VA Medical “Care”

Be Ashamed (VA Medical SUCKS)Okay, this sucks. The vast VA medical care system, one of the largest in America, gives up very easily and can tell a vet, “We don’t know what is causing the problem but we won’t do any more tests to figure it out so here is a prosthesis for you so you can walk a little more normally. No, it will never get better because we don’t know what is causing the problem and, since we aren’t going to send you to any more specialists, the problem will never go away and may even get worse, we just don’t know. Is that all? Okay. Bye.” That is, seriously, the exact conversation I just had with my primary medical “care” doctor.

My toes on both of my feet are going numb. Everyone agrees that what is causing that is the long term nerve damage effects of Agent Orange in Vietnam. Well, everyone but whoever it is in the VA medical care system that decides to award me the benefits that are due to every Vietnam vet that shows these exact same symptoms. That, I’m told, takes a minimum of eight months for the paperwork to even be looked at, if it isn’t shredded first, and then they will probably send me back to the exact same VA medical neurologists that made the determination in the first place so that they have a brand new copy of a report from a procedure that has now been done three separate times in three separate hospitals in the VA medical system but they can never find the results because the computers in the West Los Angeles VW medical system can’t be easily searched by the Northern Californian VA medical system. So I will probably have those tests a fourth time and, with the history of the VA being what it is, my claim will be denied, again without any cause stated, and I’ll have to appeal it and, well, they just hope I get tired or die in the meantime.

But that’s not the problem at the moment. I’ve been filing for Agent Orange benefits since the early 2000s and I know how the system goes as far out of its way as possible to deny every claim in hopes, as I said, that I get tired of fighting for what is rightfully mine or I just die and that’s the end of their responsibility.  They’ll probably get a bonus of some sort for keeping costs down to the VA for that year when I die.

The problem is that about 2 years ago I began to lose feeling only in my left foot. For the last two years it was just a numb pain that kept me from walking for any distance and walking is my favorite form of exercise and helps me to get out of the house, off my butt, and clear my head. My favorite place to walk is along dirt roads all year long so that I can see the changing of the seasons in the plants and flowers and the birds and animals. That is my joy.

About 6 weeks ago, though, I suddenly could not lift my left foot as I walked meaning I basically drag it as I go. I demanded that the VA figure out what the hell was going on and find a way to fix that. I mean, they have the most experience in nerve damage and repair on the planet due to their close association with the battlefield doctors and the facilities that try to put our vets back together again in wartime. If anyone should be able to pinpoint what the problem is then the personnel at the VA medical system should be the experts.  I mean, who has more experience in damages to nerves than the nation that is so deeply and sickly in love with war and torn up bodies?

Last Thursday I went to the Sacramento area VA medical hospital for a test on my nerves in both legs and feet.  Yes, the exact same tests as before.  The doctor gave me jolts of electric shocks and measured the responses at different point of my legs and feet.  No, I don’t know what the tests are called but I do know she said she was surprised that she had to turn the equipment up so high to get any readings.  It took about an hour and she said the word “wow!” and the phrase “Is the equipment working” under her breath a half dozen times.

Finally I’m told to get dressed and she leaves the room.  When she comes back she says that the nerve damage to my feet is consistent with the many cases of Agent Orange cases she has dealt with. “Okay,” I say, “I knew that part.”  As for the fact that I can’t pick up my left foot as I walk she said that it was a “pinched nerve”.

I asked if it could be an extension of the Agent Orange and was told “I don’t think so.”  DON’T THINK SO?  That’s the answer a doctor gives?

I asked if it was just a pinched nerve, could it be corrected with a surgical procedure to relieve the pinch?  She replied that there was no way to relieve the pinching.  I asked that, in as much as she couldn’t see inside my knee without some sort of x-ray or MRI or something would she be referring me for that kind of test?  Again her answer was that it was a pinched nerve and there was nothing that could be done.  I asked if it would ever get any better and she said, “No, it may get worse, though” and again I asked if I could be referred to another specialist that could look at it and…… she walked out of the room.

I limped down the hall after her and asked what was going to happen, then?  She stopped and said that I would be getting a letter “in a few weeks” and that I would be fitted with a “prosthesis” that would help me bend my foot and walk without dragging my left foot along “as much” and that it would take “a few weeks for the letter to arrive” and I had to find, on my own, someone that makes those things, get fitted and then come back to Sacramento to receive it.  “It shouldn’t take more than two to three months total.” And it’s a 350 mile round trip each time and they won’t pay mileage since I’m seeing somebody outside of the VA medical system since the VA medical has no one in the system to see.

