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Vietnam Vet Writes Novel ‘Raw Man’ To Promote PTSD Awareness

Evening Edition

Aired 8/28/14 on KPBS Midday Edition.

GUEST:

Fred Rivera is a Vietnam War veteran who's written a novel, Raw Man, about his experience during an after the war.

Book Event

A book event for "Raw Man" by Fred Rivera will be held at the historic hacienda of distinguished writer Victor Villaseñor.

When: Saturday, Aug. 30 at 2 p.m.

Where: 1302 Stewart St., Oceanside

"Raw Man" is a new novel by Vietnam War veteran Fred Rivera

The wounds of war, both physical and psychological, can last a lifetime.

Those wounds can change a soldier's life from the first moment of injury, or they can lie dormant for years, only to surface in devastating ways.

Disabled Vietnam veteran Fred Rivera has turned his struggle with physical and psychic pain into a novel based on his real experiences in Vietnam.

Here is an excerpt from "Raw Man," printed with permission from the author:

The sink in the men’s restroom at the Long Beach VA hospital took an overdose of Percocet this morning. I was shaking so violently that half the bottle fell in. I salvaged what I could. I only hope those pills help take away any pain the sink might be experiencing today. As for me, they stopped working some time ago.

I am in chronic pain, and spikes like I am having today bring out the worst in me. They insidiously remind me of the time I spent in the jungle of Vietnam.

The VA gives me 100 percent disability for the pain and suffering resulting from me getting blown off my track in 1969, and for 30 years of inescapable, intrusive thoughts of war. PTSD can hit you out of nowhere and it came roaring out today.

According to the Veterans Administration, between 10 percent and 20 percent of returning Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans have post traumatic stress disorder, while 30 percent of Vietnam war veterans have PTSD.

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