Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Second Opinion

by The Usual Suspect

I finally began the long hard road of Veterans Affairs interaction. Re-opened a claim I started before I got out.

The lady I saw was very nice, very helpful, sweetly civilian and seemed to be genuinely concerned with helping out a former Joe. I handed her the necessary paperwork and answered her questions while she made phone calls on my behalf and fought with her printer. She brought up my old claim on the computer, and as we talked, she became more agitated with the original, rejected claim.

"Adjustment disorder with depressed mood, general anxiety, and panic attacks... WHY didn't they classify this as PTSD?"

"I dunno," I told her. "I guess it wasn't enough to warrant PTSD."

She seemed to think that was pretty ridiculous. I told her that a PTSD diagnosis makes it hard to deploy a soldier. She set me up with the VA's healthcare and gave me a couple of phone numbers for the headshrinkers. Bless her heart. I get the feeling that she isn't plotting against me.


Anonymous said...

Good work, Suspect! I am always pleased and surprised at your ability to analyze your situation and take steps!!
I think you are both correct. From the beginning of reading your blog, I think there was plenty there to warrant a diagnosis of PTSD.

A PTSD diagnosis is contrary to the goals of the military.

I happen to think you'll be able to work your way out of this and become a richer, stronger person. No, I don't mean money rich, you know what I mean. z

13 Stoploss said...

you know, you might have something there with the misdiagnoses and its relation to combat readiness. I remember soldiers who had walking corpse-like profiles. before we deployed the second time, in an effort to boost numbers in the Brigade, all of a sudden, all these guys became deployable. Happened overnight, and a lot of soldiers got really screwed up.

good to hear the positive news. it's refreshing to learn that there are some people, who, for no other reason than being generally great people, want to help.

membrain said...

I was beginning to think that you were never going to write another fucking thing for as long as you shall live.

After 4 years of Suspect updates going cold turkey was beginning to gnaw. Glad to see you writing again.

I hope the second opion works out.

Anonymous said...

Suspect here, too lazy to log in.

An update: apparently I'm STILL not in their system, so attempting to schedule an appointment with the mental health types didn't work out so well. Got pulled over for "rapid acceleration". The only therapy for the afternoon is a couple Budweisers and a guitar plugged in and saturated with distortion.

Opus said...

It does take a little time to get into the system-- but once you're in, things go a little quicker and easier.

I've been through the VA's PTSD treatment program (earlier this year)-- it's tough. You'll have to work hard at it. But it's worth it.

bigD said...

Hi Ryan,
Just wanted to check in...not sure what to say about the gun and the "second opinion." I am really proud of you that you are trying to take good care of you. This is not an easy thing to do (most of us tend to ignore our problems and hope they go away, to seek help for our mental health is even more difficult!!) Unfortunately, it seems the cards are stacked against this process being simple and straight forward. Don't let the pot holes and detours carry you off your path. Stay focused and be prepared to fight for yourself harder than ever. The medical system is seriously flawed and when you add the bureaucracy of the military and the VA, well, you'll be knee deep in shit before you know what hit you and you'll want to say f*ck it and run screaming in the other direction. When you feel that smelly water starting to rise, keep swimming! It may be all upstream, but you'll emerge stronger, healthier, and better prepared to handle whatever life throws your way.

I think of you often Ryan and pray you are finding your way in this crazy freakin' world. God(s) bless you Ryan. You will always rock my socks. :P

13 Stoploss said...

I didn't know "rapid acceleration" was illegal, or was grounds for a pulling over.

Maybe you should post up a YouTube video of some fuzzed out guitar?

Fox said...

Apparently rooting for all your legal documentation in your car is also a no-no.

Way to go with the VA kid! You are leaps and bounds into civilian life and you are doing all the right things.

School will be amazing.

themorethingschange... said...

Remember that sweet ladies name and go back to her when you can!

I guess the VA is like everything, depends on where you are. The VA here is fab and very organized. THEY actually call the vets to keep track of them and their various appointments.

Whatever you do, don't shrug this off. The Vietnam vet I've told you about before waited until he retired from Calif Highway Patrol to go to VA who had no trouble diagnosing PTSD but the dude is scary and skittish and drinks too much. Definitely one of the Walking Wounded. We don't want that for you.



PS: glad to see you posting, was beginning to think you'd forsaken us

JT said...

Every VA has a OEF/OIF program... get there in their face! Nicely :)

They will oil any wheels that are necessary on your behalf.
They want to do it because it's their job and they actually care AND they can show the big dogs that look at numbers how they helped you.

As stated by an earlier poster once you are in the VA system it's SO much easier. Don't give in/up/or an inch!

If OEF/OIF is less than helpful you'd be amazed what the VSO's can do--- Fight like rabid dogs to get you every percentage point of service connection. That number is very important by the way (but you probably already know that).

Finally- everyone that works in the VA says the same mantra- once you've visited one VA you've visited one VA. They can be vastly different in their professionalism/assistance~ you have more than earned their best.

Continued success and send a smoke signal if you want any more detailed VA info.

Jean said...

Stay with it. You're more than worth it.

Anonymous said...

a little scenario from work the other day:

cost of a med for a 70-something year old lady: $250 month (after insurance) =(

cost of same medication for a vet hooked up with the VA: $0

it'll be worth all the hassle in the end. :)

love you,