LIFE IN THE CORONA LANE

Golly doggies. I never thought I’d see the blame game rise to such a vociferous he said-she said level. I read this morning that an Arizona couple decided to self-medicate with chloroquine phosphate. He died and she’s sicker than a dog. Apparently, our discredited President told them to take it.  That dramatically moves the goalposts of the “it’s not my fault” theory of law. I wonder if she plans to sue?  It is decidedly different than a genuine prescription of  chloroquine which is what we ate in Vietnam to reduce our chances of coming down with malaria. Chloroquine phosphate is used to clean fish aquariums. I’m gonna go out on a limb and bet the container said it’s not for human consumption. Similar warnings abound on Erythromycin antibiotics and other medications used in fish aquariums. This looks more and more like a Darwin Award candidate from the dry lake bed end of the gene pool. 

Cupcake and I no longer have fish pets. My three-year old son turned up the aquarium heater back in 1990 and cooked a pair of breeding discus fish with offspring.  Fortunately, that insulates us against this very same medication mistake. An interesting aside here is that we innovative Vietnam airmen were reduced to crushing up hydroxychloroquine tablets and mixing them with soda water or Perrier to approximate tonic water for our Tanqueray and tonics during afternoon tea. You can’t drink gin straight unless it’s properly chilled to 32 degrees and you aim the vermouth bottle towards Paris. This incidentally might explain why we had a substantially lower rate of malaria infections than our Army and Marine counterparts. I disremember anybody dying from too many G&Ts.

Our Governor finally announced yesterday afternoon everyone has to tremble in place and refrain from going out in public for several weeks until this blows over. Frankly, I find this disturbing. Who’s delivering the food? Are they virus-free? What about the mail delivery associate? Hey, being isolated with Cupcake, Pickles and the rest of the tribe is not mentally excruciating. I’m not a gadabout anyway. I spend 99% of my time right here in the asknod cockpit hammering out legal briefs and these inane blogs. The Governor’s blurb includes a list of all the services which are considered essential and will continue to be open. The list runs to twenty pages. Hell, marijuana and booze were at the very top of his essential list. By the time I read the whole article, it was apparent they could have made a very short list of who were required by law to stay home and say everybody else was free to roam about the country on Southwest. Based on this, 77% are essential folks who are required to work. How is that going to prevent the spread? After two weeks, us 33% all come out of hibernation and get hit with the bug. Steer clear of the aquarium water.

America is resilient. We fought two wars-three if you count Korea. Vietnam doesn’t count according to the VFW because it was a lowly “conflict”. Okay. I concede they changed the rules and accept Veterans who are not “war” Veterans now. Of course they’re accepting just   about anyone now to help hold up the bar- including Stolen Valor types. In any event, the Corona ‘cough and die’ syndrome will go down in history books as particularly virulent… like SARS and MERS. Could be we’ll never shake hands again and continue to bump elbows. Could be a lot of old folks will punch out to a heavenly zip code from it. Endless conjecture will solve nothing. Ditto worrying until you’re reduced to tears. If you’re poor, quit eating and go on that diet guaranteed to make you lose 35 pounds in two weeks. Your friends will be pea green with envy when they see you again.

I looked in Facebook this morning before beginning this tome and was mortified to see all the caterwauling, ‘sackcloth as fashion’ and ashes being anointed on foreheads across our fruity plains. I remember a FNG who arrived in-country one monsoon day back in early September 1970. He talked endlessly about anything and everything around us. It plumb drove us crazy. “So what do you do on weekends around here?” “What was that noise?” “What days do the dinks usually hit us ?” “Do we have to get permission to shoot back?” “Do you prefer to call them dinks or gooks?” ” Why do you count to two before you throw your hand grenades?” And on and on… for a year. I’d hazard a guess he was still asking questions when he got on the 130 Klong flight to go back to the World 364 wakeups later. “What time do we arrive in Oakland? Are they serving dinner on this flight?”  I wouldn’t be surprised if he helped invent FacePlace® with ol’ Mark Whazzisbutt 25 years later. LORD, that man could lay down some word cable. And yes, we nicknamed him “Chatty Cathy doll” or Doll for short. That was probably the longest year of his life. I’d hate to be his wife for the next two weeks. That would be cruel and unusual punishment.

