Did you ever have one of those moments when you think, “Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!” Ours was in December 2007. Sean had been in the states for 16 months, and home for seven months.
During a routine physical at the CBOC the nurse told us the VA had a new set of questions to ask each veteran who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan. This set of questions was designed to help identify soldiers who may be suffering from a
brain injury (the information contained in this link is an accurate reflection of what Sean experiences). The questions were simple, “did you ever experience a fall?” “Were you near any blasts or explosions?” “Were you ever unconscious?”
Sean was answered yes to each of the questions. The PA sat down with us and explained that he suspected some of Sean’s symptoms were due to a concussion, or multiple concussions, he may have experienced from his falls and exposure to blasts from mortars. Sean was given a referral to the polytrauma unit at the VA Hospital for additional evaluation and testing.
While this was not necessarily the good news we had been searching for–always hoping there would be a “cure”–it was progress at last. I felt like I had been saying forever that things were not right, and now at last someone was agreeing with me, things are not right. It was frightening (this was never a diagnosis we had even remotely considered) and reassuring at the same time. I thought if we could figure out what it was, we could figure out how to deal with it.