My ex-wife works for the VA…

Posted in PTSD, Veteran, Veterans, Veterans Administration with tags , , , , , , on March 8, 2010 by aonbharr

OK, not really but my new Primary Care Physician could be her little known Asian twin.

Let me set this up for ya.  For the last 5 or 6 months I’ve been dealing with left arm pain.  Sometimes it’s mild, sometimes it hurts so bad I can’t use it.  So anyway 2 months ago, I decide that I should have it checked out.  I call the VA and make an appointment.  Yeah, I said 2 months ago.  They told me that the soonest I could be seen was on March 8th.  OK, when you make me wait 2 months to see the doctor, don’t get on my ass about waiting to come in to have it checked.  Not cool! And, that’s EXACTLY what the doctor did to me this morning.

Anyway, I was informed that my Primary Doctor had changed.  Really?  Hmmm…  I never got the actually see the old one, just some fill in dummy they had seeing his patients.  Oh well, no problem.  My appointment was a t 10 AM.  We left the house this morning at 8:30.  Now, I don’t live in downtown LA so getting to Vista from here should only take 40 minutes, so I had plenty of time.  Well, the traffic didn’t cooperate and we got there at 9:52AM.  I know, I know I should have factored that in but COME ON!  It really shouldn’t take an hour and a half to go 38 miles.  So when we get to the VA clinic we were scolded and warned that the next time we come we need to be 20 minutes early.  I don’t make a habit of  being late to anything, call it a military mindset or what you want, but the last time I was 20 minutes early for my appointment I still wasn’t seen by the nurse to get my vital signs taken until well after my appointment time.  These idiots lack consistency.  So, when I finally got in with the Doctor, she was very rude about me being late and that now (which was 10:30) she could only give me 10 minutes because she had an appointment scheduled for 10:40.

I worked in the clinic and hospital when I was in the military.  I know that when a patient presents with left arm pain and you asks them where the pain is, if they say “left arm” thats NOT, repeat NOT the arm you take the BP from. I explained to her that this was the arm that hurt ahead of time.  Maybe it was the fact that she spoke very broken English, I don’t know, but when she got an erroneously high reading, she took it again… In the SAME FUCKING ARM!!!  She asked me “are you in pain?”  No lady, I come here to see what color the wallpaper is this month.  YES I’m in pain you nugget!  Of course, I was nicer than this in person, I mean she can’t help it that she’s a moron and can’t think of anything but 5 o’clock rolling around.

So, back to the waiting room I go.  After a few minutes the doctor came to the waiting room door and yelled out my name.  As we were walking to the exam room, she’s scolding us again for being late.  I say “us” because I can’t really go anywhere without my wife.  She is my anchor and hears the things I miss when my mind is occupied with trying to not freak out.  “Why are you here” the doctor asked to which I replied with what was ailing me.  She starts rattling off shit real fast.  What the fuck?  Were you an auctioneer before you completed your residency?  Bare in mind, this is my first meeting with this particular doctor so right about now I’m less than impressed.

The whole time I was in that room with her, she never let me finish a sentence and told me that I’m fat and I need to quit smoking.  Well no fucking shit, tell me something I don’t know like what plan of action you are going to take to manage this arm pain.  She said I needed x-rays and PT but didn’t go into any detail and got right back on the fat and smoking thing.  Jesus Christ!!!  I get it…  I’m a fat smoker.

Then, the mother of all “non-smoking” propaganda game to the surface.  She said it’s not only Second Hand Smoke that kills infants and gives toddlers asthma (it doesn’t! It can exacerbate an existing asthmatic condition but it DOES NOT cause asthma), she went on about…  Get this…  Third Hand Smoke.  Yeah.  Third Hand Smoke.  She said that if our pets lick the curtains and if we have small children that put their mouths on the carpet or drapes, it could kill them.  WHAT?!  You have got to be fucking kidding me!!!  If my pets are licking the curtains and if any child of mine put their mouth on the drapes, I’ve got bigger issues than just smoking.  You can’t see it but my eyes are rolling as I’m typing this.  My grandparents and parents all smoked with me in the house, how do those on the “Non Smoking” bandwagon explain the fact that I’m still alive?!  Well, that’s another topic for another day.

That was it.  The whole visit.  No medication, no diagnosis.  Just “You’re fat and you need to stop smoking!”