If you set March 1st as the beginning of corona ‘wokeness’, then we’re into this about 24 days. That’s a mighty short time to develop catastrophe dementia. World War Two gave us Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Stewart. Korea bequeathed Elvis Presley on us. The Cold War begat bomb shelters. Vietnam begat the Rolling Stones and the SACO Arms M 60 Pig. I used to sing ‘Satisfaction’ by Mick and the boys to keep the barrel cool-.i.e. only shooting during the guitar riffs.  I don’t remember sitting around crying or going into a deep funk. Sure you got depressed when your buddies didn’t come back to the airpatch and land at 1700. That’s why we got up the next day at O dark thirty and flew back over the PDJ and killed them right back. We’ll conquer this corona bug and move on the same way. You guys and gals sure don’t need a pep talk from me. I don’t do parades either. Relax. We’re Americans. We can win anything if the politicians get out of the way.

One thing we can be sure of is that when this fustercluckery abates, we’ll still be here. Well, most of us. Some of us will be forced to build detached garages or small outbuildings to house all that OCD toilet paper and hand sanitizer binge shopping. Maybe a new gun safe for all those new rifles and pistols. You’ll eventually use it. I stuck all mine up in the attic. Another trick I learned a long time ago out birdhunting with my dad (and later on in Vietnam). If one of our dogs hung on barbed wire, we’d have to carry them back to the car and sew them up. “Doctor” Henry would shave a forearm and hit them with Ace Promazine and surgically clean the wound area with Jack Daniels or Black and White scotch. Of course, the surgeon (Dr. Dad) performed a short obeisance ceremony towards Kentucky or Scotland before oral cleansing (as well as any assistants). I never got any because I was about 7. Nevertheless, the concept of liquor as an antiseptic was born in my mind. So relax. If you think you’re going Bingo on hand sanitizer, do an inventory of all that low rent booze left over from your Christmas party and repurpose it if necessary. The next several weeks are going to call for some of us to reinvent our lives. It may even require thinking inside the liquor cabinet. Boy howdy I don’t know what to say about the marijuana thing. Damned if you do- and frankly-quite possibly damned if you don’t. If you’re addicted and not very adventurous,  you’re in for a long drying out period. Conversely, if you choose to drive down to Crazy Patty’s Pot Shoppe, which will be open because it’s on the “essentials” list the Governor published, you run the risk of getting pulled over by Officer Friendly to ask just why in Sam Hill you think you should be out and about. I can spot the stoners around here now. They’re the ones sitting at stop signs waiting for them to turn green.

Pickles and I are now on album III of Babble© Spanish for dogs. Cupcake swears she thinks Princess can say Hola but it’s sketchy. It’s identical to that noise she makes when she looks you square in the eye and barfs after eating too much horse manure. As for that eeeeoww at the end of her yawn, I think every dog does that-so I’m thinking about asking for a refund.


Tengo que usar el baño.

Pickles is letting herself go on personal hygiene. She hasn’t shaved or taken a bath in weeks. More anon. Be safe.

 

 

Posted in All about Veterans, AO, Corona pandemic, FACE HUMOR, Humor, KP Veterans, Medical News, Pickles, Tips and Tricks, VA Agents, Vietnam War history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

VA-ADDITION IS NOT OUR STRONG POINT

Cupcake and I were self-isolating with good reason before the poop hit the fan. This began way back in early February. We got the ugly news about a month ago when the blood labs check engine light came on. Her CBC test for White Blood Cells (WBC) came back very low after radiation therapy. Seems every laboratory has a different spread of what constitutes high or low readings. Apparently 3,000 or less of them boogers on any scale is not good. It becomes a problem when you don’t have enough because your body needs them to fight off bugs like flu, colds and… coronavirus. I have to isolate with her to avoid dragging the dreaded bug in from the post office or from meeting with clients. If I absolutely have to leave, she makes me strip to the birthday suit in the laundry room when I return and take a shower. The clothes go straight to the washing machine.

