The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.


August 23, 2010

Name: Air Force Wife
Posting date: 8/23/10
Spouse deployed: Overseas
Milblog: SpouseBuzz

My husband is gone right now, on an all expense paid vacation to an exotic locale.  Which really isn't anything unusual in this household.
And, really, I'm okay with it.  I've got the routine down pat at this point.  The kids have their chores, I keep up on my things, and for those frustrations it sometimes feels like I can't talk about to anyone -- you know, those ones I would normally talk out with my husband in bed at night? Well, I go hit things at the gym. That heavy bag, it's an amazing therapist.

But. There's always a but, right? There's always a monkey somewhere with a karmic wrench to throw into the works. I got one of those two weeks ago.

Two weeks ago my coach told me in no uncertain terms that I either go see my doctor for a breathing problem I'd been having in class, or I wouldn't be welcome back in class. They take near-fainting spells pretty seriously, I think it might be a liability issue.

So I did. I assumed I had asthma and had been avoiding the doctor's office because I didn't want it on my medical record. I mean, who would? I was fine, I wasn't dying or anything. Just having a hard time breathing sometimes. And with the horror stories I've heard of people getting stopped from overseas moves or other moves because of some silly medical diagnosis that really wasn't any big deal to speak of -- well, you can see how I didn't want to deal with that kind of baggage if I didn't have to.

And I was very angry about being forced into making what I assumed was asthma into something official.

Except that it wasn't asthma. After several tests, my regular doctor informed me that I had heart issue that was causing her serious concern and referred me to a cardiologist. Along with the referral, I had several other recommendations to follow, based on the assumption that my issues were as serious as they looked -- heart disease in a 36-year-old female is generally not a good diagnosis to work from.

It was truly awful. I wasn't allowed to work out for a while, and when I was allowed to return to working out, it was with some rather severe limitations. I had to completely switch up my diet from the one I had been following. I had to walk around with heart monitors, checking my heart rate and my blood pressure many times a day. And my fingers began to feel like hamburger from testing my blood sugar levels at different times of the day, as well.

I was stressed beyond belief, not only because of a looming sentence from a medical problem that was potentially the end of the life our family had mapped out (we've got a move coming up to a place that a heart condition would disqualify us from in two seconds flat), the end of the one exercise program that has worked for me in 15 years, and the advent of my use of those day-by-day pill organizers -- but also because there was no one I could really talk to about the knot in my gut that was getting larger by the day. I mean, a heart problem doesn't seem like the huge issue compared to some of the things other people I know are going through. I would just need to take some medicine and chill out. That's not such a big deal, right? Why should I be freaking out? And yet, inside I was.

The other problem I was having was whether or not to tell my husband.

On the one hand, that's what married people do -- they tell each other their problems. And it's probably not normal for a married person to not inform their spouse when a significant medical issue arises.  On the other hand I didn't want my husband worrying about me when he should have his head on his game. It's an issue military spouses try to figure out every day. To tell, or not to tell? This isn't a "normal" life, this can be life or death for them or the people they are with.

I decided to tell. Sort of. It was an, "Oh, by the way. This is no big deal, just the doctor who needs to CYA. Just so you know I'm getting some tests done. Totally routine," kind of telling, but I told. And apparently I was very convincing at it, because Air Force Guy didn't ask another question about how I was doing in regards to my heart issues. (He's normally an easily freaked out guy with medical issues.  Someday I'll tell the story of our first home-birth; he could have been the basis for a TV sit-com with his reactions to that one.)

Last week the cardiologist evaluated me and lifted all my restrictions -- apparently my heart problem wasn't a problem, it was normal for someone with my level of physical activity.  I could not stop talking about how awesome I felt, how awesome it was to not only be told I'm fine, but that I'm really super healthy. And I think it finally dawned on AFG that I had completely sanitized the issue before passing it on to him.

And I also think he didn't like that feeling one bit. But, considering the amount of sanitization going on in the information that he passes along to me, I hope he understands why I did it.

I'm still not sure if it was the right thing to do, I'm just sure that I was very lucky in how this turned out. 




You did the right thing.

BTW we sanitize the news going back home when we're downrange.

It's the only way to make it more bearable.

I believe you handled it superbly. I think deep in his heart AFG appreciates that. There are plenty of times when a deployed husband deserves and needs to hear the bad news. This was not one of them unless it had progressed much further. .

Glad you are fit and healthy. Now get back on that threadmill and keep pounding out those miles:-) I hope you find that vigorous exercise is a stress reliever.

I just wrote about what husbands can never tell their wife - and the one thing you can never tell is that you are dying - the wife would hound you to the grave because you hadn't listened to her. Bad joke but too true, you handled the alarm well, you did share enough and I like the result, now you are going to start road work to go with the heavy bag? Your heart is critical, and looks like it could use a hug from the husband that fears your weakness more than his own. Take care, and do share.

Another extremely complicated situation splendidly handled on the homefront by you. So relieved that you are healthy after all. Thank you for the post. AFG husband will be fine with it, eventually.

I'm sure that your husband appreciates everything that you do for him as a loving wife, this included!
I was glad to get to the relieving ending of your post and see that all is well with your heart.
Blessings to you

Being a military wife myself I agree with what you did completely! It's so hard sometimes not to have them home with you when you are going through something like that, but you are so strong to do it! And I am super glad to hear that everything turned out okay. I'm sure your husband is too!! The feeling of being alone is all to common when our spouses are gone and something big happens, but the biggest thing to always remember is that there is always someone to lean on. I hope your next move goes smoothly for you!

2) I think you did the right thing. I know if I were to tell anyone who was close to me that was in the military, or if they had a dangerous job, or even if they were worrying about something else that seems like a bigger deal, that I would be skeptical like you were. I bet he appreciates it even if he doesn’t ever say he was. Nobody likes to worry, and I’m sure that with him being gone and having no control over the situation that he would have been devastated if he couldn’t help you when you went through this. You definitely did the right thing.

You did the right thing. If you had explained in detail your potential problem, it could have created extra stress on him. It is best not to worry about possibilites as sometimes you worry about things that do not happen (your case in point). Its good to know that you have been given a clear bill of health.

I think you did the right thing! I am so glad things worked out for you! I'm sure it was a hard decision whether to fully tell him or not. Not every woman would be able to handle being a military wife, sounds like you are doing a good job at it!

I’m not a military wife so my opinion may not be as valued and I may not understand as well as the others but I can somewhat understand not telling your husband but what if it were more serious and something happened to you before you got a chance to really tell him. I also don’t think you should have to go through something as difficult as that on your own. Its seems like you do a fine job of supporting him, it only seems fair that you give him the chance to support you. Well like I said I may just not get it because I’m not a military wife but I am happy you are healthy, it’s nothing serious and things worked out for you.

Bad antic but too true, you handled the anxiety well, you did allotment abundant and I like the result, now you are activity to alpha alley assignment to go with the abundant bag? Your affection is critical, and looks like it could use a hug from the bedmate that fears your weakness added than his own. Take care, and do share.

I just can't imagine the pains of a military wife. I salute them the way I honor the men in uniform. If looking for military surplus, feel free to drop by my site. Thanks.

In my opinion you did the right thing. I had just finished basic training for the Army when I was informed my cousin was dying from breast cancer. I know basic traing is nothing like being in a war-zone but the thought was the same. Nobody wanted to burden me with that information while I was going through something so tough. Saving your husband from worrying about you during deployment undoubtably saved im some stressfull moments. I know it helped me. Glad to here everythings alright.

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