right spot. I made a mental note to pick up an aid-bandage when we got back to base. When I went to close the pouch it was in, there were two small holes punched through it. I stuck my finger through them; it went clean through.

“Shit,” I said, tapping Rodriguez. He opened his eyes and looked at me.

“Look at this shit man; I can’t believe I got that close to getting hit.”

“Shit bro. I think we all got lucky. That shit was close.”

“Yeah man, I know.”

I sat back and closed my eyes, wanting so badly to go to sleep, but my mind kept racing. Thoughts about the guy I shot, how close I came to getting shot and the bright lights. What was that? It felt like I had died back in that room. How do I know I didn’t? I was going to say something about it before the lieutenant’s voice came blasting over the radio.

“Alright boys! Gotta go back out in 5.”

“Fuck man I’m tired!” Rodriguez shouted back. There was no response. I didn’t want to go back out, especially with a man short. B was lying back with his eyes closed shaking his head. We sat in silence for a minute; the only sound was the motor of the main gun moving around looking for targets. When I thought about Sergeant Hunter again I remembered something funny and started giggling.

“What’s so funny?” said B. “I’d like to hear something funny right about now in this shit hole.”

“Did you guys hear Sergeant’s voice?” I asked; “he sounded like a little girl.”

I squeaked in a high-pitched voice, “I’m hit.” Everyone laughed. That opened up a doorway for more shits and giggles; it was like everyone needed to joke around to keep our minds off of going back out. Martinez took charge of the team since he had seniority. We were one man short and no one else was coming out to replace Hunter. We had enough firepower to keep going, so we filled our water and restocked ammo. The back door dropped open.

“Ok guys. Watch your six out there.”

Click to Order on Amazon !

Combat Medic
A soldier’s story of the Iraq war and PTSD

Next Up- Sinister Chuckles in the Middle of Hell

Served in the military? Record your DD-214 before you lose proof of service


Ever wonder why you hear of so many veterans being denied treatment at their local VA? Or why there are so many homeless veterans? Certainly if you fight for your country, put your life in danger multiple times for their freedom, you should automatically be set the rest of your life.

Well, in a way that’s true. When I got separated from the Army one of the last things my platoon sergeant told me to do was to bring all my medical records and DD-214 to the local courthouse when I get back home. He informed me on how important all the information was.

“If you lose those records, it’ll be like you were never in the military,” My sergeant said, ” You’ll have no record of going to war, no record of fighting on the front lines. So when you get out you go there immediately, its in your best interest”

I thanked him for the advice. I never knew that there was such a gap between the military and civilian world. I always thought everything I did was recorded somewhere in a computer, filed away forever for whenever I wanted to request them. I thought I just had copies. No one else had said a word to me about it, I guess my sergeant was the only one that cared.

I listened to him and filed my records with the county and I brought my medical files to the local VA Hospital where, still this day, I receive free treatment for the multitude of problems that keep popping up physically and mentally from the war. If I didn’t have those files when my chronic pain and flashbacks started, I would have never been seen at the hospital.

To take it even further, I would have never been able to receive compensation from the VA and I would for sure be homeless. I have been medically retired from work about three years now and I’m living off my compensation. I’m the backbone of my family now, my wife and daughter depend on me for food and shelter and I wouldn’t be able to provide for them if I didn’t have record of being a medic in Iraq.

So if you didn’t know how important it was, now you do. Spread the word to your friends and family to let them know to go file their records with their local veteran service office and VA hospital because they never know what could happen to them down the road. They just might lose out on the benefits that are due to them and slip through the cracks like many veterans do.

Record

Served in the military? Record your DD-214


Ever wonder why you hear of so many veterans being denied treatment at their local VA? Or why there are so many homeless veterans? Certainly if you fight for your country, put your life in danger multiple times for their freedom, you should automatically be set the rest of your life.

Well, in a way that’s true. When I got separated from the Army one of the last things my platoon sergeant told me to do was to bring all my medical records and DD-214 to the local courthouse when I get back home. He informed me on how important all the information was.

“If you lose those records, it’ll be like you were never in the military,” My sergeant said, ” You’ll have no record of going to war, no record of fighting on the front lines. So when you get out you go there immediately, its in your best interest”

I thanked him for the advice. I never knew that there was such a gap between the military and civilian world. I always thought everything I did was recorded somewhere in a computer, filed away forever for whenever I wanted to request them. I thought I just had copies. No one else had said a word to me about it, I guess my sergeant was the only one that cared.

I listened to him and filed my records with the county and I brought my medical files to the local VA Hospital where, still this day, I receive free treatment for the multitude of problems that keep popping up physically and mentally from the war. If I didn’t have those files when my chronic pain and flashbacks started, I would have never been seen at the hospital.

