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james simpson
interview
Simpson is an Army reservist based at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indianapolis. He suffers from fatigue, headaches and memory loss and his wife, Glenda, has similar symptoms.  They are convinced their illnesses are the result of Jim's service in the Gulf. Interview conducted October 1997

W = Glenda Simpson
Q: What unit were you in when you were in the Gulf, and what were your responsibilities there?

A: My unit was a supply company. It was a reserve unit out of LaFayette, Indiana. What I was primarily involved with was dealing with the track vehicles. We went in along with some civilians who were out in the desert, issuing out the new M1A1 tanks to the track units there and they had to turn in their older M1s and M1IPs and once that was accomplished then we had to transport all the old tanks down to the port where we set up a new mission. One was to revamp tanks. It was called a control cannibalization, using them for parts, because parts were a great shortage. Unfortunately, or fortunately, the war was very short. By the time we got that mission rolling we had to end it and put them all back together again. The next mission was bringing in all the equipment and getting it loaded on ships....

 

Q: And what were the conditions like in the Gulf?

A: A daily basis. Things change, over a period of time of course. The first area we went to we set up a log base which was going to be a supply point...this was a very flat area, didn't quite have the sand like you would see in a lot of the desert area. It was kind of stony. The flies were quite heavy, unfortunately they set us up fairly close to the village dump. A lot of animal carcasses, things like that. So the flies were so thick that, even if you dropped a few drops of water on the ground, it would just -- flies would just swarm there. They eat your MREs. A lot of times we had to crawl underneath mosquito netting to be able to do that without a whole lot of disruption.

But with the air war started, of course the unit that we were stationed with out there, they moved forward and they left a small rear detachment behind. So our only responsibilities at that point was security of the gear. You have hundreds of tanks there out in the desert, not knowing if they're going to be a target, whatever, and we had to provide perimeter security. We also we sent most of the people who were with us back with our main company.

Q: Were you ill in the Gulf Jim? Did you start symptoms at that point?

A: Not not very often. I had -- had the usual -- ' course anyone whose done any travelling around in the world you know you go into another country you do have reactions to the food and the water initially and yo have those problems. There were a few days where I had trouble getting in to work because I had such severe cramps. They just folded me right in two. I would get some minor headaches. But a lot of these at the time I attributed to the water, even though we did try to drink bottled water. They had showers available to us. It was on their on their water system which we were -- we did not drink, but if you're taking a shower you can't help but getting it on your face and on your lips, and so on. They also set up a -- I'm surprised I didn't get court marshalled over this one -- but they set up a paint mission upwind from us. The army uses car paint; it's a lead-based paint, very toxic. I've seen people even wearing protective garments while painting, come out, take their hood off, and they were bleeding out the nose.

There were days where I would have to shut down my mission because paint fumes were coming down and the guys were getting headaches. That's when I noticed my headaches. I'd shut the mission down and sent the guys out, because safety was the number one. I want to know my boy's coming back in one piece, and that was -- In fact, I was so tight on safety that there were certain horsing around, fun games, things like that, that I came down real hard on the guys about, because there was too much of a risk of an individual getting hurt.

Q: So were those your only symptoms?

A: I was fatigued a lot while I was over there. But we're talking about when I was at work. I was the first one in. We developed -- things changed with the missions and what was going on. At one point we had like say, we were still going 24 hours, so I took the 12 hour day shift and a good friend of mine took the -- he was the NCOIC for the shift. We -- but we had to overlap and of course when I'd come off my shift and I'd get back to the barracks area, then I had all these soldiers who were not dealing well with the war, things that were going on, problems at home. So I practiced a lot of psychiatry without a license while I was over there and, in the evenings, just trying to keep the guys together.

Q: So, when you got back from the Gulf, when did you start to feel ill, and what were your symptoms?

