It’s A Throat Punching Kind Of Day

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This statement above cannot over-emphasize the extent of my discomfort with the VA.

Last week was a bad week. When the Warrior struggles, the Caregiver struggles. There is not much that can help that situation but time but it can wear you the hell down, that’s for sure. While my TO DO list contains a number of items, the reality of my situation is that I am lucky to get a couple of things done well and stuff just gets pushed back until that’s the thing I do that later day. For the last two hours I have been on eBenefits trying to upload three letters to ask for reopening and increase on three separate issues that my Warrior has been consistently trying to get taken care of.

Here is the thing: its hard not to get angry. Aside from the fact that you are “acknowledged but not compensated” on almost EVERY SINGLE ITEM, the length of time they take to get back to you in regards to those items is just RIDICULOUS. We had already waited a year for a decision and on two items we received “acknowledgement” of them but that they couldn’t find information supporting them in the records.

The records that were under a year old.

From the doctor that then had to write a letter explaining to them in detail where it was in the records.

A letter it took me two hours to finally get uploaded and I am not entirely sure it’s in the right place.

Let me take a moment to explain that I am not an idiot. Seriously. I am not computer illiterate. My struggle with the eBenefits site is that it is not really user friendly and how you actually accomplish something constantly changes. I am not sure what prompts those changes but when I log on to help with something and the location of it or process for it has been altered, it’s a little frustrating.  Then, rarely does anything go through the first time.  It may take five or six passes for any submission to go through completely.  Then the one thing they do consistently is send you an auto email stating you submitted a claim and you have 365 days to provide information for it before they will close it.  Every time you hit the submit button, even when it doesn’t go through.  EVERY TIME.  Now imagine you are a Warrior without a Caregiver or a Warrior/Caregiver pair with limited computer skills?

It’s not fair.

I think that sometimes we can all sound like tin foil hat wearing, conspiracy theorists but its really hard to not feel completely insane when it seems like THEY ARE MAKING IT HARDER FOR YOU ON PURPOSE TO GET WHAT YOU ARE ENTITLED TO. I can only assume that is so they don’t have to make payment for service related issues? What other possible reason could there be to make it so hard that you want to throw the computer across the room and just give up all together?

Or throat punch someone.

Why don’t I just go in to see someone? It’s just not that easy. Truthfully, as janky as the site can be, its far superior to me actually being able to throat punch someone.

Mostly because I don’t want to go to jail. I wouldn’t do well in jail.  Also, I am resoundingly against violence as an answer for anything.

Any bets on how long it takes them to make a decision on those items uploaded today? I am going to guess about six months because I like to think optimistically.

Today anyway.

Deadline for Veterans’ Choice Card and Call Center Looming

Important reminder if you are 40 miles out from a VA clinic/hospital!

Asknod Veterans Claims Help

clockThe Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014, (signed into law Aug 7, 2014 as Pub.L. 113-146.) may not meet important tasks in time. (see govtrak for bill details).

The VA has no later than 90 days to issue the Veterans’ Choice Card to eligible vets.  So that means on or about Nov. 6 veterans living over 40 miles from a medical center (and fewer miles for some conditions) should have their cards.  Or if they are waiting for certain services for over 30-days.

However, Solicitation VA79114N0090, which appeared on FedBizOpps.gov, shows that the VA is late in seeking a third party administrator (TPA).  For details, plug the # in solicitation/keyword box and search). In Sept. the VA held an information event for potential vendors in Colorado about:  Non-VA Third Party Administrator to support the implementation of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014. (I emailed…

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Resources Update

I added two new resources to that page today under the Database category.  One is for the Elizabeth Dole Foundation.  They have a good database search if you have specific parameters that you can input.  Some times I don’t really know what I need or find things I wasn’t looking for at first so I highly recommend checking out Operation We Are Here as well.  While you will land on the recreation page, you can see along the side all the different categories of pages.  Also, in the boxes at the top and bottom of each page there are even MORE links.  I have already spent hours on this page finding new things.  Even if they don’t apply to me, I can always find someone who was looking for something.

