Companions Of Wounded Warriors Share Pain

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kelly wallace, wounded warriors, spouses
CBS

Nancy Kules couldn't have imagined getting help from her husband two and a half years ago.

An IED struck Ryan's humvee in Iraq, blowing away his right arm and left leg. He lay in a coma on life support.

"I'm 23 years old, we're married for a couple of years, all of a sudden now I'm what, I don't have a husband anymore, I've got a dependent? You know, that's a really scary thought," Nancy says.

And so she began a journey into the unknown, like the caregivers for the nearly 33,000 wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, reports CBS News correspondent Kelly Wallace.

"You realize that there's those people that never come past opening their eyes, gesturing they're thirsty," she says. "I was scared. I was really scared."

"You hear Nancy talk about how scary that was for her, what's that like when you hear that?" Wallace asks Nancy's husband Ryan.

"You know, what if the roles were reversed and it was Nancy who was hurt and I don't know if I could do it," Ryan says.

Nancy and Ryan came to a camp sponsored by the Adaptive Sports Foundation -- a place where the veteran and the caregiver get the support they need.

"If you can meet another spouse that can just say, 'Yeah, he's done that,' or, 'Yeah, he's like that sometimes,' or 'Don't you hate it when …' then it makes you feel less, you know, you're not alone," Nancy says.

Danielle Andrade's husband loss both his legs to an IED in Iraq.

"It's like sitting with old girlfriends because they know what we're going through and we can relate to each other better than some people we've known longer," she says.

In a similar attack, Casey Washburn's husband lost part of his foot.

"When I went to work, women actually said to me, clients, 'Are you going to stay with him?'" Casey says.

Nancy never thought of leaving Ryan, but expects him to pull his weight.

"You don't get a free ride for the rest of your life that I am always going to stick around and you know if you're not a nice guy," she says. "So luckily I married a nice guy."

"I do my best to try to push those limits as best I can," Ryan says.

That sense of humor helped Nancy get through the toughest times.

"You're the one that gets yelled at first. You're the one that gets snapped at when you go over a bump too hard in a wheelchair," she says. "I didn't put a bump in the sidewalk. You can't make life smooth, obviously."

Still, Nancy knows it could be worse.

"There's people that'll never ever meet their kids," she says. "I just can't imagine what their wives and their parents and loved ones are going through."

To honor those less fortunate, they named their new daughter Jillian Deme -- her initials are a tribute to the two men who died in Ryan's humvee.

"What better way to celebrate than a beautiful little girl," Nancy says. "She represents life and happiness and great things."