So what’s the moral of today’s doctor visit?   Here it comes…  Get good and skinny and stop smoking and your arm pain caused by a preexisting nerve injury will magically disappear.  Give me a fucking break.  I should have gone out into the back yard this morning and tried to reason with the olive trees rather than waste my time, exacerbate my anxiety and elevate my blood pressure by killing a morning having a doctor tell me I’m fat.  Thanks a lot lady, I could have had a high school girl look at me and give me that diagnosis!

Hell, I even tried to tell her I had no issues with my weight until I was given that cocktail of meds the VA gave me for my PTSD. (See my old post about the metabolic disorder) But she wasn’t having any of that.

And to think you assholes who want to lick Obama’s butt hole actually want government run health care?!  I hope you’re not fat smokers!  I hope the Obomites spend about 5 minutes talking to a veteran about government run health care!  And, I sure as hell don’t want to hear you all bitching after it happens that you’re not satisfied.  Piss off and be careful what you wish for if you don’t fully understand it!!!

I need a beer!

Home…

Posted in Home, Veteran, Veterans, Veterans Administration with tags , , on May 5, 2009 by aonbharr

Back in September we sat down at the table and discussed maybe buying a house. I’ve never bought a house before and the prospect was scary as hell. The credit I had after my divorce was lower than whale turds. So, when I called the guy at the mortgage company I figured he and I would share a good laugh and I would forget the whole thing.

I figured it would be easier to try to get pre-approved rather than face the heartache and loss of cash when getting turned down in Escrow. Ron, the fellow at the mortgage company, actually said he could help me and gave me about a 95% guarantee that he could get me financed at a decent interest rate. “We’ll see” I said jokingly and left him to his trade.

A few weeks later I get a call and he asked me to fill out a mountain of forms and send them back to him. Still thinking it was a pipe dream, I humored him and got writers cramp at the same time. So, with forms sent, I put it in the back of my mind and carried on with my daily business.

A few more weeks and more forms. This went on for months. Still, I had no hopes of ever owning my own home. Hell, I lost that dream when I was a young man and the markets were just freakin’ ridiculous. I mean, there was NO WAY I was gonna pay $400k for a dinky house in a shitty neighborhood. I will say the dream reemerged when the market fell out and I could once again maybe be able to own a home and still eat.

Lets move the clock forward from September to March. All this time I was filling out this and faxing that. Then, in March on a Tuesday I got a call from Ron that knocked me off my feet. “Go find yourself a house. I got you approved!” WTF?! Now this was real and I was unable to deal with the news. At first I thought it was an early April fools but once I asked Ron to repeat what he said, I was floored. It was unbelievable. I mean I always thought you had to have arrow straight credit since birth to be able to own a home but, with the amount of idiots out there that have them, that can’t be true.

On that Saturday, Chris and I hopped into the Jeep and went around looking at houses. A local real estate website said there were over 1400 foreclosed homes in my town. Holy shit! 1400? Well, I think maybe we should look for a foreclosure. Boy-o-boy was I in for a treat. Just like repossessed cars, the previous owners either trashed them or left them in ill-repair. Hell, there was one home we looked at that I’m pretty sure someone had died and decomposed in. I’m glad we looked at that one because that’s where we met Caren.

Caren is an agent that deals only in foreclosures. I got her card and told her we were pre-approved and looking. We talked for a bit and told her what we wanted then parted ways. By the time I got home, she had already contacted me by email with a list of homes, some of which were listed by other agencies.

We looked at one that Chris fell in love with but I was reserved about. The floor plan was choppy and it felt busy to me. I just couldn’t get comfy inside that place and it bothered me a great deal. I told Caren that we would have to think about it. I wanted Chris to be happy so I decided I could live with it. I gave Caren the go ahead to put an offer on it but was too late. The bank accepted an offer on it just two hours prior. Chris admitted later that she was “very angry” at me over that one. Boy, after that we looked at some doozies!

The next day we found ourselves in a “Haunted House”. This place was the cover of home and garden magazine 1968. No shit, this place was a time capsule. There were brown plastic windows with raised circular designs on swinging doors. A wall of newel posts separated the very dated Formica kitchen and the breakfast nook / dining room. All that was missing in the place was orange shag carpet, lava lamps and those chairs that look like hands. Oh, and there was a piano. Yup, the previous folks left behind a piano that didn’t fit the homes design. Nope, this piano would have been right at home at some Gold Rush, desert tavern. I hit a couple of keys and an eerie atmosphere filled the house. It was time to go!

