Today marks 1 year that I spend 10 hours in the PHX VA with a history of blood clots on to find one lodged in my leg and then was told it would be a week before I could be seen by a doctor to be prescribed my medication to clear it up, only to find out that I will be put on this medication for the rest of my life.
When I left the Army in September of 2009, my paperwork said, “stop all medications.” I had been on medication for years until my separation. I was told to fill out the forms needed for my disabilities through the VA and to apply for VA Health Care. All of these things I did. No time in the 5 years after service did I receive any paperwork from the PHX VA about my VA Health Care or if I even had it or if they were going to set me up with a primary care doctor to continue my medication. Yes, people say I should have been proactive and went to the PHX VA and setup an appointment. That’s true, but after talking to the VA I was told that I should have been given a Primary Care Provider and should have been setup with an appointment. During that 5 years I felt the constant pain in my legs, but dealing with it for 6 years prior in the military, I learned how to deal with it. But this time I couldn’t get the pain to go away and had to do something, so I went to the VA ER.
Its been a year today and so much has happened in my life. I started my medication again, fought to get my first appointment- my first PCP appointment was scheduled for December of 2014 – I didn’t see my PCP until February 2015. I have seen a physical therapist that gave me my first real physical and sent me to Physical Therapy for my right new – 6 session and still waiting for more – I met with a Back specialist that said I should have shots to stop back pain – Had an MRI that showed 2 more disabilities I didn’t know I had, but found out was written up during my final exam from the Army – Was told by Vascular Surgery that there is nothing they can do for me – Met another back specialist that said surgery is out of the question and now I am on a “no surgery” list – Told that the only fix to my back and knee is physical therapy – All the while they have still not done anything to address the blood clotting disorder.
Now you may wonder, but I am a strong and health person. I eat right and walk as much as I can. But in the end the clotting disorder will never go away and there is no fix to it. I have learned to live with it and have not let it define me.
Other things that have happened. I have started working and Volunteering with CVA – I ride with a lot of great Veterans and spend time with more Veterans than I used too. I also have helped many Veteran through any avenue that I can to get them the help they need. I have taken on the role of a Veterans Advocate in a sense. My days don’t start out, “what am I going to do today, ” My days start out, “how many Veterans can I help today.” If I can help one Veteran a day they I am doing more than I can image.
Its been one crazy year, I have made a lot of friends and made a lot of colleagues that have helped shape my future endeavors. I only hope this next year is better and the dreams I have of moving forward and truly making a difference for Veterans comes true.
As we say in the 1st ID “No Mission To Great, No Sacrifice To Small”