Friday, August 16, 2013

16 August 2013 I could arm a town

Cassi Creek:  the past year has been a study in frustration.  I’ve been handed a diagnosis, Parkinsonism that qualifies for VA compensation.  At the time I was diagnosed as probably having the disease, I filed an online claim at a VA website, “Fast Track,” that was in place to expedite the high number of claims being filed by veterans, like me, who are now reaping the results of Agent Orange exposure. 
          The claim was backstopped by the TN veterans’ service reps at Mountain Home VAH.  Since then, I’ve heard nothing regarding the progress of my claim.  Even more perplexing was the inability to track my claim at the main E-benefits site. 
          I’ve pursued the claim status, made many phone calls, enlisted veteran’s service officers from several sources, and listened politely while being told that the VA system has as severe backlog of claims.  I’ve filed several requests for written status reports that generated no result of any sort.
          Today, I find that I can finally access the active claim status via the E-benefits site.  This, in itself, is a major change.  Since the Fast Track site is being decommissioned on 20 August, I was concerned that my claim would somehow flow downward to the bottom of some stack. 
          The data I accessed this morning tells me the claim is active.  However, it also indicates that the decision and notification may occur between 13 September 2012 and 31 October 2013.  I think the earlier gate is closed.  It also indicates, in smaller font, that any claim may take much longer than the average projected time. 
          So, it’s the old military game of hurry up and wait. 
          The initial treatment regimen did not produce much relief of symptoms.  The medication dosage was doubled after that.  I think that there will likely be either a dosage increase or additional medication added when I see the Neurologist in November. 

          Until then, patience and hope are the best options.  There are thousands of Vietnam vets in a similar position to mine.  If we had a national voice, and a Congress that was as eager to care for veterans as it is to send them off to foreign shores to protect corporate sponsors’ oil, we wouldn’t have to worry about arming Abilene or any other town.  However, it requires only a short time dealing with an underfunded VA to realize why some of us slip down the broken road into desperation.  

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