VIETNAM-THE VISION THAT WAS PLANTED IN MY BRAIN

One glaring similarity I share with all those who served in SEA  is the inability to this day to discuss it with those who weren’t there. It’s not for lack of finding the right words.  To this day, few ever vocalize what we endured or sum it up in descriptive adjectives. Simply put, I doubt there are enough adjectives adequate to describe even one tenth of it. Worse- no one seriously has a hankering to know the depraved depths of war at its most elementary level.

With the new Ken Burns Vietnam series comes a panoply of visual insults that can only attempt to presage what our mental fate would be forty or fifty years hence. As I’ve pointed out in a few articles I’ve written over the last eight years, not everyone’s brain is prepared to handle what we mentally inhaled on the Indochinese peninsula. I’ve been permitted to help a few of you attain what the Government and the VA have held just out of reach in those intervening years. I would never be so presumptive as to think another agent or attorney couldn’t accomplish what I’ve done, but then I can virtually count those who served over there and came home to practice VA law on my fingers. Some names you will easily recognize like Bob Walsh. Others, perhaps like Charlie Brown out of Florida, who earned the Navy Cross, may be strangers to your lips.  These men have an advantage few others do. They walked in those boots.

I’ve watched interviews of some of those affected by their 13 months in country (Marines). I’ve listened to Senator John McCain bloviate on his travails. Yes, he was recently maligned by the President but cry me a river and paddle to the other side. What does this have to do with the series? He managed to survive, become a congressman and marry into the Coors beer fortune so he wasn’t that damaged. Few of you know he collects a 100% compensation check monthly from VA, too.  In fact, I’ve listened to many stories but the whopper was Ken Burns himself explaining last week he was draft-age himself and “almost had to go”. That ‘s akin to serving in Saudi Arabia during the Afstan conflict and saying you feared for your life. From what? Lack of Scotch?

Talking with other combat Veterans here in my cocoon on the Key Peninsula, one ringing truth stands out. We survived. Bullets or B40s aimed at us either missed or failed to kill us. It wasn’t luck. I don’t believe in that. If it were luck, we’d all have cheated death. I met a few guys in my two years there who constantly insisted they were lucky right up to the moment they were not.

Revisiting Vietnam in a new television series will never bring peace to those of us who came home to screaming, insane crowds with a superior entitlement mentality who considered us untermenschen and irredeemable. Mr. Burns’ cinematic attempt to recast Vietnam as a study in what went wrong is misguided. That’s yesterday’s news. It doesn’t bring closure. We should throw a big, Nationwide block party and truly embrace our Sons of War to our collective bosoms. Hey. We took third place in Vietnam. Why can’t we be proud to settle for a Bronze medal in those Olympics?

All those Queshuns

Some of the things I heard or was asked during the ten years after coming home that make me smile to this day:

“So what did you do on weekends? Get drunk and party?”

“I almost went but I felt I had a greater obligation to America to finish college. Ya know?”

” I went to Canada but it was too cold in winter so I came back after it was over.”

“How could you kill all those women and children?”

“I protested that war. Somebody had to. I felt it was my duty to America.”

“You must really like violence to want to do that shit.”

“Is Napalm hot?’

Now, fifty years later, I hear equally inane comments from the very same group of fellow non-participants:

“Wow, that was a rough time, huh? I have a lot of life experiences almost identical to it.”

“How did you ever survive it? Did you smoke pot and shoot up junk?”

“Does it still affect you today?”

” I feel your pain. I had that very same feeling when my dog died.”

“Did you lose any friends?”

“Why did you stay two years if you didn’t have to? Did you have a death wish?”

And of course, the worst one of all-about 50 years overdue:

“Welcome home, Bro.”

Cupcake #1 became aware of my “history” in 1973- a mere 14 months after I returned. I managed to burn through that relationship in less than five years. I was ‘too warped’ and dwelled in the past in her words. Cupcake #2 has  always wondered how two short years in a foreign country could cast such an enduring pall on me considering I’ve lived to the ripe old age of 66. Last night, watching footage of Tet 1968, she said she finally “got it”. Few of those who were never there ever will. It wasn’t survival of the fittest. It was survival-period- for many.

