You Are My Rock – Part 1

Written by Guest Blogger SGT Ray Ashby Nuckoles III (Ret.), who served a combined 13 years in the United States Air Force and Army. As a decorated Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran, Ray served in multiple units throughout his career, before being medically retired from the Army due to combat injuries sustained from an Improvised Explosive Device. This is the first part in a 2 part series by Ray.

I usually don’t put my stuff out here. I have to brag and tell a story about the experience I have been having as of late. Amanda has been so good to me…She always is, but this week, during this terrible surgery that I had to endure, she has been REALLY good to me.

I had to have my left nasal passage carved out and widened. (The skin had to be scraped off to make the passage as wide as it was before we got blown up.) I had to have my sinuses cleared out. I had to have my septum reconstructed. (It was shattered due to the IED blast, and it grew into a deformed hook looking thing, blocking most of my left nasal airway.) It’s been like that for 10 years now. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to breathe out of my left side of my nose. I have had 3 to 5 nosebleeds a week. Every week. For 10 years. There is always build up on that left side too. Fun, right?

The day I came home from this surgery, the kids were at school, and the pain was so immense, that I couldn’t see straight.  I couldn’t breathe through my nose at all. I had LOTS of drainages. My throat was hurting from the air tube, and I couldn’t barely swallow.  I also had to have a catheter…so awesome…It’s like this: If you totally pinch your nose off with a binder clip or a clothespin. Then try and inhale through your nose. Then eat, or breathe, or sleep, or drink out of your favorite Army cup. Open your mouth a little wide to cheer for your favorite sports team. Next, try and eat a hamburger. Yep. It sucks. Oh, and you had to have your flesh in the middle of the inside of your nose cut. So you have what feels like a wasp sting inside your nose on top of all that.

It’s known in my circle of friends and family that during that same IED blast, that my L5-S1 vertebrae in my spine was blown into 3 pieces, and I have had to have 3 surgeries, a spinal stimulator installed, tons of physical, aqua, and mental therapies. Yay, PTSD. I couldn’t even feel my back, my face hurt so much. I have a point, I promise.

The next day I couldn’t control where I peed because of the catheter, and it went everywhere. My throat was on fire (along with the rest of my face) and I couldn’t breathe out of my nose at all. One of the kids had not done their chores like they were supposed to.  My nose hurt so bad. Amanda made me food. I wasn’t that hungry, but she wanted me to eat. It was too hot, and it hurt my throat where they had the air tube in when I was put to sleep for my surgery.

  • I instantly became an asshole.
  • I yelled.
  • I cursed – I pressed buttons. I used stupid bad words.
  • I was the biggest baby because of my nose.
  • I got mad at the hot food.
  • I got mad at my stupid throat.
  • I got mad at her – I said things I knew would hurt her on purpose.
  • I got mad at the kids and the chores not being done.
  • I got mad that I couldn’t pee standing up like a normal man.
  • I got mad at my stupid nose.
  • I got mad at my dumb voice and the way my nose made it sound.
  • I was a douche bag.
  • I was cruel.
  • I was not a good husband.

If I was mad at something recently, and I had been keeping it in, I let it out, and I let her have it. This argument was way worse than any I’ve had with other people in as many years…At least in the past, I was just arguing truth, this day I was just being wrong.  My beautiful wife, my Queen, my Veterans Affairs Caregiver. She took it. ALL of it. She didn’t run and tell another family member. She understands that if you have an argument, you handle it with THAT person you are arguing with, ESPECIALLY if you live with them, you NEVER involve people that do not belong in the argument.




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