Friday, July 24, 2009

Dealing With Pain!

One of my constant worries or problems I deal with, is the constant pain that I am in. No matter what I take my back is always in pain, it just lessens the degree of pain, but never eliminates the pain. On my bad days I hobble around like an old man, on my good days I can walk about with some degree of pain. While training up for Iraq, at Ft Hood TX & Ft Irwin CA, I wrecked my back running around with all the gear on, Body armor with plates, ammo, grenades, camelback filled w/ water, kevlar helmet & other gear putting a tremendous strain on my back. When I got to Iraq, my back got worse, but I had to keep going. Kept aggravating the injuries. I'd have to hit the deck when shots were fired, jump back up, with the body armor plates digging into my back. When the Iraqi guard towers were taken fire I'd have to race up the steel ladderways to get to the towers. I was 42 running around with 20 year olds. As an Infantry Fire Team Leader, It was my responsibility to be first man up into the towers & put my head over the wall. Adrenaline kept me going, there was no taking it easy. Sleeping on a hard army cot, did not help it any either.

When I got medevac'd out of Iraq 29 Jan 05, from a heart attack, it was a hard thing to leave my team behind. I tried to get the doctor to send me back, but they medevac'd me to Landstuhl Germany. My back started to heal somewhat while at Landstuhl, they gave me percocet & flexiril to help deal with the pain & heat packs to help my back. When I got to Walter Reed, I played down the back injury because I was trying to get my cardiac doctor to sign off on me returning to my unit in Iraq. He stalled me off until it was too late for me to go back, then I started to actively try and get treatment for my back. I went thru pool therapy, physical therapy, accupuncture, chiropracter, tens unit, they would help some, but my back kept getting worse. I was told that I was not a good candidate for back surgery. The final conclusion was that I would just have to live with the pain for the rest of my life.

I went through the corrupt and inept Army Medical Evaluation Board (MEB)/ Physical Evaluation Board (PEB). I was evaluated by Dr Harvey Cohen, who is openly biased against National Guard & Reserve soldiers, he told me that "You are just another National Guard soldier trying to live off the government" Now if he had been biased against me for race, gender, or religion there would have been a problem but it was ok for him to be biased against me for being a National Guard soldier. The board final determination was unfit for duty 10% which means I was medically retired with 0 compensation. Going through the MEB/PEB is one of the most humiliating and degrading experiences I have ever been to. They treated me more like a common beggar looking for a handout. I wanted to be fixed, they could not heal me so I wrongfully expected the Army to do the right thing & fairly compensate me for my disabilities.

I tried to get politicians to do something about the Army MEB/PEB, but no help, they smile shake your habd take a picture with you, then you never hear from them again. I Brought it to the attention of President Bush, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) Senator Domenci (R-NM), Senator Snow (R-ME), numerous Congressmen & Senators during the Building 18 scandal, but to no avail. The Army was allowed to continue its humiliating and disgraceful treatment of combat veterans. There were many other veterans screwed over by the corrupt system. I will go into further detail in future posts. Dr Harvey Cohen is still doing his biased evaluations & screwing hundreds or thousand of Wounded Warriors, in the MEB/PEB. It goes on because he saves the Army millions of dollars at the Wounded Warriors expense.

So now I am going through the VA health care, where they seem to be trying to save money by not prescribing pain medications, and I must battle their evaluation system, right now it stands at 40% but I am sure it will increase in time. I have been out of work due to my various injuries & PTSD related problems. I just would like to get back to my normal self, if that is possible. I used to be outgoing, fun, life of the party, hard charger, now I am withdrawn, I stay at home, avoid friends & family.