A. When I returned from the Gulf I went back to my civilian job. I worked as a crew chief for a land surveying and engineering firm....I started having problems with concentration, havin' a little problem focusing the instruments once in a while. By -- a lot of it I thought was just well I'd been away from it for 10 months now and, kind of pick it up. And, things got slow. I got laid off for a few weeks and I was doing side jobs, and that's when I noticed the fatigue really setting in. I noticed my ears were ringing constantly. At times it was very hard to focus. I felt nauseous. I didn't really want to eat, and it was about some time in November I believe, I ran across, I was going out for a weekend drill. I ran into a soldier from the battalion who said I looked terrible. Thank you very much. I really appreciate that you know.

And she started asked me a lot of questions. Have you been having problems with headaches, blurry vision, have you had some rashes, extreme fatigue. She said "I can tell from looking at you you've lost a lot of muscle mass." And I said, Yes, I have. A lot of times I thought I had the flu and she informed me that there was a lot of other people were having this same problem. I had just never associated it to having anything to do with the Gulf....This was the connection. When she -- when she told me that believe it or not there are a lot of other soldiers having these same problems. And she was very tactful about it because she was careful to ask certain questions. Are you having this; are you having that. What other problems you've been developing?

W: I had noticed that he was getting sick, and I had noticed changes in him, but they were nothing that you could actually put your finger on. His health was deteriorating, but he couldn't explain why. And, when she had came to him and asked him about this, he came back and talked to me, and she even called me and we talked. And they were all open-ended questions. Things that, you know, were generic, that she would ask me. Are you seeing this, or what have you noticed? Did you notice this? And we started putting two and two together, because he was in denial that he was sick, that there was anything wrong. I kept saying, There's something wrong. This isn't right. What's going on. Anything that I could say to him that would trigger a response, some kind of explanation. We even went as far as to send him to our family doctor and have tests run, to see what was wrong with him.

Q: How would you notice them, and what was happening around the house ?

W:: He was just exhausted constantly. He could never get enough rest. His motivation was deteriorating. He couldn't concentrate. He couldn't remember things. There would constantly be arguments and fights in the house with me and the kids and him because we would say, Well, we told you, and he wouldn't remember. And, we're all standing here looking at each other and saying, We know we told him.

Q: This must have been pretty frightening.

A: Well I knew that, anything you come back from war; you've been away from the family, there's going to be changes and we did a lot of counseling on, Look, you're not going to be able to walk back home and jump right in and I'm head of the household again, I'm here, and I'm going to start taking care of this, that and whatever. No, hey, your family has gotten used to living without you so you've got to kind of ease back in to being part of the family again, let alone anything else. And so I was well aware of things like that and, you know, but, things had changed a lot too while I was gone now. The kids screw up, my folks both retired from their jobs and Linda finished going through Beauty School while I was over there.

W: My grandmother got ill --

A: Yeah.

W: -- right after he got back, and died. And that was five weeks of stress that was thrown in. Through all of this I was needing to depend on him to take over running the household while I was going to school and taking care of my grandmother who was dying. And it was terrible. He had a hard time with it.

Q: Can you give me some examples?

A: We watched him learn to over compensate. He'll double check, triple check things that he has done. He can't remember, he couldn't remember if he had turned off the stove or he would start writing himself notes so he could pick up the kids at school or take them here or take them there. Jim is the most compassionate and understanding and patient man I think I've ever encountered. And it came to a point that he got angry because I was gone. And he's never ever questioned when I had something I had to do, like my grandmother being ill. You know, he came to me and he said "You're neglecting your family." And I knew then that it was obvious he couldn't handle the stress that he was having to deal with as far as taking care of two children and a home and his work. Which is normal for any family.

I was very shocked that he would say that to me, because he was -- he's the type of person who would say "You go and do what you have to do, and we'll be fine." He had managed this household many times before with children, and never had a problem, in fact, sometimes can make it run better than I can. He's a really, a wonderful father. But he found it difficult to be close to the children. He was spending an enormous amount of time staying away from them. I noticed he did not want to have physical contact with them. Then I finally figured out, it was the fear that he was afraid that he was going to make them sick. It was almost like that they had a generic relationship. They would have a verbal relationship but not a physical connection.

