15 May 2014

Retired....with a catch, pt.1

I am retired - I have a DD214 that says so. However, I am not "permanently" retired, just "temporarily" - because the Dept of Defense, in their wisdom, places certain service members on temporary retirement, just in case they happen to get better. The rationale in my case stems from the mental trauma condition and rating, they want to see if I get "better".  It's called TDRL - Temporary Disabled Retirement List - and you can linger on that list for up to five years while they "track" your progress.

What do I have to do? First, is simply maintain my therapy treatments, which I have been. Second, attend an annual medical "check-up" - wherein I bring any new medical documents, treatments, etc....and they decide if my mobility, pain, nightmares, etc...have improved. The doughnut hole to their theory when it comes to me; however, is this: I have to go back to the same facility where I was injured in order to be evaluated. Hmmm....so send me back to the place where all my trauma occurred and then measure me to see if I've improved. I've even asked to be seen at a remote facility, multiple times, to no avail - because "that's not what the doctors do."

During my rehab and limited duty evaluations, it was pretty much the same and I would sit in my car in the parking lot rehearsing the route I would take to get to the appointment, how to avoid passing anything to do with the Ob/Gyn clinic or the triage area, and my nearest exit. I have quelled panic attacks and had anxiety attacks while inside the Lejeune Naval Hospital as I tried to attend exams and check-ups. I finally refused to be evaluated by anyone but my flight doc and my civilian docs and communicated with the general surgeon via phone and email because it just got to be too much.

I have my first annual appointment coming up in June. I began mental preparation when my advance orders notice arrived in late March. I may ask someone to come with me. It seems asinine, how could a building affect me so greatly? But it does and I lose my bearing and struggle to breathe and not flee in escape mode. I talk myself through the doors and corridors, into the elevator and try not to completely break down. Part of being a Marine is about maintaining one's composure and wits when all around you is chaos; in this case, the chaos roars about my head and is compressed by the pressure of the building sealing all around me.

I haven't yet found a method to keep that chaos contained......

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