Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital
Caregiver Spotlight: Christa
When Christa met SSG John Witteman, it was love at first sight. Or maybe first sound. Meeting at a Monday night Karaoke event, Christa was drawn to his voice and was quickly drawn to his heart. Four and a half years later, the Wittemans are still making beautiful music together.
SSG Witteman is just one of thousands of soldiers who have lost a limb during combat in OIF/OEF. After undergoing 40 surgeries on his knee, his leg was amputated in April 2013. He also suffers from seizures and the nightmares and hallucinations that come with PTSD.
His wife, Christa, is one of the amazing spouses who are part of VA’s Caregiver Support Program. As a caregiver, Christa says her biggest challenge is helping her husband get around in his wheelchair and adjusting to their “new normal.” The Caregiver program has been instrumental in helping Christa and John heal together. The monthly stipend allows Christa the freedom to take time off from work to help John when he needs her the most. Knowing that so many services are available to them through this program has been a huge blessing for the Wittemans.
“Being a caregiver is a blessing, especially when you get the chance to care for someone you love,” says Christa Witteman. “Some days are going to be more complicated than others. So, for those days when your strength is tested, here are the words of Vincent Van Gogh- ‘As we advance in life it becomes more and more difficult, but in fighting the difficulties, the inmost strength of the heart is developed.’”