To take it even further, I would have never been able to receive compensation from the VA and I would for sure be homeless. I have been medically retired from work about three years now and I’m living off my compensation. I’m the backbone of my family now, my wife and daughter depend on me for food and shelter and I wouldn’t be able to provide for them if I didn’t have record of being a medic in Iraq.

So if you didn’t know how important it was, now you do. Spread the word to your friends and family to let them know to go file their records with their local veteran service office and VA hospital because they never know what could happen to them down the road. They just might lose out on the benefits that are due to them and slip through the cracks like many veterans do.

Record

Military Dogs Receive Top Honor


This is what I love to see. This is one of the reasons why I think dogs are the best pets to own. They’re super intelligent and help us in the best possible ways. There would possibly be twice as many soldiers killed in action  from IED’s if we didn’t use dogs to sniff them out.

WASHINGTON — During a routine perimeter check in the desert of Afghanistan, Isky found a roadside bomb. He had come to a complete stop, sitting near the explosive device, patiently waiting for orders from his best friend, Army Sgt. Wess Brown. The IED – buried two feet deep – was a 120-pound bomb. Isky, a […]

via Working Dogs honored for their service — Pacific Paratrooper

A Strong Bond

Not much has happened these past few days. The sleep study I went in for sucked so bad. At 830 that night they hooked me up to a wrist monitor with a heart lead and stuck me in a room with four other guys to sleep the night; two things that made me uncomfortable to start the night out. Plus, I had to sleep on a super hard hospital bed with I knew would irritate my back. I felt like my sleep was broken throughout the night because I kept waking up to my back crying out to me in pain with sweat pouring off my head. I don’t even know how I got any sleep that night. By the morning my back was stiff and sore.img_0271

At my appointment the next morning my doctor told me I tested negative for sleep apnea, but they want me back to check for restless feet syndrome to see if that is what causes me to wake up. The whole test made me upset. I woke up more during the night from other people making noise. I still had nightmares too, just like every night. The doctor said I got six and a half hours of sleep throughout the night and that was spot on with the recommended amount for a 33 year old.

Why am I so tired every day like I didn’t rest at all?I’m really getting sick of nodding off several times a day because I feel like I get no sleep. I wish someone could tell me something because I don’t feel safe driving anymore.

I felt so run down and hungry after the appointment that I thought I’d better treat myself to a good breakfast, so I stopped to eat at The Original Pancake House. The Banana praline crepes were so amazing; I can still taste the caramel on my tongue.

I drove over to my dog trainer Lindsay’s house to pick up Tank. As soon as I walked through the door he was all over me panting, rubbing his furry body across my legs, jumping up licking my face. The anger and frustration I was having for the VA slowly disappeared the more we interacted. It was just a distant thought by the time I was leaving with him. I guess we both missed each other. I feel a strong bond with Tank, like he is apart of me in some way.img_0270

It got bitter cold this weekend. It snowed from Saturday into Sunday afternoon. We all stayed inside most of the weekend playing games and watching television. I don’t think Tank likes to be inside all day, he kept coming over to me whimpering and looking outside.

After going outside with him a few times I think he realized that being outside during the winter in Minnesota is highly overrated, especially when there is a snow storm. I felt bad for him when he started limping on his paw after being outside for a minute. On our way back inside he started yelping out when he stepped down. I bet his paws were freezing, so I ordered him a pair of booties. I hope I get them soon so he doesn’t have to be in pain when relieving himself in the snow. I also ordered a bunch of different rawhide chews that I think he may like. I spoil him way too much, but I feel like it’s a mutual respect thing. He watches my back and helps take away some of my anxiety, I give him all the treats he likes.

Lindsay, Patti and Len from Project Delta came over tonight to check in with our family and also so Aleah and my wife could introduce themselves to Tank and finally get to pet him. They all were nervous at the start of it, especially Tank kept looking at me with his tail wagging swiftly across the ground to see if it was okay that they were petting him. He started calming down as soon as they both started giving him treats.

Aleah was super happy to finally get to pet him. Jessica was glowing with joy too. She doesn’t say it much, but I know she loves him. I’m glad they finally get to show him affection. I can tell Tank is in a better mood since he doesn’t have to walk around with the muzzle on anymore. He gets his vest in a few days and then we dive into public training, I can’t wait

Noticing a Change Within

I’m having good days more often than usual. I’m sleeping better because I’ve let Tank sleep outside of his crate at the foot of our bed. I really believe he doesn’t like to be in his crate when I’m in the same room so he can sleep outside of it as long as he’s sleeping all night.

