Friday, August 19, 2005

Morale of the Wounded Portrayed on Six Feet Under

Six Feet Under on HBO is, I must admit, one of my favorite shows. This season has been hard though because (since it's going off the air) the writers haven't missed a chance to get a shot in a Bush, the war and Republicans in general. (Though they made Claire's new boyfriend a Republican and though she berates him for it, he is the only person on the show that has it together, is genuinely caring and isn't mentally ill...I am sure that was an oversight).
Be Patient, this has a purpose...

The last episode that I saw had a legless and armless soldier (apparently at a military medical facility) who has his sister bring him Phenobarbital in a syringe and stabs it into his heart to kill himself. The rest of the episode progresses with Sheehan-style tirades from the sister and one of the main characters. It was SO upsetting to watch this episode because I have met many of these boys and this was SO FAR from my experience. This illustrates to me that the writers of this show have never met any of our wounded warriors. The soldier portrayed was exactly how I thought they would be before I had the honor of meeting a group of them. I thought they would be depressed and despondent. I was prepared for that...for anger and regret. The reality was humbling.
Last July, The Man and I had the great honor and privilege to spend the day with 15 Soldiers and Marines from Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Each boy had sustained horrible injuries in OEF or OIF. Missing legs, arms and one with large chunks missing all over his body from an IED and they were all so young... During the course of the day I couldn't help but ask how (and why) they were all so upbeat and their spirits so strong (the only thing they seemed to bitch about was that fact that their superiors wouldn't let them go back overseas!). A handsome 23 year old, with both legs missing from above his knees and a huge cast from soldier to fingertips on his left arm, said to me "Before you deploy you tell all your friends and family that if this (he points to himself) ever happens to me I will kill myself. You can't imagine ever wanting to live like this. But when this happens and you wake up and you're alive... (He pauses) You just can't imagine how happy you are to be alive. I woke up with my foot lying next to my head, but some of my buddies didn't make it. I'm still here and I have a second chance. It's awesome to be here." Wow. At that point I believe I went and bought another round of beers so they didn't tease me for the tears in my eyes...
The soldier portrayed on Six Feet Under was NOT the reality I encountered when I met these incredible men! I wish the writers would have met some of these guys before they aired that episode...

No comments: