Sunday, February 13, 2011

Those People You Meet

When you are in the military, you meet all kinds of people. People of different races, religions and backgrounds. Some of those people you get close to and keep a relationship with them long after you have left that duty station. Some you can't wait to get away from. And then there are some you lose touch with and forever wonder if they are okay.

We met alot of different people from my husband's time in. We were mainly stationed at Ft. Sill, OK, Ft. Gordon, GA and our final duty station Ft Polk,LA.

We meet some interesting people at Fort Sill. None that we are still close with today, but definitely some memorable people.
There was the couple who had 5 girls under the age of 7. My husband told him to buy stock in Maybeline and Midol with a quickness.
Another had a toddler who when she didn't get her way she would do the Invasion of the  Body Snatchers movie scream. Her parents thought it was adorable. (NOT)
And the older German wife of an officer who tried to steal every one's babies. Yes, she would go see everyone who had a baby and then make false abuse reports on them and offer to be the foster parent. I think her husband sent her back to Germany because it got so bad.
It wasn't until Fort Polk that we finally met some families that had kids the same age as ours and were close to our age too.
One couple we still talk with often and try our best to keep in touch.

The other couple had a young daughter who was between our daughter's ages. The wife was pregnant with a baby boy when we met them. Just to keep this private I'll call them Bob and Sue.

Bob and my husband got along perfectly. Their birthdays were one day apart and they were the same rank, and they even had the same time in service. Talk about a coincidence.
I first met Sue right after she had their 1st baby boy. She was much younger than me and her husband. I think she was almost 5 or 6 years younger. Making her almost 20 when we met.
We hadn't been stationed at Ft Polk very long and I was really looking forward to making some friends. Even though she was younger, she was funny and sweet. I thought we would be great friends.
It wasn't very long until I started noticing some strange things about my new friend, Sue.

She got what she called migraine headaches alot. I get them too, so at first I sympathized with her. She would call and ask if I would watch the kids while she went to the doctor or emergency room because she was in so much pain from the headache.
This went on for weeks, almost every week to 2 weeks she would come by and beg me to watch the kids so she could go to the hospital.
It came to an abrupt end when the post hospital wanted to do an MRI on her because she was in so often. And when I started asking her if she had a migraine why was she driving or yelling at the kids so much.
She then started saying she had back pain instead. This worked for awhile. She would come back with a big bottle of tylenol3 or some precoset. It was always gone way before it should have been.
It was also about this time that something in her just snapped. It was like she became a completely different person. She would scream at her oldest daughter, call and talk about some insane nonsense and have no memory of doing it.
Then one night while her husband was in the field doing training,  she called and told my husband who was on staff duty that she was going to kill herself and he needed to get the kids. She went to a mental hospital that night, we kept the kids so Bob could continue to work.

Here's the thing, most military installations are not equipped to deal with severe mental illness. Yes, they have a mental health facility, but that is not for inpatient care. They sent her to the closest mental hospital. She was there for a week and came back home. Tricare would only pay for a week.

She was fine for awhile again. We could hang out and I wasn't afraid she was going to pull a knife and kill us all. She was a loving and caring mother. We went out and Bob told us she was pregnant again.
She downward spiraled from there, going to the hospital asking for more pain killers and then getting highly irate when they wouldn't give her anything. She would write letters that made no sense to the CO of the hospital, the post commander anybody with rank she would write a letter to. She went back in and out of the hospital until she finally had the baby. Another sweet baby boy.

It was when her husband got orders to Korea that she flipped even more. She once again threatened to kill herself. My husband again, trying to save his friends career, stepped up and tried to take care of the situation.
She went back to the mental hospital again and her husband took a hardship discharge. He hoped that if he got out and was home more, she would get better.

We didn't hear from them again until sometime in early 2000s that we heard from Bob again. He and Sue were getting a divorce and he was taking custody of the kids, which had grown by another baby boy by this time.

Bob asked us to come visit him and the kids in Florida during the summer of 2003.While we were there we found out just how bad things had gotten after he left the Army. She had begun purposely hurting herself to get pain meds. Throwing herself down a flight of stairs, cutting her hand with a knife, and the most insane one of all...she ran over her own hand to break it. I have no clue how in the world she managed to pull that one off, but apparently she did.

Sue abandoned her children when her husband laid down the law and said she had to go into a rehab program.He filed for divorce and has since remarried. The last we heard Sue lost custody of all of her children and there was a restraining order to keep her from having contact.

My heart breaks for those children who won't get to know their mother or who will remember her only as a drug addict who didn't take care of them. It breaks for Sue and how she let that addiction take over her life and destroy her role as a mother.

 I wonder sometimes if she truly had a mental problem or if that had become her new mode of operation for getting drugs.
I wonder how someone could chose drugs over their children and husband.
It's only know that I'm older and have more life experience and that prescription drug abuse has made more headlines that I understand what was going on.

Alot of people don't look at using prescriptions drugs as abuse. They think "Well a doctor gave this to me. It's not like I'm doing crack or herion. It's legal."
But when it is abused it is the same if not worse. I hope and pray that Sue was able to get help and finally get clean. Her 4 children deserve to have her in their lives.

Have you ever experienced someone with a prescription drug abuse problem? Or have you avoided certain drugs because of the chance of becoming addicted


Joy@TPMG said...

How sad that she chose drugs over her family. It sounds like that family was very lucky to have you and your family in their lives during that time.

candace said...

SAD. Sounds like you really did meet an array of interesting people!

Jenn said...

That is so heartbreaking! What is sad to me is that she continued to bring lives into her cycle. :( I'm so glad to hear that the husband has since moved on, kept the kids safe from the abuse and seeing the illness manifest...
Some days my life gets absolutely hectic and I get overwhelmed and can *almost* see how some moms choose to jut leave and walk away from it all - but it's a brief moment's thought and I know that I could not and would not ever do so.

When I encounter some "weird" friends, I always try to be that light and blessing to their family as much as I can because I know I may be the only one there that helps... It's a fine line, though, as we cannot be the glue that holds everyone's family together...

Tough post! Thanks for sharing.
Jenn from Jenn's RAQ