04 September 2014

Hacking my way through

In some ways I wish I wasn't adamant about putting up the good fight, sometimes I wish I could just let it slide and accept defeat, even against principle. But I can't, and today was a reminder to me that the injuries I received while serving, while different in nature and circumstance, are no less severe in their consequence and aftermath than those of some of my fellow Marines who were injured in combat. I make no direct correlation to the types of injuries, only the effects and affects, if you will. 

Apparently, if you can get off your ass, you are good to go. 
When I went through the disability evaluation process with the DoD the first time, one of the line officers determining my case actually said to me, "Well, my wife had four c-sections and she never had a problem," indicative of the mindset of many of those who've read my case files and have filed my injuries away under 'pregnancy complications' rather than 'surgical error resulting in massive internal bleeding and full pulmonary failure'. I also have heard, "Well, you look great, so I don't get how you could be badly injured," which feels just like a slap in the face, as though my working extremely hard to recover and maintain some level of fitness and gain strength must mean that somehow, I am not massively limited.  I was also directly told today that my being a woman who was not injured in combat may result in prejudicial decisions against me by those reviewing my case. Awesome. And last, when I was on medication, it resulted in quite unfortunate side effects, including memory loss, so I have weaned myself away from it so I have all my faculties, good and bad; this has become a sticking point wherein governmental administrative officials determined I must be greatly improved if I am not medicated. I won't go there with my perspective on this. 

So, here I am again, in offices and cubicles, laying out my case to lawyers and veterans' service organizations, with the documentation to back it up, that states that their conclusions are once again wrong. I will be asking my doctors again for additional statements to corroborate their original letters and assessments and then, most likely, I will be making trips to Winston-Salem and Washington, D.C. to stand in front of administrators and staff officers and plead my case that I should be measured against me, my previous abilities across the board and where I am now, not as a number, not as a non-combat injury statistic and certainly not as a woman, but as an officer of Marines who is no longer able to serve. I hope it is enough. 

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