What are your favorite resources?  Please let me know below, if its not on my list, I will add it!

 

Suicide Rate in America

In reading this, it is astonishing to me that this article doesn’t even mention Veterans who die at a rate of 22 a day from suicide.

Some research suggests suicides increase during hard economic times, but this trend has persisted before, during, and after the recession of 2007-2009. Some experts have said the sale and abuse of prescription painkillers in the last decade have been a contributing factor.

Whatever the reason, “it’s kind of surprising,” said Solveig Cunningham, an Emory University researcher who has studied death rates during eras of financial hardship.

The overall statistics suggest our society is getting better at medically managing conditions like diabetes and heart disease, she said. But maybe “we’re not able to manage mental health as well, resulting in devastating results” the increasing suicide rate, she said.

The CDC report compiles information from all U.S. death certificates from 2012. Researchers use the death rates to project how long people will live.

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/americans-living-longer-but-suicide-rate-hits-highest-mark-in-25-years-1.2044567#ixzz3FYfvXwAj

The Trouble With Trouble, oh yeah, and Syria too

This is a repost from my personal blog, qoftu.com, that inspired the creation of this one.  There is just too much to discuss and too many conversations to have to not have a separate home for that at this point.

 

I get a little crazy over politics sometimes. In all honesty, I think I have earned it with the extent to which I have worked in it over the years, but still, I understand not every home has people that yell at the television news.

In my defense, I warned them.

 I don’t work in politics as much as I used to but I have raised amazingly civic-minded children that go and do their own amazing things. I am very proud of that and feel like it’s my duty to teach them why they should care and why they should get involved. Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes it’s very hard.

This week was one of those weeks.

 It’s not a question of what we should do as a nation in the Ukraine, Syria, etc. Its all the vocal minority of ill informed people is becoming so loud that I can no longer bear the noise.

Sovereignty is the boss of things

 Sovereignty: the authority of a state to govern itself or another state.”national sovereignty”

synonyms: autonomyindependenceself-governmentself-rulehome ruleself-determinationfreedom “the colony demanded full sovereignty”

a self-governing state.plural noun: sovereignties

 Does anyone understand what it means any longer to be a sovereign nation? Maybe that isn’t high on the priority list in school any more but I feel like I have to mention that. How sad is that? POTUS cannot just direct folks to roll up into Ukraine or Syria because they are sovereign nations. If they ask for and accept assistance within parameters, that’s different but did, we not learn ANY THING in Iraq? By the Bush Administration misrepresenting the facts to the UN?

Just think about Ferguson

 In our own country we have people doing horrible things. Civil rights violations continue and one could argue human rights violation when examining all that happened just in Ferguson this summer. So say Russia or China takes issue with that and decides, lets just roll in there and solve that problem. What would be wrong with that? Some of our largest cities are battling gangs that cause pain, suffering, death and perpetuate crime that cannot be stifled. What would you say to a city that decides they are going to pick this place for random strikes and send in drones to kill all of them? What about the good, innocent people that live there? Why is it not okay in this country but just fine in others?

If just one more person screams BOMB THEM I will loose my mind

 The beheading of journalist in Syria is tragic. No one can argue those points. The follow up statement that we should roll up into Syria because they beheaded two Americans makes no sense at all. With all due respect to your opinions and ideas…

You do not know what the fuck you are asking

 A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to ‘The United States of America  ‘ for an amount of ‘up to and including my life.’ – Unknown

As a caregiver to a combat disabled OEF Veteran, you do not understand what you are asking the men and women of our Armed Forces to do. It doesn’t matter how much you respect members of the military, past and present. The reality is that serving in the military is no longer viewed as a duty and an honor by the majority of population. In fact, less than 1% of our society serves anymore. LESS THAN 1%. That number is just as dismal when you consider the percentage of Congressional members that have served. So when I say you don’t understand what you are asking, I am speaking to the majority of Americans. You cannot fully understand when you haven’t done it yourself. You just can’t.