There was one that had a gorgeous facade but looked like you were walking into an Easter basket once inside. We dubbed this one the “Skittles House”. I’m not kidding, you could almost “taste the rainbow” when you walked into that place. But, the floor plan was nice and we thought we could live with the colors until we painted. It had the coolest kitchen I had ever seen. It sat on the corner of the house and was filled with windows. We put that one down as a definite maybe.

The same day we looked at a house that had, for lack of a better term, one of those “Emo-Gothic” feels to it. Dark walls and the odor of old incense permeated the air covering the stench of long deceased rodent sacrifices. And, there was a heavy feeling in the place, plus the floor plan was such that the whole house was hidden behind the garage. Perfect if you wanna grow illegal plants I guess.

Down the road a bit further was the “handy mans dream home”. By “handy” I mean this guy was more handicapped and less handy. The two upstairs bedrooms had been joined by a very crudely done arched opening. The spackle job was really awesome in a 1960’s Star Trek, alien planet, subterranean set design. The homemade French doors leading to the back deck off the master were held together with nails and both sets of handles had locks on them. I still can’t figure that one out. Other than that the house was OK with a very dated kitchen and other interior aspects. But, it had a pool! I was warming up to this one. Hell, I have been accused of being handy and I am always looking for a project. While at this house we were greeted by an insurance adjuster there to take pics of the pool area where the pool pump had been stolen. OK, so maybe this wasn’t the best neighborhood. So on to the next.

The last house we looked at that day, I immediately dismissed because I thought there was no way we could afford it. A beautiful home with fresh carpet and tile work, three bedrooms and two baths. It had everything we wanted and no faults other than a few maintenance issues. Even though I dismissed it there was no way I was gonna lose anther house to being a day late.

We decided to put bids on both this last house and the Skittles house. The agent said that two bids getting accepted NEVER happens and that we would have to see which way it went. She said that if both offers were accepted, she’d faint. When we went home that day I was sure we would end up in the Skittles house.

The next morning the phone rang and it was Caren. She was calling from her kitchen floor. It seems that both offers were accepted. Now I had to choose between the perfect home and the Easter Bunny’s house. Well it was a no brainer!

We started the process and again, I signed a mountain of papers. I didn’t sign this much when I gave my ass to Uncle Sam. Now all we had to wait on was the VA to sign off. Oh shit… Here we go again. My life hangs in the balance while the VA gets off its affirmative action ass. We had to get two extensions in Escrow and at one point it looked like the seller was getting irritated enough to pull out. But, somehow we managed to get everything done. I’ve finished signing and have closed. Once the property is recorded and funds are transferred, we move in.

Thank God! Not a minute too soon. As you’ve read in some of my rants on this blog the upstairs neighbors have been just fucking ridiculous. And, as you may have guessed, continue to test me daily. All of this and riding the emotional roller coaster that comes with buying a home. It’s truly not for the faint at heart.

Here it is… Home sweet home.
Home

Madeline…

Posted in Dog, PTSD, Service Dog, Veteran, Veterans with tags , , , on May 2, 2009 by aonbharr

Ever since I lost my Border Collie back in 2004 I’ve been desperately wanting another.
So, with the advent of the new house and more room to be able to house a dog, my darlin’ gave me the go ahead to get another. Of course, as you read in my previous post, the going has been rocky but I was finally able to find a Border Collie locally and can hardly wait to welcome her into our family.

Meet Madeline or “Maddie” for short.

Maddie

She’ll be 10 weeks old when I pick her up on the 9th of May.
The plans are to train her as a PTSD service dog and have her certified as such.

Crazy People…

Posted in PTSD, Ramblings, Veteran with tags , , , on April 29, 2009 by aonbharr

Finally, we got the word that closing on the house will be next week.  Thank God!  I don’t think I could live in this apartment much longer without something bad, real bad happening.  I’ve known for a couple of days that the deal was sealed on the house.

My little darlin’ told me that once we get out of this apartment and into a house, I could have another dog.  See, I lost my Border Collie in a divorce.  My ex told me I couldn’t have my dog and the day the divorce was final, she gave her away.  Oh, I went to get her but when I did Sophie had already bonded with her new owners young daughter and I didn’t have the heart to take her away.

