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Jack Sisson's TBI Blog

A hug is duct tape for the soul.

From San Diego's North County Times:
I don't think I've ever seen anyone so happy to receive a check in the mail as "Ann Norris," who asked me not to use her real name to protect her privacy.

It's not as if it's a huge check either, but it's going to help cover her house payment and lift some of the worry and guilt she's been carrying since May 2005. That was when her son, "Rob," returned from his deployment in Iraq with extreme symptoms of post-traumatic stress and a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

For more than six years, Norris has had to wage her own war ---- and is still fighting ---- for Rob to receive the ratings, treatment and benefits he is owed by the Army and the Veterans Affairs ---- in between taking him to doctors' appointments, monitoring his medication and doing his shopping and cleaning.

Besides PTSD and TBI, Rob has also been diagnosed with a psychotic disorder. For the first few years after his return, his family never knew when there would be another crisis involving the police. Norris says she's been "on call 24/7 for the past six years."

Before his military service, Rob was a popular kid who loved playing the guitar and surfing. Even now, the one thing that brings him peace is being on his boat in the ocean. His mom still calls him her "gentle giant."

Before she became Rob's caregiver, Norris was an energetic and successful Realtor. She and Rob's dad were saving towards retirement. But she had to let her business go so she could care for her son, and the burden of income fell on her husband. Which is where the guilt came in. And the constant struggle to make ends meet.

"Just as Rob was forever changed by the war, so were we," she says. The friends Rob had before he went to Iraq no longer want to see him. Many of Norris' extended family members and friends stay away, too. Exhaustion and worry are etched in her face and eyes. But less so since her first caregiver stipend from the VA arrived last month. Besides helping to cover the mortgage, it validates what she spends her days doing.

The VA has finally recognized that caregivers of post-9/11 veterans provide crucial support in caring for veterans and that the home environment can enhance the health and well-being of veterans under VA care.

Under the "Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010," additional VA services are now available, and the VA is now accepting applications for these services. Go to or call VA's Caregiver Support Line (1-855-260-3274).

Read at the original source.

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