Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Luckiest Cripple

People have said to Derek they do not know how he managed to snag Krystina, because she is so obviously out of his league.  These comments about Krystina are meant as a total compliment.  Derek's response today was, "I'm the luckiest cripple in the world."

Derek IS lucky.  He has a woman who is standing beside him no matter what.  She quit her job and put her schooling on hold in order to leave her family and everything she knows to come down here and stay with Derek and help him heal.  She stood up to people who wanted to chase her away and were trying to convince her that this was not the life she wanted and should just walk away.  Until Derek asked her if she was on orders, she did not think about it.  Money and getting her expenses paid were not her concern.  She only thought about being here for Derek.  She was willing to use her savings to support herself.  That's love.

When Krystina first came, she was not on orders, so she received no benefit from the Army and was not even entitled to lodging so she stayed with me.  Not being on orders does not mean you cannot come.  Anyone can visit as long as the wounded warrior has not placed a restriction on visitors or the medical staff and/or individual with Power of Attorney in consultation with the medical staff has not placed restrictions.  Derek has placed restrictions, but I have not.

When a service member is injured, the branch of service will provide a room and a daily allowance for expenses to three members of the wounded warrior's family.  The daily allowance is sufficient to cover some basic expenses but not everything you need while here, and it certainly does not make up for loss of income from regular employment.  But for someone like Krystina, she came here purely out of love since she was not on orders.  So many girlfriends, fiancees, aunts, uncles, grandparents sacrifice everything to be here.  Some of them would be the ones chosen by the wounded warrior if he had a say. 

Krystina could not be on orders because they were not legally married and Derek was unconscious when first injured, so he could not indicate which three people he wanted on orders.  Also, even though I tried as Derek's POA, I could not be place her on orders without Derek's permission.  It had to be a legal family member over the age of 18.

Service members are asked to fill out a "death card" with the information of whom to notify in case of death.  There is also a next of kin designation for whom to notify in case of injury; however, there is no "injury card" to the extent of naming the three people the wounded warrior wants to place on orders and have at bedside immediately, or even if there are certain individuals the warrior DOES NOT to be allowed to visit.

A friend of mine and I had discussed this problem because not only did this effect Derek, but it effected her family as well.  We also know of several other families who were placed in similar situations.  Hopefully, this is changing thanks to my friend's big mouth.

She was assured that an injury card would be instituted.  It's important.  One should have been done years ago.

Had an injury card been given to Derek, he would have selected Krystina to be on orders.  It would have been done in the beginning. 

Derek should not have had to made the decision to change the orders while he was supposed to be concentrating on getting well.  The three on orders should have been his choice from the beginning.  I told him it was no big deal, because she was staying with me, but it was important to Derek.

Derek was caused additional stress because the woman he loves was not on orders, and there was even more stress when he realized that he could not rectify it immediately, because of the medications and injuries.  He first had to be evaluated to determine if he was competent.  Once the doctors determined that he was competent to make the decision himself and that no one was forcing or coercing him into making the decision, it was done.  But weeks had passed and Derek was caused stress that never should have been.

An injury card would have avoided all of that.  An injury card would have stopped all speculation and gotten the three most important people here on orders immediately.

Hopefully, this is one positive change coming soon to a deployment center near you!

No comments:

Post a Comment