I was recently asked to see as a patient, the wife of an injured Iraqui war veteran. Joanne (not real name) is from Alabama now staying in NJ with her comatose husband Joe. Presently he is a patient at The Kessler Institute. He is undergoing intensive and innovative neurocognitive therapy by neuroscientist Dr Philip DeFina with hope for Joe's eventual recovery.
With her gentle Southern accent, out of place in New Jersey and staying by her husband's side, her stress was just overwhelming. It was clearly being manifested by her gastrointestinal symptoms.
I was remembered of an event in my family's life which occurred before my birth. My father was wounded fighting in WW II. He was stationed in an army hospital in Butler PA. My mother stayed there with a local family to be with him. Very kind people felt her pain and became a surrogate family for her.
Times change, people don't and war continues to accumulate victims.
That war was different, many say. WW II was the last one in which fighting, dying and coming back injured somehow seemed necessary. It was a war about good and evil, the guilty and innocent. We may never have been in a war since then which justified such suffering on both sides.
The scoping went well. As I suspected most of her symptoms were stress related. As she opened her large brown eyes, she began to cry. Some people react to the anesthesia that way. But not Joanne.
Her comment was simply "I'm so sorry that Joe can't wake up instead of me".