Filling In The Missing Pieces


Y’all might have noticed that I’ve posted a couple of very task specific entries to the blog the last couple of days and might be asking why now, why the push of information about filing a VA claim and the bewildering plethora of related data. Good and fair questions. If you weren’t wondering then that is okay as well, because I’m going to try to explain it all right now. In previous posts I wanted to express to any and all veterans the importance of arming oneself with the proper information. This is very fresh in my own skull since I just re-re-opened my own claim so I can provide additional relative information to strengthen the facts in my own file in hopes that I can get an increase in my own personal rating from the VA.

My process actually started in March of 2014, not with the claim, but with my claim in mind. I fulfilled a large portion of the leg work to eventually get the ball rolling. How so? Up until then I wasn’t in the medical portion of the VA, only in the claims side. But, when I was laid off I soon found myself in dire straights. Forget everything else, I was finding out fast that I was headed for a dilemma which if not contained may have had some major health complications involved. Why? I’m an insulin dependent diabetic. If you aren’t aware of the nature of that beast just look it up. So, my number one priority was to contain that fire before it spread. Since I was already in the system and a VA card holder, enrolling for medical benefits was simple enough, time consuming, yet fairly easy, even for a simpleton such as myself. Good grief I blew through some trees filling out that paperwork, it was insane, it was as if they couldn’t share the same sheet of paper in my file around the office, everyone needs a completely originally signed document in order to proceed. That is nothing compared to the mountain of papers (records and reports) I face at this exact moment. I have mentioned what a pain in the ass the VA makes the process, haven’t I?

As well, at the time of my lay off I was in line to do an exploratory and maintenance surgery on my knee to clear away debris, old hardware, and torn ligaments. Being told beforehand they couldn’t repair anything since it would only complicate things down the road. I had an my surgery date, I had time arranged to be off from work, and then I’m laid off. Talk about coming to a screeching halt, Yea, dead in my tracks, cancel all plans until further notice. Being laid off screwed up allot, allot more than I will mention here. Then, and only then did I considered enrollment into the VA medical program, something my wife says I should have done back in 2000, but I was stubborn, I had private insurance, I saw no need in being in VA medical. For the most part I was right, everyone hears the horror stories about veterans trying to get care, getting the wrong care, how slow the process is, and the same mistakes made over and over. Who wants to be a part of that kind of mess? But then, who do I turn to in my true time of need, who do I expect to be waiting there for me at the edge of the red carpet, you guessed it, the VA. I will be one, of millions who can attest to the slowness of the VA. Fuck their timelines because they look good on paper but have no relation in real time with real people, and that blows ass for every single one of us veterans.

Reluctantly, yet willingly, I got “in line” and jumped into the process. The process wasn’t hard, but it was time consuming, lucky for me, at the time, all I had was time on my hands. I had four months to ride this pony for the big show or it wasn’t going to happen. It took longer, duh, and when I was hired to a new company last October I hated the fact that I needed to take time off here and there to button up all the loose ends, and there were allot of loose ends. I was seen multiple times at the clinic’s version of an orthopedics office, where we discussed my direct interest in seeing the orthopedic surgeon downtown. But there is a process, first the PA has to be convinced of a “need” before we “bother” the busy orthopedic surgeons with what might all be in my head. In my fucking head you say? Let’s review, for the sake of argument, that this PA went through my private sector medical records, my military medical records, started my new VA medical records, the MRIs, the CT Scans, the x-rays, the exams, and so forth, and this motherfucker was convinced ALL of my pain was in my head. Look, I know real pain and I know manifested pain, there is a distinct difference. As well, I know that there is very little help in eliminating the pain of degenerative joint disease, also known as osteoarthritis, and that steroid enhanced visco supplementation injections are a sick fucking joke. There is NO over the counter medications or prescription medications which can stop the pain of bone on bone contact. Just ask me, I have tried many, many combinations, and get the same result, pain. Hyaluronan injections (rooster comb) are nice and beautiful by design, but I don’t just have arthritis is my knee.

Finally, somehow, someway, I convinced the PA to give me the recommendation I was wanting, after a final review I was scheduled to finally see an orthopedic surgeon, 13 months after originally asking. My first visit to the orthopedic surgeon gave me the impression the doctor was blown away with the damage in my knee and he was a little shocked I was still walking. The overall decay within the joint is estimated, by him and one other doctor, to be a 97% coverage. At first he discussed surgery to remove the weight bearing of the joint to shift it more out to the outside, but after further review, eight weeks later, I was told I’m not a candidate because I would need the unloader surgery on both sides, which cant be done. My only option was to have my knee replaced. However, that option is gone as well because it is claimed that because I’m under the age of 50 that the VA will not do that particular surgery. Even though the governing regulations state that age cannot be used as a determining factor but is still an option of the individual physician. Nice double talk, right? Right. In reality, I was told to tough it out, move on with my life, and just try to “take it easy” for the next 4 years. Needless to say, I’m beyond pissed. What a fucking joke! Now I can’t get treatment? Isn’t the VA here to take care of my service connected injury? Seems that the answer is they will do it at their leisure. Hell, I don’t mind waiting in line if that is the issue, I know times are tough, money is tight, and y’all are having your asses handed to you by the media and the investigations right now, but why just tell me flat out no.

