“The VA is where you go when you want to die,” is a phrase a lot of us vets here in the CSRA say when it comes to the VA docs. That is IF you can get an appointment with them.
It took them 5 years to schedule mine. And even then it was the wrong one. (No thanks, VA! I’ve already got a competent GP. I don’t need euthanized just yet.)
Anyway, long story short:
I got injured a number of times during my Marine Corps stint. Most were in training, but we train for real. 250 men got injured in just a few hours (and that was only one time, one ‘stint’ in my tour).
Anyway we got a Navy doctor – one that was ordered, and gave the orders that “nothing is to be recorded.”. I can even get a guy to testify (he worked for him, a fellow Marine of mine) – that the doctor ordered them that, along with the phrase: “We don’t want them to get any benefits.” (I was in the Reserve service at that time.)
Anyway (story gets long) – I get out of my Marine Corps ‘career’ after six years, go to work for the Army, get some schooling, come on strong in Design Engineering, Dean’s List grad 4.0 and all of that. Long before this, though, I started experiencing some pain in my shoulder and back – not long after my release from the Marine Corps.
By the time I was twenty-eight the pain was 24/7. I was all right with that.
I kept on my career track (by now in Engineering) for another 20 years. The pain keeps on growing. Doc after doc comes up with empty hands. About fifteen, twenty of ’em. It appears there was too much damage – in my nerves, the connective tissue – to ever get Humpty Dumpty right again. He’s gonna be hurtin’ the rest of his life.
And then the doctor tells me (this is my current GP; known him for about 20 years now) . . . “This is only gonna get worse.”
Six years before I was ‘let go’ by my last employer my doc gives me the news: “You’re gonna be disabled.” And with drugs & all I fought it, denied it – the disabled know the drill. But on it comes anyway, like a steam locomotive headed down the tracks, headed for you . . .
and drags you along for the rest of your life: bumpty-bumpty down the track. And you’d better laugh, because it’s too hard to do anything else.
Anyway, I go an apply for my VA benefits. This was 11 years ago. It took 6 years to establish that yes, I may have incurred some small disability – because of my ears.
Now I went in complaining about my back and such, and they just ignored me. They tested my ears. Then sent me out the door with a 10-15% compensation. And when I complained it was my back – NOT my ears – they sent me out the door.
I asked for another appointment, of course.
That was 5 years ago.
A few weeks ago I got a call from the Charlie Norwood facility near here in Georgia.
“You wish to set up an appointment to see a GP?,” the young girl asked.
“Huh?” I asked. I was confused. I had forgotten all about it. I would’ve been dead if I’d depended on those folks! Then a part of me remembered scheduling that thing. Long ago.
I laughed as I made the appointment. I told her: I asked for this thing long ago. Five years ago in fact.
She was confused.
“You mean you didn’t make it last week?”
“No,” I said. “I haven’t been down to the VA for five years. I’m still waiting for my card.”
I told her what I thought. It’s about funding; getting more funds into the hospital based on growing the patient roles. This despite Charlie Norwood having received the MOST of any VA in ‘boosts’ – and absolutely no improvements made. Indeed, they’ve since stopped their valet service, which is a disservice to disabled veterans who must either wait in the parking lot in hopes someone will come along, or must struggle to make it to the entrance themselves.
And so I went to the VA and it was the wrong appointment, even my soon to be VA GP agreed was wrong. And he agreed: don’t let them touch my back. (The preeminent neurosurgeon I went to told me that long ago). He was as surprised as I was at their . . . inability to do anything. But he didn’t know the difference between how Provigil from methaphenadate work, so . . . good thing I’m not going to be seeing him again.
Now I have to get on another list for a re-evaluation, but I’m waiting on my card. While I was there I put in my application again – sat, got my picture took, and was fussed at when I asked why it took so long for me to get an appointment. I’m still waiting for my card. They said they’ll send it in the mail. It’s been a couple of weeks now – almost a month. And I’m still waiting on the first one.
“The VA. It’s where you go when you’re ready to die – because they’ll surely kill ya.” And that ain’t no joke around here.
If you can ever get an appointment to begin with, LOL.