12 FREAKING years ago…

This is ***STILL*** our life! 12 freaking years! Countless reams of paper, phone call after phone call, time spent on hold, appointments for repetitive testing and questions, visits with representatives, congressmen, advocates… again and again to always be told BE PATIENT.

The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. The medical waste as well as the paper waste is atrocious. The lack of care our veterans are getting is pathetic. Hubs has had the same test performed 7 or maybe 8 times now with no relief for the condition – the same condition his claim was filed for and dismissed by a rotating visiting doctor who didn’t give a crap and put him/us into this perpetual appeal process.

Since then at least 4 doctors have ***ALL*** said this should have been originally approved in 2007 because there was a clear cut degeneration of the condition while he was forced to remain on STOP LOSS and not get the treatment he was scheduled to receive prior to the deployment, but yet it remains in the perpetual revolving door of appeals and unfortunately the appeal remains based on this ASS of a doctor who NEVER performed the appropriate tests, exams or even touched hubby and even now that other VA doctors have, he is having to seek out relief from private doctors and his claim is YET to be settled.

The important message for me is that while ALL politicians (democrats and republicans alike) are debating, having hearings, writing bills and “deciding” about the VA and ALL its issues, this cartoon depicts what is truly going on, the veterans are losing each and every day in the quality of care they are receiving assuming they receive an appointment to begin with, not to mention the actual compensation for their losses.

In our own experience all over the country, not just in one place, the “flow chart” approach to care coupled with the apathetic attitudes of many employees and doctors with egos who order repeat tests because they want to or do not know how to access the last one done, let alone the first one done ALL culminates into major waste of time and resources for both the VA and the veteran.

It’s time for ALL politicians to get down to the real issues and make it right instead of drawing it out ANY longer. EVERY drawn out hearing, bill, investigation and stalling tactic just makes it worse.


RED TAPE BADGEI apologize to the clerk at the VA that I just went off on, but folks let’s get the BIG picture here. OUR veterans should NOT have to be repeatedly subjected to the WHIMS of each new doctor that has no regard for the pain of the patient or the costs to him and his family emotionally and financially while he is repeatedly put on the back burner and subjected to the same tests and assessments again and again without actually receiving the necessary treatments.


I’m screaming, can’t you hear me?  This vicious circle of red tape and apathetic government employees needs to end!!!!!!! You may laugh at my picture above, but all kidding aside our pile of paperwork is HUGE!!!!  The following story is just one example of a standard life within the VA system.
Did you know that the VA governmental computers are not linked?  There are a precious few who have the password” to see past records, but they are so far and few between that you, the soldier or military spouse are best armed by maintaining your own notes.  Be sure to include dates, names, length of time on hold, how many times you are disconnected or transferred and who said what.  If you move, all the records from the MTF (military treatment facility) or VA Medical Center do not really follow you, so be sure to stop by and always get your release of records so you can read and see what is right and wrong.  If there is wrong information stop by and see the patient advocate to make the correction.
We recently moved to a new city.  We immediately went to the VA Medical Center to get registered. (You have to register AGAIN at all facilities since they are not linked and each facility has their own procedures – in Texas it was mandatory to go through a half day orientation class, which was actually informative and would have been beneficial had it been taken when he first retired, but that facility didn’t do an orientation.  Much of what we learned that day was already out of date.)  
Anyway, during that process we were told by the Registration Clerk that an evaluative appointment would be made with my husband’s primary care doctor and he would have an appointment in the next 3-4 weeks.  We waited patiently for the appointment time to be mailed to us.  After 4 weeks, it wasn’t here.  After 5 weeks, it still wasn’t here.  After 6 weeks I was livid.  I called the VA and a week later, 6 hours of hold time, 4 times being cut off/hung up on, 12 transfers, 12 different answers and I finally spoke with the scheduling clerk for my husband’s doctor.
Cory (or attitude boy as I call him – the poster boy for apathetic I don’t really give a crap) proceeded to tell me that there are only 2 doctors at this facility and that my husband was 200 on the waiting list to see a doctor and that he would eventually get an appointment.  After some heated discussion I was able to get him fit in for an appointment 2 months from now.  Think about it, if they had made the appointment as promised, when promised, he’d be seeing the doctor next week instead of in May.
I then went to state our complaint to the patient advocate who took our name and number and promised to get back to me later that afternoon (last Thursday).   He never called.  We stopped by his office today and he didn’t remember ever speaking with me.  While he was cordial and sympathized with our concerns on the breakdown in the system, he said there really wasn’t anything he could do.  He did tell us that the reason there were only 2 doctors was that the doctors who came to this area rarely stayed past 6 months because the “wives” didn’t like the ruralness of the area, lack of shopping facilities and the lack of “decent” restaurants.  Really, I can’t make this stuff up as well as the real stuff.  He then referred us to a different office for a reevaluation of a problem hubby is having.  When we got there we found that they were closed and only opened when there was a scheduled appointment. Really?  how do you get a scheduled appointment?  No one knew – there was literally NO ONE in sight of this window!
From there we went to the pharmacy.  A line of 20 people with just as many already sitting and waiting.  Many had been in line “forever”, their words, not mine, so we opted to wait for the prescriptions to be mailed.  Keep in mind that they were supposedly mailed on the 8th, but have yet to arrive 10 miles away.
During my cancer ordeal hubby was at my side continually, but so much so that he let his own care slide.  Now that I’m getting better, I plan to make it my mission to get him the care he needs and the red tape cut and cleaned up for the VA claim issues.

