VA Medical Care Isn’t And Is Getting Worse
In the ongoing saga of me versus the imaginary VA Medical Care, we find our hero no long able to walk like a human being with his left foot. Instead, like Chester on the old TV series Matt Dillon, I drag my left foot along because the Agent Orange exposure has so damaged the nerves in that foot and leg that, standing up, I cannot raise my toes on that foot more than 1/4″ off the floor. Naturally that means I can’t walk like a normal human being, walking heel to toe on my left foot. If you can’t bend your arch or toes, you don’t walk on two feet very far. This is the state that, as far as the VA Medical care system goes, is just dandy as long as I STFU and don’t complain about how miserably they treat me (which is like a child bothering its parents during their favorite TV shows).
My right foot, so far, only shows damage to my toes and ankle but I can still walk fairly normally although, as one VA doctor helpfully said, “I wouldn’t count on that working well for a whole lot longer.” Gee, thanks for the warning, Doc. Gives me something to look forward to, doesn’t it? In time, I’ll be that fat guy in the Hoveround chair (although I won’t be the guy in the front row applauding that insane little crap-animal Glenn Beck screaming about the absolute need for the destruction of Social Security and Medicare to an audience of mindless, drooling sheep living on Social Security and sitting in their Hoverounds provided free by Medicare).
An Aside To Iraq and Afghan Vets That They’ll Ignore
So, by the way, all you Iraq and Afghan Vets, this is the joy you have to look forward to from the VA medical care system when all that depleted uranium you inhaled and got dusted with for all those tours of duty comes back and starts destroying your body in 20 or 30 years. I would highly advise you to either work your asses off for universal health care or vote every single Republican and right-leaning Democrat out of office (I’m looking directly at you Obama) and replace them with people who will remember that if they send you to war to murder for the wealthy then the wealthy had damn well better be prepared to pay the taxes needed to treat your injuries, inside and out, when you come home through the VA medical care system.
But you won’t bother, will you? You’ll turn on the TV, watch some grown men run around with a ball or “actors” say lines written by somebody else and then, if you even bother to vote, you’ll vote for the guy with the best corporate sponsorship and coolest commercials without taking ten seconds to see what the candidate actually has done in the past. So, forget I brought it up. You’re screwed if you don’t get active but I don’t see many of you standing up for your rights so far so I doubt that you’ll be able to stand up at all when the time comes.
Back to what’s important, ME!
About a month ago I was informed that the VA medical care system was done with trying to find a way to fix the problem with my foot and leg and now they will provide me with a prosthesis and pain pills for the rest of my life, instead. When I stated that I would prefer that more tests be done (that I KNOW can be done) that might help pinpoint the problem and indicate a possible cure or at least relief I was told “The VA medical care system has done all it is required to do. Now go get the prosthesis and remember to renew your pain pills every month and stop coming in here with your demands.” This from the same system that has HUGE signs in all the VA clinics saying that you are your best medical advocate. Hahahahaha. Bull crap. You ain’t diddly to the majority of the VA medical care system and now that Obama has gleefully offered to cut VA funding even more to please his wealthy owners it will just get worse.
So, the doctor who determined that my injuries are most assuredly service-connected (but who originally tried to tell me it was just a pinched nerve until I asked to see a specialist to see what it would take to “unpinch” the nerve) sent me a letter along with a prescription for the prosthesis and a list of at least 100 places from Sacramento where the VA Medical Care Hospital is located north to the Oregon border that could make the damn thing for me. When I asked for a recommendation near my home I was told “go to any of them in Sacramento”. I asked if I would get mileage if I came back to Sacramento and was told that I would not since I was not going to a certified VA medical care facility. When I explained that Sacramento was a 3.5 hour drive one way from my home and that there were, on their own list, over 20 within 15 minutes of my home and which of THOSE would they recommend I was told to go nowhere but to Sacramento. After trying patiently to explain that three or four round trips to Sacramento would cost me nearly $200 in gas and 3 or 4 days of my life, the doctor got furious, said, “Only go to the Sacramento doctors on the list!” and hung up.