It is a constant battle

A good day is one where there are no blow-ups, nothing is forgotten, no one cries, no one freaks out, no bad dreams creep in and everyone is smiling the next morning. These days are too few and very far between. Most days living with TBI and PTSD are constantly trying to balance how much you intervene, how often you interrupt or when you take over. You will be yelled at or met with resistance. You will feel angry but most days stuff that down, either on your own or with your favorite vice (mine is usually donuts.) There is often crying and deep sadness. There is a lot of busy work to keep you from thinking such things. This and life has to go on. The kids go to school, the Vet has to get to appointments, animals need to be cared for and did I get the laundry done. BONUS: You forgot the wet laundry and now it’s molded in your washing machine, ruining everything. If you have never taken care of a TBI patient, it can be likened to abuse from time to time because there is no impulse control, there is no moderating the volume where its only on LOUD when they are ANGRY. Then there are those perfect days where everything is right with the world, everyone is happy, and new good memories can be formed.

 But then there is reality

There is no one thanking me for my service and there are a ton of caregivers that just can’t take it. They leave. I get that. I can’t judge them. I judge the VA system that is woefully inadequate, the advances they will not fund nor explore because it’s too expensive. My Vet needs a name brand medicine recommended by two doctors and they will not authorize it. Why? It costs too much for the VA. There are millions of Veterans in the system that go through the same hassles.

So don’t call me a traitor

It doesn’t mean I am un-American because I am not a Republican. It doesn’t mean I am a traitor because I think they are wrong on every point. I am tired of Republicans perpetuating the myth that soldiers are Republicans and Republicans take care of them. That is all bullshit. You would be ashamed if you knew how many service members told me they had to lie and pretend to be Republicans when they went to the board for promotion. The number that was looked down on when they had to apply for food stamps to feed their families is staggering. Yes, and just don’t get me started on how little soldiers are paid. It doesn’t make me a bad person because I don’t think full-scale military intervention is the answer for everything.

I serve my country every day

When I get through the day and everyone is taken care of and I can breathe, I understand the importance of what I am doing. My Veteran has important skills and mentoring still left to impart upon anyone that needs it. He has stories and memories that were not affected that should be told. Let us serve as a reminder of the reason that we can’t just go do what we have done in the past. This country already cannot afford it. This country doesn’t understand what it is doing to military families.

That’s the trouble with trouble

There are times when we must act. It is part of the joint human experience. Advances in technology and weaponry that allow us to be more focused in our show of force. But that’s the trouble with trouble, when you choose a side, you also choose your enemy. It is a never-ending cycle in our lives. Unless you support compulsory military service and a draft, stop saying our military needs to roll up in some country or drop bombs and nuke them back to the Stone Age.

When you use the words “we need to kill them all” I don’t think you understand the word “we.”

That word doesn’t mean what you think it means.

From your couch or in front of a computer.

What are you giving up to fight the good fight?

Are you even registered to VOTE?

What?

I can’t hear you…

No tooth, No problem

My Warrior returned home from class this morning with a missing filling. Just fell right out. While this happens to everyone I am sure, one problem with this one is that it left very little tooth. One side was down to the gum and what’s left over the root is quite thin.

 

But that’s not the biggest problem.

 

When he dialed up the trusty dental clinic, explaining that he cannot eat without pain he is told:

 

“Chew on the other side.”

 

And my personal favorite:

 

“You are lucky, there is a cancelation on October 14th or you would have to wait until December.”

 

No immediately getting him seen so he can eat. No concern about the wait. No offer to refer to a civilian dentist. What average disabled Warrior has the available cash for an emergency dental appointment? That’s right, they don’t.

 

But it’s okay.

 

We appreciate your service.