One of my favorite Caregivers called today with a story of a great out-in-public experience. Her husband, a veteran with moderate to severe PTSD wanted to go to the midnight showing of the new movie, The Avengers last night. She was surprised, and also glad. How very normal! She immediately began mentally considering the environment: they knew the building, the exits, the parking, the ticket line, but surely the crowds on opening night would be daunting? Quick discussion: he really wanted to make the effort, so on they went.
The theatre and surrounding area was packed with people and after she’d bought the tickets, her vet started to become fairly agitated. Since she’d been planning in her mind for the past hour, she easily located the manager and explained that her husband was a combat veteran with PTSD, and would he possibly help them? The manager asked what specifically disturbed him? She replied: the crowd, needing a seat near the exit, some sounds, and the hope of not disturbing others. His face cleared, and he said: “Oh, like Captain America!” (Captain America was the star character of a World War II movie of a veteran who was frozen in time, but when he “came back” years later, he had these same PTSD reactions and went on to become a super-hero.)
The manager immediately asked a few smart questions, then guided them to the smallest of the many theatres, found them seats apart from others yet with clear access to the exit, and also said that if they needed to leave, he would comp their tickets. He even went on to say that if there were a group of vets in the area who wanted to view the movie together that they would be glad to arrange it at a quieter time!
The loved the movie. They were grateful to the manager. And, mostly, they loved the outlook that (unlike the recent media sensationalism of PTSD), this veteran was compared to Captain America – a character that had been changed by his military service – but who was regarded as a Hero.
Bottom line: with calm planning, informing others of their needs, and a blessing in the form of a wonderful theatre manager, a wonderful movie night was enjoyed by all!
May you all enjoy a Captain America experience very soon,