Moderatrix’ note: I wrote this on 16 November, 2008. For some reason I thought I had written it here and I did not. I am sharing it now, because I want to show how disability and medical care intersect with Military and Veteran’s issues. Something I want to bring attention to is just how difficult it is to get continuity of care as a Veteran, and the challenges involved in getting disability from the Military or the VA. If I had a way to work in the system to improve it I would take the opportunity. For now, I will work on bringing awareness to the topic.
Thursday I met w/ a new Primary Care Manager.
This is my fifth official PCM in about three years. I have also had several other general practitioners b/c each of those PCMs was either retiring, deployed, or otherwise unable to treat me. The most I have seen any of them is about five times. I have also in that same amount of time been seen by two Psychologists, one Psychiatrist (b/c it’s all in my head, yo!), a Chiropractor/Kinesiologist, a Physical Therapist, two Neurologists, a Rheumatologist, and a Dietitian (b/c if only I wasn’t a big fatty I would feel better!).
I have been on Vicodin, Oxycodone, and at least three other narcotics over the last three years, no less than five sleeping medications, two allergy meds (for inexplicable rashes), three different anti-depressants, two anti-convulsants, any analgesic that is available, and five medications that hadn’t been available for more than a month.
I have been over medicated, under medicated, drugged out of my mind to the point where taking all of the pills in my cupboard sounded like a good idea (but I didn’t, I flushed them and got help instead), tried herbal remedies, vitamins, supplements, diets, and countless other suggestions. I have tried hypnotherapy, electroshock therapy, heat therapy, cold therapy, and physical therapy.
I have been poked and prodded, had my blood, urine, stool, and everything else checked routinely all to be told it was “inconclusive”. I have had so many X-rays that the corpsman thought I had been in a car wreck. I have had CTs, MRIs, and something similar that is purely vascular. If there is a way to image your body internally, it’s been done.
I have been called a drug seeker, told it was all in my head, told I was just depressed (but who wouldn’t be w/ all of this shit going on?), too fat, or that there is no answer.
I was medically discharged from the military.
I can’t handle being on my feet for more than a few hours at a time.
But Thursday, a doctor listened to me. He said from the looks of my record it would seem as if they are trying to get rid of me rather than try to treat me. He finds if foolish that they would shuffle me off to psych rather than try to actually improve the quality of my daily life…and says that the way they are shuffling me around that sooner rather than later I am going to labeled a drug seeker (me, who has refused narcotic treatment for almost two years b/c of fear of that label and the first time someone accused me of it…I just want to be able to move) and no one will treat me.
So, Monday I get to go in for yet again another round of labs, b/c I haven’t been poked w/ something sharp in about four months. I got a referral to the same Rheumatologist who first said I have fibromyalgia, then refused to write it in my medical board write up so the Navy didn’t have to be accountable for it (that VA claim is getting on it’s way). He’s the same guy who told me it could be anything including PTSD (PTSD?!?), so it can’t be anything. But then I get to go back to this new doctor, who at least seems to be listening (put me back on the one anti convulsant that helped*, but didn’t forget to remind me that if I could only lose weight…), but he did remind me that he shouldn’t be treating a chronic pain patient. Funny, when I had to request a new PCM, I told them I needed someone to treat me as a chronic pain patient…
So, that is where it stands right now. No relief, no news, basically square one.
I will say, however, that it is nice, that when shit hits the fan, that I am able to find out that I really have good people who care. Thanks to all who have shown concern and kind words. You all rock. I learned some tough lessons this year, and have come through better, if not yet healed, due to it. If my body is continuing to fail, at least my soul is feeling better for now. I know we all have shit going on, but it is nice to see that people are able to reach out to each other when those who matter need it. You rock!
* I am no longer on that medication, or the Lyrica that I was browbeaten into taking, as there is no Rheumatologist available where we live now, or Neurologist. The closest thing I can get is an appointment w/ the Sports Medicine Clinic, which I will try as soon as I am no longer stranded in Japan. The Lyrica is not available in the Tricare formulary, and has to be bought and paid for in the civilian sector and out of pocket. I wasn’t even able to get enough to overcome the side effects (which I usually experience heavily) or to even see if I would benefit from it in any way. The anti-convulsant (Toredol) is the single most effective drug I have been on, despite the side effects, for keeping away my as yet unexplained Not Migraines.