Trauma

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Authors: Daniel Palmer
have worked so hard to raise independent children, only to have them turn out unable to function in the world.
    â€œI spoke to my landlord,” Carrie said. “He’ll let me break my lease and give me my deposit back.”
    â€œThat’s fine, but where are you going to go?” Howard asked.
    Carrie shrugged and tried not to look so crestfallen. “I’d like to move back here for a bit, if that’s okay with you and Mom. At least until I figure out my next step.”
    Howard put his hand over Carrie’s. “This is your home, sweetheart,” he said. “It’ll always be your home.”

 
    CHAPTER 11
    Carrie glanced out the sidelight window at an unfamiliar car, a Zipcar rental, parked in the driveway. The Bryants hadn’t had many visitors in the two weeks since Carrie had moved home. No one had rung the bell, so whoever it was must have come to see Adam.
    Good . Carrie was still in her pajamas, and didn’t feel like making small talk. Since she had gotten home, she’d done next to nothing except watch old movies with her dad. She wasn’t feeling cute, clean, or the least bit congenial—hardly ready to face the outside world.
    For all the recent tumult, coming home had been seamless. Adam had helped with the move, such as it was. The U-Haul truck she had rented was far too big for her few possessions. Everything Carrie owned—a futon, two bookcases, three boxes of books (mostly medical texts and some fiction), a flea market coffee table, a small color television and scuffed TV stand, some clothes, a few framed pictures, and a dresser—fit into a small corner of her parents’ basement. It was depressing to realize her life’s accumulations could take up so little space. For so long, her focus had been on nothing but medicine. Carrie wondered what could possibly take its place.
    Carrie had settled in her old bedroom, but it was far from cozy or comforting. Limbic, Carrie’s goldfish, swam unfazed in his large bowl, which rested atop the same blue dresser she’d had as a kid. It was still her childhood bedroom, even with all her old memorabilia boxed up, and the twin bed covered in the emerald green Tibetan quilt Carrie had bought on her travels to the Far East. Living here again was dispiriting, though better than living in Boston with her parents paying the rent.
    Stress had triggered insomnia, which in turn triggered a new dependence on Ambien that left her perpetually exhausted. Her runs, if they could be called runs, were uninspired and dangerously close to being brisk walks. She was probably clinically depressed, but Carrie wasn’t going to get help for it. She didn’t deserve to feel better. Carrie’s actions had substantially reduced Leon’s quality of life. It was unclear whether his symptoms would improve over time. Carrie deserved to feel lousy.
    Carrie’s mother, Irene, a petite sixty-year-old woman, entered the foyer through the dining room, rubbing lotion on her hands. She was dressed in a blue denim shirt and khaki pants, the uniform of a passionate gardener.
    â€œWho’s here?” Carrie asked.
    â€œA reporter from the Lowell Observer, ” Irene said. “Here’s here to interview Adam for a story.”
    Carrie’s eyes narrowed. “Adam?” Since his discharge from the WTC, Adam preferred solitude. Friends rarely came over. This guest was a surprise to her.
    Irene said, “I got a call from Everett Barnes, the director of veteran outreach for the Home Base Program, asking to see if Adam would tell his story. I told him about it and I guess he agreed.”
    Carrie understood now.
    Home Base had been set up by the Red Sox Foundation to give clinical care and support services to Iraq and Afghanistan service members, veterans, and their families all through New England. It dealt specifically with veterans and their families affected by stress or traumatic brain injuries

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