Archive for ptsd

Sergeant Dennis Cabanting, a Wounded Warrior You Need to Know


This fine fellow, Army National Guard Sergeant Dennis Cabanting, was not a young pup when he was injured in Iraq -- which meant his recovery started when he was a bit older, a tad more set in his military ways, and more susceptible to complications by virtue of age. He also quite literally couldn't imagine his life without the military.

See if you don't also find this wounded warrior's story remarkable. Particularly at this shameful juncture when Congress can't even pull VA funding and reform out of their Out of Order sausage-making machine. Gaah. This is a vet you won't soon forget.

There is a terrific moment when Dennis is asked, "What does independence mean moving forward, for you ... because one of the first things you said to me was 'I don't want to live with my Mom!' [laughter]" and his 'old' personality clearly shines through.


I've mentioned it before, traumatic brain injury is something the husband and I have worked with for nearly a dozen years here in our small Vermont town, and it is one complex human condition to be in. But if you like a job where you can leave your own life complaints at the coat check, I highly recommend, and in this rather self-absorbed century that is a startlingly terrific benefit.

Rather than drills and being in command, Sarge is now spending his days fighting the battle-related Multiple Sclerosis that he came back from Iraq with the seeds of, as well as severe PTSD and the TBI that has the potential to take a returned hero from wounded soldier to tragic figure.

MSNBC weekender Patrick Murphy was wise enough to include this Hawaii native in his four part series on Taking the Hill heroes, indeed it was the final installment.

"I don't want a Mamas boy ... and he doesn't want to BE a Mama's Boy!" laughingly sputtered Cabanting's own Mama. He's a bit old at newly 40, with a son nearly 17 of his own living with his ex-wife in his home state of Hawaii.

"It's a whole new rebirth," Mama said of her courageous son's turning 40, leis everywhere and candles a' blazin'. Dennis' tremors and peculiar gait were endearingly exaggerated as he made his way up to blow them out.

Image courtesy Mark Koning

Image courtesy Mark Koning

My legs may not work all that well ... but they work!" he said with pride toward the end of the filmed thank you he wanted to do as an appreciative, powerful message and gesture of gratitude to the many that helped him on his road to recovery with TBI. That long list included The Wounded Warrior Project. Under the Radar Military online, who had this to say of Dennis on their website, also offered video, further below.

It is unaccountably important to feel one of many, to love and to be loved and to know that you have something, something unique, to contribute. The possibilities are endless when that kind of reconnection to humanity finally clicks in.

Powerfully wonderful to see Sgt. Cabanting reach forty and have a long and uplifting road ahead, with the kind of life he has reestablished for himself.

The 'Old Dennis' would absolutely be proud.



'Get Out and Push', Says Maddow of the Useless, U.S. Congress


World's End

Maddow finally did it! Put her head on the desk in despair and choked out a couple of frustrated, choked "Gaah!!!"s in the opening block of her Friday evening show … on the gobstoppingly absurd absenteeism of 25% of the American diplomatic forces.

Key positions are vacant because the actual Do Nothing Congress is Out of Order. They won't even appoint or confirm - it's the mind-blowing equivalent of laying off 1 out of every four American diplomats and foreign service personnel around the world.


For sheer spite. Obstructionism and putting some degrading 'asterisk' next to Obama's presidency is more important than our national security - to the GOP, neo-hawks.

The capper: Congress is currently less popular than Putin with the American people. As they are about to go on vacation themselves, it's going to be a race to do as little as possible.


We currently have no ambassadors to Russia, Guatemala and more than a few other hotspots in foreign affairs this summer.

Bernie Sanders was slightly optimistic about the hopes of VA Reform early this afternoon. Despite both houses having passed the actual bill - Bernie Sanders and John McCain were the bloody co-sponsors, they had it down. Congress looked ready to pass a bill, #wtfbbqlaw??

Partisan bickering and final budget wrangling have ground even the Veterans Administration reform efforts to an astonishing new level of Gonzo Gridlock.


Bernie joined Rachel at quarter past the hour to offer his perspective. He was no longer just optimistic. He seemed to be working his way up to projecting the announcing of an imminent deal. "Yesterday was a very rough day … but we will look abysmal if we cannot produce legislation to help the Veterans. … We plan on working tomorrow and Sunday, and despite the huge ideological differences … we can come together." {paraphrasey} Have a look.

Earlier in the day a veteran called Sanders 'intractable' and a bit of a problem in the gridlock, which raised my hackles but nonetheless deserves a look. Sanders is indeed determined to include mental health and traumatic brain injury as high priorities, and perhaps he is holding out for ideals. But he is fighting hard for progress within this dysfunctional congress.


By contrast, the sub for Hannity had Paul The Younger on to bloviate about the Middle East, then let little Randy suggest an Iron Dome for the U.S.. Isolationist much?! Then he had a spin around the entire feeble Feck question on Ukraine, and did the obligatory 'lack of leadership' schtick.

"Staring down Putin" … he has been reading his Ayn.

Sorry for the early bird Fvx, but these side by side comparisons between the two cable networks, one delivering actual news with a stated liberal slant and a fan of facts, one that sells hysteria and propaganda like it's a new investment op; are critically important in the two views of this Dysfunctional Congress and the state of breaking bad they have sunk to.


These compare and contrasts are so critical - the harsh disinfectant of light shining on the murk and hate at Fox Noise and diagnosing the brainwashing for what it is, a propaganda and cult network bent on guarding the wealth of the upper tier.

Oh, and that Rand Paul baldly boasted of calling the president to advise him was just that last bitter note that Fvx Nation is addicted to.

