TBI - Uncaring Spouse or Something Else?

Okay, let’s admit it up front.  Humans as a species are simply not equipped to struggle with
modern day brain loads.  We forget to grab the grocery list, lock the keys in the car, and
have even been known to leave a kid at camp because of the crazy amount of information
racketing around in the brain.

But something about your veteran seems, different.  And not just the different that you get
when you take someone away from military discipline.  This is a completely different

When you fought he remembered every word you said that he didn’t like.  Now, he can’t
even remember you fought.

When you sent him to the store, that perfect military mind recollected every detail of what
he needed to pick up for himself, if not always you.  Now, he calls from the store because
he can’t remember why he’s there.

When there was no money on that military pay he pinched pennies for months to be able to
buy you a birthday gift.  Now, it’s just another day on the calendar in his mind.  He knows it
exists, but he can’t pinpoint the date anymore.

He makes strange comments, like “you never tell me you love me anymore” but you just
told him an hour ago.

You discuss your plans for the weekend over dinner on Wednesday and Friday he says,
“So, what do you want to do this weekend?”

Let’s face it, nearly 100% of veterans who are from OIF and OEF were in a blast at one
point or another.  While they may not have been wounded on the outside, the percussions
to the brain can still cause permanent brain damage known as
Traumatic Brain Injury.

So, what do you do if this looks like your veteran?

Get in touch with your VA rep and try to get your veteran screened as soon as possible.  
There are exercises to help improve their memory and there are people who want to help.  
Realize that damage may require rehabilitation and current rehab standards call for IN
PATIENT treatment.  That means he lives at the hospital and can’t work.  They are
currently working on outpatient treatment options.  Easter Seals and other organizations
are pioneering at home programs with computers and the Internet so this may be changing
very soon.

Realize that you are not alone and your vet may not be willing to admit to his newfound
forgetfulness, mostly because he might not realize it’s happening.  Little tips and tricks for
managing at home include keeping a calendar posted in an obvious place and attaching
extra paper for a list.  Create a “communications center” with a pad of paper and pen so
messages can not only be passed, but also taken with you.  Recently a VA doc
recommended purchasing a PDA to a FOV staff member.  If your vet is diagnosed with
he can qualify for a free PDA if his doc will write him a prescription! (
CLICK HERE for more
information about getting a PDA through the VA.)

There are many ways to cope with TBI and you have to stay tuned into what works best for
you and your family.

Remember, Family Of a Vet is always here to help with your questions about
and how they affect the life of the family.  Contact any of our staff members if you need
additional assistance or just someone to talk to!

This article was written by our own Heather Hummert, the wife of an OIF Veteran & Purple
Heart Recipient.  If you would like to contact Heather directly, you can e-mail her at
Heather -at- FamilyOfAVet.com or

If you would like to help us build this site and reach out to other Veterans, their spouses,
and children, please e-mail us at Info -at- FamilyOfAVet.com or
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FamilyOfaVet - Real World info about PTSD, TBI, & life after combat.
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