October 2009 came and took my husband with it. After much planning and discussion with Dr. K and Dr. H, it was decided that Sean would benefit from a 2 1/2 month inpatient stay at the St. Cloud VA for their PTSD program.
And not a moment too soon! Sean was having many angry outbursts and rages. It had gotten so bad that he would cuss and swear at the dog for needing to go outside.
There was a “look” on his face and a “tone” in his voice that were imperceptible to him, but kept the rest of us on edge. The nightmares and night sweats were persistent. He was still having the staring episodes (now thought to be a type of flashback) and memory problems.
We drove him to St. Cloud on October 19th and once again left him behind while we drove out of sight. It does not get any easier.
The format was mostly group sessions with regular one on one meetings with the psychologist, social worker, and pastor. He received EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) therapy for pain management with limited success.
Sean felt he benefited from the program and was feeling much more secure and confident while he was in treatment. His night terrors continued and he was waking up each night, sometimes with the nurses finding him on the floor. His medications were increased several times to help with his sleep and anxiety. These changes make it easier for Sean to fall back to sleep and help him feel more comfortable out in the world, but they do not “fix” the underlying problems. The psychologist felt that although Sean had some initial success, he is a long way from finding the root of the problem and until that is discovered, there will be limited recovery.
While participating in the program Sean made good friends with whom he still keeps in touch. The common bond they share has been quite therapeutic for him.