Brannan sent Katie to the school therapist, once. She hasn’t seen any other therapist, or a therapist trained to deal with PTSD
—”Once” makes me think that Brennan had not tried very hard to get help for her daughter. If she was really worried she would’ve brought her to the therapist a lot more than once.
—”She hasn’t seen any other therapist” reinforces Brennan’s lack of willingness to get help for Katie.
Brannan knows what a difference that makes, since the volunteer therapist she tried briefly herself spent more time asking her to explain a “bad PTSD day” than how Caleb’s symptoms were affecting the family.
—”what a difference” is used sarcastically to state how the therapist made no impact on Katie’s behavioral problems.
Certainly she seems better than some other PTSD vets’ kids Brannan knows, who scream and sob and rock back and forth at the sound of a single loud noise, or who try to commit suicide even before they’re out of middle school. Caleb spends enough time worrying that he’s messing up his kid without a doctor saying so.
—”Certainly she seems better than some other PTSD vets’ kids Brannan knows” means that Brennan must know many other parents with kids who have behavioral problems similar to, or worse than, Katie’s. This also reveals that this issue is not specific Brennan’s family, and that this is a normal occurrence within post-war households.
—”try to commit suicide even before they’re out of middle school” means that it’s normals for children in families with PTSD to attempt to commit suicide at an abnormally young age.
—”Caleb spends enough time worrying that he’s messing up his kid without a doctor saying so” let’s me know that Caleb is worried about Katies mental state and it doesn’t help when the doctors tell him what he already knows.
Brannan is a force of keeping her family together. She sleeps a maximum of five hours a night, keeps herself going with fast food and energy drinks, gets Katie to and from school and to tap dance and art, where Katie produces some startlingly impressive canvases, bright swirling shapes bisected by and intersected with other swaths of color, bold, intricate.
—”Brannan is a force of keeping her family together” reveals that the family needs Brennan, and without her, the family would fall apart.
—”keeps herself going with fast food and energy drinks” shows how Brennan doesn’t have time to eat healthy and take care of herself properly because she is too busy providing care for her family.
—”startlingly impressive canvases” shows that one wouldn’t expect Brennan to have such a creative talent due the issues she is forced to deal with on a daily basis.
She used the skills she learned as an assistant to a state Supreme Court justice and running a small newspaper to navigate Caleb’s maze of paperwork with the VA, and the paperwork for the bankruptcy they had to declare while they were waiting years for his disability benefits to come through.
—”maze of paperwork” means that the VA gives Brennan a lot of confusing and unnecessary paperwork.
—”bankruptcy they had to declare” means that they did’t want to declare bankruptcy, but were forced to because Caleb’s disability benefits took so long to come through.
She also works for the VA now, essentially, having been—after a good deal more complicated paperwork, visits, and assessments—enrolled in its new caregiver program, which can pay spouses or other family members of disabled vets who have to take care of them full time, in Brannan’s case $400 a week.
—”after a good deal more complicated paperwork, visits, and assessments” shows how the VA gave Brennan even more hassle and paperwork when she decided to become part of their caregiver program.