Mr. Burns cannot capture the essence of calling in a CBU 26 hailstorm in words; the roar and whoosh of nape when it  sucks all the oxygen out of the air. You can hear it equally well flying overhead at 250 feet above the engine noise. Contrary to popular misconception, you can’t hear the screams of agony for several seconds over that deafening whoosh. But why revisit a discussion of something so revolting no one has been willing to talk about it for five decades? Why poke and prod at those of us who survived with foolish questions meant to pretend you share our angst? What is gained by reliving it? Let it be.

Having talked with many folks whose brains are not able to assimilate what they endured over there to this day, I gained one insight that didn’t need vocalizing. It was a no-brainer. No one who endures combat wants to relive the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat. VA is fond of Kumbaya group encounters where you stand up and say to your fellow bent brain compadres “Hi, My name is Bob. I did a year up in I Corps and I lost my entire platoon in less than two minutes west of Quang Tri. I haven’t been too tightly wrapped ever since. I just thought I’d share and relive that experience with y’all a few more times for its power to heal.  Oh yeah. And pass the Sertraline down this way, please.”

Many know of my disdain for Veterans Service Organizations and their insane desire to be nothing  more than an extension of the military mentality. I get a bang out of calling them up and asking if they have any of the records for a Veteran who has finally come to me for “real” representation. If you’ve ever seen a pit bull physically stretch a stout 1/4″ chain several inches and clothesline himself on his choke collar when you approach, I’m guessing you can visualize the analogy. To a man (or woman), the response is uniform- “Wait a minute, buddy. Just who in the hell are you? What organization do you work for?” That defensive mindset of someone entering into the bailiwick of Veterans Advocacy who is not accredited by a VSO raises the hackles on their neck. Few, if any, of these folks are real combat Veterans in spite of the tall tales you hear at their VSO bars. They have no conception of what we witnessed. Sadly, neither does the Veterans Administration. It’s one of those ‘walking in the the valley of the shadow of death’  things.

 I remember my post-Vietnam years and the early movie fare the public viewed that formed the basis of their misconceptions. Remember Apocalypse Now ? I couldn’t get a handle on that one. It didn’t jive with anything I ever experienced or heard of.

 

How about The Deer Hunter?   Here again, I guess I didn’t hang out in bars where Russian Roulette was in style like pool tables. Quite possibly more authentic than most was Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket. That at least had some remote cachet of reality like Platoon and both had excellent special effects.

 

 

 

Oliver Stone didn’t seem too awfully concerned with continuity in Born on the Fourth of July. If you want to engross and entertain the viewer, the very least you can do is adhere to reality. Look at Mr. Cruise’s medals and ribbons and you see the incongruity of a Marine combat Vet with a Purple Nurple and a BS but no Combat Action Ribbon. And why is the NDSM in the bottom row? Some will think I’m anally retentive but if you were there, you want to see reality as you remember it. If the film was just made of fluff to sell tickets with no basis in reality, I expect that’s fine. Why not insert a disclaimer? Ditto Good Morning Vietnam.

Charlie Sheen in Platoon looks too cool for school in this picture but who in their right mind would be running around with a finger on the trigger of an AK on ‘safe’ with dinks inside the wire. Sorry. Reality is AWOL.

The war I remember was filled with emotional highs and lows. It wasn’t a doom and gloom gig 24/7. There were moments of high humor. How many of you can remember taking the plastique propellant off a 60 mm mortar round and folding a c ration can lid around it with a protruding wire to make an impromptu bottle rocket?  The SFs up in Laos liked to take apart those small Swedish hand grenades and reduce the fuse to about 2 seconds. They’d leave them out on the  trail for the gooks to pick up and use. Now that’s my kind of humor. They also would leave 7.62mm ammo in cases with a round or two filled to the top with powder to demoralize the zipperheads. It’s a bitch to shoot when you’re shaking like a leaf on a tree wondering if your SKS is going to explode in your face when you pull the trigger.