It's going to take the mother of all Twelve Step Programs to sort out those zombies and zombettes when they stumble away from the mother ship … a wrecked and listing Tea Party clipper.

crazy to work here


Houston Police & DA's Office Break The Law - Toss 26 Year Military Veteran Into Street


veteran   Aryeh Ohayon and his dog Bandit

A veteran who has a trained and licensed service dog was recently denied service in a Houston, TX restaurant. That could be just a bit of confusion on the part of the restaurant as to the law. So the disabled Army and Navy veteran, who served his country for 26 years, did what he thought he should do to rectify the situation. He called the police.

Sadly they came. Why sadly? Because they didn't know the law in their state. According to The Raw Story:

Last year, Texas Governor Rick Perry signed a bill that made it a misdemeanor to refuse entry to service dogs, irrespective of the disability of their owners.

So this seems quite clear. The vet, Aryeh Ohayon, was within his rights to be served and his being accompanied by a service dog should not have been cause for his embarrassing and unceremonious removal.

But the police officer wasn't the only one ignorant in Houston that day.

Houston Police claim that the officer who responded to the call contacted the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and was told that Thai Spice Buffet II was allowed to bar the door to Ohayon because it is a private establishment.

Ah, the old, "private establishment" excuse. That and the right to religious practices are the two catch phrases hate groups use to discriminate. Fortunately with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's veto of a discriminatory bill yesterday, a signal went out loud and clear that being a private establishment doesn't exempt you from discrimination laws.

Kudos to Governor Brewer (R - Arizona). Also kudos to Gov. Rick Perry (R -  Texas) for signing the bill which would allow the military veteran or anyone else with a service dog to enter and be served in any establishment.

But a big "Boo," "hiss" and "up yours" to the Houston police and the Harris County DA's office for not knowing the law they're sworn to uphold. They should at the very least apologize to this brave man who served us all in the military for over a quarter of a century.

Oh, and if you think this is an isolated event, Raw Story adds this:

This is but the latest in a string of refusals to allow service dogs to accompany veterans with mental disabilities like depression or PTSD. Last August, police in New Jersey kicked Jared Goering and his service dog, Gator, off the boardwalk, mockingly asking him if “all veterans get service dogs.”

Later that month, a Massachusetts establishment kicked James Glaser and his dog, Jack, out, claiming that his reason for having him wasn’t “legitimate.”

More on the KHOU-TV website.


Video Overnight Thread- Iraq War Veteran says K9s for Warriors program saved his life


Just heartwarming. Something in my eye. Via.


Video Overnight Thread- Wags 4 Warriors


The liver and white pit bull you see a few times in the vid is a rescue that my brother and sis in law saved from euthanasia for no other reason that he is a pit bull. Only four months old. Now he's providing love and assistance to a wounded soldier. Here is the Wags 4 Warriors website, check them out. Two more Ohio Pit Rescue groups- Muttly Crue and Rowdy to the Rescue. Here is my original post about Wiley (now Radar).


Enlisted troops in Army, Marines back from deployment more likely to cause auto accidents


When I first read the L.A. Times headline, I couldn't imagine why troops who returned home would be particularly poor drivers. Are they more prone to driving under the influence? Are they suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, maybe having flashbacks? Have they given up caring? Or do they feel invincible?

Some of the above:

Members of the U.S. military — especially enlisted troops in the Army and Marines — were significantly more likely to cause auto accidents within six months of returning from deployment, according to a study by USAA Property and & Casualty Insurance Group, a major insurer for military families.

These veterans probably are engaging in survival driving habits for a war zone, such as not stopping in traffic, driving fast and making sudden, unpredictable turns, experts said. But those same driving practices create havoc back in the United States. [...]

Officers had far lower accident rates than enlisted troops, and drivers younger than 22 were more prone to crashes than older members of the military.

The good news is that there wasn't a rise in fatal accidents.

Bradley Hammond, who left the Army after serving in Iraq in 2006:

"I want to drive as close to the middle as I can because subconsciously if I see a box or some trash on the side of the road I am thinking it will explode," said Hammond of Lakewood, Colo. "Sometimes I get a feeling someone is following me and I just turn. Something will set me off."

Wars, and in this case IEDs, have taken such a heavy toll on lives and on psyches.

Interestingly, none of the non-deployed service members surveyed reported anxiety while driving.

More here.


VIDEO- Torture's Other Victims: US Soldiers


My dear friend and top notch investigative reporter, Jason Leopold, has a post up at that he has invited me to share. Here's a portion of what he wrote, and the video. Please go here for the rest:

In this compelling and heartrending on-camera interview, Phillips, who spent more than five years researching and writing "None of Us Were Like This Before," discusses his investigation into the 2004 death of Army Sgt. Adam Gray, and how it led him to uncover a tragic story about torture's other victims.

I can personally attest to the pain and suffering military families endure, even when their loved ones haven't been "officially" tortured or abused, and Jason nailed it when he referred to soldiers who "turn to alcohol and drugs to ease their mental injuries."

One of my dearest students suffered greatly herself, first because her father was on the battlefield, involved in some of the most dangerous missions, as she was growing up. She was in constant, real fear that he'd be injured or worse, and turned to drugs herself. Then, once he finally returned home, he fell into alcoholism, had major bouts of PTSD, and became violent, ripping the family apart.

He tried to get help from the various groups available to veterans, but it wasn't enough.

Even those who haven't undergone intentional physical or mental abuse have felt tortured, and have the "deep psychological scars" that Jason Leopold refers to, that much is obvious.

Thank you, Jason, for staying on this topic while so many others either choose to ignore it, or have simply lost interest.