Training went well today. Tank is making strides in his progress. He is showing me everyday how smart he is by memorizing cues I give him within a day. The only problem I can see that he has is with other dogs being in the same room with us. Josh’s service dog was in the room with us today and Tank wouldn’t stop growling at her and he barks at every person that passes by outside. I think he’s easily excited because he doesn’t see other people and animals much. We’re starting public training with in our next session so hopefully he will start learning to keep calm in those situations.

I gave Tank a break from his muzzle today when we were in the house alone. He still walked with me wherever I moved. He’s a really good dog, I think he is ready to start going out in public with me. I found that the only rawhide he likes to chew on has to have some type of meat flavor on it or he won’t chew it. I bought peanut flavored rawhides and Tank literally just licked the bone a few times then pushes it aside. I’m glad I only bought a pack of two so throwing them away doesn’t seem too wasteful. I gave him a beef and chicken flavor rawhide and he chewed it up in less than an hour. He is such a picky eater.

I have a sleep study scheduled for tonight at the VA hospital to test for sleep apnea because I’ve had trouble sleeping lately. The nightmares and night sweats have gotten so bad I feel like I’m not sleeping at all at night. Lindsay came to take Tank for the night. I spent an hour petting him and giving him lots of love before he left.

Driving to the VA was a challenge as always. I started having an anxiety attack halfway there which pissed me off. I felt like I was high because everything I looked at was in a haze. I tried grounding myself with breathing techniques , but I found it hard to even breath. I met with my psychiatrist when I first arrived at the hospital. I let him know I stopped smoking weed a few months ago because it was getting too expensive. Now that I haven’t smoked my PTSD symptoms have increased. He increased my medications to help compensate for what the marijuana was helping with.

I drove over to the Mall of America for dinner after that appointment. I tried a new sushi restaurant and it was pretty good. I drank sake in order to calm my nerves. I felt so different without Tank, sort of feels like being in a gunfight without a gun, super uncomfortable. I’ve noticed how bad I get without him which makes me anxious to get his vest so he can go everywhere with me.

img_0277Lindsay sent me a couple of pictures with Tank and her two labs. She said he was doing excellent and he was getting along with everyone. I bet he was excited to play with other dogs for a chance. He’s been stuck with me for the past month not receiving any attention from anyone.

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Getting in sync

Tank woke us up right after midnight panting and licking himself obsessively in his crate while his stomach savagely growled. For some reason I feel like Tank hates being in his crate at night. He has started ignoring me when I tell him to get, it takes me a good 5 minutes and treat bribes to get him to walk in with his head hanging low. I gave Lindsay a call but she didn’t pick up, so I let Tank out to relieve himself then let him sleep outside of his cage at the foot of our bed. He went to sleep right away. We got the best sleep since the first day we got Tank. Lindsay gave me a call in the morning and told me to do pretty much what I did.

I didn’t have to do much today. I had to meet with a hearing officer at the Hennepin county court office this afternoon about a speeding ticket I received back in October. In order to keep the ticket off my record I have to pay a $325 fine…JEEZ. I think I got away with more than I should have though. I have this thing with driving alone on a highway, it makes me hyper-aware of everything that I see on the road, sometimes giving me flashbacks if I see a box or dead deer on the side of the road. I can’t count how many times I’ve been in a convoy at night speeding on a highway towards Bagdad when we’d have to stop and call the bomb squad out to check for IED’s that are hidden underneath stuff. I was going 92 when the cop pulled me over. I’m blessed that he knocked it down to a 76 in a 65 MPH zone, so $325 isn’t too bad.

Two hours went by before I got back home. When I let Tank out of his crate he was overjoyed as usual, jetting around the house heavily panting. He ran in between my legs at least 10 times rubbing his head against me. I love him. He makes me feel good every time I see him. Lately, the anxiety that builds up inside of me while away during the day seems to be washed away when I spend time with him. I spent the rest of the day watching T.V. and rubbing tanks belly.

When I put Tank in his crate so I could pick Aleah up from school, he started whimpering. I spoke with Lindsay about what I should do and she said if he’s fed and has relieved himself then he’s just doing it to see if I let him out. It’s hard but I’ve almost gotten used to ignoring him, even though it sounds like a crying baby I need to tend to.img_0266Patti, the founder of Project Delta, text me a picture of the badges that will go on Tanks vest. I can’t wait to see it on him, then it’ll be official. Lindsay also text me to let me know next monday her and Patti will be over to finally let Aleah and my wife to interact with Tank. Aleah is super excited, Jessica is too but she doesn’t want to show it. I know it’s been hard for the both of them to not interact with Tank this past month. I’m really proud of them for sticking this out with me and I can’t wait to see them play together.