What kind of future do we want for ourselves and children?
The AARP article ends with a touching tale and photo of Marine Sergeant Shurvon Phillip and his mother, Gail Ulerie, 48. The author, Yeoman reveals, "Before he was injured in Al Anbar, Iraq, Marine Sergeant Shurvon Phillip told his mother, Gail Ulerie, 48, not to worry about his safety. 'Everything is gonna be all right, Ma,' he told her. 'I'm reading my Psalms.
"Then, in May 2005, Shurvon's Humvee hit an IED. The resulting brain injuries left him quadriplegic and unable to speak. Gail, an immigrant who came to the States from Trinidad, had to quit her two jobs so she could take care of her 27-year-old son. Initially, the work overwhelmed her. "Lord, I don't think I can do this," she cried out one day while bathing Shurvon.
"But today, having coped with his many surgeries and infections, Gail has accepted her new life caring for her son. Her time is now spent ferrying Shurvon between hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and their home in Richmond Heights, Ohio. She keeps him clean and helps exercise his arms and legs. And because he is prone to frequent vomiting, she always stays near him to make sure he doesn't choke. The VA pays for eight hours a day of home health care. The rest of the time Gail is on her own. As many parents in Gail's situation find, the stress can be crushing. Gail struggles to concentrate; occasionally she binge eats. She wears a hairpiece to cover the thinning hair on her scalp. Without a job, she cannot afford treatment for the cataracts doctors say could blind her. But she continues to resist moving Shurvon into a long-term care facility. 'Nobody can take care of Shurvon like I can,' Gail says."
The even sadder thing is that many military families are not currently physically and economically able to take care of their injured veteran offspring over the long haul.
More importantly, America, from a family and economic perspective, who will take care of these elderly parents ?
Invisible Wounds of War," Rand Center for Military Health Policy Research, 2008. http://rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG720/
Tom Joad, WHEN JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN, http://www.tomjoad.org/johnnygothisgun.htm
Yeoman, Barry, "When Wounded Vets Come Home". http://www.aarpmagazine.org/family/when_wounded_vets_come_home.html?NLC-WBLTR-CTRL=F1-52308
WHEN JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN, http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/General/JohnnyGotHisGun.html