I don’t take rejection well. I really don’t. I did my part. I played the game. I followed the rules. For what? For nothing, that’s what. I know, boohoo wo is me. Well, okay, getting up to go to work every day is a bitch. A bitch I don’t mind riding because there are bills to be paid. Plus, I’m not the kind to sit on my couch all day to watch Jerry Springer. I have a drive to get out and work, to be functional on a daily basis. I’m at a loss here. I decided, after a careful review of the entries into my visits to the doctor, where he cites in black and white, that I’m not a candidate for either surgery due to age and complications down the road in the future that “could” happen, and his recommendation is daily, regular doses of over the counter anti inflammatory medications and more quarterly injections. I will have my way, one way or another, so I re-re-opened my claim with the VA, providing all the supporting evidence from day one back in 1990 until now, to include findings from a civilian orthopedic surgeon which I see next week. We’re doing a review of my records to review treatment, and follow up with his recommendations. I really don’t give a shit about the money, I just want to get this knee fixed, hell or high water. It’s never been about the benefits, it never will be, it’s about not being taken of because of one jack asses opinion. In the end, my goal is to rattle enough cages to get my knee replaced, which is recommended by two VA surgeons and two civilian surgeons, so come on motherfuckers, replace it already.

Yes, y’all have found a sore subject with me. I’m tired of doing battle, the VA is supposed to be here to help me and fellow veterans, not give us the run around, not to deny us care, and certainly not to individually bend us over because it is the easier thing to do. They can kiss my hairy white ass first, I came to fight, I came to get what I need, I came to see that the VA does the right thing by me. Hopefully, my education along the way can be used by other veterans who are getting the big shaft. So, my plan is to continue writing and sharing information about how to make sure all your bases are covered. It doesn’t need to be a battle to receive care, the VA just makes it that way. I have friends within the VA system, many of them veterans, and they encounter the same bullshit the rest of us do. Who knows what will happen with my case/claim, anyway it turns out I hope that someone has read some of my postings and figured out how to get through to the VA. I know it is bureaucracy at work, policy and so forth, set in place to curb abuse and better promote the health and well-being of veterans, but it has backfired, and now we all suffer, thanks. Next time y’all think that we are being handed freebies, remember we are people too, we just want to live our lives as normally as possible.

Life Has Given Me The Boot!

 Well, life itself didn’t give me this boot, that beauty was provided by my podiatrist earlier this morning. Why? Well, I will see if I can try to explain it all. I’m no doctor so I have to translate it all into a way I understand it and maybe y’all will understand it as well. Right now, the diagnosis is all but assumption only since my left foot is so swollen that doing an MRI would not provide the best results. So, I will be having my MRI next Friday morning. So, the guess right now based on x-rays and my symptoms is that I have torn my plantar fascia ligament and have an entrapped nerve in the tarsal tunnel (tibial nerve). So, for now, I get to wear this rigid walking boot during the day and a rigid sleeping boot when in bed to keep it as immobilized as possible for the next couple of weeks. Which really sucks for me because we have passes to go to Schlitterbahn in Galveston this coming Sunday. It is what it is. I never imagined this kind of pain before. This comes from a person who has had a knee replaced, multiple knee surgeries, and many broken bones. I know a little bit about pain. But, there is no pain I have ever suffered as bad as it being on the bottom of my foot. I think I would rather it be broken or sprained that be in this condition, that is for sure. I was told that there will be a surgery in my very immediate future to “relieve pressure” and repair damages if possible.

So, I guess y’all can consider this my medical update. A few of y’all knew I had something going on with my left foot and I figured this would be the “easy” way to explain it all to everyone. Other that what was said above I don’t have anything else to add. This too shall pass with time. The only bad part about this is I really hate sitting on my ass and doing nothing. I thrive on coming and going as I please. The break from everything will probably do my body good so I can’t complain. Life handed me a boot to wear and wear it I will. I will tell y’all this one thing, my foot being immobilized is the best it has felt in a very long time and that my friends is a great thing for me.

I have an update on my status……(20 August 2013)

A few have asked me to share my MRI results when I got them. These are just the results done by the Radiological Interpretation department M.D. and only were shared with me because I asked in advance, otherwise I would have to wait until Friday when I visited the podiatrist.

I had to “Google” most of this because it isn’t written for the layperson to even remotely try to read and understand. Let me start with saying this is an eleven page report with allot of information, good and bad. I will just go with the highlights.

