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Confused And Upset... Ptsd Storm On The Horizon

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hedgey

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I mentioned here before (I think) that I've been having trouble with IBS symptoms for some time. Finally got to see a new PCP (a real doctor!!) about it two weeks ago. (only 5 months after asking for help with the problem, but that's a whole 'nother rant). She said she wanted an endoscopy & a colonoscopy done. I told her that going 150+ miles round trip to the VERY busy VAMC was not something I could handle; it was hard enough to come into the small-town local clinic.

She understood and said she would request a local doc do the tests.

Yesterday I got a letter from the VAMC telling me to call for a new appointment at the Gastroenterology clinic... at the VAMC. I called my little VA clinic and asked what's this mean? The NP I talked to checked with my PCP doc & my notes. Yep, Doc requested I be seen locally. The NP called the VAMC for me to ask what the deal was.... She called me back to tell me that the VAMC told her that since they can provide the service, I have to go there.

I'm so freaked out about this, I can't even begin to express it. The last time I went to the VAMC, I had a major panic attack, and the provider I was seeing had to ask the on-call psychiatrist to come in to talk to me. Thank God my husband was with me, or I'm afraid they would have admitted me.

Now I'm supposed to go down there an let them do extremely invasive tests??? The thought of going to someone locally doesn't thrill me, but at least I know I'll be able to get back to my bunker quickly.....I don't know what to do.

I'm so angry. And scared. And sick to my stomach. "We understand PTSD!" "We care about our PTSD Vets!!"

Let us be kind, one to another, for we are each of us together in our pain.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

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WOW!!! Yesterday I had the same experience ... I requested the new PCP a couple of months ago. My previous PCP is a Nurse, and the incoming PCP is a female M.D. My new PCP (MD) told me I need a Colon Exam, and that I need to drive to the VAMC for that. I told her that no way in hell ... I told her I would consider the invasive procedure if the technitions were female. We'll see where that goes! I can not believe how many blankty blank questions she asked me during our first "meeting"; almost as if she read NONE of my medical records! You do know that it is a supposed "regulation" that a female veteran may request a female escort during all medical exams. Each and every VAMC is supposed to have a "woman's veteran coordinator" assigned to deal with these issues. I am going to call and make some contacts and connections. The VAMC can provide outside overnight hotel accomodations in some instances, as well as travel pay -of course. I hate going to the VA, they take my blood every time and harass me about my low sodium, high glucose, cholesterol levels, etc etc. --tell me to take my pills; and the one thing I do ask for: a female therapist is totally ignored. My new MD said "we have a good psychiatrist, Dr Wooo, what do you have against men anyway (she asks me" DUH, I want to get violent sometimes. Hang in there. Call the woman's coordinator, go up that chain of command. Hang in there!! ~Wings

USAF 1980-1986, 70% SC PTSD, 100% TDIU (P&T)

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Wings, thank you sssssoooooo much for your reply... it's priceless to know I'm not the only one with this problem facing the buzzing crowds at the VAMC, the nameless people in scrubs who expect you to be just dandy when they grab your arm for a blood pressure check, etc.

I had the same thing with the new PCP... I swear, she had not even glanced at my chart or records. When she burst into the room I jerked so hard I dropped my cane and nearly tipped the chair. She looked like she thought I was nuts... By the time she had talked to me a few minutes and had read the computer a little, her demeanor became much more gentle and I calmed down some. So I'm really lucky to have a PCP who's not only female but a full MD.

I still haven't called the VAMC. I dread talking to them, and I resent being put in a position of having to ask for "special consideration". I know it isn't just vets like me who have panic & anxiety about trusting strangers, and difficulty traveling into large cities - there must be thousands. And dear Lord, that doesn't begin to touch on the fear about VA hospitals and their records on hygiene and stupidity.

This is exactly why I never discussed my IBS with anyone before. I knew there would have to be tests, and I just knew it would be an ordeal.

Thanks again, Wings. I'm gonna call them now.

