Patrick left home for the war on February 17, 2003, a perfectly healthy 40 year old man. I never will forget the date - it was my birthday.
In April 2008 at the age of 45, Pat was declared 100% disabled. It had taken us 5 years of battling the Veteran's Administration to finally achieve the disability rating level that he deserved. Patrick has multiple disabilities that are all service connected.
He lost one-third of his pulmonary function (lungs) while in Iraq(he was air-lifted out of Iraq), and is rated 60% disabled for that condition. He has sleep apnea and has to sleep with a machine (C-Pap) so that he doesn't stop breathing at night. He lost hearing in both ears, and wears hearing aids in both ears now. He developed osteopenia (loss of bone density) due to the massive amounts of Prednisone (steroid) that he was prescribed for his respiratory condition. He also takes multiple other inhaled steroids for his respiratory condition. He is at risk for fracture in his lumbar spine and his left hip due to the massive amounts of steroids taken. He has gastroesophageal reflux disease, most likely caused by his asthma/sleep apnea/massive total medications that he has been prescribed.
He is also rated 70% disabled by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. That is not a new rating. It was in effect when he was medically discharged from the Army in late 2003.
Pat is 46 years old now.
In January 2008 we had sold our home in Las Vegas, and became "full-timers" in our 2007 40 foot motorhome. We had big plans to travel the country. There is much of our country I have never seen, and Pat was excited by the prospects of where he wanted to take me, and the things we would experience along the way. We were looking forward to our future.
LIFE CHANGING DEVASTATION:
As stated in an earlier post, Patrick began to unravel on September the 18th 2008. By the early morning hours of the 19th, I knew I needed to remove myself from the situation as I felt it was spiraling out of what I felt I could control. In spite of many situations that had occurred since he returned - I knew there was something different this time.
In spite of feeling the situation was out of my control - I never called 911 that night. I told him I was leaving (not the relationship, but just for that night) and he "snapped".
I have relived that night at least one million times in my mind. What could I have done differently that would have resulted in a different outcome......
I had made a quick exit from the motorhome and drove to an area of safety in the RV park. In what seemed like in a matter of seconds, law enforcement was arriving in multiple numbers.
For a few moments in my life - I knew what it must sound like to be in a war zone.
And then - there was silence.
I was in a state of hysteria - and all alone. I feared Pat was dead, the odds were against him. There were too many officers shooting at him, how could he possibly survive?
In the end one of the officers was wounded, and Pat was shot twice - in the left mid-calf area, and the right ankle area.
He and the officer were airlifted via helicopter to a hospital in Las Vegas. The bill for the helicopter alone was $16,772.00. The VA will not cover his medical bills, even though we have no other health insurance and he is a 100% disabled Veteran - who is rated at 70% for PTSD.
Our beautiful motorhome - Pat's pride and joy - suffered extensive damage on the interior and exterior. The main gun battle occurred outside the motorhome, and many other people's property was damaged as well. Our insurance will cover nothing - they stated "The insured was knowingly involved in unlawful activity."
Isn't it amazing that the insurance was able to form the opinion the he was "knowingly" involved?
Pat was arrested and when he appeared before the judge, his bail was set at $2.5 million dollars.
(My upcoming posting will be about the charges - and what his attorney is doing.)