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Tbi Exam After 7 Years

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hi all!

my husband has been out for about 6 1/2 years now and until recently i have stayed pretty much on the sidelines of his treatment. after another suicide scare last month, i've gotten more "involved" in what's going on and have had two of his counselors ask why he hasn't been seen for a possible tbi. he tells me that when he got out, he did the testing for it but that they wanted to inject radioactive dye in his system and it freaked him out so he just never showed for the appointment.

my questions are, after almost 7 years should he bother with trying to get it diagnosed? what does it involve? i'd hate to mess with his benefits because it always sends him into a downward ptsd spiral if there's no point after waiting so long anyway. on the other hand, i wonder if it ties the hands of his counselors and doctors if he is never officially diagnosed.

thank you so much for any help!

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CJax, It is not too late to pursue a claim for TBI! If your husband received a concision or several (as in my case) during his time in service that resulted in a chronic brain injury, his symptoms will require treatment from the VA healthcare side and compensation from the benefit side. When they look into a claim for TBI, they consider what symptoms the vet has, such as: chronic headaches, sensitivity to light, memory loss, depression, impulsive and/or inappropriate behavior, confusion and decline of executive brain functions. It depends on which area of the brain was impacted, how hard and how often.

Military Records: You need to be able to prove that your husband sustained his TBI his time in service in order for the VA to assume responsibility for his care. We went back through my military records from 1980-1985 to search for ER reports and other write ups to help me and found 5 recorded incidents when I received a concussion or the possibility of one. This provided specific dates, times, a certain level of trauma and other information that later became important. Does he have scars from the incident that caused his brain injury? Take a photo, especially if there is any mention of suturing in his medical report.

Post Military Medical and other Records: Did he have accidents due to poor balance, impulsive behavior, or similar? Car or bike accidents? Is he treated for headaches, depression, or anxiety? Has he required counselling for mood or relationships? Is he able to work? If any of these happened after he was out of the service, find the paperwork that documents it because these may be linked to his TBI. In cases of falling, fighting or vehicle accidents, the new injuries add layers to the old and worsen his condition.

Tests: The VA had done tests for mood, cognitive ability and memory test, but I was being treated for each problem individually, not for TBI. I didn't even know I could claim what they were treating me for...or that it had a name. The health side of the VA doesn't report anything to the benefit side unless they are directed to, unless they find something that needs urgent attention. That finally happened with me after an evaluation from a VA neuro psychologist.

Go with your vet to his dr appointments (and I mean, ALL of them) and be his advocate. Ask the questions he may not. Explain symptoms that he may not bring up. Get to know his doctors, meds, and the VA health system. Ask for the various kinds of tests that can evaluate his mental acuity. The better you understand these things, the more you can ease his anxiety and the smoother the process will progress. *For example, I'm not sure what was going on with the "injection of radio active dye test". What exactly was it and what was it suppose to accomplish? An MRI may be able to show brain shrinkage, but no dye is injected. A CT scan is one where they use the dye. It may be able to show damage to the brain through imaging. however, a CT scan is not needed as evidence for your claim. You can discuss it more with the doc and help your vet decide if it is needed or not.

Find a good Veterans Service Officer (VSO)- You need someone who is knowledgeable about the system and paperwork, who cared about your vet and good at communicating with you and others who you may need to be directed to. After a couple of "standard" reps, we found an excellent one who always responds quickly and keeps things moving. They will know what questions to ask, which forms to fill out and where they need to be sent.

Be An Advocate: Although a good VSO is invaluable in certain ways, they are limited to what they can do. Your vet needs someone to be by his side through the process, because it is too confusing and frustrating for a person with TBI to organize all of the things needed. Be prepared to make appointments, make phone calls, fill out forms and type emails when necessary. Keep records and follow up on everything. My caregiver had a lot to learn about the VA system. But, she did learn...because she had to, for my sake! (She is writing this for me now because I can't use a computer well).

I encourage you to work on this, in the hope that the had been out of the military for over 20 years and had only started treatment with the VA about two years before I met my caregiver, who volunteered to help me sift through all of the chaos. At the time I only had a 10% rating for a spinal injury, had 3 visits to the PICU, was not working and nearly back on the street again, and about to be kicked out of the Voc Rehab program (because I didn't understand what I was supposed to do and couldn't do the classes they put me in). She started helping me with school first. Then went to a dr appt with me, then helped me find a good VSO....and then really got to work! After a lot of appointments, letters and phone calls, within about a year and a half, I was awarded 100% TBI + housebound total and permanent. My life is vastly improved! I understand how I am different and what my limitations are. I have been able to receive treatment I never had access to before, like going to the Martinez, CA TBI clinic for treatment. All of my medical needs are addressed promptly and I am in the best physical condition I have been in years! My life has stability and I feel safer and more secure. Doing this will not only help your husband, but it will help you too.

Go for it!

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Hi superman Cannedy. Today is April 23 2015. I receive treatment at the Va Martinez Ca. I need your help with TBI claim. Can you please help me? Thanks

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