This Corona dilemma isn’t so ominous or mentally depressing as it sounds. I imagine it would be if you lived in an apartment building and all you had was an iguana and a view of your parking lot. We don’t. We live on five acres and it’s not a viable solution to tell the horses they have to get their own hay, water and feed. My feral kitty Ambush lacks an opposing thumb and finds it difficult to reload her food dish. Pickles and Widget live indoors with us and my parrot Buddy so we all quiver in place except for poop patrols and the mailbox run.  I’m not so asinine as to deprive the dogs from hanging out with their buds in the neighborhood. Aly, Jakson and Gus still come over for playtime every day. I hear dogs can get this but I doubt they’re going to get it around here. We don’t live near any nursing homes.

Buddy- 51 years old

Pickles- 1 year old

Ambush-9 yrs old

Widget 10 yrs old.

I’ve been browbeating the old BVA hearings Coordinator in Seattle( Tammy S.) to crank out one of my widow’s BVA wins. She’s been camped out on it for almost a month. The National Work Queue nowadays kites rating decisions all over the country to be written. Tammy has to follow their lead. In this case, some gomer in Newark granted two A&As-one each for Bob’s IHD and his three cancer sites (brain, sinus and lungs). I wrote about this recently and here it pops up in my back yard.

https://www.va.gov/vetapp18/files8/18126101.txt

Tammy is good at coordinating hearings. Unfortunately, her mathematical prowess is lacking. She did pick up on the two SMC Ls for A&A but blew it on the number of months due. She came up with six. I guess that’s the newfangled VA math, huh? When you first win, VA begins paying you the month following your win. When you die, your spouse or estate gets one last check the month following your demise. It’s called the Month of Death check or MOD. If you lived two minutes into a new day on a new month, you get paid for that whole month. Quy Nhon Bob made it all the way to noon on July 1st, 2018. Ergo, his widow was entitled to that month for his comp. check. VA had rated him on June 21st, 2018- ten days before he punched out- with a 100% schedular with an effective date of December 26th, 2017 for P&T at SMC S. Count with me, folks. All of December, January, February, March, April, May, June….and July. I come up with eight months. They gave him SMC S for that period but inexplicably, when we got the Rating decision back after the BVA win in February, they granted two A&As. For some reason, they revisited the 6/21/18 and gave him SMC L (A&A) for the IHD at 100%.

Tammy emailed me back and said SMC wasn’t her strong point and she had asked for a good mentor to walk her through this one. She started doing ratings back in 2007 when she went to work for VA. She went back to her old calling in 2019 after the inception of the AMA and the BVA honchos taking over her hearing board coordination duties. Tammy, or her super duper mentor Katrina, need to go back to SMC school. They tried to use the SMC calculator. Not. She did, to her credit, dial in on the dual A&As but only came up with six months instead of eight.

Here’s the problem. Tammy granted SMC “O” for two SMCs at the L rate- the two aid and attendance ratings which are separate and distinct. However, as most know, When you are granted SMC O, and one of the SMC Ls is for A&A, you get to do the chutes and ladders game and advance to R1. It makes no difference if you have more than one A&A. The metric is that you must have two ratings between SMC L and N-period- to qualify for SMC O. If one is for A&A, you yell Bingo! There’s another arduous path via SMC N 1/2 plus a SMC K which would get you there but that’s a mighty tall order. You’d dang near look like a 50-gallon barrel with your head sticking out. No legs,arms or a winky. SMC N is spartan in its requirements.