I’ve heard many times that the VA is just waiting for the Vietnam veterans to die so they don’t have deal with them. While I hope this statement isn’t really true, I have to say that the amount of red tape paperwork generated by the VA to do the simplest of tasks is overwhelming and ridiculous and I can see why many veterans would give up hope of ever solving their claims.  We tried to contact a service officer also, but they work out of a different office.  The 2 veterans manning the front desk at the medical center had differing advice – one said you must call first for an appointment while the other said it was walk in only.  They gave me a slip of paper with a phone number and hours of M-T 1:30-4PM typed on it.  I called the phone number and they said if you MUST leave a message make it short and DO NOT leave repeat messages, they will get back to your eventually otherwise show up at noon, take a number and wait.  They will begin taking you in order at 1:30PMREALLY????  I want a job where I can work 2 1/2 hours a day, 4 days a week and treat those I serve as cattle!


Many of you know that we came here to help family in an elder care situation.  We are still embroiled in major red tape with the VA also.  We hit the ground running when we arrived here and there has been very little relaxation time since considering, but we managed to steal a few hours last weekend to check out Brazos Bend State Park.  I wasn’t feeling too well, but we managed to get a few hours of exploration in before I had to give up for the day.  I did pretty well considering when I was finally dragged to the doctor on Friday I was told I had bronchitis, pharyngitis, strep throat and the beginnings of pneumonia.  Hey, I’m a tough old bird!  Kinda like this turkey that I literally almost walked right into at the nature center.  I was then pleasantly surprised to see that the turkey was shot by a turkey I know – LOL my uncle donated him to the park after a turkey shoot several years ago.

We took a short walk around a small lake and were rewarded with these sunbathing turtles.

There were tons of what I call Harry Potter trees throughout the park.  You know the kind of trees whose branches look like spidery arms that could scoop up a human being at the drop of a hat?
The creme de la creme though is the alligators!  They are such magnificent creatures. At least as long as you leave them alone!  We spent several hours searching for them to have them all be in the same place – sunbathing in a low lake.
How they can cover themselves in all that slime is beyond me, but it really camouflages them well.  My pictures are pretty clear, but it took some searching to distinguish them from rocks and other growth.

On the way out the park we were rewarded with this unlikely trio – all at peace with one another.

As for this guy, we were positive someone painted this guy up for the impending Halloween holiday, but when we blew up the picture, we don’t really think so.  It appears to be natural occurring.

I do intend to go back one weekend soon and see if his “birthmark” is still there or if it has washed away.