13 June 2014

The VA headache continues.....

After three weeks of trying to get a hold of someone who could actually help me (this included a trip to the brand new health facility in town), I was able to speak to someone at the call center in St. Louis....as in Missouri. Bear in mind that the letter came from the regional office in Winston-Salem, but I can't talk to anyone there, all calls for them get sent to St. Louis. Huh?

The woman with whom I spoke was quite affable and I apologized in advance for my less-than-affable tone, ahem. My primary query was how to fight the decision to cut my benefits after less than one year (and based on one visit with one doctor whom I had never before met and who did not review nor ask for any medical treatment records since I left the Corps - in contrast, for my upcoming DoD annual review, they asked for any and all treatment records since I have left, and I have three appointments.) The VA only requested a list of medications - 'cause obviously if I'm doped up on drugs, then I'm still screwed up, I must be fine if I choose to care for my children and deal with my life with a lucid mind - but I digress....

In preparation for my rebuttal to their claim, I have already been gathering medical records and prepping a statement. The VA letter also states I can have an "accredited representative" help me with my claim - basically, one of the many veterans' associations that exist - whether national, local or regional - which is great, and they give you an extensive list of those, but they do not tell you which ones are near you but do say that if you can't find them in "your phone book" - to call the same 1-800 number I have been calling for three weeks.....(for those of you in NC, the VFW, AMVets and the DAV are co-located at the Winston-Salem regional VA office, email me if you need those numbers).

So, I am writing a letter detailing out why the evidence they, the VA, have is insufficient, given the fact that I still have nightmares weekly, my panic attacks are regular and sometimes occur during the day, insomnia and I are good friends and that it takes every ounce of energy I have not to fall apart at the thought of entering a hospital. I have to submit the letter by July, but I should have it completed and ready by next week.

Simply because I have "extraordinary coping skills" and have "succeeded against horrific ordeals and odds" doesn't mean I'm all better, it means I'm a fighter trying to get better. I just haven't reached that finish line yet....




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