Let us be kind, one to another, for we are each of us together in our pain.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Wings, thank you sssssoooooo much for your reply... it's priceless to know I'm not the only one with this problem facing the buzzing crowds at the VAMC, the nameless people in scrubs who expect you to be just dandy when they grab your arm for a blood pressure check, etc.

I had the same thing with the new PCP... I swear, she had not even glanced at my chart or records. When she burst into the room I jerked so hard I dropped my cane and nearly tipped the chair. She looked like she thought I was nuts... By the time she had talked to me a few minutes and had read the computer a little, her demeanor became much more gentle and I calmed down some. So I'm really lucky to have a PCP who's not only female but a full MD.

I still haven't called the VAMC. I dread talking to them, and I resent being put in a position of having to ask for "special consideration". I know it isn't just vets like me who have panic & anxiety about trusting strangers, and difficulty traveling into large cities - there must be thousands. And dear Lord, that doesn't begin to touch on the fear about VA hospitals and their records on hygiene and stupidity.

This is exactly why I never discussed my IBS with anyone before. I knew there would have to be tests, and I just knew it would be an ordeal.

Thanks again, Wings. I'm gonna call them now.

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From my limited understanding of the disease, IBS is not a happy dance: it's a serious, worsening medical condition you need to deal with. Sounds like you are taking the first steps and that's GOOD. You are talking to your PCP about it, and she (being an MD) tells you to take some tests. Good. Good. But unless I feel SAFE, like somebody definatley has my BACK (or backside), any/all invasive medical procedures (especially with sexual overtures) is going to trigger a flashback. Guaranteed. So, in my case I am willing to get that mmandatory colon exam --- if the technition is a female, and if there is a (conscious) woman present in that examination room. I would prefer and armed escort, but I don't think the VA is that progressive, just yet. Good talking to you Sis. ~Wings

USAF 1980-1986, 70% SC PTSD, 100% TDIU (P&T)

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Mrs Pete has IBS and the good thing is that she does get relief but it is hell when she has attacks. Our experience is that the Docs really don't know all that much and they want to give all kinds of tests which once should be enough to rule out some of the weird things that have the same symptoms. If you google IBS you will see that diet can help. No dairy or low dairy and gluten free are something to look at.

As far as the VA saying no you can appeal but you need to do it now. You only have a 30 day window. Ask for an Administrative Appeal and your Doctor to help put the bureaucrats on notice. They will probably ok it but if they say no you can appeal but it is a straight to BVA Appeal and also 30 days only.

At least your PCP is on your side that is good.

If you can't get your PCP ask for a staff shrink.

Veterans deserve real choice for their health care.

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Wings & Pete, thanks for the support & advice. I'm sorry to hear Mrs. Pete has this, pass on my sympathy please! I've tried everything to get this under control.. diet adjustments don't seem to make any difference for me. The PCP ordered a new medication for me to try, she says they've had good luck with it for treating IBS.

My psychiatrist (VA) says that it's a common ailment in PTSD patients, and that the stress probably aggravates it.... Ummm, yep, that's a definite affirmative!

I told my therapist about my problem, about the VAMC being stupid, and he got on the phone to the VAMC's MST Coordinator. She said she would look into it and get back to us this week. I'm hoping she'll be able to knock some heads together...

Thanks again, buddies. I can't say how good it is to feel like I have some, even if they are all on the other side of the ether.. :)

Let us be kind, one to another, for we are each of us together in our pain.

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Update, sorta...

Saw my therapist Friday. He told me he had a flag/note on my record to remind me that the VAMC gastroenterology department is still waiting for my call to schedule an appointment.

Apparently the MST coordinator is getting nowhere. My therapist (good man that he is) is royally PO'd that some of his PTSD vets are being put through heck about traveling to the city for tests that could be easily be done locally. I guess I'm not the only one in this boat around here.

I think I'm going to have to find a way to get the tests done on my own. It's just a matter of stinking principle, you know?

Sometimes I think the best thing I could do for myself is quit all VA treatment and just show up for the annual required checkups.

Let us be kind, one to another, for we are each of us together in our pain.

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