So, I start looking for a dog.  I searched the local Internet listings for a “rescue” dog.  Nope, I won’t buy from a breeder. Puppy mills need to all be shut down.  I found a Border Collie named Harley on this website:

http://www.retrieversandfriends.com/index.htm

Harley:

Harley

I had to fill out an application just to be able to inquire about the dog.  And since I assumed a reputable rescue shelters paperwork would take a while, I figured I’d go ahead and fill out the application and inquire about the dog.  I thought the timing would come out just about right and the newest member of our family could start a new life with us in a new house.

This application asked you to answer all kinds of questions about yourself and your pet history.  It was explained that they wanted to make sure YOU were a good fit for the dog.  What ever happened to going to the shelter and viewing the dogs and picking the one you want?  Well, this is the Planet California and they do things bass-ackwards here.  “Oh well”, I thought and carried on with filling out the application.  I submitted it and shortly I got this response:

Hi

Thank you for your info.
We have asked one of our volunteers to contact you to set up a good time for
a home visit.
You should hear from Nancy soon.

Liz

A little while later I got this message:

Hi

My name is Nancy and I am a volunteer with Retrievers and Friends. I understand that you are interested in adopting Harley. I would like to schedule a home visit with you on Wednesday, if that works for you. If you could give me a couple of times that you are available that would be great, I live here in Temecula also.

Nancy

I had hoped the process took longer than that and on Wednesday we are starting the move.  That date didn’t work for me.  So, I sat down and wrote this email and sent it to Nancy:

Oh Nancy, I’m sorry. Wednesday isn’t good. As a matter of fact, we aren’t totally moved into the new house yet. I thought this process would take longer. My fiancée told me I could get a dog when we moved into the new house. And immediately I thought “rescue dog”. I couldn’t bear the thought of trying to limit a dog to this apartment. We should be moved in inside of a week.

Sorry for the the inconvenience. Is there any chance we could set something up in about a week or so?

Thanks

Chris

OK, so far so good right?  Well the response I got was unexpected to say the least.  I’m pretty sure Miss Nancy didn’t intend for me to get this email.  Yeah, I’m pretty sure she screwed up when she addressed this and hit send.  It reads as follows:

Crazy people are out again!!!

His fiancee told him he could get a dog when he moved into the new house!!  I just printed off a picture of Romeo and told him “look what we are getting!!”   haha

What the hell?!  I don’t have to tell you that with all the stress from the VA, closing on the house and the crap generated from upstairs, I’m very easily irritated.  OK, scratch that, I want to kick someones ass so bad I can taste it and this bitch just plucked my last nerve.  But, rather than start a tirade the likes of which would make John McEnroe blush, I chose the common sense approach and penned her this response which I also CC’d to Liz the owner of Retrievers and Friends:

Nancy,

Well, I do have PTSD and am 100% disabled through the VA. But, I am offended that you would consider me crazy.
Perhaps your organization is NOT the best one I should go through to get an animal.  And, perhaps your business practices would be of interest to certain authorities that govern the welfare of rescued animals.

Thank you

Chris

Then I wrote a nice little letter asking what course of action should be taken, attached all of the emails and sent copies to Adopt-a-pet (the website I got her link from), North Shore Animal League of America (Adopt-a-pet’s sponsor), The California State Humane Department, and The Better Business Bureau of Riverside County.

My little darlin’ is livid and set out on her own campaign. She contacted Liz by phone but had to leave a voice mail and she also emailed her.  I’m pretty sure that there is gonna be a newspaper or two contacted as well.  God I love that woman! 😀

Be sure to click her link and pass it on to everyone.  Tell them this is THE LAST PLACE you’d ever want to deal with when trying to adopt a dog.  Hell, drop her a line while you’re at it.

PTSD and Apartment living, a dangerous combination.

Posted in PTSD, Veteran, Veterans with tags , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2009 by aonbharr

It’s been a year since my fiancee’ and I moved into this apartment.  Rather than it being a joyous, bond building experience it has been what seems like a 12 month jail sentence for the both of us.

In May of last year we came into this apartment pie-eyed and hopeful.  “Our very own place” we said in unison and then drew in the first few breaths of apartment air.  Soon enough this air grew stale and to heavy to breathe.