I’ve studied SMC for years and still call up my old former BVA Veterans Law Judge Brad for a “what if…” every once in a while. This is SMC 101 though…unless you’re trying purposefully to shortchange the Veteran. No one can tell me the M 21 suddenly gets vague and balky when it comes time to input the LOU/A&A parameters. Once you get to SMC O, the language in the regulation §3.350(e),(h) is explicit and easily decyphered.

(h) Special aid and attendance benefit; 38 U.S.C. 1114(r) – (1) Maximum compensation cases. A veteran receiving the maximum rate under 38 U.S.C. 1114 (o) or (p) who is in need of regular aid and attendance or a higher level of care is entitled to an additional allowance during periods he or she is not hospitalized at United States Government expense.

Looks like Tammy and her mentor Katrina V. only looked at §3.350(e). My quandary is whether to do a VAF 20-0996 Higher Level of Review (HLR) or go to the BVA on direct review and have someone who can count without using their fingers do it. Since there is no intelligent life at the 56 ROs across our fruited plains, my choice is limited. From what I’ve seen so far, a HLR would probably produce an identical result and a confirmation that Tammy and Katrina are spot on. In all my years of doing DRO formal reviews, all I ever encountered was a copy and paste of the original denial with essentially a “What part of ‘no’ did you overlook?” Here, the relative inability to understand SMC at all indicates the futility of a successful do over. I’m hearing from other Attorneys that some of these HLR litigators  er VA examiners are emailing or sending us letters saying they refuse to do a HLR informal telephone call because nothing we say would ever change their minds. Many of these attorneys have submitted legal briefs to explain the error. VA puts these in the circular file and claims we are not permitted to submit squat. Imagine. Due process? The right to face your denier? This is quite obviously not what Congress envisioned. I wonder how long it will be before someone at the corner of Delay and Deny Ave. notices this glitch. Until then, I won’t be going anywhere near a HLR filing.

Meanwhile back at the COVID 19 gig, the humor rolls in. I certainly don’t subscribe to the suffering of others but I learned a long time ago about the depravities of war. This is really no different. We’re all on the firing line. The Golden BB could find any one of us on a given day. That’s no reason to pout and have existential meltdowns. Life will eventually right itself. We’ll all look back on this like  9/11/2001 or the economic meltdown in 2008. Shit happens and then it goes away.

Try as I might, I try to avoid laughing about this corona business. I don’t buy 4 rolls of TP at a time. Costco only sells it in the “nuclear” packaging-like enough to last you ’til the Cesium 137 level outside gets below 4,000 ppm in 2021. The same applies to peanut butter and steaks. That’s why we have freezers, folks.

Within the next month to six weeks, we’ll all look back on this as a bad dream. The government, meanwhile, will have found a way to spend trillions on crap we’ll never use. Hotels will be converted into hospitals and then converted back into hotels. Everyone will be poorer except for those who were heavily invested in the stock market who got the ‘word’ ahead of time and bailed. Cupcake and I lucked out on that one. When I was cured of Hepatitis C by a Gilead Sciences product (Sovaldi), I decided to help them out and bought about $10 K worth of shares at $59. It never went anywhere…until last week. I see it hit $78 last Thursday. Rather than piss all of you off out there and dump it, I decided to hold on to it and let it go where it will.

Last on the Saturday report is a daisy from my good friend Ed the LURP. Keep your eye on the doughnut. A word of warning. Be safe. If you buy any veggies at the grocery store, scald them with hot water. Seems the teenage pukes are spitting and coughing all over them in hopes of decimating us old folks. Ditto toilets. I hear the new Corona challenge is to lick the rim. I hear a double dog dare involves taping Tide pods around the rim. Cool beans.

Posted in Agent Orange, All about Veterans, Appeals Modernization Act, Corona virus, FACE HUMOR, Humor, KP Veterans, Tips and Tricks, VA Agents, VA Attorneys, Vietnam Disease Issues | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

CORONA UPDATE–LZ GRAHAMBO

Ne Habla Espanol.

