A friend of mine died several years ago. The last week or so I’ve gotten probably 30 spam emails from his old email address. I wonder how much more often this will occur as we move forward. Not with this guy specifically, but in general.
Still collecting my thoughts from Soldier Ride Phoenix but just wanted to jot this down before I forget. Texting back and forth with one of the fellow vets:
Them – Hey there! How’s your week been so far?
Me – This is going to sound goofy, but I wasn’t really ready for what a let down it was going to be to have soldier ride over and have to return to the real world
Them – I completely agree, that’s a legitimate feeling. Not goofy at all.
Me – How’s YOUR week been?
Them – My week has been okay, to be honest I was kinda down the first couple of days this week because like you said, it’s hard sometimes adjusting back to the “real world” but I”m feeling more cheery today :-)
No biggie, just interesting. I was expecting it, and it’s nice knowing I wasn’t the only one that experienced it.
Busy, busy day today. Started with a 20 mile ride which was hotter, hillier and a little longer than yesterday according to some GPSs we had with us. There were a couple crashes, some dehydration and one guy went into seizures. After the ride we went to an adaptive sports center and did wheelchair basketball and seated volleyball and rock climbing. The wheelchair basketball smoked my shoulders, I could feel the not just the muscle pain, but also the injuries.
When I got laid off this spring I took myself off of all my meds. I wanted to give my body a break from all the stuff I was taking and slowly take only what I felt was entirely necessary. Between that, and the fact that my working out/running has been pretty sporadic this year, my run is in pretty bad shape as is my cardiovascular health overall.
We got back to the hotel with almost two hours before our next hard, the time to get on the busses for dinner. I had fantasies of a nap after the early, long, physical and packed day so I was really surprised when the words “Sure, I’ll meet you in the lobby at 5:00pm” came out of my mouth when one of the other guys asked me if I wanted to go for a run. He told me it’d be a short, easy jog, maybe 1.5 miles.
When I got to the lobby one of the Wounded Warrior Project’s athletes was down there with my buddy. He regularly runs races, triathlons and competes in obstacle course races. The three of us set off and I was immediately thinking that if we went to far/fast I’d have to walk. Instead those guys got me through a very quick (especially for me) almost 4 mile run.
I’d been an Non-Commissioned Officer/Senior Non-Com for so long that I’d forgotten what it was like to be pulled along. I’d been the one who would circle the formation of soldiers around to pick up the stragglers, to run alongside a soldier to pace them, to help an overweight or soldier recovering for an injury with additional runs. I’d talked them on, bullied them, shamed them… whatever it took to get them to finish.
These guys didn’t have to hurl insults at me. They’re professionals and so am I. But because they believed in me so much, I just didn’t want to let them down and dug a little deeper than I’d been forced to in awhile. It was a great experience and I was grateful to them. Not only had it been awhile since I’d been pulled along like that, it’d been awhile since I put myself into a position where I might have NEEDED to be pulled along and accepted/submitted to the help.
Someone sent me an email today asking how it was going. I read it on the bus ride back from the first day’s ride to the hotel. My reply?
“So far so good. Great being amongst fellow soldiers again. Like letting out a deep breath you didn’t realize you were holding in for a really long time.”
It IS nice. I’m lucky, I get to see interact with my military buddies at home a fair bit. But so much of it is helping them, it’s almost more pressure. Helping them fix a car, find a job, lending them money, whatever. And we won’t even get into what it was like dating one and the pressure that was…
Not knowing anyone here, but immediately feeling connected with them, and not having any expectations… It is great, and it’s helping and hopefully will continue to do so when the rides are done.
Not sure why, but I’ve been going around town the last week thinking that when I leave for Phoenix tomorrow that that’ll be the end of fall in Denver. That I’ve got to enjoy every last bit of the season while I can because when I come back the leaves will be off the trees, there will be a foot of snow on the ground and I won’t be able to ride my scoot for the next five months. As much as I know that’s not the case, I still can’t shake the feeling.
I haven’t taken Ambien since the early spring when I woke up and saw that I’d sent out a particularly regrettable text in the night. That’s happened numerous times before then when I’ve taken Ambien, that emails or texts went out, but those usually had a happy ending and gave me a funny story. But since I’m still feeling a certain way and since the possibility exists of doing it again, I’ve just resisted the urge and tried to muscle through the lack of good, sound sleep.
I used to travel a lot, or go camping, and I always have a problem falling asleep the first night at new place. I’d make sure to travel with Ambien and would usually take half a pill to get me through that first night, and if the place was noisy or whatever, follow up on future nights as necessary. I’m flying to Phoenix tomorrow for a Wounded Warrior Project event and spent awhile looking at the bottle of Ambien and trying to decide whether or not to throw it into my shaving kit.
I’ve played with the idea of going to WWP events in the past, but generally it was either for the fun of it, for the free gear/trip or to try and make a relationship stronger. This is the first time I’m going, and I’m going for me, for the right reasons. I’m acknowledging that I’ve got some issues, both physical/mental and emotional and that I need to be open minded, and immerse myself in this experience with similar people and see what good can come of it. And, honestly, that’s a vulnerability that scares the hell out of me. So it was tempting to grab that bottle. Not sure why sleep seems like a baby blanket that can protect me through this journey. Not sure if on some level I’m worried that I’ll just be exposed to all sorts of new thoughts and feelings and emotions that will just keep hounding me and if sleep will be the only escape from them. Maybe it was just habit. But the risk is still there, and that’s a scab I can’t pick right now. Whatever the reason, I can do this without it.