You see, I know how to handle going out to places.  I always find the chair in the corner of a restaurant and know where the exits are and keep an eye on them.  I plan my exodus from any store we go into way before we enter the door. I had no clue what awaited me in this new torture chamber.

The following is a list are the things I’ve learned over time and I hope others with PTSD will find helpful in planning a move into an apartment:

1. If you can AVOID apartment living, do so AT ANY COST!  Rent a house! Trust me!!!

2. NEVER rent a “downstairs” apartment! The noises from above are the catalyst for never ending torment.

3. Make sure you get an “upstairs”, “CORNER” apartment.  These tend to have more windows and will help to subside the “OMG I’m trapped” feeling.

4. Make sure the apartment is well away from the parking lot.  The noises of car alarms and loud exhaust suck!

It’s that simple.  Had I followed these few simple rules I wouldn’t have relapsed the way I did.

You see, I’ve posted about this before.  In December the idiots upstairs moved another family into a one bedroom apartment.  Yup, 6 people living in only a couple hundred square feet.  The thumps and bangs often gave me flashbacks.  Or so I’m told.  I never remember them.  Hell, I lose the whole day.  The noises often mimic the sounds of combat. It’s more than I can bear.

This went on for months.  These people had ZERO courtesy for anyone (this stands true for most people) and didn’t really care that anyone else lived around them.  They would be loud all through the night. They had 2 children that both were in desperate need of an ass whoopin’ bounding through the house at all hours.  One or more of them would get drunk and kick the drywall in fits of inebriated anger.  I would call security and complain and it got to the point where security told me to “quit calling”.  This all built into a crescendo and I snapped.  I went off and hung a cloud of obscenities over this complex that would make a Sergeant Major blush.  and in March, finally they were evicted.  But not for the noise, for not paying rent.

All was quiet for about 2 weeks.  Just long enough for maintenance to rebuild the apartment.  Then, more of humanities scum moved in.  This time, I thought “this won’t be so bad”.  A young couple.  Just two of them.  No problem, right?  WRONG!!!  These are the types that like to go at it all night and she likes to pretend that he’s killing her during sex.  Pa-fuckin-lease!  I’ve been heard to say out-loud during their sessions “Shut up!  He’s not hurting you!”.  And, my darlin’ lays there and mocks the young lady’s howling like a dog at a full moon.  “Oh well” I figured.  If that’s all we have to deal with, so be it.  Oh no!  On Easter Sunday they moved in the rest of their riff-raff family and we have the EXACT same set of circumstances as before.

I’m DONE!!! We bought a house!  I’m just (get this) waiting for the VA to finalize the paperwork.  Holy fucking shit!!!  If it takes them as long to do this as it did to process my claim, there are gonna be problems!

So, take my advice.  If you want to try to deal with your PTSD and want to see ANY results, DO NOT RENT AN APARTMENT!!!

Posted in PTSD, Veteran, Veterans, Veterans Administration with tags , , , , , , on January 15, 2009 by aonbharr

I read something interesting today…

Metabolic Syndrome a Risk for Veterans with PTSD VA Watchdog


Newswise — Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are more likely to have metabolic syndrome than veterans without PTSD, according to a study led by Pia Heppner, Ph.D., psychologist with the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs of San Diego, VA Center of Excellence for Stress
and Mental Health (CESAMH). The study will be published online January 8 by the journal BMC Medicine.

Metabolic syndrome is composed of a cluster of clinical signs including obesity, high blood pressure and insulin resistance and is also associated with cardiovascular disease.

The researchers studied a group of male and female veterans presenting for screening and treatment within the PTSD programs at the Cincinnati Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The sample was primarily male (92%) and Caucasian (76%), with an average age of 52 years. A majority of the sample had served in the U.S. Army (71%), and close to 70 % were Vietnam-era veterans. Clinical data indicate that over half (55%) of these veterans had moderate to severe levels of PTSD and 64% met criteria for major depressive disorder (MDD). About 40% of the veterans met criteria for metabolic syndrome.

Controlling for other factors such as age, gender, depression and substance abuse, the researchers found that those with a higher severity of PTSD were more likely to meet the diagnostic criteria for metabolic syndrome. Additionally, the rate of metabolic syndrome was higher among those with PTSD (34%) than in those with MDD (29%). For those with both PTSD and MDD, 46% met criteria for metabolic syndrome.

