Saturday, July 24, 2010
This week was a rough one. Jay is about two weeks into his new medication and it seems to finally be leveling off. But, wow, what a terrible transition. He was so angry. Everything I said set him off. He hasn't been able to drive and that's been a huge sore spot for him. Add the fact that it's ME telling him not to drive and you can imagine the conflict that results.
He did finally get to drive, though. He decided he was driving to his appointment with his therapist, Jan. I reluctantly agreed. I didn't have much choice. I know that he did ok, but there were times on that little trip that I felt his reflexes weren't as quick as I would like for them to have been. I felt very much like a mother in the car with her teen child, behind the wheel for the first time. He didn't drive thru the gate onto post since being on post raises his anxiety so much. So, he pulled over into a shopping center and we traded places. I was so relieved to be driving again. I gave him lots of praise and told him how proud I was of him. If he's so determined to get back to driving then it will do no good for me to express every single doubt I have.
As we sat in the waiting room before Jay's appointment it became very clear to me that he and I were at a fork in the road of our marriage. A couple months ago, when he was in the hospital, I had gone to an appointment with his therapist there. As we all walked into his little office Jay sat down, I sat next to him, and then we moved our chairs closer to each other so we could hold hands. Brian, the therapist, said the chairs were set up a certain way for a reason. He said he could tell how close a couple was by which chairs they chose (there was another empty chair across from us) and whether or not they faced each other. Not only did we hold hands, but at times we pressed our feet together. As we sat waiting for Jan, though, I had sat down where I always do, but instead of sitting next to me, Jay had chosen a spot several chairs away.
All week I had been battling with Jay. His anger had been out of control. He had been destructive. He had cussed at me for the first time in the seven years we have been together. In a rage he had gone into his garage and spray painted HATE on the wall. This was so disarming to me. I took a picture of it to give to Jan so that maybe it would help her see what I was dealing with. When she came in the waiting room to get him I handed her the photo and said, "I don't know what you had in mind for him today, but can you just help him?".
She said, "Of course." She kept him back with her for an hour and a half. The office closed at 5pm and around 5:10 they finally came out. She sat with me and explained that everything Jay is experiencing is normal given what he's going thru. She told me that this won't last forever. She told me that it was ok to let him drive. On our way to the car Jay told me that she hadn't been alarmed by the picture I gave her. He said she seemed glad that he had a place to go to let off steam. I like Jan. I respect Jan. But I wonder how well Jan would sleep at night if her husband spray painted HATE on the wall. I wonder how she would feel if this is what the neighbors could see...
I want to paint over it but Jay said he needed to leave it up for awhile. Great. I can only imagine what the neighbors think of us. Jay tells me that I shouldn't care what the neighbors think. But I don't think it's fair that he can tell me how to feel.
I'm embarrassed. Jay already has an angry look about him. When he came home from Iraq he started covering himself with macabre tattoos; creepy images of death. He wears black t-shirts and blasts screaming, death metal from his garage as he works. The other day he told me that as he and a friend (from PTSD therapy) were standing at the garage door talking, a woman was walking her dog up our street. She actually crossed the street to keep from walking by our house. MY HOUSE!!!!! They waved to her to try to be neighborly. But it's too late. We are the strange people.
In two hours we will be sitting in another doctor's office in the city. Dr. W referred us to a guy who is going to map Jay's brain. I can't give any more details than that because I'm very unsure exactly what's happening. But, I know it's supposed to last about two hours and will give us an idea if there is evidence of a TBI (traumatic brain injury) and where exactly it might be. It could also show us nothing. Which would be frustrating. I'm told that you can prove that there has been a TBI but you can't prove there hasn't been one. Meaning, if nothing shows up he could still have significant damage that just doesn't want to be documented, which will just make things harder for us down the road.
What puts all this in perspective for me right now is something that Jan said as she was talking to me the other day. She confessed that she had gone thru her own battle after her husband died. She wasn't relating to me but she was trying to show that she felt anguish similar to what Jay feels. Just hearing her say her husband had died flipped a switch for me. With everything Jay is going thru, I'm sure Jan would gladly go thru it with her husband if it meant she could be with him again. I will hold on to Jay and cherish him. He is still here.