Tuesday, November 14, 2006

AC360 Special Edition: Coming Home (Monday's Second Hour)

Hi everyone. I usually don't blog the specials, but I thought this one was important. We start tonight with a Dan Simon piece on the injuries soldiers often face when an IED explodes. Both soldiers we meet in the piece have traumatic brain injuries. One of them looks fine, but in reality his short term memory is gone. Doctors fear that more soldiers have this condition than what's diagnosed, but since they look fine it goes untreated. The other soldier in the piece has lost both of his legs and is facing many more surgeries on his brain. A really crappy statistic we learn is that 2/3 of severely wounded soldiers will be divorced within a year. As if they didn't have enough to deal with.

Moving on now to an Anderson piece on a veteran who developed such a severe case of PTSD that he ended up in an armed standoff. During the war he was shot in the chest, but was wearing kevlar at the time. However, the incident really rattled him and from then on he further and futher isolated himself. His wife and mother reached out to the military for help, but no help was received. The military denies the charges. The fact that the family got the runaround here is pretty sickening. This isn't the first story like this I've heard. Anyway, the soldier eventually went AWOL and then ended up in that standoff, but thankfully it ended with him in jail and not in the morgue. Hopefully his country will pay him back now with some help.

Next up we have a Sanjay Gupta piece on a new therapy being used to treat vets that suffer from PTSD. It's called "virtual Iraq" and the idea is for the soldiers to relive situations so that they can confront their disturbing memories. Sanjay tries out the therapy and recounts a time in Iraq when they took fire and he thought he was going to die. He kind of freaks out a little. Aw. He tells us that his heart is pounding and his hands are shaking, though actually he sounds remarkably calm. On a scale of 0 to 100, Sanjay tells us he is about a 90 in terms of anxiety. Poor Sanjay isn't feeling very good y'all. Anyway, at the end of the piece we learn that Sanjay actually went through the simulation two more times and though it didn't get any easier, he did start to feel more in control. So it works then? I just hope there's no risk of the therapy actually making things worse.

Transitioning now to a Randy Kaye piece on the difficulties of soldiers returning to their families. They often end up feeling like strangers in their own homes, but the army is combatting this by creating retreats for couples where they can resolve some of their issues. Now that actually sound likes a good idea. It's not coming too soon either because between 2001 and 2004 the number of divorces in the army doubled.

Moving on to a Gary Tuchman piece on a family where both of the parents went to Iraq at the same time. They decided to go at the same time because it would mean less time apart, but it's really hard on their three kids. So hard in fact that the little girl starts crying when Gary asks her about it. Oh good going Gary. Actually he's really sweet about it getting her some tissues and apologizing. Both of these parents expect to be sent back and they're happy to go. This story kind of gives me a bad taste in my mouth. It's great they want to serve their country, but there are real consequences for those kids. What happens if God forbid neither one comes back?

On next to a repeat of the Anderson piece on the homeless vet and then to another Gary Tuchman piece on a guy who lost his foot in Iraq and wants to go back. However, they wouldn't let him so instead he went to Columbia for college. This guy is what you would call a go-getter. Gary mentions a possible run for Congress and you can tell the guy has already charted a campaign out in his head. What he's accomplished so far in his young life is amazing, but I hope if he does get to Congress he does it for the right reasons. Naked ambition isn't exactly a bad thing, but it usually doesn't turn out well in Washington DC. We end tonight with Anderson reading a letter posted to the Coming Home webpage. That'll do it.

Screencaps by sherynroyce.


Anonymous Sharla said...

That homeless veteran piece really, really pissed me off. I held my snarl in and wrote a comment to the blog that actually got posted. I was quite pleased with that, actually, because I'm hoping that my advice for the free advocates will get out there.

BTW, I finally got my own stream working and I'm going to start my tie commentary. *laugh* I'm such a dork. I posted Wolf and said his was ugly, and then for tonight (Tuesday) I commented on John's tie. BLECH. I wonder where Anderson wandered off to.... and I am NOT fangirly. I just like a well dressed man :)

10:34 PM  

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