Kubrick and Stone, in their wildest dreams, can never conceive of the the hi-jinks that went on in RVN, Cambodia and Laos. We lived each day as if we were bulletproof. We had to assume that or turn into morose, depressed troops. The thrill of Victory wasn’t the medals but the camaraderie of your fellow companions. The close bonds that many develop in this new Snowflake world we inhabit today can never approximate what went through your noggin when you and your buds were being shot at. The only other group I can see relating to this warped view are the guys who served, or are currently serving in Iraqistan or Afstan.

As they say, War is Hell but combat is a horse of a different color. If you got your ass kicked, you armored up philosophically and stoically proceeded to kill them right back. There was no rule book in this game from what I could gather. Animosity was a product of seeing your friends killed- not some story line about how your best friend back in Nebraska was having an affair with your girlfriend. And frankly, a point was reached after a few encounters that there was very little ‘against the law’. When the shit hits the fan, the   ROEs fly out the window.

I won’t go into semantic gerrymandering on whether it was right or wrong to fly over to a foreign country and take out a one-year hunting license for humans with a bonus for being good at it. I don’t need to. And most especially, I don’t need someone to moralize all over again about the legitimacy of it. We came. We saw. We got our ass handed to us on fine china by a superior force-one driven by an urge to be free- much like America in 1776.

If Mr. Burns and Miss Novik’s series does nothing else, it will provoke much thought that may give pause to doing this again sometime in the future. Unfortunately, George Santayana’s admonition and axiom that we have to revisit history about every fifty years to “relearn” it still holds true.  One look at Southwest Asia is all you need for confirmation.

Welcome home, Gentlemen. As you were.

And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Agent Orange, All about Veterans, From the footlocker, History, KP Veterans, Military Madness, VA Agents, VA Attorneys, Vietnam Disease Issues, Vietnam War history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

CAVC-JENSEN V. SHULKIN–25 0R 6 TO FOUR

Every once in a while the stars align at the CAVC and incredible combinations of judges on a panel coalesce into a great decision. Throw in a reverse and remand to “Make it so, Numbah One.” and you have the stuff legends (and great precedence) are made of. Here we have one of those conundrums wrapped in a paradox. At which point does a lower extremity gain designation as  ‘loss of, or loss of use of”. Fasten your safety belts and keep your upper extremities inside the vehicle at all times. This is cutting edge precedence for the ages-old SMC L argument about just how disabled you have to be prior to the magic incantation of ‘loss of use’.

Take a gander at Jensen here  http://www.veteranslawlibrary.com/files/CAVC_cases/2017/Jensen_15-4788.pdf

Some will look at Jensen as a purely precedential decision on Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) when in reality this is the newest razor-edge cutting case for a better definition of loss of use. The long, detailed legal path from the earliest days of SMC and SAH build a solid case of cites here we can now use to obtain loss of use of lower (or upper) extremities. I presently have two different claim appeals in this matter where VA is recalcitrant to grant an L for loss of use. One involves a mixed etiology of two diseases (brain anoxia and Parkinson’s ) superimposed on one another with neither apparently sufficient to merit the leap to R1 or R2. It’s nothing more than the VA’s setup straw man argument over pyramiding-i.e. “Well, if we give you 60% for thaaaaat, then we’d have to reduce the Parkinson’s because they duplicate the symptoms”. The truer argument is the enormity of both conditions catapults the Vet into R1 or R2 anyway.

The other SMC is a muscular dystrophy claim where the Veteran is wearing leg braces, Canadian crutches and inhabiting a wheelchair 95% of the time to perambulate but is still short of the magic loss of use metric in VA’s eyes since he can still waddle (stagger?) a short distance (less than 30 ft.). Remember, I once said VA employees’ ancestors were probably members in good standing of the Spanish Inquisition and invented some of those nefarious SM torture devices we see in those Toy stores. Here, the VA Secretary, in the persona of the Commander of the OGC, attempts to prestidigitate the words ‘such as’ into miraculous new meanings depending on which part of Part Three 38 CFR you are reading from.