Keeping in mind the fact that I am demented and starve without humor infusions, I do respect all you folks’ concerns over this nasty corona thing. It’s ugly. It’s dangerous to us old farts although I hear some dude in Colorado who was 45 ate it. I’d be asking for an autopsy to see what it was that could whack a guy that young. I got it in 2001 one early summer while we were up on San Juan Island in NW Washington and it dang near whupped me. I had a ripsnorting good fever and could look up at the cathedral wooden ceiling lying in the living room  and watch all the knot holes move around in between puking. It was a 12/12 pitch log cabin so it was waaaaay tall. Ibuprophen was about all that could cut down the fever. It took two weeks to shake it off. 

So I commiserate with what it feels to get these things. Strep throat is another good example. Been there. Done that. So… a contributor sent me this and insists it’s humor. If you’ve been self-isolating, by now you’re reading old Time magazines from the garage dated back to 2018. Good thing you saved them. That’s future toilet paper stock, bro. I’ve got the American Rifleman going all the way back to 1980 so I’m set, too. Another Vet wrote me to share that he scored about 6 months worth of antibiotics at the fish store for a song-like $38. Apparently they sprinkle it in to aquariums to cure fin rot. Well, shoot. There you go. No MRSA flesh-eating rot on that old boy. Seriously, PetzMart™ doesn’t have the mega antibiotics we use these days. We’re talking erythromycin and ampicillin in a cyclosporin world.

Anyway, here’s the missive from my Doomsday Prepper. It’s not encouraging as it may come true. Until then, it’s just humor-well, to me it is. I’m guessing there’s someone out there who will call me rude, crude, socially unattractive and insensitive-not to mention boorish- for making fun of a national disaster. I’m sorry. Worldwide, only 8,017 have died to date. Do you folks know how many people there are on earth? 7.53 Billion with a ‘B’. 8,017 souls, while regrettable, would be a drop in an olympic swimming pool of water. This is not a “pandemic”. The Plague, caused by rats in the Middle ages was a pandemic. It killed millions just in England alone and persisted for years. Folks abandoned cities and moved out to the ‘burbs and bought 3 bedroom, 1 1/2 bath ramblers. That’s probably how they fixed it. To this day they always build houses about 10 feet apart so you can self-isolate…you know…like when this happens. I’m guessing Doordash® is making a fortune.

But back to our erstwhile Prepper all  self-sequestered. Imagine…

 

CORONA VIRUS–DAY 16

If anyone is still out there, I’m still alive but struggling. Food is running low. I’m down to only 459 days left. I continually sanitize my hands every hour. My butt is clean thanks to a lifetime supply of Charmin™  pastel bear-tested, papier toilette. It’s not new. I suffer OCD.

I’m down to 1599 rounds of 5.56. I dropped one down the heating vent this morning while I was scoping the front yard from the bedroom window. I count them every day to make sure. The power, water and cable are still on but for how long? I don’t think I own a radio. But that’s okay. I’m on Facebook but I don’t really know anybody except for my mom. That’s funny. I haven’t heard from her in a week. Everybody’s wary of getting viruses so nobody will friend me.

I’m missing human interaction but I have my dogs. Just for now, I’m planning ahead.  I’m soaking their food in Sally’s Cajun BBQ sauce to sort of marinate them from the inside out in case I have to eat them. It kind of gave them the shits, too. I fear dark days ahead. News is all bad on CNN. Turns out it was America’s fault after all.

Nearby neighbors have attempted to leap from windows to their deaths. Well, not exactly. We all live in ramblers on my street so most just end up with really bad bruises on their faces and arms.  

The worst news is I’ve blown through all the Netflics© series even worth watching so I’m triaging them now to decide which ones I’m going to watch again. 