I stared at her and said, “So I can’t see anyone else that might be able to figure out why I have the problem, I have to wait two to three months before I even get this thing that’s supposed to let me walk like a human being again and it is never going to get better?  That’s it?”  She literally shook her head in that way that parents shake their heads when their kids ask “dumb” questions, went to the counter and picked up the chart for the next patient and turned her back on me and forgot I existed.

The very next day I had an appointment with my VA medical “primary care doctor”.  When I saw her I asked again why I couldn’t see another doctor that might be able to figure out what was going on since a medical diagnosis of “We don’t know what is causing it but it may get worse” doesn’t seem like it should be the end of the conversation.  She brought up my chart on her computer, scanned it for a minute and said, “No, the doctor says she doesn’t know why you have the problem and recommends no further tests.”

I tried to be calm and reiterated what I had said the day before which was if it’s a pinched nerve then isn’t there a way to “unpinch” it and I could walk normally again?  She looked at my chart again and said, “The doctor says here that it is DEFINITELY NOT a pinched nerve and she does not recommend any further testing and that you will wear the prosthesis for the rest of your life.”  “NOT a pinched nerve”, I asked?  “She used that term three or four times at LEAST yesterday.  When did that change?”

“I don’t know what she told you but her report clearly states that it is NOT a pinched nerve and no further testing is recommended.”  This the doctor said with kind of a shrug as if to say “Hey, that’s life.  Deal with it.  She changed what she said, apparently.”

Today I went to what is known as the VA Medical Patient Advocate, a position that is supposed to help vets get the treatment they deserve.  I explained the situation, asked again if I could be referred to another VA medical specialist that could determine if it was a pinched nerve or not and why the hell it so suddenly went limp on me and what could I do to get the help I needed?

Apparently, the way he “advocates” is to simply call the original doctor again who then calls me and, in a tone of voice usually reserved for small children who want candy and can’t have it, stated that there will be no further examinations on my foot, that my heavy drinking was probably the cause (I haven’t had two drinks a year since the early 70s when I got home) and that I would have to learn to live with it and if there was nothing else she was very busy, thank you, bye.  Click.

So, here I sit.  Wishing there was something that came next other than putting some sort of brace on my leg for the rest of my life or until the damage grows bad enough that I won’t be able to walk at all.

My country did this to me.  This is 100% Agent Orange related and they’ve decided that, just like the Iraq and Afghan vets will learn when the Depleted Uranium that they lived with comes back to haunt them, the system is finished with us now and they will provide the minimal amount of care they can get away with.  The government cuts their budget.  The VA medical system learns to live with less.  They care less and less.  They provide less and less.  And I get to limp the rest of my life and never know exactly why nor ever be given the testing to discover why.

And people have the stupidity to ask me why I hate this government and the fact that it is run for the wealthy who send off the kids of other families to fight and live through hell for years just so that the wealthy can whine about paying taxes and get them reduced again and again and those kids who fought their wars can just go to hell for all they care.

If there was one Christian in this nation that would stand up for the defenseless and maimed I would probably die of a heart attack.  But there isn’t.  I’m safe from that danger, at least.

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15 Responses to VA Medical “Care”

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  2. Townsend Ellzey says:

    What’s up, all is going perfectly here and ofcourse every one is sharing information, that’s genuinely excellent, keep up writing.

  3. Ramisses says:

    It’s probably a pihnced muscle for a pihnced nerve would send her to the hospital right now. Here is how to release that pain:Back:Place your left hand on your left knee. Place your right hand over your left shoulder and with your fingertips find the muscle next to your spine. Press on it and hold. Relax, take a deep breath and exhale and don’t tense up any part of your body. After about 30 seconds there should be a release happening and when it does slowly lower yourself forward onto your right leg. If you can lean over the outside edge of your leg it will be better for your release. Continue holding for a total of one minute. Then release but rest your body there for one minute longer. Then reverse and do the right side.References :

    • Magaa says:

      The very crux of your writing while aprnipaeg reasonable originally, did not settle perfectly with me personally after some time. Someplace within the sentences you actually managed to make me a believer unfortunately just for a short while. I however have a problem with your jumps in assumptions and one would do well to help fill in those gaps. In the event you can accomplish that, I would undoubtedly be amazed.

  4. Adriana says:

    thanks for share!