Here’s the pertinent passage in 38 USC §2101

 (a)Acquisition of Housing With Special Features.—

Subject to paragraphs (3) and (4), the Secretary may assist a disabled veteran described in paragraph (2) in acquiring a suitable housing unit with special fixtures or movable facilities made necessary by the nature of the veteran’s disability, and necessary land therefor.

(B)The criteria described in this subparagraph are as follows:

(i) The disability is due to the loss, or loss of use, of both lower extremities such as to preclude locomotion without the aid of braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair.

 The essential position taken by the Board and the Secretary is that the phrase “such as” in section 2101(a)(2)(B)(i) means “and.” In the Board’s view, had Congress been more clear, it would have written that a veteran is eligible for SAH if his permanent disability produces (1) loss, or loss of use of both lower extremities; AND (2) precludes locomotion without the aid of braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair. The appellant asserts that the Board erred by ignoring the plain meaning of the phrase “such as.” He argues that section 2101(a)(2)(B)(i) clearly conveys that a “loss of use” exists if a veteran’s locomotion is precluded without the aid of braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair.

This is the ages old VA semantics game of disjunction and conjunction. VA would just as soon banish the  disjunctive ‘or’ from 38 CFR  and end this nonsense once and for all. That’s what this one is in a nutshell. It is what I, the Secretary, interpret it to say… today… in this particular appeal anyway. Pssssst! Mary Ann. We can do that, can’t we?

The most apparent reason that § 3.350(a)(2)(i) does not define the terms found in section 2101(a)(2)(B)(i) is that those two provisions apply to different abnormalities. Section 2101(a)(2)(B)(i) sets the standard for awarding SAH to a veteran suffering from a loss of use of lower extremities. Section 3.350(a)(2)(i) defines loss of use of a foot. The term “lower extremity” may include the foot but also the entirety of the “lower limb.” DORLAND’S ILLUSTRATED MEDICALDICTIONARY (DORLAND’S) 665 (32d ed. 2012).

Here, we reach the meat of the Court’s disgust with the Secretary’s shape-shifting view of loss of use. Remember, the Secretary can alter his regulations but he is not at liberty to reinvent that which Congress created -i.e.  38 USC:

The provisions discussed above reveal that the Secretary’s proposed interpretation of
section 2101(a)(2)(B)(i) is the product of a rhetorical sleight of hand. He asks the Court to
determine that the term “loss of use” is severable from the words “lower extremities” in section 2101(a)(2)(B)(i) but not from “foot” in section 1114(l) and § 3.350(a)(2)(i), state that “loss of use of . . . foot” is the same as “loss of use” in section 2101(a)(2)(B)(i), and reinsert “both lower extremities.” The Secretary’s interpretation alters the statute rather than clarifies it…

If the Court were to define “loss of use” in the SAH context in the manner that the Secretary now suggests, it would in effect reinsert into section 2101(a)(2)(B)(i) a diagnostic requirement that Congress wrote out of that provision in 1959.

But when did that ever bother the VA? Remember how I  always refer to this business or ratings as the VA 3-card Monte set up? The Court has now refined the concept as “rhetorical sleight of hand”. I reckon that’s just Judge Coral’s fancy way of trying not to call a spade a spade.

All of you VA litigators out there sit up and take notice. There’s a cornucopia of useful cites in this panel decision to use for SMC L just to begin with. Watch for the Secretary to immediately publish some new definitions in the Fed. Register soon to erase these mistakes. Fortunately he cannot strike down the earlier Congressional machinations leading up to §2101 which address the thinking process that gave birth to the concept of SAH. Think Muscular Dystrophy claims, spinal cord, use of locomotion devices,  etc. The camel’s nose is now under the tent.

