The VA Syndrome

Posted on June 6, 2014. Filed under: Blogroll |

    In the past weeks and months, the stories of problems within the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System has made headlines. Congress waffled long enough until it became so bad in some areas of the United States, that veterans suffered and died as a result. In the past couple of days, Congress finally has decided to get off their combined asses to take action; however it is too little too late for those families whose veterans died.

You can peruse some of the US Senate Bills 2419, 2422, 2423, 2424 and look at what the US Senate is trying to fix, but as you look at the statuses of these bills all have already been sent to committee. Use this link and type in either the bill numbers or search under Veterans Affairs. As it is an election year for some they want to get onto the bandwagon and fix what is wrong; but will it really be fixed?

As a Navy Veteran, I am all too familiar with the delays in the VA Healthcare System and the problems getting specialized treatment. As I suffer from degraded disks in my lower back, I eventually had to be referred to an outside provider who would accept the payment for the treatment from the Veterans Affairs Medical System. People who have never served, I think do not understand when we volunteered to serve we in essence gave the government a blank check to what they would do to us in costs. Freedom has a price, it means for many families their loved ones never coming home again to those crippled from injuries and wounds received in their service to their country.

A big problem is the sheer number of veterans seeking treatment at various facilities, which are heavily overwhelmed in some areas while in others they have facilities that serve fewer veterans. As it has been discovered, one of the biggest problems is outlying clinics and testing centers such as X-Ray, MRI and CT Scanning equipment is that is in such short supply you are lucky to get an MRI appointment in the Atlanta VA Hospital 6-9 months out. With new funding the Atlanta area will get a new clinic in Cobb County, but one has to figure it will take a year to get into operation and even then a doctor there will still likely have to send their patient for any scanning procedure to the Atlanta VA Hospital in Decatur, Georgia to get their imaging done. If the VA is smart enough, and let’s hope they will be smart enough they will search and locate various centers around the Atlanta area that will be able to do the needed scans for a fee that is acceptable to the VA; since this would get more people in the clogged up pipeline out and into focused treatment that is needed.

I also had suffered from carpal tunnel, a situation aggravated by injuries to both my hands after an incident on Navy destroyer in which to prevent what would have been a rather bad event I cushioned a 75 pound High Explosive Round during a fall to a steel deck which occurred during a descent in a ladder well. The shell slammed into my hands which were the only things between it and the steel deck beneath my hands. Needless to say, there was considerable damage done and after that my hand writing was pretty crappy after that; unless I used a really big FAT ink pen and they were not around in those days when I served in the Navy. I finally had my FIRST carpal tunnel surgery on the day before Christmas in December of 2013, and pretty much most of January 2014 miserable not able to use my main hand. I also had what is called an OPEN carpal surgery and not a closed one. The open and closed surgeries are far different, and while the Charlotte, North Carolina VA Hospital can do closed, the Atlanta VA Hospital cannot because it does not have the equipment that Charlotte has. Of course in March of 2014 I had my left hand done and while I still have some phantom pain which is bearable, I at least have better use of both hands.

I reflect towards my back issues, which I had requested some disability from the VA, but it was denied. I did appeal that decision but the way my luck runs they will deny it again and throw it in the circular file; despite the fact I did have that ugly fall I still lived to tell about it but they claim there is no evidence but being in the Navy during the pre-electronic medical records age stuff did not get in or was never entered so as some would like to say, “Dude you’ve been screwed!” and that pretty much sums up the treatment of many veterans. While the do-nothing congress continues to waffle and worry about their election chances than really being concerned for the veterans who have served; it serves as a reminder for those who don’t like to vote because it’s a waste of time.

We veterans did not consider it a waste of time to serve our country, as we felt the need to serve and keep us free. Price of freedom is expensive, while such things like an unneeded M1A1 Abrahams tank that one of my congressional representatives here in Georgia seems to think we need despite the fact the US Army says they don’t need that piece of junk the $90 million will go to waste when it could go towards programs that DO work and not the shiny and no go crap that is target bait in an urban warfare environment. Sadly Congress which is full of members who have never served and fought battles on land, sea and in the air will be waffling more and more and be even more do-nothing.

Veterans gave you the people the right to vote, to carry arms though I have to admit carrying an assault rifle into a family diner is a bit much; we gave you the voice to speak your mind. Try spouting off to Dictator Putin in Russia and see where it will get you or to that dork in North Korea, Kim Jong-un who seems to love beating anyone who opposes him to a pulp and then off you go to the reeducation camp to suck on rocks that come in the rock soup flavor of the day. Veterans paid the prices, and while we remember the sacrifices this week that took place a Normandy and that would eventually bring freedom to France and the rest of Europe; we know that our current men and women who now serve will follow in our footsteps and do the same as well. It will be the Veterans Affairs giving them treatment long after they have served to take care of the long term wounds that have on the outside appear to have healed but within will still need care.

As I have the freedom to write I can still say this. “Congress get off your damn ASSES and work together and stop being so fracking STUPID!”

Everyone have a nice week.

Stephen E Sauls

Chamblee, Georgia USA


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