Saturday, February 28, 2015

#DearVA This Is It...

#DearVA,

This is it, my last letter in 2014. I am going to close this year with how you have tried to close the door on my husband.

The Claim for PTSD. This process started approximately six years ago. We had the C&P. We heard nothing. I started banging on doors, congressman, representatives, and finally we got a denial. We appealed, got a copy of the C&P and about died. The C&P was filled with contradictions. On one page he was an alcoholic, on another he didn't drink. On one page he had meds, on another he took no meds.

There were 3, yes three, sentences about what he actually did in Desert Storm. The psychiatrist, let's call him Dr. M, asked my husband if his life was ever in danger, and my husband spent 30 minutes talking about all of the instances that the entire team and he were in danger... None of this was in the report.

The private doctors diagnosis of PTSD was listed as inaccurate.

As my Veteran spiraled down, I banged on more doors. Eventually, they told me nothing would change for a few years. This was dismissal. The doors shut.

With the VA being no help, and my Veteran now telling me that our son and I would be better off without him I turned towards anyone that might help, and that was Service Dog Programs.

Unfortunately no one was wanting to help, and I lost it. Feeling overwhelmed and hopeless, I tried to take my own life in April of 2014. Something had to break. He was spiraled down as was I. Shortly after this, we were blessed to hear from Dogs4Warriors, run by Sheila Slezak.  They had approved my Veteran for a Service dog for his PTSD.

A few months later we received notice that the VA wanted to have an appeals hearing. 

So at this last day of the year #VA, my husband is healing, and not because of you, but because of the men and women at Dogs4Warriors. Ebenefits shows his hearing paperwork is bouncing from our local office to the regional office and back again and again and again.

Our family doctor continued to treat his PTSD with medication until he was advised by the Vet Center to switch to the VA...

We have talked a lot this month about changes you could make #NewVA. Caring for the whole Veteran, improving tracking of Veterans, caring for families, but I don't know if anything is as important as the Spirit of the Warrior.

I watched you break my Warriors' Spirit, and Sheila at Dogs4Warriors had to help him get it back. He read that report from Dr. M, and something broke in him. You may use them as equipment, but damnit they are Warriors. 

They are Human, not lifeless automatons.

This needs to change.

I am not done with you VA. You will see me again. You will read my words again. I will ensure that my husband doesn't give up fighting you. With Seth by his side, he is the Warrior again.

PM
Caregiver
Spouse to a Disabled Gulf War Veteran
Thorn in the VA's Side

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