Monday, September 10, 2007

Just The Way Republicans Like Them

Given the way we're continually told to support our troops by the righteous right wing blogosphericals...which in my mind means they think we should prop them up as'd think there would be much more of a hew and outcry about this:
Thousands of troops have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, or TBI. These blast-caused head injuries are so different from the ones doctors are used to seeing from falls and car crashes that treating them is as much faith as it is science.

"I've been in the field for 20-plus years dealing with TBI. I have a very experienced staff. And they're saying to me, 'We're seeing things we've never seen before,'" said Sandy Schneider, director of Vanderbilt University's brain injury rehabilitation program.

Doctors also are realizing that symptoms overlap with post-traumatic stress disorder, and that both must be treated. Odd as it may seem, brain injury can protect against PTSD by blurring awareness of what happened.

But as memory improves, emotional problems can emerge: One of the first "graduates" of Vanderbilt's program committed suicide three weeks later.
Treat the brain, but not the mind, it seems.

We'll treat hemmorhoids as if they are a life-threatening, debilitating illness...possibly because the wingnut keyboard kommandos suffer from them, so they don't give much fuss to the administration...but a guy who comes home after having his brain scrambled inside his skull by an IED that took out three of his buddies?

Nah. Him, he has to fight the bureaucracy all the way up the ladder:
Though the full number of those suffering from TBI is still unknown, the problem is straining the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Until now, "they were dealing with a cohort of aging veterans with diabetes, heart disease, lung disease," said Dr. Jeffrey Drazen, editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine and a VA adviser.

Now, these young, brain-injured troops need highly specialized care, and how much it will help long-term is unknown, he said.

People with TBI have frequent headaches, dizziness, and trouble concentrating and sleeping. They may be depressed, irritable and confused, and easily provoked or distracted. Speech or vision also can be impaired.

Some sufferers have been misdiagnosed with personality disorders. Others have lost jobs because of unrecognized and untreated symptoms.
It's precisely this last bit that makes it so easy to ignore, and indeed, deride the disability as just one of those things: someone was born a hot-head, or a sad sack, or a loser. After all, why else would he have joined the army, keeping in mind that most of his critics have come no closer than a video game to actual combat? Republicans like 'em "dumb and loyal," I guess.

Ironically, these same bloggers probably get all weepy-eyed about their latest favorite athlete who has to retire because he's had his bell rung a few too many times by hits to the head.

Excuse me? That you'll give a damn about, probably even excusing the athlete's subsequent arrests for illegal prescription pain killers or his acting out his brain trauma on his wife and kids, but a soldier, who's fighting a war only you and 27% of the people in this country support?

That you get all "It's only a flesh wound" about?

There's something very wrong when the very youngest people with the brightest futures and happiest lives laid out in front of them pick up a gun and go fight a war that no one really understands, no one really wanted, and no one can really see a way out of that everyone can get behind, and come home to find out that the injuries and insults their bodies absorbed on our behalf are not only underappreciated, but UNappreciated by the blood-thirsty vultures who demanded this sacrifice from them in the first place.

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