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My Rant on the VA

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posted on May, 23 2013 @ 12:59 AM
I am a disabled veteran. In the 90's I was involved in the Serbian conflict. While there I was injured in the line of duty. My injury was to my shoulder. Every piece of tissue ligamnets and cartilage were ripped off the bone and the shoulder severly dislocated. I was flown out to Germany for treatment. They immediately ded surgery to repair all the damage. Recovery went ok, well as well as it could have been expected based on the major amount of damage that was involved.

When I was able to start physical therapy I knew right away that something wasnt feeing right. Once pt was over it was established that I had lost about 35% of my range of motion to my left shoulder and that I would be medically discharged and I was. They provided me with all the paperwork on how to submit myself for disability.

I didnt do the paper work. I was 19, wasnt in much pain and I didnt want a government check for disability. I was 19 I didnt feel disabled and almost would feel guilty if i even applied because I didnt think I should get any money.

I got a job working at a bowling alley for a few years and then my wife got pregnant. I needed a new job and fell back into what I know best, medicine.

I got a job working for a local ambulance as an emt and then a paramedic. Absolutely loved that job. But the years and the wear and tear on my body was starting to add up. The first part that was starting to go was my shoulder.

My shoulder would randomly dislocate and have to be popped back in. This would happen 1 in a few months then get to the point where it was happening 1 every week. Eventually I would go in for surgery and the surgery lasted for 3 years then the process started over again. Another surgery and it lasted for 7 years. That was my last surgery..

I decided that I would have to go and apply for veterans disability because my shoulder was my reason for being seperated and if it got worse where I was out of a job with no insurance i would at least have the VA to go to. They accepted me and I officially became a disabled veteran.

The VA likes to pump people fool of pills. I get a persciption of 180 pills of vicodin a month for the pain. The pain is from the fact that now my shoulder will not even go back in place. It is constantly dislocated. In February I went in and said I need another surgery. I was sent to the VA orthopedic and he told me that my shoulder is a very extreme case and that no one in the VA system could fix it. He refered me to mayo. That got denied by the people in the VA that decide those things. They sent my to another local doc. He wanted to have a nerve test done to find out how much damage was inside.

The nerve test came back with peripheral polyneuropothy predominantly demyelinating. The surgeon put surgery on hold until I could have a full neuro work up.

So here I sit with a dislocated shoulder hopped up on pain pills waiting to find out when the VA will schedule my neuro appt.

It has been almost 4 months and I am not even close to surgery.

I am being tortured in my own body from the pain.

You would think that a medical facility that caters to veterans would want to work as hard as they could from keeping their veterans feeling totrtured and having so little quality of life.

This is government run healthcare at its finest. Shoulder surgery is not that important so they can live in pain for months while we pump them full of pain medications. They dont care that I cant hold a job right now because of the pain pills. Thats not there problem. I am just very lucky that the people in the VA who deal with vocational rehab are amazing people.

They approved me to be sent back to college to get a degree in a field that will not stress my shoulder. They help me with anything I need. My counselor even allows me to call her and just rant about how horrible this process is for me. I dont know what I would do without voc rehab.

But the main part of the VA is to treat their patients and in my opinion they do treat them. They treat them like #.

posted on May, 23 2013 @ 07:03 AM
You have to constantly be keeping track of what is happening with your care. The squeeky wheel gets the grease, so become the squeeky wheel, If you don't keep on top of your care, no one else will. I have been a disabled vet for 20 years and have had almost zero problems getting my care addressed, I keep in constant communication with my primary care provider and if things don't happen as quickly as I think they should, I call over and over again until things get addressed to my satisfaction.

Thanks for your service and good luck, brother.

posted on May, 23 2013 @ 07:41 AM
reply to post by lcbjr1979

I'm a disabled Vet as well, but I kept copies of everything, to include sick calls and applied immediately upon retirement. It still took almost a year for approval, and they denied my back injury, which now has me laid up as well. Reapplied and still waiting, but I avoid the drugs. They messed me up in more ways than one.

A friend who was not the squeaky wheel was told eight years ago that he needed new hips, he finally got his first one a couple of months ago. I think that the VA was waiting for him to die first as that would be the cheapest route. I harrassed him until he started harrassing them and finally got the surgeries scheduled.

