Gulf War Illness – GWI
by David McNease
Gulf War Illness came from the US bombing of Iraq in 1991. It was quite simple actually. We sent bombers over Iraq to destroy strategic, operational and tactical targets in Iraq. The smokes and fumes from what we bombed went into the air. The prevailing winds were North to South. I say again, North to South. We also had toxins from the oil wells, burning tires and anything else the Iraqi Army could use the camouflage their vehicles and command centers.
Following the bombing and all the other smoke in the air we consumed aviation grade fuel. People don’t consume aviation grade fuel and survive. True. However, many of us did. The KC-135′s the refueled aircraft going in and out of Iraq literally refueled right over my head in 7th Corps. On some real clear days, one could look above and see the aircraft coming up the refueling station in the air.
So now all 300,000 + troops in the field and all the aircraft crew were directly exposed to the mix of toxins in the air.
The debate about how does it appear in the body has stymied the VA, the Defense Department for years. Since everyone wants numbers the best I can say is 85% – 15%. All of my senses have decreased 15% or more. I don’t smell 85% of the time. My taste is good 85% of the time. My skin has rashes, peeling, redness 85% of the time. My lungs work good 85% of the time. So, I have panic attacks and PTSD triggers being slammed on a regular basis. My vision is scary. It did not really hit me until someone jokingly said, “Are you blind?” I actually am. My vision without my glasses is 20/750. Which means I have difficulty seeing the first E. Dropping my glasses or misplacing them after I sleep also can cause panic attacks. Headaches vary from a small migraine to spinal tap intensity. Memory is not only different but it changes. Sometimes my short term memory is like a goldfish. I can’t remember what I ordered from a menu or simple instructions. I get lost in the city of 6,000 people. I can’t be in major cities as I cough up soot looking material.
Pain is off the chart. Imagine 10,000 needles poking inside your leg. Now increase that pain by five or six for the rest of the body. No wonder so many veteran have killed themselves. It is the pain.
Lastly, Many GWI veterans are depressed, and thought of suicide, and probably attempted it at least once. My last attempt was June 2013. Cycling thoughts of suicide can intensify to thoughts of homicide.
Sadly, many children and spouses have GWI. One with GWI may have children with chronic, severe or even rare genetic diseases. Most women (spouses) have had one or more miscarriages. My wife lost twins in 2002. I am not sure how or why GWI is passed on to the spouse and children.
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Posted by Veterans Today on Aug 5 2014, With 0 Reads, Filed under Gulf War Illness (GWI), Health. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.