Q: So Jim, how long were you sick before -- in the battalion you found out that other men were sick? How long had this gone on?

A: It had probably gone on for about two months. The main thing that I noticed was that I was losing weight and I was losing muscle mass. That was the two key things that I noticed. The other things I had basically attributed to thinking I was just having trouble getting readjusted to being back home. And, like I said, -- we have one of the flavors that we deal with, we call it the fake flu. You feel like you've got the flu, and it has all the symptoms but a fever, and it is not the flue -- that's the reason why we call it that. But there were many times where I thought that I had the flu and I'd miss work, or I couldn't do my side jobs because I thought I had the flu. And then I find out that these other soldiers were having the same thing.

W: They were having anger outbursts too.

A: Yes. Anger outbursts was another big thing. I'm usually -- I won't say I don't have a temper. Yes. I can be a screaming sergeant sometimes, because you don't have the time to sit there and -- now excuse me guys now, listen, and it's like Get your -- in that and do it. I mean, that was, and that's how we survived there, was -- I didn't put up with silliness when we were on the job. You get in there, you do the job, shut up, and I don't want to hear about it until after we get to barracks tonight, then we'll discuss it.

Q: And this was spilling over into your personal --

A: Yes. Now I'm suddenly -- you know -- and I thought, Well, I'm having problems with the fact that I just can't tell people -- and then I see backsides and elbows running and doing it. Where I have kids questioning why they have to do their homework, why they have to have the stereo turned off when they're doing their homework, things like that and

Q: Now, Jim, when did you realize, when -- you were afraid that you were going to pass this illness on to the children. Was this before you thought it was --?

A: No. No, it wasn't until after I started hearing about other soldiers that had these illnesses and their wives coming down with strange things, and even in some cases, some kids coming up with some strange things. That's when I started getting a little nervous about certain contacts with my kids, and I -- we were getting to the point where paranoid of -- No, I drank out of that glass, you leave this glass alone, don't drink our of my glass. No don't -- you know, this is something that I half ate, I'm not sharing my sandwich with you that way. I mean we've got to break it up and hand it to them, we don't --

Q: You weren't telling them though that -- what you thought?

A: Correct. I mean, I did not want to scare my children. I did not want to create a hysteria, but I wanted to be careful.

Q: What do you specifically believe is the cause of your illness?

A: I believe I got into some sort of nerve agent. Whether it was something that we blew up -- I really don't believe it was in any of the SCUDS because the SCUDS that hit, there was too high of a -- too loud of an explosion. Chemicals that are delivered through missiles and so on have a lower level of explosion, otherwise it just destroys whatever organisms or whatever they're trying -- they have in there. I believe it was stuff, things that Hussein had --...And he used in various points. I believe it was on the equipment that came in. This is just the only explanation I can have. Why I have stronger symptoms than some of my soldiers is because I was around the stuff more. We had what was called a sanitary area where they took all this -- all the equipment came in, once it was processed it went in there. I was one of the few people that was allowed in there, and then of course they had to bring in all the war souvenirs, which is another sore point with me. This junk that the Iraqi army had, and everybody had to have their little souvenirs. All these Patten wannabes had to bring their souvenirs down there and so I had to be constantly be going in around that. And that stuff was filthy.

W: Most of the equipment he dealt with was brought in from Kuwait. You know, had been in the war itself and then it was brought to the port for them to sanitize to send back to the United States --

A: Or Germany or wherever.

W: Or wherever. And so it didn't have anything to do with whether they exploded ammunition stuff. That very possibly is one of the ways that these soldiers have been made sick. But in -- it's not in -- the military and the government and the United States people are all looking for a pat answer, that this is the one thing, this is the one thing that is the same for all these soldiers that made them all sick. There is no one answer.

A: Yes. They still use DDT over there. We don't use it here.

