Month of the Military Caregiver- Wife of John Hayes


“A little over 9 years ago our little family of 5 lived in Okinawa Japan where my husband (John) was stationed as a EOD tech (Explosive ordnance disposal) for the Marines. At exactly 9:32pm on December 28th 2010 I had a knock on my door by 2 of Johns bosses. As I opened it up one looked like he had been crying the other… well he was there too. They asked if they could come in and that’s when they proceeded to tell me John had been hurt. After about 3 days of waiting to get off the island I grabbed up our 3 girls and flew to Maryland where we’d meet John.

After a lot of anticipation he finally came in on this oversized ambulance. When I saw him for the first time my heart dropped thru the ground. Seeing my husband, my best friend who use to be 6’4 was being pushed on a gurney where he only took up half of it and the rest was medical stuff.

After 4 weeks in ICU, surgery every day while there, he was able to go to the normal floor. Back had to keep going back to ICU and he kept bleeding out and they couldn’t knock this flesh-eating bacteria. Johns doctor told he was beyond critical and I needed to make the choice if they would to amputate from the belly button down or to let him pass in comfort. I knew there was no way John would live a happy life having tubes and drains hanging out of him for the rest of his life, so I told them to let him pass in peace. It was a long 24 hrs but he made it thru and has gotten stronger since. Even though he flatlined on us a few times over the whole 5 moths we were there, he finally got thru it.

He now has limited use of his right hand, missing part of his pelvis, and has very little thy left on his right side. I never looked at me helping him is a job that should ever be recognized, I just have been doing it because he’s my best friend. He still struggles with pain from sitting up and still has a colostomy. However he is one of the most positive people I know. He will tell anyone that him getting blown up is one of the best things that could’ve happened to him. When he was in the hospital we were told he couldn’t have anymore children because of the extent of his injuries, which I was ok with because he had a vasectomy yrs earlier. However in 2006 we had a little boy. Everything that I personally have gone through with John mainly when he was in the hospital has effected me on a deeper level that I have tried to overcome. It’s a daily struggle but over all our now family of 6 is doing great and I couldn’t ask for anything else.”

I honestly don’t think people realize the effect of watching your other half go through some of these things. I’ve had to go through therapy to process what happened too.

— Wife- Janel Hayes