Hello everyone hope you are doing much better then I am. I was in the army from june 6 2002 to june 27th 2008, did one deployment to iraq and one to afghanistan. Throughout my 6 year career i managed to get a few bumps and bruises that later caused me to have to get out on medical instead of deploy to iraq once again. When i got out of the army they put me on TDRL, wich was interesting cause they told me i would not have to go in for a checkup till 18months. 8 months later i got a call to go in for a checkup, went in told the doctors that since i was no longer active like i was in the army my back was feeling a little better. I was diagnosed as having Spinal Stenosis in my l3 and l4 lumbar spine. They didnt do any tests and discharged me from TDRL with a 10% disability for the back. Thus i was sent on my way 1 day before payday without any pay. It took the army 4 months to get me the severence check, wich noone had told me i would have to pay back to the VA when i filed for compensation. I lost my car and was evicted from my home since i could not pay those bills anymore on just SSDI pay alone. I was originally getting paid on the TDRL. Had to move in with my mother in law and dont get me started on that. 4 months later we bought a motor home and spent 1 year living in that. I decided one day to go file for compensation through the VA, filed my claim put down my address and never heard back from the VA. They had my contact info and my phone number but never called me. The person that filled out my claim with me in Las Cruces New Mexico wrote down my mailing info when i told him the address and filled out the claim form. When i checked the info it was the right address, but after waiting a year for the VA to get back to me on the claim i found that somehow when he inputted the claim it was an address that didnt exist. Instead of the VA calling me to tell me what they needed for the claim they just left it at address not exist. I had to get ahold of the VA system to give them the real address. Would have been nice if the people that get paid to help us Vets out would actually be self starters and not have to have thier hands held through the process and actually call the veteran to give them status updates. My wife found ebenifits and this is how i found out that there was a problem. I moved to Albuquerque New Mexico shortly after finding that i had like 50 new appointments to go to for my claim. When i put the issues in the claim of what was going on with me I listed off everything the army had discharged me with, when i got the finished claim back a lot of the issues were wrong. Like for example, Right ankle instability with ligamentous tears, they put ankle sprain. My back condition wasnt discovered till it was too late to actualy go in for a corrective surgery but somehow the VA thinks its only a 10% disability. So i have asked for more compensation for that. I know how long the claims process can go now that i went through the first one. So i am waiting for them to send me to my doctor and get everything checked out.
While i was sitting on the operating table on 11june2014 i was talking to one of the doctors about pain medication. I am usually around a 7 or 8 in pain scale daily and he was asking me what medications i have ever been on. I told him motrin basically and one time i had perc's after a failed reconstruction surgery on my ankle while in the army. He asked why i wasnt on the good stuff and i mentioned that i have had 2 different primary care doctors at the New Mexico VA hospital. The first doctor i had was a PA and everytime i went in to see him he had to ask me the same ?'s "what are your issues" and "who are you again". I decided that after seeing him and he said i will see you in 6 months and didnt refill my pain prescriptions and didnt even seem like he cared that i was going to get a new doctor. My new doctor isnt even a VA Doc, he does 2 days per month of work for them and has his other practice for civies. When i talked to him about my issues and what pain meds i have used in the past he told me to buy tylonal instead of actually getting me something and then gave me a tens unit. He said he would write a pres for my GERD and also get me some other medications for other issues but only gave me a new pres for my inhaler and sertraline for my migraines. So i think that i am going to ask for another doctor again, preferrably one that actually gets up every morning and goes to the VA hospital and works there instead of being outsourced.
I found out about the 100% temporary convelescence that the VA gives when someone goes in for a surgery and tried to put in a claim for that on ebenifits, I put in the claim but there was a form to print out to give to my doctor but i didnt have a printer to print it. Now when i do a keyword search on ebenifits it sends me in circles. I mean come on if they are gonna be there to help us i would think they would make it a little less obvious that they are just milking us for more money right? I asked my surgeon if they knew about the compensation and they asked me what that was, i asked the benefits people at the hospital and they sent me on a wild goose chase. If its a benefit for the vets and its more pay from a surgery shouldnt the surgeons and primary care doctors know about it? I think that not only with this bs with the va screwing up they need to actually teach their doctors what they should be doing for thier patients.
By the way the administration side of the VA and the Hospitals dont talk with each other, i found this out when i went to change my address through the hospital. I changed it there and was still being told that the administration side said my address didnt exist. So when changing your address make sure you do it through both systems. Trying to get ahold of the regional office here in Albuquerque is a joke, unless you actually go to the building you have to call a 1800 number that when you go through the proper automated messages say that their lines are busy and that you should go to www.va.gov to get information. I'm sorry but im the type of person that would rather talk to a human being then to have to find things on my own. Also there are many people out there that dont have internet access and referring everyone to their website is a little off the point of helping. I have searched everywhere for a local number i can call to get ahold of the regional office here since i am the only driver in my famaly and currently have no ability to drive, and i guess a building that is built for veterans regional adminastrations doesnt have a local number. I am getting really fed up with all the mumbo jumbo bs that they make us go through to actually be recognized for our service.
But thats the negative aspects on the other hand i enjoy playing games online and talking with friends through either skype or teamspeak and also enjoy my time with my wife and lil chihuahua. I wrote a science fiction novel and posted it on amazon.com and that sold a few copies but nothing really to write home about. I dont have much in my life but at least i get by sort of with what i have. Would be a lot nicer to actually get paid right, but thats another story.