Basic survival is a definite challenge. I plan to persevere to the bitter end. I’m thinking about subscribing to the Pet Channel® and watching the series about teaching your dog Spanish. I’m guessing that’ll sure eat up a few weeks. 

Sequester we shall. Yesssssssssssssssssssss. Live long we will. Mmmmm.

Posted in FACE HUMOR, Humor, KP Veterans | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

FREE COVID 19 TESTS

The Jaymeister

Man, don’t tell me our Governor here in Washington state is any slouch. Governor Jay Inslee is a former US House representative.  He’s been kicking around for a few years. Rumor has it he may be born hereabouts instead of a migrant from California. Whatever you say about him pro or con, you should know he’s the first to step up and tell all of us Washingtonians that he’s got our back.

 

 

Today Governor Inslee declared he is providing free novel Corona Virus 19 testing for all Washington’s citizens starting next Monday, the 23rd of March. There are no catches. No prepays or copays. This is the real McCoy. I called his press release folks and they swear this is on the up and up. No other Governor across the country has stepped forward with such a bold proposal to protect their constituents so we should set our political differences aside. We are no longer Blue or Red. We are now Washingtonians faced with an extreme pandemic situation that demands action. I’m personally proud to be a citizen of this state now.

Here’s how you get this deal. First, you’re going to have to have a fever or a reasonable fear of having the virus before you just abuse the system. If you feel your symptoms meet the criteria of Coronavirus’ parameters, you simply have to collect and enclose a stool sample in a sealable ziploc baggy.  Place in a leftover Amazon box or whatever you have and enclose a self-addressed and stamped envelope and send it to:

Gov. Jay Inslee

Capital Building Annex

P.O. Box 3022

Olympia, WA 96242

Attn: FREE COVID 19 TEST

The USPS has Priority mailing  for $7.75 and even provides a free box exactly the right size. Just bring some good quality strapping tape to the Post Office with you because they do not provide it.  Test results can take up to 10 working days to get your results.

P.S. Of course this joke would work equally well if you were to adapt it to the VA and Secretary Wilkie. Unfortunately, now that I work within the system, I cannot “piss in the well” any more than I already do. It seems my fame precedes me when I deal with the hierarchy of the VA. It’s far easier to grovel to get my Vet his 100% or SMC. It probably wouldn’t incite the tinfoil hat crowd as much either as you see below in comments.

Posted in Corona virus, Humor, VA Agents | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

VBA350 FT. FUMBLE ARKANSAS–BAD MOON ON THE RISE

Ever believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Faery? Shoot. Of course you did. Towards the end, you really struggled to believe even though everything pointed to a litany of lies. How come Santa’s signature looked just like Mommy’s? How come the Yoda doll had a ToysBUs® price sticker on the box? All these queshuns. My best friend Stephen Sheehy shared the mouse trap technique to catch the friggin’ Tooth Babe so I could drag her in and show her to my sisters to prove them wrong. Boy howdy did that one backfire. Mom didn’t speak to me for a week and a guaranteed source of income dried up. Poof. Just like that. Stephen’s a lawyer in Annandale, VA. now right near where we all grew up at Seven Corners. Pretty sketchy advice for a future lawdog.

Likewise, with the advent of the new Appeals Management Act, we all desperately wanted to rebelieve the VA and Congress were recommitted to helping Him who shall have borne the battle. One of these days, Trump or one of his ilk will declare henceforth that from __/__/____, any reference to a veteran shall be capitalized as ‘Veteran’ to distinguish Our club from veterans of 20 years at Bob’s Used Car Lot or veterans of the Multnomah Fire Dept. for over 10 years ad nauseum. Just remember I began capitalizing Us here in 2008.