  5. medgette says:

    I am a member of the armed forces and victim of v.a. medicine and their brutality the v.a. sucks cock and I would choose death over v.a. go to start a petition against the v.a. I will sign and spread the word and the v.a. will change

    • Eladys says:

      I have tried, for something simalir, reflexology to relax the entire body, followed by work on the specific area, ie your back.It may not be reflexology that works for you, it may be something else accupressure, biofeedback, yoga, There are many, many different things to try. You’ll know pretty quickly if you found the right thing for you. If not, move on, try the next thing, or try a different practitioner.Whatever the treatment, or treatments of choice, try to go to a facility that has a place where you can relax before and after, and try to give yourself time for this. To me, this makes a very significant difference I used to rush to finish what I was doing, rush in the car to get to the treatment, rush out of the treatment in traffic, the try to make up for whatever activity I had missed time on this negated the treatment.Whatever the treatment is, start with the treatment not for your back, to get your body ready. Then, over several sessions, slowly increase the focus on your back.Note that when I say relax, I mean much more than that, but I cannot describe it very well. Maybe well being is a better description. It seems as though it makes your body really have its full ability to deal with the issue.It worked for me. Good luck.

  6. Lauran says:

    heya, excellent page, and an excellent understand! 1 for my book marks.

    • Giusy says:

      i have a herniated L5-S1. my right foot had been numb for about 11 mohnts. went to 4 different neurosurgeons. all recommended surgery. got in auto accident a few mohnts ago and ended up at a chiropractor on the obx. within 2 mohnts, i had feeling in my foot. virtually no lower back pain. before going to him i was taking mepregan(synthetic morphine) and valium. that was just to get by. he has helped my lower back more than any of the other doctors ever gave me hope of without surgery. it might be worth checking out. worked for me! be patient and give it a shot. good luck!

  7. shawn says:

    The way this country chews up and spits out its vets is downright disgraceful. I for one, will encourage my son and everyone else I know not to join the armed services for this reason.

    • Miloud says:

      Yes, there are natural palkniliers. As much as you probably don’t want to hear it, the only things that will really be effective long term are stretching and strengthening exercises for your back and mid section. Drugs will only mask your symptoms temporarily. A big problem with pain killers is that they dull your pain receptors so you are likely to move about in ways that are not healthy for your back, further exacerbating your condition, even though you may not feel pain. Yoga is one of the best things that you can do for your back incorporating stretching, strengthening exercises and proper breathing. There are many different types of yoga classes with different objectives cardio intensive, strengthening, etc. You need to find one that is more gentle and meditative. Yoga will in a sense decompress (pull apart) the muscle, connective tissue and bone in your back and allow them to set naturally. In many cases, back pain is exacerbated from tightness or misalignment elsewhere in the body. Yoga will take a holistic approach loosen up other areas which may be associated with your pain. This is not a magic bullet, but if you give it a six month trial, at least three days a week for an hour, you should see some amazing results. Oh…and don’t worry, if you don’t have to be flexible to take yoga. It’s for all body types and levels of fitness, not just people that can put themselves in a human picture frame. Good luck.

  8. Mario says:

    I’ve been fighting with the VA since the year 2,000. I have PTSD from the military. It didn’t show up until I left the military after 2 years. I have a hard time getting my records from doctors I have been to since 1965 to 1999. The state had destroyed them except for a few. They say since I can’t prove it there is nothing they can do. These people at the VA don’t seem to give a damn about the soldier. I’m going to re-apply once more. I don’t know if it would do any good. They claim I have Panic attacks and not PTSD.

    • John Cannon says:

      I’ve applied repeatedly for Agent Orange benefits because my nerves in m feet and legs are dying which is 100% their definition of exposure. They just deny the claim without cause each time. I have a feeling that they may outsource a lot of the claims and people make bonuses for claims denied and money saved. I can’ prove that because it is not an item in the budget and no one will reply to my letters but that’s my thought. They just screw with you till you die and then, problem solved.

      • Shane says:

        Goto a physical thaperist by getting a prescription from your doctor. They specialize in musculo-skeletal injuries and their effects on joints/nerves. If the injury was within the last 2 weeks I’d ice the injured area and keep taking the aleve. Gentle stretching and exercises without weight within tolerance would be good until you could get yourself to the PT. If the injury was over two weeks ago then you can use heat but make sure you don’t get it too hot and burn your skin. Warm is ok but hot is going to leave you with 1st to 2nd degree burns after 20 minutes.

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