Well, since where I live is a beautiful area with mountains and lakes and boating and fishing and is just a beautiful area I was fairly certain that the level of medical expertise here would be pretty much on a par with anything found in a hell-hole like Sacramento. I called some people I know who deal every day with the disabled, read the names of the local places to them and nearly all said that they had dealt with one in particular and had been quite satisfied with the products and service and professionalism. Today I went there to get the process started and was pretty happy so far. I still don’t want to wear the damn thing but at least he promises that it will be adjusted until it is comfortable, made from material that resembles denim so that it will sort of blend in with my jeans that I wear and will, after I get used to wearing it, allow me to return to a walking routine that I love and that helps keep the weight off.
Now, How Do I Keep From Falling Back Into The PTSD Pit With This Miserable Thing?
To say the very least, watching my body fall apart at this age and in this way is depressing as hell. Knowing that there are things that could be done that this underfunded and too often uncaring VA medical care system just refuses to do makes it worse. I’ve finally climbed out of that dark, stinking PTSD pit again and I REALLY don’t want to get pushed back in by the stupidity of the system and the selfishness of the ignorant American people who have never seen anything that even resembles the hell they put their kids and other kids through as their sick, disgusting “patriotic duty” (meaning it’s what the wealthy expect and they’re too lazy and moronic to fight back against).
How can I find some way to ground myself for the remaining years of this life and, if there is something that comes next, how do I prepare for whatever comes next? I don’t believe in heaven and hell since those are just fairy tales told to keep stupid people from asking too many uncomfortable questions and to frighten the children into doing the insane things their parents and “religious leaders” tell them to do and to whom. I’m not sure about the whole reincarnation thing, either. I like the 20 celestial virgins idea but don’t want to blow myself up to get them and, well, maybe my heaven would be their hell. Since no one that I know has ever actually died and come back a few days later, except in long told tales handed down for thousands of years by Bronze Age goat herders, I have no first hand accounts that there even is anything after this. Maybe, as some suggest, when our neurons in our brains cease electrical activity, then that’s all she wrote, end of story, nothingness, nil, nada.
But I know that I still have those few years between now and when I either find out what comes next or don’t find out anything ever again. What will I do with those years?
When I returned from my time in Vietnam the one absolute and true thing I had learned was that all of the religions that man had invented had one thing in common; they were all garbage meant to separate the sheep from their money and to create good little soldiers to kill the heathen in the name of whatever prince of peace you were supposed to worship.
So I began my own little quest for some meaning. What I found was that nearly all religions were based on teachings that had long ago been ignored and forgotten in the sick quest for wealth and power for the very few at the expense of the very many. But the teachings that were ignored were nearly always powerful, peaceful and loving messages that had to be ignored if the few were to continue to rule. Since the vast majority of people are freaking idiots, it has been a very simple thing to convince the sheep to listen to the false profits, er, prophets and to only hear them preach the parts that keep the wealthy in power and the poor powerless. When Jesus said very clearly that a rich man’s chance of getting into heaven were the same as a fully laden camel’s chance of passing through the eye of a needle, the false profits simply ignored that and warped its meaning until the sheep now worship the wealthy as godly and detest the poor as ungodly. Not a bad little sleight of hand and the ignorant were watching wide-eyed the entire time. A nation of hicks, at best.
So what should I do? Well, I decided to pick and choose the best teachings from every and any teacher I could find and I found many. The ones I found that fills the empty spaces the best, though, are a little Jesus and a lot of Buddha. In fact, if I ignore all the gods and goddesses and elephants and stuff that Buddhists felt the need to sully Buddha’s message with, I think that the vast majority of what Buddha is reported as having said fills my need for a life map very nicely. So much so, in fact, that I’ve started a blog in which I talk about what I see in Buddha and his words and the ideals of Buddhism. I’ve also opened a couple of shops online that sells designs from the Buddhist beliefs and quotes from both Buddha as well as his many wise followers. I’ve also tried to create a few designs that offer the teachings of Jesus (mythical or not) that are the more powerful and positive he gave us.
For those interested, the overall shop, The Progressive Mind, which needs some updating to the political side but which is now finished on the Buddha side, is called Buddha’s Gifts, and the Progressive Christian side which is a work in progress. Drop by if you get a moment and drop me a line if you like it or hate it or just want to say Hi.