If this story makes you mad about the VA . . .

If this story makes you mad about the VA . . . contact your Representatives in Congress and the Senate, or the Veteran's Administration and let them know how you feel about the way the VA treats our vets. You can reference my blog or or the stories of many other vet's and their treatment by the VA available on the web.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

May 6, 2011 Comp/pen medical appointment

Well, I had to drive over to Hillsboro, OR for my comp/pen medical.  Drove over the evening of the 5th, as I wasn't about to ride the cramped DAV over, spend the night, spend another night until I could catch the DAV van back the evening of the 7th.  First appointment was at 8a.m. with audiology.  Confirmed the hearing loss, but since the VA has not been able to find any hearing tests prior to the fall of '79, they're claiming that my hearing loss was a pre-existing condition.  (Don't forget, I did my Basic at FT Knox back in '75 and I was at FT Riley in '76.)  The Doc told me I would need to produce official documentation to prove it, like a DD214 . . . which I never received for my enlisted time.  I've since been told that I need to contact the SS Admin for a copy of my records from those time periods and that would prove I was in and paid by the Dept. of the Army . . . verifying my duty.

On to my second appt. at 10a.m. with general medicine, for my kidneys and liver.  Long discussion about medications, dosages, etc. starting in '84 and to the present.  Discussion also included when we first (Doc Gould) discovered the onset of renal failure in '93, the switching of med's, and the roller coastering of dosages, based on amount of renal failure.  The Doc then ordered more blood tests, and a ultra sound of my liver/kidneys.  Doc also noted the effects of the edema in my legs.  I've literally got water cuffs just above both ankles by late afternoon.

On to the third appt. at 12p.m. for ortho.  Doc was extremely pleased with the hip replacements.  I have more flexibility and mobility than typical for hip replacement.  Plus, he was impressed that the flexibility and range of motion was almost identical between the 2 hips.  We talked briefly about the 2 implants, 2 doctors, 5 years apart, and the outstanding end result.  Then came the knee's . . . Doc basically told me I'm screwed, they need to be replaced.  (As if the VA Hospital and I didn't already know that.)  Then on to the shoulder.  Doc told me that I had had an AC separation while on active duty at FT Benning.  I've had a good little run of no problems with it (several months), but I knew that something would happen and I'd have a useless arm for months after.  I was able to hold both arms above my head no problem.  Doc then told me to relax and let him move my arm and to tell him when it hurt.  Didn't take long before I jumped a foot off the table.  I asked Doc if I needed to tell him that hurt . . . He said No, he probably aggravated the shoulder. (No kidding, it took almost 3 weeks before I could raise the elbow above shoulder hight again.)

From there, it was on to X-ray for the shoulder and one of the hardware in the hips.  Followed by 8 vials of blood, then on to the ultra sound.  Ultra sound was 47 pic's of my guts.  About a dozen pic's were color enhanced or highlighted.  (I learned later that when they color enhance or highlight, they've spotted something. or something abnormal.)  Time is now around 4p.m., so went to meet up with the nephew, his wife and their youngest kid.  Ate supper and drove home.

Went to work the next day and was hurting so bad from the trip, I had to go home after 4 hours of pain at work.  Now comes the wait to hear the results!  (Within 30 days?)  On a positive note . . . the ultra sound confirmed I have guts and contrary to what my wife thinks . . . I also have a heart (hope they keep that quite though).

Dec. 6, 2010 CUE hearing is over . . . on to the next step!

Well, December 6, 2010 was my CUE hearing.  Some bad news and some good news.  The bad news is, the DRO claims there was no error.  Having said that, WE (DRO, my SO, and myself), got to the root of the problem.  It seems that when I originally filed my claim, the Doctor stated that my hips and knees were normal.  What we learned during the hearing is that the radiology report, stapled to the Doctor's statement, confirms and verifies my injuries listed in my military records. No error??? Yeah, right . . . go figure!  Anyway, my SO told the DRO that was fine, since he had already talked over my case with a VVA lawyer and that as soon as the Denial letter came, a case would be filed with the Veteran's Board of Appeal.  When the DRO heard that, her comment was that I'd probably win my case at that time. (NOTE:  3 times the VA Rater has failed to recognize clearly documented aggravation of the "pre-existing condition.  The VA system does not recognize this as an "error" and is able to slough it off.  The scales are suppose to be tilted in the favor of the Vet . . . in truth, they are heavily weighted in the favor of the VA and the system.)

In the mean time, the DRO requested we reopen the original claim and we could add tinnitus, my shoulder (separated while on active duty), my kidneys and liver (damage from the drugs I've had to take over the years to keep mobile).  The DRO conceded the tinnitus automatically because of my Mortars time, so that's "service related" rating and 10%, pending completion of the comp/pen medical.  This is another good sign, as the VA wouldn't be having me go for a comp/pen medical if they didn't think I had a case.  Still no promises or guarantee.

I should note that as of June 2, 2011, I have not received the letter of denial of the CUE claim from the DRO.