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Where To Begin?


PailRider

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So much information here....found this site a couple days ago and have pretty much worn out the search function looking for guidance. I have downloaded several forms but just do not know where to begin.

Served from 85-91, Gulf War vet. Had ACL reconstruction of left knee in april of 90. I never went to PT or was the knee re-habbed post op. Basically discharged after surgery, went back a month later to remove staples, and then was sent to SWA in August. Discharged from service in November 91. Went to the VA on a hunch in 92 and was awarded 10% disability in the left knee. Complained about pain in the right knee, but was not granted compensation for it.

My knees are now junk. I walk like I am a 90 year old man. Over the years I am pretty sure I have re-torn the ACL in my left knee. In addition I believe I have torn at least the ACL, and maybe the MCL in my right knee. Both knees are very unstable, limited range of motion, and are arthritic. I believe an MRI would confirm the issues. I blow out a knee once every two months or so and limp around for a couple weeks until the swelling goes down. As you can probably gather, I have not seen my PCP in 15 years or so. None of my post service knee injuries are documented. I had such a bad experience with my surgeries in the service, I have been reluctant to go through surgeries again. My knees are to the point now where I need to do something. Surgery (probably at leat 1 TKR) is probably the option I need to go with. Some days the pain is so brutal and the swelling is so great I can barely walk with the help of crutches.

Where do I start? I would like to have my knees re-evaluated for a higher %. Do I go see a civilian doctor to gather some medical evidence? Do I need to do a DBQ? Do I go to the VA hospital here in NH (from what i understand, they have limited capabilities and send us to VT or MA) and request a C&P exam? I have other issues that 'may' be service connected...but again, never documented. Have I missed the boat on those?

Thanks in advance for any help or guidance that is offered.

Ken

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Get documentation about your current knee problems

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You stated "none of my post service injuries are documented." The problem I see is you do not have any medical records showing continuity of treatment after your discharge and you were discharged 23 years ago. I think you will have a real up hill battle but I might be wrong.

The only possibility I see (and it would be unlikely) is an increase in your service connected left knee injury if you could find a doctor who could connect the current problems you are having with your left knee to your left knee injury in the military. This is just my opinion. Hopefully others may be able to offer you some suggestions.

Good luck to you

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You might consider having a VSO like VFW, DAV, a county officer etc assist in your claim if you're feeling overwhelmed by The Process.

You can continue to research and be involved in developing evidence etc.

Good luck! :smile:

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So much information here....found this site a couple days ago and have pretty much worn out the search function looking for guidance. I have downloaded several forms but just do not know where to begin.

Served from 85-91, Gulf War vet. Had ACL reconstruction of left knee in april of 90. I never went to PT or was the knee re-habbed post op. Basically discharged after surgery, went back a month later to remove staples, and then was sent to SWA in August. Discharged from service in November 91. Went to the VA on a hunch in 92 and was awarded 10% disability in the left knee. Complained about pain in the right knee, but was not granted compensation for it.

My knees are now junk. I walk like I am a 90 year old man. Over the years I am pretty sure I have re-torn the ACL in my left knee. In addition I believe I have torn at least the ACL, and maybe the MCL in my right knee. Both knees are very unstable, limited range of motion, and are arthritic. I believe an MRI would confirm the issues. I blow out a knee once every two months or so and limp around for a couple weeks until the swelling goes down. As you can probably gather, I have not seen my PCP in 15 years or so. None of my post service knee injuries are documented. I had such a bad experience with my surgeries in the service, I have been reluctant to go through surgeries again. My knees are to the point now where I need to do something. Surgery (probably at leat 1 TKR) is probably the option I need to go with. Some days the pain is so brutal and the swelling is so great I can barely walk with the help of crutches.

Where do I start? I would like to have my knees re-evaluated for a higher %. Do I go see a civilian doctor to gather some medical evidence? Do I need to do a DBQ? Do I go to the VA hospital here in NH (from what i understand, they have limited capabilities and send us to VT or MA) and request a C&P exam? I have other issues that 'may' be service connected...but again, never documented. Have I missed the boat on those?

Thanks in advance for any help or guidance that is offered.

Ken

the good thing is you are sc at 10% that's one foot in the door. I would start treatment either at VA or a private

doctor if you have insurance but start treatment ,get as much medical records you can gather and if you cant locate

any than you just start treatment to began your paper trail again. Anything wear & tear over time. Once you get your

doctor to began treatment you later ask for an increase if you feel it deserve it A 'TKR' for a service connected knee

is temp 100% rating for a little while. Anyway I would start treatment before filling a claim or for an increase '' start a

paper trail first''. Also get a copy of your c-file you may have forgotten something in there. jmho

Edited by RUREADY (see edit history)
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Brother:

Everyone is giving good advice....it's about the evidence and you need as much as you can get, even if it's going to the doc now to start something. Because you don't have many records, you may want to think about getting an IMO - Independent Medical Opinion or IME Independent Medical Examination from a doctor to lay out what your current conditon is by an expert. Also, at some point you'll need to get "buddy statements" from people that have seen you suffer and what that means to you life and ability to function. Another thing is to be patient and continue to get "good" advice. Unfortunately, there's a lot of bad advice out there as well and you need to be careful. I found that most people are well meaning but if they don't have the true facts they should be careful with their opinions. I filed my first claim 3 months under the FDC Program and am yet to get anything in the mail? I was advised to use a VSO or Veterans Service Office to help and it was a mistake. The VSO had no clue of the rules, processes, strategies, etc for filing a disability claim...for me it was a was a time. I'm sure that you good one out thee but it's best to do your own work. Frankly, I've learned just about everything I've needed to know form hadit.com except for patience and that's got to come from me. One bit of advice I would give is to leaned all of the questions on the C&P for knees and when you go for your exam...have someone go with you as a witness to the exam. A nurse did my Back exam and for the range of motion measurements...she took me way past the point of pain and recorded it. Later, when I challenged her (the nurse), she said not to worry because the disability rating reps look at your whole file ANYWAY and will probably recorgnise the measuremens were a mistake and catch it? All I expected was professional acurracy and that's when I realised that you're not going to get the same level of treatment as say in a DOD facility - so bring someone to witness the C&Ps. I suspect they will be more diligent with a witness in the room. Anyway..I wish you good luck and hope you get what you deserve!

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Thanks RB22....that is some good stuff. Like you, I have learned a lot of stuff from hadit as well. I know it is going to be an uphill struggle, but I am ready to get it going.

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