Here’s the meat of this:

“Where a court concludes that Chevron deference is inapplicable, the court proceeds with the task of statutory interpretation guided by the principles of Skidmore v. Swift & Co., 323 U.S. 134 (1944).” Cook, 28 Vet.App. at 340. Pursuant to Skidmore, the Court “may properly resort for guidance” to the Secretary’s arguments. 323 U.S. at 140. “The weight of such a judgment in a particular case will depend upon the thoroughness evident in its consideration, the validity of its reasoning, its consistency with earlier and later pronouncements, and all those factors which give it power to persuade, if lacking power to control.”

Merry Christmas from the crew at 625 Native American Ave. NW. Our lives just keep getting better every day the Court is in session. Purdy soon it’ll be getting nigh on as easy as going catfish fishin’ with DuPont Spinners.

Posted in Independent Living Program, KP Veterans, Medical News, NOVA Attorneys, VA Agents, VA Attorneys, VA Medical Mysteries Explained, vA news | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

CAVC–ROSINSKI V SHULKIN–IN A WHITE ROOM WITH BLACK CURTAINS

Next to reversals, Extraordinary Writs of Mandamus always intrigue me. When filed by VA attorneys, they are generally a good read. When constructed as a class action suit to rein in the VA’s excesses, they are generally destined for immortality akin to Gilbert v. Derwinski or Chevron USA v Natural Defense Resources Council.

The gist of this one is simple. We, as agents and attorneys, are precluded from getting a peek at a Veteran’s preliminary “confirmed rating decision” (sans signatures). However, were we VSOs, we would be accorded this courtesy in an attempt to ensure fairness and accuracy to the Veteran in question. Let that sink in.

The advocates most likely to be aware of current statute and regulation are disbarred from the process simply because we are not a Veterans Service Organization representative. The VSO rep, who invariably knows little to nothing about VA law, is given free rein to peruse the document and make suggestions on the legality, effective date and much more in spite of their virtual inability to comprehend 38 USC and 38 CFR. This fustercluck has been accepted law for aeons and the VA Secretary ardently defends his policy.

The final wrinkle in the saga occurred when they allowed a real attorney in to review a decision recently. That broke the log jam figuratively and set the stage for Mr. Doug Rosinski, admittedly one of the finest VA attorneys to enter the practice, to pounce. And pounce he did.

CAVC 17-1117 is going to be a glorious piece of work. Imagine being allowed to sashay on down to the local Fort Fumble and inveigh on how the VA rater must have been raised by wolves to arrive at such a comedy of errors before it becomes set in concrete? This single change in policy could very well portend a sea change in how we, as Veterans, are rated.

The most obvious implication is that it could take years of appeals off the table by forcing the VA to do their job correctly the first time out rather than the present hit-and-miss system of endless appeals, lowballing, lost evidence, ad nauseum.

Not to be outdone, numerous amicus curiae are lining up down Indiana Ave. NW waiting to submit their two cents as well. All in all, this minor modification could very well eliminate the backlog at the Board of Veterans Appeals in short order. If we, as advocates, were allowed into the process at this stage, a lot of grief and error would be erased. In my own case, it would have saved me over eight years of litigation.

Of course, you just know who is going to raise a hue and a cry to be heard all the way to Congress. VSOs will try to argue that they are chartered by Congress and entrusted with all Veterans welfare. Why just look at their latest remodeling of the claims process called the Fully Developed Appeal for confirmation they have their head up their collective asses and are using their belly for a porthole. My apologies to any US Navy folk who are offended with my analogy.

We’re entering a new era of Veterans law. The Fed Circus recently accorded us the right to class action suits at the CAVC level and this will be the tip of a very large iceberg of same. Senator Alan Cranston,God rest his soul, led us out of the desert when he pushed for the VJRA so vociferously in 1988. It’s been an uphill battle in the ensuing decades but the volume and quality of the justice in the interim, not to mention the judicial tenor of the newer Federal Judges sitting on the CAVC has improved remarkably.

This one’s going to be a barn burner, I assure you. Bon appétit, Veterans.

