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Possible Med Board


USCG CWO4
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I will try and make this as short and understandable as possible. First off I am new to this forum and am still on active duty. I need some advice on a recent diagnosis. Quick background is I have 26 years of service and am due for my final promotion next year, it will be the last step in my promotion ladder. I am looking at one more duty rotation next year. I was hoping to do my three and retire with just over 29 years.

This past year I was diagnosed with OSA and prescribed a CPAP machine, no problem. I also underwent additional tests and was placed on medication (Provigil) for Hypersomyence (sp). The good news is that it has made a drastic change in my life, I feel like I have one again. No more being tired all of the time and no more keeping my wife up at night so she can nudge me everytime I stop breathing. The bad news is that my PHS Doc informed me today that Provigil is a class IV narcotic and as such cannot be prescribed to me for more then 6 months. Now all of my studies were done with civilian Doctors and my prescription comes from them. My PHS Doc informed me that if I stay on the medication longer then 6 months he has to recommend me for a med board and discharge. YIKES! Not the way I was hoping to end my career!

What I am looking for is some advice from anyone who was in a similar position or has faced a med board. At this point in my career is there any advantage to taking the med board vice staying in for my last couple of years? I do have the option of not taking the medication, but that puts me back where I was earlier this year and at that point the Doc was not going to let me drive anymore. I have no problem doing my job. The Med board process will also foul up my transfer. I just found out today so forgive me if this is confusing.

Any asstance would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks

Bob

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Sleep Apnea warrants a 50 percent evaluation when using a CPAP machine.

With concurrent recipt, Your retirement and VA compensation (Tax Free) you would likely be better off to retire and get a claim going for the OSA. If they separate you then they will give you severance Pay but it offsets the VA comp and you have to wait longer.

If the difference in retired pay fron 26 vs 29 years is not that great then I would avoid the MEB and take the money and run. OSA is just the start of your problems. Down the road there are other things associated with OSA.

Thank you for your service. You enlisted around the same time I did.

J

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You also have to take into consideration, the fact that once you start sleeping with the mask on, your problems may just about disappear and thus the need for the medications, may also go away!!

The reason is: you're finally getting the sleep your body and mind needs, without deprivation of ogygen, which is what really causes you to be "tired all the time" for the majority of the folks.

What I'd do is, not take the tablets at all, for the first few months, just get the RX and hold onto it, for later in case the mask isn't enough, to get you almost fully back onto your feet.

If you don't see, feel and notice a DRASTIC improvement in your activity and life in general, then you can still start taking the meds and using the mask together.

I'd say within 30-45days, give or take, you should be able to see, if the mask alone is the ticket, if not, then you still have the tablets and the additional days added to your point of having to either come off them. You can also take the additional time and NOT get a "new prescription prescribed" and take and go back later and request a new prescription, then that 6mos time frame should have to start newly all over again.

As to the tablets, my humble opinion is this, DO NOT USE THEM; unless you just have to!!!!

I'm almost willing to bet you, you'll notice the difference your mask has made in your life.

Medicine always has some type of harmful side effect. So, if you don't need it.....leave it on the shelf.

Next, if you end up having to go to the board, don't stress it bro. over 20+yrs of service and then end up getting medically retired!!

No shame there and if it were me, I'd go for the most time possible, then make them retire me

medically, especially if I couldn't do the time I wanted and needed.

See, if you get the medical discharge at say 30% for your sleep apnea from DOD's, that money is taxable. Then you can come at VA, once discharged and get rated and all your disability pay is TAX FREE!

Like I said, I wouldn't just take 20% and separtation pay!! Cause if you do, you'll repay the separation pay and not get compensation from VA, til the separation money is recouped.

Worse case, you just smack in your retirement package and step down if all other fails.

Hope this helps.

Whoop

I will try and make this as short and understandable as possible. First off I am new to this forum and am still on active duty. I need some advice on a recent diagnosis. Quick background is I have 26 years of service and am due for my final promotion next year, it will be the last step in my promotion ladder. I am looking at one more duty rotation next year. I was hoping to do my three and retire with just over 29 years.

This past year I was diagnosed with OSA and prescribed a CPAP machine, no problem. I also underwent additional tests and was placed on medication (Provigil) for Hypersomyence (sp). The good news is that it has made a drastic change in my life, I feel like I have one again. No more being tired all of the time and no more keeping my wife up at night so she can nudge me everytime I stop breathing. The bad news is that my PHS Doc informed me today that Provigil is a class IV narcotic and as such cannot be prescribed to me for more then 6 months. Now all of my studies were done with civilian Doctors and my prescription comes from them. My PHS Doc informed me that if I stay on the medication longer then 6 months he has to recommend me for a med board and discharge. YIKES! Not the way I was hoping to end my career!

What I am looking for is some advice from anyone who was in a similar position or has faced a med board. At this point in my career is there any advantage to taking the med board vice staying in for my last couple of years? I do have the option of not taking the medication, but that puts me back where I was earlier this year and at that point the Doc was not going to let me drive anymore. I have no problem doing my job. The Med board process will also foul up my transfer. I just found out today so forgive me if this is confusing.

Any asstance would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks

Bob

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Here is the rating criteria for OSA.

6847 Sleep Apnea Syndromes (Obstructive, Central, Mixed):

Chronic respiratory failure with carbon dioxide retention or cor pulmonale, or; requires tracheostomy 100

Requires use of breathing assistance device such as continuous airway pressure (CPAP) machine 50 Persistent day-time hypersomnolence 30

Asymptomatic but with documented sleep disorder breathing 0

J

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So what if you use a CPAP and take medication for hypersomnolence, do you get rated for both or do they just give you the higher of the two?

I also have decided to let a sleeping dog lie, as I have such a short time left and so much to gain in that time.

"See, if you get the medical discharge at say 30% for your sleep apnea from DOD's, that money is taxable. Then you can come at VA, once discharged and get rated and all your disability pay is TAX FREE!"

Not sure if I understand that statement. How does the 30% medical discharge affect my retirement? Would they make 30% of my retirement tax free? I have 25 years in at this time and always have the option of retireing.

Thx

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