W: But we grew up around DDT.

A: Yes. I mean, we used DDT when we were younger, and we didn't have those kind of problems. But, there's also the different types of things --bacteria life that's over there. The oil fires, being around the paint, the silly medications that they threw us on. No, I was not one that got the shots. I was ordered to load my troops up and send them down to get their anthrax shots. We were running a mission, we were running around the clock getting this mission done. We didn't have time to load everybody up and go down there. How I didn't get in trouble for that I don't know. But, we didn't, and my soldiers did not get sent down there. We did have the bromide tablets, some of us took them, some of us don't, I -- at first I was telling everybody, no I didn't take them, then I remember when we turned them in stating, Wow, I've got a lot of these left over. So that meant, yes, I did take some of them. But I believe, and I can't put my finger on it, some word got out somewhere to stop taking them and not take them anymore. And I have talked with other units where some of the soldiers, once they started taking those tablets, were suddenly, they were hitting them really hard. They would get deathly ill immediately. Where others, they just kind of felt like they were floating around.

Q: What kind of a job did you hold before the Gulf.

A: I was a survey crew chief for a surveying engineering firm. We did land surveys. It could be a 700 acre farm. It could be just a market survey in a subdivision. We'd lay out work for subdivisions, septic systems, wire systems. The job entailed a lot of math. Quite a bit of physical effort. You know, you're humping around a lot of heavy equipment. You have to keep very tight notes on everything you do. It has to be turned in. You can't make mistakes. You can stick a building across a property line and then the company's got to buy it. I enjoyed it. I did not consider it a high stress job. I enjoyed it because it got me outdoors. Getting to tramp through the woods and tramp through all these farms. And before that I was in retail security...I have an associate degree in criminology....

W: And he always stayed calm and cool.

A: Yes. And there the only -- the problem was trying to hide the scratches and the bumps and bings from the kids when I came home, because they didn't appreciate seeing -- and that kind of shook them up. But I had seen a whole lot worse than I saw when I was in the Gulf. So that was the reason why I did not put stress to it. And to this day I still get angry when somebody tries to throw PTSD at me. I'm sorry, I've been through a lot worse than I what I went through over there. Over there was a challenge. It was a job. I did my best. I enjoyed it. It was one of the big events in my life. I would do it again. I would have no problem doing it again. I wish I could. But physically I can't do anything like that. And that's frustrating.

But, as far as the stress goes, and this is another time where the anger pops out, when I get in, when I get to talking to a doctor or, even talking with some of the therapists, or nurses, and then they start bringing up, Well, there's this post traumatic stress disorder, it's like, you're going to lose your teeth. Let's drop it. It's already been proven there's something physically wrong, or, my belief is we got into some kind of a nerve agent. I believe it was on the equipment that came in from Kuwait that I handled loading onto the ships. It's just one theory I have. There are so many things that we were subjected to over there it could -- it all ties in -- it could all tie together, and the fact that each soldier -- that no two soldiers had the exact same symptoms either. We had some guys had some really bad rashes. Me, I just had a few. But, I was a land surveyor, I'm out around poison sumac, poison oak, poison ivy. No, I was not allergic to those things before, but once in a while I might get a little bit of a rash, before the Gulf, from something I ran into in the woods. And I had a few small rashes for a week or two. Then I didn't think anything of it because I'm used to -- you know, I probably picked it up in the woods someplace. It went away. It wasn't like what the other guys were having. But, the fatigue, that was the one I could not understand, where it was coming from. I could not sleep well at night. I'd go to sleep, within an hour, 45 minutes, two hours, I was awake again. My legs would ache and it would wake me up. Anything would wake me up. I'd constantly have to get up and go to the restroom, which was one thing I noticed when we were in the Gulf. ...

Q: Tell me about the job you've taken on.