 

Posted in All about Veterans, CAVC Knowledge, Extraordinary Writs of Mandamus, KP Veterans, NOVA Attorneys, Tips and Tricks, VA Agents, VA Attorneys, vA news, Veterans Law | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

VET KILLED GOLFING AT VAMC AMERICAN LAKE (WA)

This just in from our Brownwater contingent on the lower peninsula. I do so love humor.

 

 

 

 

Veteran killed by flying golf club

A group of Veterans playing a round of golf at the Veterans Administration golf course located at American Lake in Tacoma encountered a terrible mishap yesterday morning. Police are investigating this as a possible homicide but it appears possible it may have been an inadvertent accident. Witnesses’ reports vary widely but several factors are known.

Apparently, a younger group of four women Veterans were teeing off from the ladies tee on the first hole and one, a Ms. Vonida Trapes, was last to tee off. Trapes whiffed her drive and followed up with a five yard blooper. She addressed the ball again in front of the box and succeeded in topping it another ten or so yards.

In an apologetic response to the men patiently waiting on the men’s tee, she turned around and remarked

“ Excuse me. I guess all those f–king lessons I took over the winter didn’t help very much.”

One of the Veterans, 66 year old Lenny Watkins volunteered some moral assistance and tried to inject humor into the moment. His fellow members of the foursome contend that the comment was not very well received.

“”Well, there you have it. You should have taken golfing lessons instead!”

Seconds later he was struck violently in the head by Trapes’  3-wood. Witnesses vary in their narrative of how this happened. The ladies’ contingent maintains the club slipped out of Ms. Trapes’ hand in the middle of her backswing during her third stroke. The men contend that the club was purposely thrown and than Mr. Watkins, who was facing away from Ms. Trapes at the time, never had a chance to duck.

Funeral Services will be held next Saturday, the 21st of September at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Lakewood and interment will follow at  Tahoma National Veterans Cemetery in Kent, Washington at 1 PM with full military honors. Remembrances are requested to be sent to the United Way. Viewing will be all day Friday, the 20th, at Von Brock Mortuary in Spanaway. Mr. Watkins is survived by his wife of 46 years, Theresa, his three children and 8 grandchildren.

 

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Where to receive care? : VA and private hospital ratings

Frank forwarded a botched surgery US Today article to us about a one-star VA hospital in Memphis.  Here is the link to the VHA called “a house of horrors.” By scrolling down to can read how many “stars” VHA rates its hospitals.

Limited VA hospital data is now included on Medicare’s Hospital Compare search (LINK).

Medicare explains: (LINK)

 VHA has approximately 50 percent of Veterans enrolled in the healthcare system who are eligible for Medicare and, therefore, have some choice in how and where they receive inpatient services.

Medicare lists but doesn’t give stars to VHA hospitals.

Only two Memphis hospitals earned “gold seal” status (LINK) from the Joint Commission Quality Check (JCQC) (LINK), an accreditation non-profit.

US News Best Hospitals annual reports offer another good place to gather information before surrendering your hurting body to hospital staff (LINK).

They rate Memphis hospitals here but unlike the JCQC don’t give Selby/One Regional Health any kudos.  The rating standards are listed here.

US News doesn’t say much to say about Memphis VHA either (LINK).

Well, the moral of the story Frank forwarded is to do some research if you know you need hospital services and try to pick the best one for your condition.  If you are  geographically far away from a VHA, you may have some good private choices, whether Medicare/VA dual enrolled or not.  Even within the VA system, some hospitals do have excellent reputations with some conditions and you have the right to pick care elsewhere with your VA-PC’s referral.  There might even be a Fisher’s House nearby for free and comfortable housing assistance (LINK) during your treatment period.

So I would review and compare hospitals in this order:  the VA’s star system, the Joint Commission, US News report, and lastly Medicare.  One can’t prevent all the horrible mistakes made by hospital staff but you may be able to lessen the risks with prior research during a non-emergency period.

Click to see videos in 2015: Memphis staff leaves desk and floors for daily ; patient fed with no gloves.

A vet patient in Memphis VHA 2015 took some vids that ended up on Fox.   One doesn’t want to end up in this kind of hospital bizarre–one where bonuses are/were still handed out!  Click image to see his expose.

