My squad leader stepped on the IED. He passed away and I didn’t. I just remember looking up at the sun from the bottom of a canal. I remember seeing my arm float and then it coming together like, thank god it’s there, they will be able to put it back on. I realized I was missing it when I woke up in the hospital. For a long time, I couldn’t even get near any type of water—especially dark water.
The nerve pain: I would almost go as far as to say that it has affected my life more than actually losing my arm.
It has changed the way I think, you know, it cuts me off from conversation. There’s days when I don’t want to do anything because it’s buzzing so hard. I don’t want to get up and do anything. You wake up defeated like, oh god.
I guess the biggest thing would be struggling with the little things. My wife put together all our furniture. With me second-guessing her every which way. And I hurt to not be able to do things like that. You get a lot of patience—a wounded warrior—though
All my friends that passed away. Anytime I got down, I guess especially if I was working out or I was physically challenged at something, I’d repeat their names over in my head. First and last name and that would calm me down and it would make me push myself harder.
Me and my wife talk about my thought process and how much it has changed since I got injured. Before I got wounded I was, you know, what am I going to be doing 30 years from now and ,um, and how am I going to get there. And now I’m still figuring out what my norms going to be—just on a day-to-day basis.