A: Yes. Well, to back up a little bit to get just how we got there. I had known, a friend of mine that owns a filling station. I'd known him before the Gulf. I was a regular customer there and had minor repairs work, repaired, minor repairs done on the vehicle done there. He knew about my job; knew about my being in the reserves, and we got to the point where I was just having too much trouble doing my civilian job. And one day, while on the civilian job I had to shut things down. Had to have them bring me home. I thought I was having a heart attack. I could not focus. I was having trouble breathing. I mean, you're talking about a $35,000.00 piece of equipment here and you can't focus it. Now my eyes were so blurry. I couldn't concentrate. I couldn't think. It was a nice day. It wasn't even windy. I didn't have the wind whistling through my eyes, which gets on my nerves, you know. But, and I had these horrific chest pains and I got him to bring me home and Linda took me down to the VA where they tests and they found nothing. Then I got back and that was the time when the employers decided they're going to put me on medical leave because, they knew what I was doing. I mean, I let them know, yes, I am sick. I have to take medication, keep an eye out, you know, this changing things. But I would do the job. The boss would send me out on two jobs and say "Do this one first, and then if you've got time do the second one." Well, I'd go out and do the second one. I'd get things turned around. I had to triple check everything I did. Any kind of computations I did, I did them three times to make sure I didn't -- It was taking me longer to do jobs. When I'd get off work I'd spend an hour, an hour and a half at the office past quitting time, just catching up on my paper work and getting myself geared up to being able to drive home, because I could not drive at this time, I was so fatigued. Well they finally decided, We're sorry but, you need to take some time off. They thought if I would just take two weeks off, three weeks, a month, whatever, and get the proper medical treatment, that I could get back on my feet and come back to work. And said, No. I'm sorry, it's not that way. Right now there is no cure for this. They don't know what to do with -- So after being off for a period of time, Ken just kind of cornered me and say "Why don't you just come work for me a couple of hours each week. Just basically doing some clean up, fill in on the register --"

W: He was trying to keep us from killing each other.

A: Get me out of the house, basically.

W: Because he was now considered disabled by his employer. He was not employable. And the military didn't know what to do with him, and because he could not work, they said they would put him on incapacitation status, which meant that we would get an income, but it also meant that he couldn't do his reserve job any more. Because, by the way the laws and the standards are for the military, if you are on incapacitation you cannot do your reserve job. That means you're totally incapacitated as far as their standards go. Even though the military had never at that point decided he was too sick to do his military job. I mean, he had still been going to drill. He had still been doing the job he'd always been expected to do for the military. But the double standard way, Well, we can put you on incapacitation status and give you a pay check so we can check out what's on, but you can't work as a military soldier in your reserve status any more while we're doing this. So, he didn't only his normal and regular job and employment, bit they took away his part-time job too. So they stripped him of any kind of meaningful way of supporting his family. And then they left him to sit at home 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And when you're 40 years old, or 39 years old, that's not natural. And my business and my job was here in the house, so we were together 24 hours a day. And that's not healthy.

A: I couldn't -- when it came to mowing the yard, I'd mow the front yard and that's about as far as we got. And then next day we might mow the middle part, and then the next day we might mow the very back. Then the next day we might weed eat the whole thing, you know.

Q: You were so fatigued that you couldn't eat?

A: Yes.

W: Literally, he gets so fatigued that he cannot eat. And if he has to make, like a sandwich because it's lunchtime or whatever, and I had to cook a meal for lunch. He will literally have to sit here and think about it and save up the energy and strength to where he might remember that he's hungry and needed to eat, and then he'll get up and make a sandwich, which could turn into a major event, because probably his hands aren't functioning at the time and his brain's not working with it, so it can be quite a challenge watching him make a peanut butter and honey sandwich. But he literally lives on things that he can make simply. Anything that is complicated -- he was always a good cook and always did part of the cooking in the house because of my working and going to school and one thing and another, and it got to the point where the kids were begging him, please don't cook.