“Our research indicates that stress and post-stress responses are related to long-term health outcomes,” said Heppner. Studies show that veterans, prisoners of war and individuals exposed to severe trauma have higher rates of disease and increased use of health care, she continued. “Our findings suggest that metabolic syndrome provides a useful framework for assessing and describing the physical burden of PTSD and can be used prospectively to evaluate health risk that may be associated with combat exposure and PTSD.”

Any traumatic event or series of events can cause PTSD and nearly 7.7 million Americans suffer from PTSD in any given year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. A neuropsychiatric illness that was first formally diagnosed in soldiers and war veterans, it is now recognized to afflict many civilians as well. PTSD is caused by horrific, life-threatening and traumatic experiences that can occur during combat deployments. Symptoms include re-experiencing the trauma through flashbacks, intrusive thoughts and nightmares, avoidance of reminders of the trauma, excessive anxiety and trouble concentrating. Many people with PTSD also develop depression and substance abuse problems. Recent data from Afghanistan and Iraq suggest that more than one in ten military personnel involved in these conflicts develop PTSD.

The authors suggest that future research is needed to evaluate the specific mechanisms in which physiological responses to stress can increase long-term health risk.

Additional contributors to the paper include principal investigator Dewleen G. Baker, M.D., Niloofar Afari, Ph.D. and Richard L. Hauger, M.D.,VA San Diego Health Care System and UC San Diego Department of Psychiatry; Uzair A. Haji, M.D. and Sarah E. Nunnink, Ph.D.,VA San Diego Health Care System; Eric F. Crawford, Ph.D., Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center; Boris A. Dashevsky, Ph.D.,Cincinnati VA Medical Center; and Paul S. Horn, Ph.D., Cincinnati VA Medical Center and University of Cincinnati.

Funding for the research was provided by VACO Research funds, the National Institutes of Health and the VA Center of Excellence for Stress and Mental Health.

Oh sweet.  So, I’m not fat.  I just have “Metabolic Syndrome”.  Freakin’ awesome!  May as well ad that one to the growing list of syndromes I have.  What the article failed to mention was the use of “Psychiatric Medications” and their roll in this so called “Metabolic Syndrome”.  Back in November of 2007 I was prescribed a cocktail of Psych Meds to combat my PTSD.  The day I had the prescription filled I weighed 185 pounds.  These meds made me a zombie.  They didn’t fix my issues, except for the sleeping disorder I had.  They put me down.  Like an Elephant tranquilizer.  I’m not kidding, I slept for days on end.  The meds had other effects as well.

First, I started noticing that everything seemed backwards.  Left was right, up was down, I would go to walk down the stairs and take a step up.  Hell, I climbed into the passenger side of the car and sat there looking for the steering wheel. When I told my Doctor about this he looked at me like I had Lobsters coming out of my ears.  He didn’t believe me at all.  Hell, I would think that a shift such as this would spark some sort of study to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.  I guess 15 or so Vets have to die before the VA will study it.

Secondly, I started seeing things in my peripheral.  Flashes of shadows.  Echos of people if you will.  Sometimes just shadows but other times full on, real life, in color people walking passed me in my peripheral.

And lastly, I started piling on the weight.  In 2 months, I gained more than 40 pounds.  My metabolism went to hell in a handbag.  I was fatigued and irregular.  When I look at pictures of myself from that time, I look like I’m nothing more than a big bag of fluid.  And since then I have been unable to successfully loose all the weight.  Nothing I did before works.  I’ve tried dieting and exercise. It seems like I have to work twice as hard as I ever have in my life.

So, after only a few months of taking the Meds, I stopped.  I came off of them cold turkey.  As a Medic, I knew better, but with the shift in my orientaion, I felt it was necessary to stop before I killed someone or hurt myself.  Man, that was a shitty couple of weeks.  Headaches, Insomnia, Nausea, Chills, Shakes, you name it, I had it going on.

12 months out and I’m still feeling residual effects from these meds.  There are times where I still get disoriented and left is right and what not.  My wieght is still high and I can’t control it.  I wish I could have eaten enough to make me this fat.  At least I would have had the pleasure food brings to the psyche.

Most recently, I have noticed a return in the shadows and people in my periphery.  Things I know aren’t there.  Hell, I guess as long as I know they aren’t there I’m not crazy.

