Category Archives: desert storm

The Kurdish Catastrophe


daveinhospRecently I have been in the hospital after having a series of mini-strokes or T.I.A.’s. They are brought on from high blood pressure and stress and my entire right side went numb. The good news is that there is no permanent damage, but it is a long recovery because I am still very weak. I am recovering in an assisted living facility. The bad news is that it could be the sign of a regular stroke coming or an underlying disease. I am hoping it’s neither. However, while in the hospital I met a woman who worked in housekeeping and she noticed I had a Desert Storm veteran hat and she said my brother was in that war and never came home. I am constantly reminded of the fact that no matter how low my depression may get, no matter how bad my pain, no matter how bad my problems – there is always someone else who either has it worse or is no longer with us.

The world is full of pain and suffering which lives next door to beauty and passion. It’s been hard for me to see the beauty and passion in things lately with some of the things I have gone through in recent months. It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself and get caught up in self-pity, but I think that it’s important to try to find a way to rise above all that and do my very best to hold my head high even though it hurts, to smile in the face of adversity, and to laugh when I just feel like crying all day. I refuse to let the bastards who put me in this condition win. I will have my day in court and that day is coming in June – next month. I can hardly wait. My very first hearing with the VA in Detroit.

But getting back to the housekeeper in the hospital; her brother was in the Navy and he supposedly fell of the back of a jeep in Guam and was killed. Her family has always suspected this may have been a cover story for some foul play, but either way he is gone and it was during the war and he saw his share of the war. She gave me the following poem to publish and she said that General Colin Powell, Army (Retired), himself, read it and gave him an award for it posthumously. It is no wonder because it is truly inspiring.

The Kurdish Catastrophe
by CM2 Douglas Lanning, USN
May 1991
US Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 133
Zakho, Iraq

SADDAMI can’t explain all that I’ve seen, but I will do my best to say what I mean

The glow on their faces is almost enough, but you can still tell they’ve had it rough.

You look around, it seems so unreal, and you try to imagine how they must feel.

We came to provide comfort to the people here, they seem to trust us – it’s him they fear.

african american soldier in iraq_soldier_criesThe leader of so many – Saddam Hussein, has caused their suffering and their pain.

From the land mines that he placed all over the place, to the napalm burns and blisters on a young child’s face.

From the people living out in the street, to the ones in town without power and heat.

From the people washing clothes in the muddy waters, to the many who had to bury their own sons and daughters.

amputeeYou see a child selling whatever he can, all of this and more because of the man.

I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s all really all true, think about it a second, I’m not even through.

I’ve been to the hospital to visit a small boy, who picked up a hand grenade, thought it was a toy.

tankerYou cannot blame him, he’s just a curious kid, I can still remember vividly what his new toy did.

I really can’t believe they were able to save his hand, then I also can’t believe this was once all beautiful land.

The mountains from a distance, an eye-catching sight, they really are beautiful with their snow caps of white.

FE_DA_130319IraqIt’s just sad to think all of the people up there, a quarter million people, but he doesn’t seem to care.

When our operation is finally through, I cannot help but wonder what the people are gonna do.

Will they go on living the way they were before, or will the one man, their leader, kill even more?

I guess that is something only time will tell, from my observation, they’ve been through living hell.

 

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Where to Start Getting Help for Gulf War Illness (or Syndrome)


gw18gw3If you are struggling with the various conditions associated with Gulf War Illness there is help at the VA although I have yet to see a primary care doctor who will help. You have to be persistent and explain to them that the VA website and the VA position has finally changed on this. You may have to fight to get benefits and you are entitled to service-connected disability for your problems. If you are struggling to get by and you feel that there is no hope you really need to talk to someone. Where do you start? Ask your Veteran’s Service Officer located in your county seat (usually the courthouse building). Check the yellow pages or look on the links section of this site for a complete list of all of them nationwide. Keep in mind, though, that although these representatives of the VA are there to help you and they will, they also work for the same institution that is not just going to hand you the key to the city. You will have to work hard and be prepared to wait a long time for actual benefits unless of course you do what I did and apply for a non-service connected pension first if you cannot work anymore like me. That’s not as much money, but it’s better than nothing and they give you more money for dependants. And, depending on the state you may qualify for food stamps and other benefits. This is just a precursor to getting service-connected for me and that’s something altogether different. Study the Federal Benefits Guide for more information.

gw4The VA website that is actually chalked full of information about how your medical team can treat you for gulf war illness, what all of the different chemical exposures are and how to find out if you might have them and what to do about it. The problems is to get your doctor to look at it. (at least in my case). But, check it out here:

http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/gulfwar/

I highly recommend you check this out. It is a fairly new thing for the VA and your health care team should be aware of it. Perhaps your veteran’s advocate or attorney, if you have one, can recommend a course of action based on the information on this page and coordinated with your healthcare and get you the tests you need. I also recommend you read this if you have been waiting a long time for a claim. The honorable Secretary of the V.A. Shinseki has ordered the VA to expedite these claims. More here:

http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/9217/va-expediting-claims-decisions-for-veterans-waiting-a-year-or-more/

For PTSD counseling you can get help from the VA here: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/pages/gen-treatment.asphttp://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/9217/va-expediting-claims-decisions-for-veterans-waiting-a-year-or-more/

Also there are some great magazines put out in both electronic and paper form and the VA one is called Vantage Point. The link is here: http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/9217/va-expediting-claims-decisions-for-veterans-waiting-a-year-or-more/a

There are also other similar magazines from most every veteran organization such as the V.F.W., the American Legion, Amvets, and more. Just do a google search. There’s almost too much to read in a month!

I also get e-mail alerts from the D.O.D., the C.D.C., the V.A., and many other government organizations. I’m not sure how I did this. But I can give you a link to the VA one: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USVHA/subscriber/new

And there are so many more veteran’s organizations that can help you. Wounded Warriors is a great one for the vets returning home recently and if you go on twitter and search for veterans organizations you can find a lot of them there.

ptsd3If any of you are thinking of suicide. I urge you to call the Suicide hotline here: 1-800-273-8255. There are people who do care about you whether you want to believe it or not. And you are better than that. Fight it! I know that we all have bad days, bad years and just crappy things happen, but that is no reason to end it all. Life is hard, but you can get help. These people will go out of there way to ensure you get the best help available. Please, I beg you don’t do anything until you at least give it a try. I beg of you don’t hurt yourself. We all care about you and not just because you are a veteran, but because you are a person who deserves to live!

If you have any questions about this article or just want to drop the administrator of the site, D.R. Dockery, a line you can use the form below.

Gulf War veterans display abnormal brain response to specific chemicals


Engineering Evil

2009 study posted for filing

Contact: Katherine Morales
katherine.morales@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center

This is Dr. Robert Haley from UT Southwestern Medical Center.

 

DALLAS – March 20, 2009 – A new study by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers is the first to pinpoint damage inside the brains of veterans suffering from Gulf War syndrome – a finding that links the illness to chemical exposures and may lead to diagnostic tests and treatments.

Dr. Robert Haley, chief of epidemiology at UT Southwestern and lead author of the study, said the research uncovers and locates areas of the brain that function abnormally. Recent studies had shown evidence of chemical abnormalities and shrinkage of white matter in the brains of veterans exposed to certain toxic chemicals, such as sarin gas during the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

The research, published in the March issue of the journal Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging,enables investigators to…

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