W: I had my business here and my children were in middle school and high school and they had activities, and we were in the time of our life where we were busy, but he couldn't keep up, and he was in the way. Honestly, he was in the way. He was either taking a nap when we needed to be doing something, or he was sitting here like a vegetable, trying to wake up, drinking coffee at the table when we're trying to do other things, or cook, or function, or he would be wandering through the house aimlessly, or fall down on the floor because his legs gave out, and I would have clients in the other room doing hair, and they would hear this horrible crash, and the kids would come through and they'd get upset because dad's laying on the floor, and they want me to stop and they want me to go take care of it. They want me to go pick him up, and it's like, he'll be alright, and when his legs start working again he'll get up. And if he doesn't then I'll help him. But I couldn't run. I could not be everything for him. I could not do everything for him. If we take that away from him, then he's got nothing.

Q: Linda, how has Jim's job at the filling station affected you?

W: It gets him out of the house at least to where he feels like he has some self worth and it does help us with our income. I think mentally it helps him so then it helps us, except for the fact that he comes home tired, and so fatigued. It's more almost than he can handle. But, the trade off is, alright, he's exhausted and he can't hardly do things around here from the exhaustion and fatigue, but yet, he feels better about himself, and so mentally he feels better, whether his health is deteriorating or not.

............

Q: What's the attitude like at the VA overall toward Persian Gulf vets?

A: It has changed a lot since the beginning. When these problems first came up, and this is what was done in my line of duty. It was done in January of 1992. We come back in '91, right? Have trouble with the years, have trouble with days, but -- they did a line of duty and they put it down as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Doctors have to give a name to everything. Can't just say I don't know. They had to put a name to it. Well, they were finding out that, No. this really was not post traumatic stress disorder. There were too many other things that were real. There were some physical -- this was something that's physical. Yes, maybe they are having trouble with some stressors, but most of these stressors are brought on by the health problem that they are having.

W: The system was overwhelmed. They did not know how to handle all that they were getting bombarded with, as far as all these soldiers being sick. So when we first started dealing with the VA with him and the military, there was not a definite protocol set up of how they were supposed to handle the soldiers and the families. They really struggled to get a program set up to where it was the norm, and it was the policy. They would go these exams and these tests, and one doctor would handle the situation. They have one clinic set up to handle these soldiers. It was a long road. Many times, like he said when we took him to the emergency room that day, we sat for several hours before they gave him an actual examination. ..

Q: Linda, have you been sick with similar symptoms?

W: My stress level has shot up, and the doctor and I have discussed it, and -- it's something I'm going to have to deal with.... I have noticed joint aches and pains, like he experiences. Leg pains at night --Night sweats..... They come and go, like he has them. I'm starting to struggle with my memory and the thought process. The kids noticed it first. I used to be a dispatcher at a police department. I could run a radio, answer phones, deal with people, run the computer, type logs, all at the same time. I could tell you were any 20 police officers were at any given time. I can't do that now. There's no way I could go back to do that. I'm lucky if I can remember what I was doing five minutes ago. I do the same thing now that he does. I walk around and can leave from one room to the next and totally forget what I was doing, what I thinking, where I was going, what I needed to accomplish. And I know that people write this off and they say that that is normal. They go through it. Not to the degree we experience. Not -- the fatigue, I'm getting it. The exhaustion. The pure -- I just can't function anymore. I have to go lay down. I have to rest.

A: You developed the rash worse than I did.

W: Yes. I've had some rashes. We have tried different programs for Jim, because there are so many people out there trying different things medically. We tried putting him on Prozac - no, not Prozac --

A: Ritalin.

W: Ritalin. And it was terrible. We took him off before a week was over. He was absolutely non-functioning, because he has a lot of the symptoms and that was one of the protocols that we had heard somebody was trying. So we thought, well, we'll try it.

A: It was for the sleep apnea, and they thought the Ritalin would work. It took my feet out from under me --.

Q: Are you worried, you know since you seem to develop similar symptoms. Let's talk a bit about your daughters and how this is affecting your relationship with them.

