Why is it so hard for Veterans to get the help they need? Being a veteran myself, you have always been told that there are support systems out there for you to reach for, but when you call you get transferred from this extension to that extension. Every time I have to call the VA regarding any issue I regret it. Why, you ask? No one knows the number you need or you have to talk to this person and tell them what’s wrong before you get a call back; you then have to sit by the phone for 30 minutes to 1 hour for a call back. So frustrating, and our government asks why aren’t more Veterans using these systems. The reason behind it is because the system is not working. I won’t say that every part of the system is messed up, but some of these people that work in the facility, in my experience, are either Veterans themselves or have worked for the Government in some type of capacity.
I know you are wondering, why the hell is he complaining? Quick back-story for those of you that don’t know; on April 25, 2010, myself and 7 other individuals were in a vehicle that was struck by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). Out of the 8 of us in the vehicle 5 of us were Medically evacuated (MEDEVAC’D) to the nearest trauma center, of the five that were flown to the nearest trauma center only 3 of us were sent out of country, 2 went to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and 1 (me) was sent to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. My injuries included: A Calcaneal Fracture on my right foot (heel fracture), torn ligaments in right ankle, 2 Herniated Discs in my lower back and a mild concussion. I won’t mention the injuries to the other individuals, because that is the type of information you share in this forum without their consent. Before I left the country, a splint was put on my right foot that covered my leg to the bottom of my right knee.
Now that you know my back-story, let me continue. I was medically retired from the military on October 27, 2012. Now that I am retired, my entire medical needs go through the VA or a provider that is under a VA contract. I know that here in the United States there is a problem with individuals getting hooked on prescription pain medications, mainly narcotic medication. I understand that, but what am I to do? I’ve taken a low dose Class II medication, but it doesn’t help. I also understand that a narcotic medication is only used to take the edge off and you have to slowly be given the medication and then when it times for you to come off of it. I got it. Now answer my question, what am I supposed to do? Conducting daily activities is getting harder and harder to do as these days, months and years pass by. I have no clue if I’m not explaining myself in the correct way or what, but I ask the same question, what am I supposed to do?
I know my complaints will go unanswered, but this system needs to be fixed. With the economy in the shape that it’s in I’m sure the system won’t be fixed anytime soon. Just know that I am not the only one that is going through this. There are thousands of us. I think that was the reason it has never been taken seriously, because I guess the administration thought we would go over to the foreign country we were fighting and come back unscathed? I know that they’re doing their best to get a system put in place for us, but why didn’t we didn’t learn from our previous conflicts. What about the Veterans that fought in the Puerto Rican Revolts, The Korean War, WWI, WWII, The First Indochina War, The Cold War, The Vietnam War, Second Indochina War, Laotian Civil War, Lebanon Crisis, Congo Crisis, Bay of Pigs Invasion, Colombian Conflict, Invasion of the Dominican Republic, The Korean DMZ Conflict, Cambodian Civil War, Soviet War in Afghanistan, First Gulf of Sidra Incident, Lebanese Civil War, Invasion of Grenada, Action of the Gulf of Sidra, The Bombing of Libya, Operation Earnest Will, Invasion of Panama, The Gulf War, Iraqi no-fly Zones Conflict, Operation Restore Hope, Somali Civil War, Operation Uphold Democracy, Operation Infinite Reach, The Kosovo War, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Yes, I know that a lot of those conflicts the U.S. may have had very little to no impact. What the average American doesn’t know that there are other operations going on without them knowing. I’m not saying I know about them, I’m just trying to prove a point. That point is we have had all these conflicts and those Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen have come back with the same symptoms that the same branches mentioned are dealing with today. I know as technology gets better and a lot more studies are done, but something or someone needs to be the voice for us, because they are not screaming loud enough. Not only do these individuals deal with physical wounds, we also deal with mental issues. When you say to an average American, mental problems automatically you or the person you’re talking about is crazy and needs to be put in a straight jacket.
At this point, I’m not sure whom to blame. Maybe we as Veterans aren’t screaming loud enough or not taking advantage of the programs that are put in place for us; maybe the administration doesn’t give a shit about us. I don’t know. It sucks to feel pain physically and mentally, but the only people that can relate are the people you went through it with. I understand that studies are done and they try to do their best to cover every aspect, but right now, it’s not working. They’re not enough facilities to facilitate all of the Veterans so a lot of us get overlooked or forgotten about.
I know I got a little excessive with all the conflicts, but I just want you guys to know that there are other Veterans than the ones of today. The Vietnam Veterans are so overlooked it makes me sick. Just their “welcome” back to the U.S. makes me want to throw up. Americans spitting on them, calling them baby killers and giving them a hard time. Americans need to realize that when we are deployed to these foreign countries, we don’t just go out on missions without orders from someone sitting in a position of power/influence and start killing innocent people. Yes, innocent people are killed, but when you don’t know who your enemy is, atrocities like that will happen.
I talked about a lot of stuff, but if you don’t remember anything from this post, I want you to remember this: there are a lot of Veterans out there and we are crying out for help, but most of our cries go unheard or blatantly overlooked because the average American doesn’t want to deal with it. Veterans Day has come and gone. Guess what, America is not talking about it anymore. Don’t just take ONE day out of the year to thank a Veteran, if see one or know one personally, do it EVERY SINGLE DAY.