This VA is still broken

The former Chief of Medicine from the VA Central Western Massachusett who was dying decided to become a whistleblower. Of course, this leads to a lot of blowback from the VA.  A lot of denials. A LOT!

http://www.gazettenet.com/Former-Chief-of-Staff-at-Northampton-VA-files-complaint-on-deathbed-16854915

I am so thankful that this doctor dared to try and fix the VA.

My experience with the mental health at the VA in Springfield was inaccurate medical reports which were part of the reason my Social Security Disability Insurance (ssdi) claim was denied. My claims did not match up with the mental health reports.  Which I noticed they were wrong when it was too late.

Also, for whatever reason the kiosk to check in was broken. This kiosk was perfect for someone like me who doesn’t like talking to people. Last year when I had my other counselor, I never had a problem using it to check in. I rarely had to use the receptionist if ever. They did have a sign on it saying it didn’t work but I just ignored the sign. I had been using the kiosk since 2013 when they first came out. I know some people don’t sign incorrectly or to the correct clinic.

Also, I requested being scene every week which neither mental health provider could do. They didn’t have time in their schedule. That is crazy since so many patients need more availability.

I am super thankful that God does take care of me. I was able to get an increase last year in my mental health.  And my fibromyalgia was given a rating of 40 percent.

I called the VA Whitehouse complaint line two weeks ago.  I made two complaints – the kiosk not working in the mental health area in the Springfield clinic and they need more mental health providers.

I did receive a call from I guess the head doctor from the Springfield VA Mental Health. He told me the kiosk does work and I said no it doesn’t.  This was a pretty lengthy conversation. I told him last year it did work with my other counselor. He said well she must have known to come out and get me. I said no really that makes no sense. Anyways, I tried checking in with the kiosk and didn’t notice it told me at the end I was in the wrong area.He said some providers have you sign in with the receptionists.  I was like why?????????????????????? I don’t like talking to the receptionist this increase my anxiety standing in line and then having to talk to the rude receptionist. Also, I had to grab my walker, which is painful to get out of my car. The line was usually long to check in which makes sense – people are leaving their appointments and needing a new appointment, and people have to check in. Then he said sometimes the counselor makes it so you can’t use the kiosk.  This is crazy!!!! He did say he could put in a referral to their outside providers. I told him I could do that. I did mention the article above and how the VA was not paying their bills, and I was worried I would be stuck with a bill. He said that he thinks they have worked the kinks out of the referral system. If I wanted to use someone I knew, then I may have to pay, but if I use their VA providers, I should not have to pay.  I told him I would, but after thinking about it, I’m not going to.  I don’t want to be stuck with a bill that the VA does not pay.

Burn Pit Exposure

Burn pit exposure is like agent orange in Vietnam.  The VA denied anything until 20 years later.  And even when they did a “study” it was horrible.  I signed up with them and they said they would contact me when they are ready. Not kidding. When they did I had other problems going on. So I’ll just have to get back to them.  They definitely did not take care of vets who had been exposed.

When I first moved back to Massachusetts I went on a date with someone who was a vet. They were telling me how bad they’re allergies were ever since they got back from being deployed.  Also, they had breathing problems too. This was my aha! moment. I realized I was not crazy.

I did some research when I got home and this was the first time I realized I had been exposed to burn pits during my last deployment. I always felt bad I couldn’t deploy but my platelets were too low and I would have bled out. I even tried getting waivers which were denied.

I think my low platelets where do to the burn pit exposure. I had them for more than 10 years. The only way I got rid of them was by having a hysterectomy.

Also, I remember going to the clinic when I was deployed for a bronchial  issue.  Then in Guam I had a sinus infection. I have had them chronically since.

Here is a link to over 300 deployed locations.  https://www.vetshq.com/burn-pit-locations/

Here is a list of conditions. https://www.vetshq.com/burn-pit-diseases-conditions/

Maybe the VA will start taking veterans more seriously after this judges ruling.  Who knows.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2018/02/15/court-determines-military-burn-pits-caused-lung-disease-in-service-members.html

If you were exposed to burn pits below is the registry.  Please go and sign up. My hope is that the VA will give us the help we need.

https://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/burnpits/registry.asp

Veteran Disability Claim

I belong to a Facebook group named Veteran 2 Veteran. If you are a veteran I suggest joining the group.  Great advice!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/626936820727015/

I learned a lot from reading other people post. I decided to file my Fibromyalgia claim December 2016.  The most a veteran can get right now is 40%.  I had symptoms of Fibromyalgia before I retired from the Air Force. I was not diagnosed until after I left the service.  In 2013 I was diagnosed at the VA Hospital in Oklahoma City, OK. I went to get another opinion through a local doctor.

