A major surgery was a trigger for Rick


My name is Rick. I served in the United States
Navy for 12 years, from 1978 to 1990. I was on an ammunition re-supply
ship for Beirut in ’82, ’83, and in
Grenada, 1983. When I got out, I worked for a
bank as a Field Examiner for off-lease vehicles. Then I moved down to Texas,
and I was working in the environmental– on the chemical and oil plants
down in Texas, working environmental cleaning. Then I worked my way up,
becoming an equipment operator and a truck driver. And then I started becoming just
a straight truck driver. At first, it was little tough. I was used to doing
24-hour days. My wife couldn’t understand why
every Saturday night, she would go to bed at 10-11
o’clock, and I’d come crawling into bed like 4, 5, 6 o’clock
in the morning. It was tough readjusting, but
I was able to survive it and did a lot of it on my own. And then as I said, everything
that happened to me when I was in the service I
had suppressed. A good 20 plus years, I had
everything under control, not letting it bother me,
not letting it come out to the surface. I literally put everything into
a little imaginary box and stuck it in the corner, and
just let it be, and just hid it away. I didn’t want to bother it. I didn’t want to see
that box anymore. Something recently happened. I had a major surgery. It was supposed to be a small,
little, easy surgery. They went and did
a laparoscopic. They made the two
little slits. They stick the camera in. And they can’t find what
they were looking for. They found an infestation
and infection in my intestines and my colon. So now, instead of, just, doing
a laparoscopic surgical procedure, they’ve got to go
full-blown open surgery. And while I was laying in ICU
for 48 days, all the symptoms for mental health problems
started popping up– the bad dreams, the
nightmares. They all started coming in. And it was like, I need help. I told my doctors,
I said, I need a referral to mental health. I need to see somebody
from mental health. And me being inpatient at the
hospital, they said, OK. So they sent a psychologist
down. And I explained to the doctors,
this is my problems. Luckily, I know what the
symptoms were, what some of the problems are that
can be seen– irritability, short-fuse
temper, things along those lines. It all came back, and it
was all coming in. And it was like, I’ve
got a problem, Doc. And the next thing I know, I’ve
got a therapist coming to me while I was in the hospital
once a week. Every Tuesday she
was coming in– no, every Monday. Every Monday she was coming in
to see me, and we would sit down, and we would discuss
everything that was going on. And I would turn around
and tell her– I said, yeah, I always tell my
clients to take care of the man in the mirror, first. Now I had to take care of
the man in the mirror. That was me. Going through the procedures and
going through the process of healing, now I’ve got to
re-heal on the inside also, with my psychological
conditions. I know I’m taking care of
myself, and I’m taking care of my brothers and sisters. We stood on a line, some before
me, some after me, some with me, but we’ve got to
take care of each other.

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