Saturday, August 30, 2014
I was raised by wonderful parents who always did the right thing by everyone. They never met a stranger because after just minutes they became friends.
Daddy served in the US Navy and was involved in the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of Midway; he served as the radioman for Admiral Nimitz. He later worked for what was then called the ATC - Air Traffic Control - until he retired. He was a Purple Heart recipient. It took 60 years before he was actually given his medal.
Mom stayed at home until my younger sister and I were both in school. She worked at a local high school for years and then for the Social Security Administration until she retired.
My sister, a victim of being a "down winder" in eastern Oregon, died twenty five years ago after losing her battle of seven years trying to beat the cancer.
I have very good reason to doubt the veracity of VA Medical system.
My daddy turned 91 on 1 Jun three years ago. His health was good enough we were planning a month long vacation to visit relatives and he was excited about seeing his family again. On 2 Jun, he had a botched, simple procedure at the VA Hospital. On 3 Jun he BLED TO DEATH.
I submitted a wrongful death to the VA but it has been denied because it was submitted on the wrong form - the form they provided me.
Now I have the privilege of using the VA medical system. I have the use of treatment, most of the individuals are wonderful caring people but "system" is broken.
The wait time for appointments can seem like forever. Not all "employees" are compassionate or caring. Treatment and medications are you get what you get. Sometimes you get nothing.
Imbalance has plagued me for now over three years. At one point, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I researched potential medical help, meds, treatment and tried to live with the diagnosis.
Not necessary. Three months later I was told that, in fact, I did not have the illness. Probably the only person I know to have MS for only three months. A huge relief in one way but I had to once again attempt to learn what was wrong.
I fall a lot, have broken bones and life as I knew it has ceased to exist. The broken bones in my foot were missed on an xray by a "temp-sub" doctor and although swollen, black and blue and rendering me unable to walk, he told me to go home, keep it elevated and aspirin should help with the pain. The doc I saw a week later was shocked because the breaks were so obvious; it was too late to simply reset them and surgery would have to wait. I'm waiting. Still.
I continue searching for an answer.
One potential answer is Ft McClellan, Alabama where I did my basic training in 1977 at age 30. Yes, an old enlistee but it was what I wanted to do with my life.
Ft Mac is, and was then, probably the worst toxic waste dump site in our nation. The sheer number of victims from the waste is astronomical. It was finally closed early 90's but the devastation continues. Pressure on the government for answers is consistently rebuffed and my fellow veterans are dying from their own "undiagnosable illnesses".
No compensation has yet to be discussed by our national leadership because all efforts to bring this to the attention of the American people are rebuffed.
So I suffer, with so many others, from an undiagnosable illness. Some days I don't want to get up. I know it will be more of the same.
Is this feeling sorry for myself? No.
It's anger and frustration with the broken system. I have lent my voice to any petitions I could locate asking the government to do something to change the way we are treated, joined many groups specific to Ft Mac illnesses and signed their petitions, attempted to bring this to the attention of people who could help if they wanted to and legislation languishes because it's stopped in committees and never reaches Senate nor Congress.
Is an end in sight? Doubtful. If the Ft Mac victims can be stalled long enough, we'll all be dead.
Add us to the number of other veterans who suffer from their service overseas and at home -it's obvious why they don't want to spend the money; it would be too costly to provide for those who have been willing to give our lives to defend our country.
I'll add this....
-Daddy was a Purple Heart recipient who died a wrongful death because of a botched procedure at a VA hospital.
-He was honored just months before his wrongful death by having the Spokane International Air Traffic Control Tower renamed the Ray Daves International Air Traffic Control tower. This is the only tower in the United States to be named for an individual. So done by an act of Congress followed up by a letter from the President of the United States.
-A nationally released book was written about him, chronicling his service, life and career.
Whew, I feel better. Doubtful anyone will read this because it's long and probably boring. But if there is just one person who makes it to here and will help by any means possible, I've accomplished something.
Support your local veterans. Speak out if you see something not right. Sign that petition. Talk with family, friends and neighbors about how to help the homeless - too many of them are veterans. Keep your eyes open.
Volunteer. Donate. Provide food to your local shelters and food banks.
Do something - do anything to help.