Posted in All about Veterans, General Messages, Guest authors, Medical News, Tips and Tricks, Uncategorized, VA Health Care, vA news | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and veterans

Based on news reports, governmental and community responses to Harvey have been robust so far (LINK).  There isn’t much space between Harvey and Irma, and although Jose may not become a hurricane, it’s still worrisome.  It is no exaggeration or cliche to say that this hurricane season may be of (almost) biblical proportions.

Click to go to hurricane warnings at NOAA.

About 175,000 veterans in the Houston area enrolled in VHA out of  500,00 local veterans (Military.com -LINK).  It’s hard to know how many of them have lost loved ones, pets, homes, vehicles, or businesses.  Some will have their benefits delayed, records misplaced or destroyed and numerous other extraordinary hardships and mishaps. The VA posts updates on their activities on the VAntage blog (LINK). Irma (LINK).  Harvey (LINK).

Promises, promises

“If you are a Hurricane Harvey affected Veteran and needing urgent care, go to your nearest provider and VA will take care of the bill – this is through Choice.”

Annapurni Teague, associate chief of staff for outpatient care, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center  (LINK)

Time will tell.  Since enrollment is based on lower incomes for the most part, not on having served their country–as many in the civilian public believe–many vets in need of care can be turned away.

Everyone is at risk for serious exposure to toxins such as molds after events like this, especially if they attempt to remediate their homes rather than raze and rebuild. (USA Today story– LINK)

The City of Houston tracks daily mold and pollen counts.

Click to go to the Health department.

This brings to mind an important benefit for veterans eligible to be enrolled by VA health care:  Allergy testing and treatments.  Many large VA medical centers have allergy clinics and I assume that Choice will cover the services available at those VHAs.

Many veterans with private insurance have large co-pays, deductibles and/or treatment limitations or no coverage at all.  Medicare does not  cover allergy testing without medically necessarily indications. For a list of covered and limitations, this webpage provides a comprehensive list (LINK) of medical codes.

So stay safe and let’s hope for a continued compassionate professional response in the aftermath of Hurricane Season 2017 because hurricane fatigue may settle in as the weeks and months continue.  If anyone at Asknod has had allergy-related ( ex. bad mold issues) information or insurance stories to share, please comment!

Posted in All about Veterans, General Messages, Guest authors, non-va care, Uncategorized, VA Health Care, vA news | Tagged , , | 22 Comments

WHEN SEX ENTERS THE HUNTING EQUATION

Oh girls, they wanna have fun

Bruce Almighty, our east coast Ambassador, and surely the asknod Ambassador of anything worth being the Ambassador of, sends me this conundrum. Paradoxes r us and we love to answer them.

Imagine this scenario.

It’s Fall. You set out afield and have a doe tag. Hell, in Georgia, unless I’m mistaken, they hand out deer tags for either sex like plastic beads on Fat Tuesday in New Orleans. Let’s choose another state such as mine here in Washington as an example.

Our aspiring hunter, holding said doe tag, inadvertently snuffs the 3-point buck just behind his intended doe because he misestimated the range and held too high. Now, to the burning question. Can our hypothetical hunter claim the buck wasn’t really a buck? Can he put forth a viable, post hoc rationalization that perhaps the buck always wanted to be a doe, but through no choice of his own he was born with the physical attributes of a male?

Perhaps this hypothetical buck associated almost exclusively for his three years on earth strictly with the opposite sex and indeed, was terminated in the presence of same. Wouldn’t an argument that, on the inside, this putative buck had always felt he identified more closely with other does? Could it not be said that any buck, in the virtual absence of social media outlets for deer to express their true sexual LGBQRST persona, and by virtue of their propensity to fraternize with other does, in essence was actually  a doe trapped in a buck’s body?

I’m just wondering if a body could get the game warden to buy that bullshit, because society and the Supreme Court already do.

Humor abounds here as most know.

Happy Labor Day.

Posted in Humor, KP Veterans | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment