PAT LAMOUREUX - One episode in a person's life, does not define the person.

Monday, May 17, 2010

PTSD, medications, tragedy and families.......

For 55 years of my life, I have carefully chosen my friends, and those that I love. I have surrounded myself with people who were of good character and a strong moral upbringing. I have not associated with people who were of a corrupt or evil nature; I was raised to understand the difference between right and wrong, and have led my life in always trying to do the right thing.

My parents always told me, “Don’t ever do anything stupid enough to get yourself thrown in jail. If you do, you better be smart enough to figure out how to get yourself out – because we will not come and get you.” With that always in my mind, I have led a life respecting the law, and those who enforce it. I have chosen my friends and those that I love because they hold the same types of values that I do.

My life has been filled with men who have served our country. My father served in WWII, all three of my brothers served during Viet Nam, my ex-husband - a Marine, who served 2 tours in Viet Nam; my next to the oldest son served in Iraq, and my step-son is a Marine.

My surviving brother, my ex-husband, my son, and my step-son plan to be present in the courtroom when Pat’s trial starts; certainly, they will be there to support me during this stressful process, but they will also be there in support of their friend and their fellow soldier, Pat Lamoureux, a man they all love and respect.

The day I met Pat Lamoureux, he was wearing desert camouflage, having just finished his “weekend warrior” duty. He took my breath away. The confidence and pride in being a soldier exuded from him. All I could say as he walked passed me was “Hey camouflage man….” As we started to date, I came to know his strength, his compassion, his heart, his willingness to do for others first, his respect for other people – the list of outstanding qualities about this man, go on and on. There are not many men in this world like Pat Lamoureux, and I am proud to say that he is my husband.

On February 17, 2003, my birthday, Pat left to go to the war in Iraq; that day, my birthday, marks the day that our lives would be forever changed.

When he was air-lifted out of the war and arrived at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, I was there waiting for him. I have stood by his side every step since the day he returned from the war. There were days when it would have been easier to leave than to continue taking those steps, but I knew the man I loved was still inside there, and I could not and would not leave him.

Within the first year, it became apparent that he had issues and that the war had come home with him. When Pat started seeking mental health care at the VA, I prayed this would bring my husband back from the war, it had been almost a year, but I knew he was not really home. 

Within a short period of time, a closet in the dressing room of our home resembled the shelves in a pharmacy. Every time he had an appointment at the VA, it seemed he was sent home with yet another prescription. A man that went to the war not taking any medications was taking more medications than someone with a terminal illness.

I trusted the VA providers; I trusted that they were trained professionals that knew what they were doing, but nonetheless, our lives became a roller coaster. Our social life became almost nonexistent because Pat was withdrawing into a cocoon. Life as we had known it before the war was gone, and I blamed it on PTSD. While PTSD was the root of the problem, I now know that it was the medication that was taking his life away. I had never analyzed what he was taking, or researched the side effects of taking a cocktail of medications; again, I trusted the VA. 

Hind sight is always 20/20. Yes, hind sight is always better; when you think something is wrong don’t trust other people to act on a situation. Demand that something be done, trust your gut instinct. 

I have mentally punished myself for not doing something different before the early morning hours of September 19, 2008. I cannot change history, and I know this. I can only go forward and be the demanding person that I can be. Those of you who know me, know what that means. 

When Pat was evaluated for competency to stand trial, the civilian doctors made changes to his medication regimen beginning in January 2009. By the time he was transferred back to the detention center in May 2009, I could see the difference in him. For the past year I have seen that my husband is still there, and he is coming back stronger every day. 

My goals: 1) To eventually free him of all the psychotropic drugs the VA has put him on, the list has already dwindled; 2) To get him to the VA affiliated National Center for PTSD in California. Therapy is a better answer, not drugs that affect the mind or mood or other mental processes. 

(To anyone taking antidepressants, antipsychotic medication, or pain medication, I strongly suggest you read Dr. Peter Breggin’s book, “Medication Madness”.) 

Today - Tuesday, May 18, 2010; we are 62 days away from a trial that should not happen; when it does start, Pat will have been incarcerated for 668 days.  

I know that what happened on September 19, 2008, was a tragedy and not a crime. A crime is committed with intent; Pat Lamoureux would never intentionally set out to harm another person. I know that Pat’s actions that night caused the Nye County Sheriff’s Office to respond, but I also know Pat Lamoureux has been punished for long enough.

One episode in a person’s life, does not define the person, and if anybody deserves a second chance, it is a combat Veteran – particularly when that Veteran has no prior criminal record.

However,  the Nye County District Attorney’s office has gone on record stating this case will be prosecuted “to the fullest extent of the law.” (Pahrump Valley Times, September 24, 2008). Quite an ironic quote from Nye County Chief District Attorney Robert Beckett; he was recently arrested for the second time in as many years.....

For the past 20 months, I have fought with every ounce of my life to try to save Pat Lamoureux’s life. He is a great man, who deserves much more than he has received since he returned from Iraq.

As the number of combat related PTSD cases spiral upwards, the American people should do everything they can to educate themselves about PTSD. To anyone who currently has a loved one serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, you must educate yourselves. Read, read, read. Particularly educate yourself about the arsenal of medications that are being handed out to our Veterans.  Ultimately, they hurt more than they help.

Please watch the video 'PTSD and Over Medicating our Veterans' on the blog.  There are some astounding numbers about medications and our military in the video.

As the war in Iraq winds down and the war in Afghanistan escalates up, I hope that the American people will soon realize that the price of war not only involves dollars. PTSD is destroying the core of our country; families.  

PTSD is hard to live with, whether you are the Veteran, or the family member trying to cope with PTSD. 

Support our Veterans, and support their families.

"Grandpa Pat & Kain"

"Grandpa Pat & Kain"
"Kain-man" the jokester....

Pat Lamoureux - Iraq 2003

Pat Lamoureux - Iraq 2003
"Pat is an extraordinary, thoughtful, kind and generous man...not to mention a wonderful friend, in which one could always count upon to be there when in need." (words of a long time friend)

Pat's Family

Pat's Family
Mica & Heather, grandson Kain