I remember back to that time and it was much easier than it has been recently. My husband has definitely progressively gotten worse in terms of his PTSD and the other monsters that go with it. I specifically remember the first time that I felt that I needed to call 911 for help with him but I was too afraid to make the call. We were in the truck and the tornado sirens began going off like they do every Monday for the test at noon. It triggered a dissociation for him and I wasn't sure what was going to happen. At this time, he hadn't had a lot of these episodes so I obviously had much less experience dealing with them. I remember thinking that if I could just get him into the house, he would snap out of it. He would be home and that should automatically bring him back because it is our home not Iraq. Needless to say, it didn't. I had called my dad to meet me at my house to help me get him into the house. We managed to get him inside and it seemed to make the episode worse. He began searching my house much like he would have had to clear a building in Iraq. I could tell that he thought he had a gun in his hand just by the way he moved and carried himself. This went on for a long time, several hours actually. I managed to keep him in the house, and therefore I felt it was still safe. Several times my dad and I discussed calling 911 but I was deathly afraid that something terrible would happen so I chose not to make the call.
After that incident, I decided to call our chief of police and make an appointment. I knew that I could not be afraid to call if I needed them but I also knew that many veteran's end up shot or tasered in instances with police. Allen planned to go to the meeting with me, but when the day came he didn't think he could handle it. So, once again I called on my dad.
We went to the meeting and I am so glad that we did. We explained to him Allen's story and his current situation. We made sure to let them know that we had no weapons in the house, he had not ever been combative, but he may not respond to directions from anyone. The Chief offered to put an alert on our 911 system so that if a call comes in for our address an alert pops up to let them know all of the above information. It also says for them to respond with no lights, no sirens and for them to find me to ask me what needs to be done.
What an amazing outcome! The chief then followed all of this up with an email he sent out to all of his officers telling of our meeting and what they could expect if they respond to a call at our house. We have had to call 911 many, many times since that meeting and every time it has been a great response from the police, EMT's and firemen. (In our small town, often all 3 respond to a call.) The last time we called it could have had a very different ending, but because of our proactive approach, it ended great for everyone.
As I've said, Allen is currently in a program in California receiving treatment for his PTSD. Before he comes home, we plan to meet with the Chief again to give him an update and I might go give a short personal briefing to the officer's just as a refresher as well as a thank you. We have also talked with one officer about bringing our boys down to the station to meet some of the officers and to educate them on tasers just in case they ever do have to witness their dad being tasered. Of course we pray that never happens, but it is much better to be prepared in advance!!
As a wounded warrior caregiver and wife, I often have to think outside of the box to make sure all of our bases are covered at all times. I encourage any of you to do the same. Reach out to those in your community that you may need to call on at times for help. It always helps to let people know what you might need before you need it.