False Alarm. VA didn’t get all warm and fuzzy. It didn’t get easier. It didn’t become less complicated judging by how many calls we get here at asknod. I was beginning to see the footprints all over some of my claims so I began to take them up a notch. I recently did the hat trick for A&A with a side of extreme fall risk from Parkinson’s. John arrived for the C&P with me pushing him in his wheeled chariot. The doctor did everything in his power not to test him to see if he could walk. They got him up to weigh him and again just to prove he could get up when pulled up by two nurses. I politely asked the asshat “Doctor” from EBF Malaysia if they were doing a Loss of Use exam that day. Negatory. But I can see it in the exam request. After they only coughed up A&A, I emailed  the Assistant Director Caesar Whatzizbutt (and VA Secretary Wilkie just for shits and grins) and politely asked them to reconsider their decision. John also just got a bummer from the VAMC with his new A&A. Seems they misdiagnosed him on the fatigue for the last 8 months. Turned out it was acute lymphoblastic Leukemia so they gave him another 100%. That gets him a bump up to SMC M. Whoopee. The leukemia needs a SMC L for Aid and Attendance all by itself. What? you never heard of two A&A awards? Well Pilgrim, take your protein pill and strap on the brain bucket. Read this gem.

https://www.va.gov/vetapp18/files8/18126101.txt

I laid that one on Caesar and it went over like a deer in the headlights. It was about that time that I realized he probably doesn’t even know how to write in cursive let alone use legal reasoning. It’s also why the RVSRs all have to use the SMC calculator to do SMC math. I joke but they probably also require two signatures to go to the bathroom, too-if, mind you- the bathroom request was submitted on the correct form. If not, resubmit.

So, here’s how I know for certain sure the new AMA is merely a retread of the old Legacy.  It’s a new paint job but still the rusty Chevy underneath. It began back in 2017 when we submitted a §1151 malpractice claim for Chase. Just on a hunch, I threw in a claim for SC for his underlying Hepatitis C that caused the cirrhosis and the need for a new liver. Actually, they tried to hose a F4 barely compensated cirrhotic individual avec elevated ANA with the magic Triple Drug Cocktail of Interferon, Ribavirin and Telepravir. He lasted a month and went belly up.  VA had denied this before we got back from putting the flag up on the mailbox. I got really good records from the transplant doc and another Doctor in Little Rock saying they would never have done this with Sovaldi/Harvoni right around the corner and in trials. There was also the fact that VA didn’t get a signed signature to inject shit into his body cavity (Interferon). Yep. Can you believe it? They got two verbal okays if you believe in hearsay. But just  because you’re a nurse’s assistant, your word is not enough. VA demands a John Hancock on an electronic record stored in VistA. Check out §17.32(d)(v). I told the Coach there was none. She flogged the CAPRI folks three times from August to October and predictably, they finally conceded there was none.  The SOC says they informed him verbally twice and that was good enough. Not…

But the best part comes later. Just as they are getting ready to launch the SOC torpedo, some rocket ranger gasps and says hold the phone, Ramone. We forgot to adjudicate the Hep C. Another month goes by and they redig the punji pit a little larger to accommodate a longer SOC. This puppy was about 50-odd pages. §17.32(d)(v), of course, was AWOL. But you see the silver lining. When he wins the Hep C claim , the §1151 claim becomes moot.

I promptly called up Mednick and we beat the 60-day suspense date for rebuttal. But, drawing on a hunch, I decided to go the Supplemental Lane with a 20-995. They take about 25 days to realize you aren’t going away and know how to play VA poker. Bingo. They grant and you’re done after a few arguments about TDIU etc. But I screwed up. There’s a box in #13 you have to check saying you’re opting in to the AMA from an SOC or SSOC. I forgot to check it.  A week later I look in the file to see if they got it and this is what I see (below). They’ve gone into a huddle and their mutual decision is to let this expire as a legacy appeal due to lack of a filed Form 9. They then accept it as a supplemental the day after Bingo and grant and screw Chase out of 4 years of retro. They know they’re going to lose but they ‘re going to shaft him. Read this. It plumb rolled my socks down.

