I hope you had a restful night and got a good nights sleep. I hope you are ready to face the day today refreshed and with a plan. I hope your plan for the #NewVA , includes people just like me, those that don't get restful nights, those who battle someone else's war alongside them through the night. But its not just the nights that are restless and full of fear, its the days, the hours, sometimes minutes, a split second that can turn everything good into pure hell. Do you know what its like , are you here? Do you hear him scream at night , hear my children cry when they are ripped out of their dreams ? No you don't , you lay in your beds with blissful dreams, never had to face the terror I hear. So please VA , I am begging you, listen to me and to my plea. Be there to support those who fought for you, your freedom and your peaceful sleep and LISTEN to us Caregivers who see it all , who know the truth and see it all the time. No matter if its day or night, no matter what day a week, no matter if it is a holiday we always stand by their sides. Our Veterans deserve better care and we need to be included in their care!
Exhausted, tired wife of a Veteran and Mom to 3
I recently saw that the #VA was making some changes, which I am excited for. Things need to change. However, the plan for the #NewVA does not include plans for caregivers or the families of veterans. Caregivers are vital in the care of these veterans and should not be overlooked. I say this as a Veteran’s Wife and Caregiver. I have seen first hand how much one single veteran needs his caregiver. If it weren’t for me advocating and fighting the VA for his care, he would go without and be worse off than he already is. Let me paint you a picture of just one instance where I was vital to my veteran’s care.
A while back we had some difficulty with some staff in a PMRS clinic. These providers were convinced that my veteran’s pain was because of his mental health issues, specifically his depression. Even though his depression had improved throughout the year of treatment prior to this appointment they kept telling him to get his depression under control and the pain would decrease. His pain had only increased while his depression increased. We had to inform his mental health team of what these providers were saying, and they advocated for him. Still, they did nothing different to help my veteran. They discounted the new pain he was experiencing which was causing him a good deal of anxiety because he thought his back problems were getting worse.
We were getting no where with this appointment. They kept shooting us down. my husband was getting anxious, felt like they didn’t want to help him, and was getting tired of fighting. I felt the same way and also saw the pain, emotional pain caused by these people and his physical pain. I started to cry. at that point, my veteran gave up and stormed out of the room. I remained, collected myself, and continued to try to get him the care he needed and in this case it was an MRI of his back to check to make sure nothing more was going on. The last MRI was done a year ago at a previous VA in another state which the current VA did not have the images for. I told these providers that if they wanted to decrease his anxiety and depression in order to decrease his pain giving him the MRI would help. If he has one, it would ease his anxiety if nothing more was wrong. If something else was wrong with would help them to help him. AFter this meeting, a consult was put in for him to have an MRI.
If it weren't for me, my veteran’s caregiver, he would not have had an MRI done. He would have stormed out of the room where he felt defeated and unhelped and probably never come back to see them. Unfortunately, this team did not end up helping him. We never found out what the MRI result were until months later when we moved to a new city and a new VA hospital. And the only reason they were read to us was because I, his caregiver, had remembered they had a newer MRI that they needed to check. It turns out, his back was getting worse and he had developed arthritis in addition to his herniated and compressed spinal disks.
Its times like these where veterans NEED their caregivers. They NEED someone who knows their case inside and out. They NEED someone who knows what is best for them based on experience with the veteran and not a chart or medical records which are inaccurate (and there ARE inaccurate records out there). They NEED a caregiver who will continue to fight for them when they can no longer fight for themselves because all too often the current VA will wear them down until they just go without care rather than deal with the VA. When a veteran discontinues care, bad things can happen. Conditions worsen, they may become homeless, or god forbid end their own lives because they do not have the will to fight with an organization to promised to take care of them.
Caregivers SAVE lives, IMPROVE lives, and carry the burden for those they love when they can’t do it for themselves.
Don’t forget the caregivers.