I moved from Oklahoma City to Agawam Massachusetts in 2015 and changed VA hospitals.  I finally applied for my Fibromyalgia claim in Nov 2016.  I submitted all of my doctors records that pertained to Fibromyalgia with the claim. VA hospital has a very easy way to pull records and save. So it makes it easier to send through VA ebenefits.

I had a C&P appointment beginning of December 2016.  Somehow I requested an increase in my Huntington Disease too. That was a mistake. I could never figure out why he was asking about the Huntington’s.  He didn’t really ask me much about the Fibromyalgia. I think do to my medical records.  I did mention I was exposed to burn pits. He did write that in the decision.

About two months later I was awarded 40 % disability rating for fibromyalgia.  When filing for a claim only submit one claim at a time. Answers will come faster doing it that way.

 

Overcoming the moment

How do I overcome the moment the thoughts come on to kill myself? You’re not worth it, nobody loves you. I look for hope.  Jesus never told us out life was going to be easy.  He did die for us and it was one of the cruelest death’s ever. But when those thoughts come on I’m not thinking rationally.

My counselor at the VA actually did a suicide checklist.  Basically, it makes you realize what’s important to you.  To me my dog is so important to me. Being single with no kids of my own, I realize that nobody is going to take care of Abe the way I take care of him. Find something that makes you realize living is worth.

I actually ask a couple of my friend’s for prayer.  I am so angry or depressed at the time so I am hoping their faith will get me through.  You don’t need to tell your friends exactly what is going on. Just tell them you need prayer.

One thing I do is take a walk. Get out of my house.  Now winter has made walking miserable for me so that doesn’t work right now. In the spring, summer and fall, I will take a walk with my dog Abe.

Go to a friend’s house.  This is another way to get out of your house. Again, this person doesn’t need to know what you are going through. This is just another attempt to stop the thoughts.

If all of these don’t work then I texted the VA 838255. It’s confidential so I don’t have to worry about my business being shared.  It gave me a moment of clarity. Next time I may try their online chat through this website.

https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/

If you are not a veteran then you can use this website. It looks like the have online chat too. I don’t always want to talk to someone.  So texting or chatting online works better for me. I feel embarrassed that I have these thoughts being anonymous helps me.

Text 741741

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

You can make your own check list. Find out what makes you able to stop the thoughts.  That will give you hope for a moment.

 

Why?????

I am a veteran who had 20 years in the Air Force. Through the VA I am 100 percent temporary disabled.  I was able to get my Fibromyalgia rated last year. Also, I asked for an increase in my depression which they did. It was not an easy process but I was thankful I was approved.  I want to guide other Veterans through the disability process.

Recently I was turned down for social security disability insurance (SSDI).  I fought them for two years.  Going before two different judges – bared my soul for them.  Just received my last denial last Friday.  It put me in a spiral out of control anger and depression.  Tried to put a bright face on for everyone but exhausting. Suicidal thoughts raging. Telling me to just give up.  Truly exhausting!  So ugly it’s hard to figure out how to get from one day to the next.

My friend told me to start a blog. I thought ‘OK, but what do I have to say?  I don’t know….have to really think about it.  Things that are important to me.  My relationship with Jesus, saving money and veterans.  This will be the start of my blog.

Yesterday one of my small town members committed suicide. This really make’s me think this is one topic I need to speak about.  Neighbors heard gunshots so they called the police. They had to bring in everyone – police, fire and numerous other teams. They spent over 6 hours trying to talk to this gentleman with no success. It ended with the man taking his life. So sad! This could have been me on Saturday. I struggle everyday with suicidal thoughts but I have been taught how to get through them.  I really wish someone had been able to get through to this 61 year old man.

You’re Not Worthless

For all of you who are struggling with suicide you are not worthless. Please reach out for help.

National Suicide Prevention Line 800 273 – 8255

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Vets can reach out to a Veterans Crisis Line with this website.  You can either call, text or chat with someone online.  They are manned 24 hours, 7 days a week and 365 days a year.

Text 838255

Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1

https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/