1) Two subchrondral stress fractures in the ankle
2) Partially torn/ruptured Achilles Tendon
3) High grade partially torn Flexor Digitorum Longus Tendon but otherwise intact
4) Osteochondral Lesion in the Anterior Plafond
5) Visible Plantar Fasciitis with extreme fluid and edema in surrounding tissues.
6) Partially entrapped nerve in the tarsal tunnel (tibial nerve)

What does that mean? It means it freaking hurts to walk. Perhaps there is a doctor in the house and can give us all the run down. Now, these 6 things were the highlights of the report because the rest is considered minimal to the actual injury or caused by the injury.

Speaking of injury, I never injured it. I got out of bed a few weeks ago to get ready to go to work and when I stepped down everything went to crap and I had to curl up on the bed holding my foot.

Being A Practical Joker

Origianlly Posted 25 January 2013


Late yesterday afternoon I received a text message from my wife informing me that I had an ultrasound appointment today at 4:15. When I text her back she informed me that it was complicated and she would explain it all to me when she gets home. In case some of y’all haven’t read much here on my blog let me give a very brief background on my wife and what she does for a living. She is a medical office manager @ an affiliates doctors office, meaning she is the manager of all the personnel for 5 family practices, 1 orthopedic office, scheduling, billing, front desk, x-ray, ultrasound, physical therapy, the pharmacy, and so forth, she is the manager for around 90 people. Anyway, her and a few of her close friends at the office got together to formulate a grand scheme to have a “gotcha” moment for the ultrasound technician. Why? The story is that this technician does not like to do ultrasounds on a man’s penis, buttocks, or genitals. Digging a little deeper I was informed it is because she does not like it when men naturally “react” when there “business” is having warm gel applied to it and a wand going over the areas. She knows it isn’t flattery towards her because she is just doing her job. Around the office she complains a bit (alot) since she has no desire to see a man’s genitalia.So, after getting my “briefing” last night I agreed to participate in their practical joke. I went up to the doctors’ office 15 minutes early because my wife asked me to so we could talk before my “mock” appointment. Sure enough, I was on the schedule, got checked in, and the proceeded to go down so I could talk to my wife. She gave me the procedural run down at this time. She explained the technician would begin the examination with a series of questions and we would discuss why I was there. I was told at this point that I was suffering from a “penile nogile” about the size of a quarter, (a lump on my penis). Why we talked, my wife, her close friend, and I, they began to explain how this technician has been dreading doing this ultrasound as it was to be her very last procedure of the day and she wasn’t looking forward to seeing someone’s bent out of shape penis. Later in the morning, after reviewing the schedule, the technician realized the man on the schedule had the same last name as her manager with the letters VIP next to it. When she asked my wife if there was any relation, my wife kindly replied that it was her husband. Now, I have never met this lady, the first time I even knew she existed was last night. But, she knew “of” me based on what she could gather from other employees. She was told I was 6’8″ @ 265lbs. Others remarked how I dwarf my 5’1″ @ 110lbs wife. I was told she was nervous, more than normal because it was her boss’s husband.

As I sat in my wife’s office, the technician softly knocked on the already open door to ask if I was ready for my procedure. I stood up, turned to her, offered my hand for an introductory hand shake, and said sure. We entered the exam room where I was told to change into a gown so I could readily show her my trouble area so we could discuss what comes next. Ummm, what? She left the room for a few moments. She came back and I was still dressed. She asked how come and I told her I was a bit nervous due to the sensitivity of my problem and was a bit uncomfortable doing the exam since she works for my wife. I told her I was feeling a little tension in the air and maybe it would be best if we talked about the procedure first. So, we talked, she explained everything she was going to do to me right down to how it would feel for me. She also told me not to be “alarmed” it I got an erection because it is a normal reaction. With my straightest face ever I told her I was much better now and thank you. She left the room again for me to change. When she returned I was still dressed. She said it was ok and I could just unbutton and unzip my pants to show her that she can work around it. I told her I wasn’t going to show her my penis. She asked why not. Then I told her I needed to tell her something personal first. Frustrated, she asked what it was. I smiled and explained she had been set up and that I was supposed to her she had been “got” by her boss and her friends. The look on her face was, what they say on t.v., priceless.


She took off out of the exam room, only to be confronted by all the involved practical jokers. On the plus side, she took it all in stride, laughing with everyone, joking, and admitting that yes, she had been “got”. They all continued to talk while I listened, it was funny as hell to me since I actually know all the other people quite well. Then I left since I needed to get my son from chess club at the middle school. I kinda feel bad for her since they all conspired to getting her goose. I am very glad she appeared to be in good spirits. The last words I heard her say were to my wife. She explained she is really glad she did not have to examine the the penis of her boss’s husband, she may have been scarred for life. Funny. So, that was my afternoon, what did you do for fun today?