So, I’m watching the movie, “Thank You for Your Service”, a movie about what happens when a soldier comes home from war. It deals with PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury, and the VA health care system.
I remember when I was first discharge from the Marines when I was a young woman and first went to the VA hospital closest to my home in NY. I filled out paperwork, enrolled in the system and filed a claim.
I was treated like shit. From the first doctor on. I was in massive pain, I waited hours to be seen by a doctor. I had tears streaming down my cheeks as I waited to be called in. I couldn’t take the pain. I was miserable. I was hurting. I saw the doctor, who gave me nothing; but a referral to Psych. I went to the VA Psych hospital and was taken to a room where I was patted down by two male security guards, who only used the metal detective wand on the males and was treated to a groping. I then saw the doctor, who made the situation worse and I left there feeling 10x’s worse and assaulted.
The movie tells the characters that it will take up to 12 weeks for the claim to go through; but realistically, it’s more like 6-9 months. For me, it took 2 years. I filed in October 1994 and received benefits in October 1996.
The problem is and always will be that the system is broken and now that we have even more service men and women filing everyday, it’s like putting twenty pound bag of sugar on a scale that only measure up to a pound. It’s going to break and the sad thing is these men and women NEED the help, desperately.
I hurt so much for them. I feel their pain. I dream their nightmares. I struggle, still, with a system that doesn’t give a fuck about it’s patience or those that serve this country after they leave service.
I was last seen by a doctor at the VA clinic September 2016, right after losing my best friend. You are supposed to be seen at least once a year or you are unenrolled. My prescriptions are renewed with just an email and when I tried, several times, to get an appointment, I’ve been given the run around. I’d love to ask them, “Who do I have to kill in order to get an appointment?”, but I don’t want to get arrested or something. SMH
As the movie ends, they tell you that the real men, whom the story is about, did finally get help. It’s good to hear. It’s nice to know that they are still out there and not part of the suicide statistic that is so high in the veteran community.
Everyone has a story to tell about their VA experience. My father goes to the one in Miami. He loves it. His claim was quick and he’s treated like a king there. Of course, it is veteran run. People who know what the military is like and how to treat their fellow veterans. I’m happy for him. Wouldn’t it be great if the whole system was so much better?
I remember a few years ago hearing about how one VA facility had a makeover of it’s waiting areas and how it was so needed and they asked on veteran what he thought and they were not prepared for his answer, that’s for sure. It would have been a better use of money had they revamped care and not where we have to wait for care. That money would have helped more people on the medical side of things, don’t you think? Yeah, they didn’t like it at all. I had the same feeling they did.
Shortly after my friend died, I was having a conversation with a long time friend who had the opportunity to meet with President Trump on his campaign trail, before he was president. Trump had asked those in attendance about VA health care and my friend told him what I had spent the last year dealing with at the local clinic and how my best friend had died because of their lax medical practices and his aid took notes on it. I hope that it will help other veterans in the future.