I think the VA needs to restudy this and note that the medications are whats causing “Metabolic Syndrome” in PTSD sufferers.

You know, at least I’m lucky.  There have been several Vets who died in their sleep of complications caused by the very same cocktail of meds I was on. And I’m sure the VA is still handing them out like M&M’s.  I guess it’s easier to hand out meds than it is to actually treat any issues.

UPDATE: WILL VA’S WALL OF SILENCE QUASH “SHREDDER” INVESTIGATION?

Posted in Veterans with tags , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2008 by aonbharr

I’m sure it will get played down to nothing…  If this crap would happen to anyone else it would be front page news.  But Veterans’ issues, all to often, just get swept under the rug and no one really cares.

by Larry Scott

VA Secretary Peake’s obligation to veterans is clear cut. But, will he “do the right thing” as he promised?

Yesterday we reported on documents found in shredder bins at the Detroit Regional Office (VARO) of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA).  The documents included claims for disability benefits and other paperwork critical to the claim process.  Story here…
http://www.vawatchdog.org/08/nf08/nfoct08/nf101308-1.htm

While this may seem shocking to some, it isn’t so shocking given the history of that office.  Veterans, Service Officers and attorneys will tell horror stories of “lost” documents or paperwork “not received.”

The VA’s Office of Inspector General (VAOIG) made this discovery.  We await their report.

We also await some sort of official statement from the VA on this matter.  As reported, a highly-placed official at the VA’s Central Office (VACO) merely said, “I can’t talk about that.”

This attitude is indicative of the VA’s “wall of silence” when it comes to bad news.

Since this story broke over a holiday weekend, we haven’t heard from VA Secretary James Peake.  But, when we do, it will be something like this:  “This is an ongoing investigation and VA will take appropriate measures pending the outcome.” Basically, more silence.

We see this over and over.  When confronted with veterans at the Marion, Illinois VA demanding action concerning the deaths of nine of their brothers, Peake said, “We don’t do public floggings.” More about the Marion situation here…
http://www.yourvabenefits.org/sessearch.php?q=marion&op=and

Peake’s condescending attitude toward those in his charge, the veterans of America, displays more arrogance than exhibited by most third-world dictators.

We also see this in testimony before Congress when the VA is called on the carpet about problems in the system.  It’s kind of like those retailers who get caught for bait-and-switch advertising, settle with the government, then say, “We didn’t do anything wrong, and we won’t do it again.” VA promises to solve the problems then goes on its merry way to offend again.  We see their lips moving, hear sounds, but know the sounds are meaningless… another form of silence because the real issues are not remedied.

Peake, in testimony before the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs prior to his confirmation, said he would “do the right thing” for veterans.

Well, Mr. Secretary, it’s time to do just that.

A number of VA Watchdog dot Org readers have sent me portions of the U.S. Code that show the problems Detroit VARO employees may be facing.

TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 101 > § 2071

§ 2071. Concealment, removal, or mutilation generally

(a) Whoever willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, or destroys, or attempts to do so, or, with intent to do so takes and carries away any record, proceeding, map, book, paper, document, or other thing, filed or deposited with any clerk or officer of any court of the United States, or in any public office, or with any judicial or public officer of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

(b) Whoever, having the custody of any such record, proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States. As used in this subsection, the term “office” does not include the office held by any person as a retired officer of the Armed Forces of the United States.

And, then there’s this section of the Code that outlines Secretary Peake’s obligations.

TITLE 44 > CHAPTER 31 > § 3106

§ 3106. Unlawful removal, destruction of records

The head of each Federal agency shall notify the Archivist of any actual, impending, or threatened unlawful removal, defacing, alteration, or destruction of records in the custody of the agency of which he is the head that shall come to his attention, and with the assistance of the Archivist shall initiate action through the Attorney General for the recovery of records he knows or has reason to believe have been unlawfully removed from his agency, or from another Federal agency whose records have been transferred to his legal custody. In any case in which the head of the agency does not initiate an action for such recovery or other redress within a reasonable period of time after being notified of any such unlawful action, the Archivist shall request the Attorney General to initiate such an action, and shall notify the Congress when such a request has been made.

Will this be done?

Or will there be more silence from Secretary Peake and other VA officials as they try to sweep this under the rug… or call it an “isolated” incident… or try to convince us that no documents went missing or were destroyed… or…

Care to take a guess?