In the Chamber -- Grant Mitchell's Blog

Post Traumatic Stress: A Wounded Hero

Posted 12/16/2010 by Grant Mitchell

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I mentioned in an earlier blog that as a member of the Senate Committee on Defence I visited the Edmonton Garrison in Nameo just outside of Edmonton for two days.

I had many moving impressions and experiences there. None of these was more moving than the conversation that I had with a soldier who had been wounded with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Afghanistan.

We had been ushered into a large room filled with about 70 wounded and injured soldiers – wounded in Afghanistan or injured in training/working with the military in Canada.

At the back of the room, with his back to the wall, stood a soldier who I approached and spoke to. He was a medic who had been to Afghanistan recently. I asked him what had happened. He said that “they” had labelled him with something (PSTD) but he was not convinced that it was really his problem. He said that everyone was changed by Afghanistan and he was no different than the rest. Being labelled meant that he might have to leave the forces and he really did not want to. As we talked further, he revealed that he was angered that he had had to save wounded enemy who had been trying to kill him and his comrades just moments before he treated them. He explained that he really hated big crowds and even as we talked in this group of 70 people he could not shake the fear that someone would emerge from the group to threaten him because that’s what happened in Afghanistan.  On this cold winter day in Edmonton, he stood with me in a cool room and wiped the sweat from his brow.

This man was wounded as surely as any physically injured soldier from Afghanistan. He needs help and he is getting it from a military that understands his wounds and is doing remarkable things to provide him with the treatment and support he needs to get back to a pain free or at least pain managed life.

It was a very moving experience to  me. Thanks to him and all those who fought with him on our behalf in Afghanistan.

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