Well, it has been a rough summer for me. I have finally woken up to the fact that many of my issues were caused by the VA and the war combined. I have had it with doctors, emergency rooms, and all these people that don’t want to do their jobs. They pass you off to someone else or tell you need better insurance when your broke or they tell you to report to mental health. Well, I have decided to stop being a pussy and fight back. I will not be a martyr for the cause. I am basically just hoping like hell that I don’t lose the use of my legs or worse because I am now dragging my right leg, in a wheelchair most of the time, spent the summer in a nursing home, and then my medicaid was taken away because the state said they made a mistake – oops! Nobody told me so that’s just great. Now when I have an emergency I can’t go to an ER because they won’t do anything but tell me to go to my primary an hour away. And on top of that I was shown a pamphlet that the FDA just came out with that said “It’s a myth that opiates are a painkiller.” Now if that is not a contradiction I don’t know what is. If that’s the case then why do they give you morphine, a very highly used opiate, for pain when you have an operation? And if you are dying of Cancer then you can have all you want. Well, I am dying of Gulf War Illness and that doesn’t count. I have to wait to get Cancer and so on so I am done giving up – I have decided to fight back.
Now I have heard of veterans coping with pain with drugs and alcohol which will surely kill you slowly except for marijuana and I want to get a medical card but they want too much money for all of it and I can’t afford it so where do you turn? Well, here’s my answer; if the government is going to give up on us and take us off the pills that they used to give out to me all the time and tell me that’s all they can do then there has to be a plan in place for an alternative medicine solution, surgeries if necessary, and any and all other methods to help veterans suffering from chronic pain. Why can’t we learn from our past mistakes with Vietnam veterans who have been there, done that?
I am a very mellow, polite guy with family values instilled in me and when you push me up against a corner all the sudden I turn into a very angry and pissed guy. I used to tell my kids – don’t poke the bear! I just can’t deal with all the attitudes at the VA or any medical facility today when I have anxiety, depression, PTSD, major issues with my spine and disks, abdomen pain, a damn catheter again, a bad prostate, headaches, diabetes, and the list goes on and on. I started smoking again because of the stress. I had quit for months while in the nursing home, which by the way was happy to keep me there all fat and lazy until my insurance ran out then they kicked me to the curb. It’s all about the almighty dollar these days.
I have an attorney that some of you may be interested in that is kick-ass. Her name is Jan Dils. She and her staff has been fighting for us Gulf War veterans for some time and they do a good job. I have a case going for the gulf related issues and now I finally realized why my leg is dragging and my spine is aching – it’s because the VA in Minneapolis did a failed back surgery that was originally just supposed to be a disk fusion but they decided to go into my spine to relive the stenosis (pressure from the spinal casing) and then when I got out of the hospital in the dead of winter they told me to walk when I complained worse. I then called the neurosurgeon’s office and spoke to some physician’s assistant who said, “Well, you should be in PT – why are you not doing physical therapy?”
I said, “Because I don’t know what you don’t tell me! Hello!”
So then I called my primary back and said they said that you should have scheduled me for PT and he said oh no – that’s their job and again – blame gets shifted to someone else. I am S.O.L. Nobody wants to take responsibility because they know they fucked up. Oh well, let’s just let the guy be a cripple. Besides, one less pain in the ass veteran in the world to deal with. He’s crazy and too much to handle as it is and he cries about wanting better care and he has a claim against us that we do not want to pay so let’s kill him.
Another time I went to the ER in Florida for chest pains and of course they think I’m having a heart attack which I get, but I kept telling them I think it’s just an acid reflux flare-up but they have to rule it out and they hospitalized me to have a stress test. So then when it comes back that it’s negative they assume it must be the acid reflux and tell me to take four Prilosec a day. I did some research recently and that stuff is deadly! Your body is supposed to have a reaction to bad foods with acid and it’s my diet is what I am finding out.
Diet is a good thing to look at friends. I have been doing some research on that, in this do-it-yourself world we live in, and it really plays a big role in our health. You can live a lot longer if you eat the right foods no matter how nasty they may taste and if you’re on a budget there are lots of websites that offer tips. I have a roommate that blends up fruits and vegetables that we get from the pantry or on sale for cheap in a high-powered blender and it’s not bad. I am getting a lot more nutrients and vitamins. I just started it a month ago and I have already lost twenty-five pounds. I am down to 274. I was 300. And the weight I was carrying had a lot to do with my back problems.
I don’t want anyone to be offended by my solutions. My solutions may not be the way to go for you, but I am a very stubborn person and I don’t usually like people telling me how to live, but lately I have been listening more and trying new things. I also have been trying to get right with God and praying and that is not for everyone either, but it works for me, so if you are a believer then try it. I like Joel Osteen a lot and he really has some positive, uplifting messages that can really make you think. I just pray that all of you find help.
I am nowhere near being at peace with anything the government is doing. It just keeps getting worse and worse every year and there is no cure-all, but the opiates were helping to curb my pain. They don’t work very well for long-term use and so many people have ruined it for those of us with chronic pain that I saw it coming. I knew this day would come, but as usual they charge legislation through congress without a plan to counteract the side-effects of withdrawls and then what do we do now? Thanks, Uncle Sam! Somebody asked me yesterday how I originally hurt my back and I remarked, “A safe fell on it.” and the guy looked at me strangely and I said, “And on the side of the safe the letters U.S.A. were stamped on it.” Good luck, my friends. I hope your life is going better than mine! Hang in there and don’t give up. I really came close to just taking a fistful of neurontin last Saturday but then I decided why am I going to let them make me do that? I am not going to be another news snippet and a martyr for the cause. I have to keep plugging away to set a good example for my brothers and sisters who are suffering. I have to keep on writing and I have to try my best to live day by day. That’s just my opinion, but I hope that you find whatever you can that works for you and don’t give up; be aggressive with your primary care team, ask questions, and be firm with them. Don’t let them bully you around anymore. I know your sick and tired of being sick and tired, but we have to fight as much as possible because the damn is about to burst – the health care system is broken. Peace!