The drugs and stress of pain, coupled with emotional stress will take a toll.

As said before...


Good luck.

posted on May, 23 2013 @ 08:39 AM
reply to post by TDawgRex

My hubby is 80% VA disabled but his story is much different and he was processed very very quickly. He was injured in Afghanistan and hospitalized for a long time upon his return. He has a TBI, PTSD, and was addicted to the vicodin they gave him in Afghanistan. The Army hospital he was in actually did the paperwork for him and he retired upon his release after 22 yrs of active service. He was approved in 90 days. It was a shock because we had been told it would take a much longer time.

Where his story is different, is that we live near a military hospital now and near a major VA hospital. He has access to care. I think it is sad that our vets have to live near a facility to get the access to care that he does.

He also had a great case manager at the VA hospital and a great psychiatrist who is in charge of his TBI treatment. They were great advocates for him.

Find an advacoate. Go to your nearest major VA hospital or clinic and ask for one. They helped us through all of the red tape.

I think the only reason he was processed so quickly is because TBI's are the malady of the day and get so much press. If it had been anything else we would probably still be waiting.

Good luck and let me know if we can help. He is good at maneuvering the VA and knows the system there very well. He has been retired for 3 years now.

Something else you may not have considered, your local VFW or DAV group may have resources as well and can point you in the right direction. Call your nearest military hospital and tell them you need to talk to someone there that helps disabled vets. Our military hospital has an onsite VA clinic and works very closely with the military hospital to get our vets their treatments. I hate to hear these stories and it makes me feel so bad everyone hasnt had the experience we have had. It is sad it takes a brain injury to get what you deserve.

Thank you for your service. Thank your family and children as well. Their sacrifices were many as well.

posted on May, 23 2013 @ 09:07 AM
reply to post by k21968

Actually, I am a squeaky wheel, so I think that I'll be seeing something soon as to where I stand.
I also know quite a few VA/DVA reps from my days working DoD.

I have Tri-Care, so it's not that bad.

One of the problems I have with Tri-Care though is that unless you are near a military post/hospital, they will not cover Chiro. So I am screwed in that regard...for now.

Another problem I had with the VA was initially they kept pushing TBI & PTSD on me which I kept denying. I've been blown up before, but after the MRI, it was revealed that there was no damage. I was lucky.

And as for PTSD, I don't have it...I give it.
(PTSD= Puttin' up with TDawgs $H!t Daily)

The VA has a long way to go for Vets who do not live near a military base. They also in these areas have a high turn over of employees so there is not a lot of institutional knowledge being passed on.

Best of luck to your Husband, I hope that he gets better.

posted on May, 23 2013 @ 09:33 AM
reply to post by TDawgRex

WE have tricare as well. We call it substandard care..

Anyway, hubby was blown up, but stayed in theatre instead of getting help. The medics fed him vicodin for his debilitating headaches to get him through the remainder of his tour. It was after he got home and did not have vicodin at his disposal for the pain that things got bad. I drove him to the hospital walked in the front door and said you made this mess you fix it, got in my car and left.

Not my proudest moment, but they kept him for a couple of months. They detoxed him, then did an MRI which showed a lemon size spot of dead tissue in his brain, frontal lobe.

He is currently on 7 meds. THe VA loves giving out pills. He tells them he doesnt need pills for pain and they still give them to him even though he is a reovering addict with 3 yrs sober in NA.

Tricare here will only pay for chiro if you have a referral. Everything requires a referral. That is the worst part of Tricare.

posted on May, 23 2013 @ 10:07 AM
reply to post by k21968

There may be a correlation there. The further you get away from a military base, the better Tri-Care is, the closer, the better the VA is.

I am often referred to the Cleveland Clinic, which is tops in medical care. I have no real complaints other than the back problem and that's not the Clinics fault. Being blown up may not have injured my brain, but it didn't do my back any wonders either...even though I didn't know it at the time (plus, 31 years had taken its toll as well). Chiro works for me temporarily and I don't want surgery or shots yet, I'm hoping to get better naturally. But if I do have to have surgery...I want it done by them.

I feel for you and your husband, being at the forefront of a newly diagnosed disability has to be rough. Remember, they can give the drugs, but he doesn't have to take 'em.

I know it has to be rough on you as well. Stay strong, for yourself, husband and family.

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