A: Well, my oldest daughter has not handled it very well at all. She does not like to see daddy sick. This is a big stressor on her. She's used to seeing the old man doing things that 16 year olds do, as far a physical things. You know, doing handsprings across the front yard, and climbing all over things. Physically active. The day that she came in and found me on the floor, I couldn't get up, and I'm making jokes about it and she thought -- she saw no humor in it. She sees no humor in any of this. And she just can't stand being around it. It tears her up. Now the youngest one, she kind of has the mother hen attitude. I think I need to be taking care of daddy, and I need to do this for daddy.

Q: Did you try Dr. Garth Nicolson's protocol?

A: Yes, we did.

Q: Could you tell me a little bit about that?

A: Turned my teeth black. It made me sicker than a dog. I couldn't hardly work my job at all. When I --

W: Jim described it best as, If you hit yourself in the head with a hammer long enough, when you stop you'll feel better. So, taking the medication for a certain period of time makes you feel like you're hitting yourself on the head with a hammer. And then you stop taking it, you're bound to feel better because you're not hitting yourself with the hammer any more.

A: Yes, one the cycles where I supposed to lay off of it, for the first three days, man, I was superman. I mean, I could work all three days straight without sleep. I mean, just doing all kinds of stuff that I couldn't do before. And then -- but it was just mainly because it's just similar to walking along with a 200 pound pack on your back for a period of time. As soon as you let that 200 pound pack on your back off, suddenly you've got this -- you know, you're so much lighter, and then you can start doing this --

Q: So, what did he have you on?

A: It was an antibiotic --

W: Doxycycline.

A: Doxycycline, and it --

W: It turned his teeth grey, to the point where I was calling his dentist and asking, what we could do, what was going on, why were his teeth discoloring so horribly. So we finally figured out that it was the heavy dose of antibiotics he was on, and they were ruining his teeth. It was absolutely hysterical. I went as far as to contact Colonel Teir(ph) at Fort Van(ph) to see about following through with that protocol, because Colonel Graves had told us about this program that Nicolson was doing. We got soldiers and family members and children to come out and give blood to send to Dr. Nicolson so that he could run tests on it, and he was supposed to respond back to us and let us know what he found out. We have yet to hear anything back from him of whether he found anything with the blood, or even received it.

Q: Jim, if you believe that the cause of your health problems are due to chemicals. How is that transmissible to, say, your wife?

A: I have no idea. At first they thought it might be transmitted sexually, then there were theories that it could be transmitted through sweat. You know, any body fluids. Any body fluids whatsoever, which, I had believed the body fluids to be a possibility because my dog and I got very similar.

My dog, he got to wandering around, didn't know where he was at, couldn't hear, couldn't see. Yes, he was getting older, but he started losing his hair. And I though this is odd, and then I come to find out that the two colonels from my battalion had the same problem. Their dogs were doing the same thing. Now, we're talking about dogs that eat after us, you know, whatever leftovers we used to give to the dog, he was an American Eskimo. Yes, we have one bathroom in the house. So, I have a workshop back there, and when it's dark, well -- I'm not going to stand in line here, we'll go outside you know. Well, the dog's sitting there, he goes there too and sniffs in it and gets into it. I'm around him all the time, and suddenly he gets very ill.

W: I thought that he had thyroid problems. Yes, the dog. Because -- the symptoms he was showing with the hair loss and things like that made sense to take him to the vet and have him tested for a thyroid problem. And we took him, had blood work ran, and everything. Nothing showed. Everything was fine. And the only other recourse was to possibly send him to Purdue University and have some series of serious tests ran on him, and I was like, that's silly. We're not going to get any answers. It's obvious, I mean after talking with the two other colonels and what they went through with their dogs, and what I saw seeing with this dog develop, who'd been a perfectly healthy and normal and average dog, it was plain that his body was deteriorating and his health was deteriorating, like Jim's was. It finally came to a point where we just had to put him to sleep.

 

 
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