Chase sneak attack

Bingo day for the VA 9 would be 3/14/2020. I spotted this on the 3/07 and raced to the c box and checked the  opt-in from Legacy box. I redated everything in the .pdf and resubmitted  3/07. And then… I emailed the RVSR who was biding his time drinking his wine. I thanked him for reminding me of this box-checking error in VBMS and that the correctly “x”d 20-0995  had been timely refiled minutes before. Since the Secretary abhors squandering scarce judicial resources on these boondogles, it would be far more “nonadversarial” if he waited a few days and accept the timely filed correction as an AMA opt-in. The phone rang about a minute later and Jesus Arroyo from Houston VBA 362 started spluttering about how did I get his email and who in the Sam effing Hill am I. We chatted a piece and I allowed as how this wasn’t about me ‘n him. It was about ol’ Chase who had borne the Battle. It wasn’t a contest to see who could win. I tried to lay out Comer versus Peake but lost him about 20 words in. Jesus has some anger management issues he needs to work through.

In the VBMS notes, I can see where he assigned it to Appeals Team “Teaching Moment 4” and quality review to make sure they know Jesus was the one who discovered the missing X. Credit where credit is due. Disgusting. These people are lower than guttersnipes.

Jesus agreed to hold his water and wait for my “timely” box-checked 995  to arrive in Janesville. I told him he should also be able to find it in the Electronically transmitted Queue. He knows that but he was too pissed to admit it. It’s hard to play dumb when you realize the “enemy” can speak Pig Latin too. Can you imagine. There went his Christmas bonus for screwing a Vet out of $120 K in retro. Up in smoke, Cheech!

I’d put up his SOC but it would eat too many gagabites. The mail gal arrived with it on a forklift it was so heavy. No- just kidding. It was only 56 pages. I guess it takes a mite more fancy paper talking to try to dance around the difference between a written recorded signature and “we done tol’ him twice there gonna be risks”. The VA’s IMO was done by none other than Dr. Shirin DaSilva-the same idiot who discussed ingesting polyvinyl chloride (PVC pipe) at Camp Le Jeune, NC. I looked her up. She’s a cheap VA Judas for only $137 K a year. She’s getting ripped off. She could go to work for Jim Hill over at VetComp&Pen down in Jacksonville. Rumor has it they pay well .

The bottom line is this- nothing has changed. VA doesn’t play by the rules. They planned to just let this puppy time out and then call it a fait accompli. “Goooooooolleeeeeeee, doggies, Mistah Glaham.  If we’d caught it in time we coulda fixed it but now that time has come and gone. The good news is we’re gonna recognize that ol’ 995 you filed and grant. Yes sireee. Here’s your brand new rating with a  March 14th, 2020 effective date- the very earliest day we could upload it for you legally. Y’all come back now. Hear?” Nothing gives me greater pleasure than wiping shiteaten grins off these pukes’ faces.

I have about three or four more of those daisies up my sleeve but this was the best one.  Now, if you have a moment, please say a prayer for Chase. He went into the Nashville Vanderbilt ICU this morning with pneumonia and a fever. It’s looking ugly. He’s not responding to verbal commands as of 1800 local here. It could have been worse. He could have gone to Death Valley VAMC in Little Rock.

Cupcake and I won’t be at Spring Break in Atlanta (NOVA). They called it off on account of the Corona Beer virus.

AOC-approved Green toilet paper substitute

Posted in All about Veterans, Appeals Modernization Act, Electronic Filing of Evidence, Independent Medical Opinions, Interferon claims, Jetgun Claims evidence, KP Veterans, Legacy Claims, medical injections, NOVA Attorneys, SOCs and SSOCs, Tips and Tricks, VA Agents, VA AMA appeals knowledge, VA Motions for Reconsideration, VBMS, VBMS Tricks, Veterans Law | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

BVA–R2–YOU CAN’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT.

The Donald

But if you try sometime you find…You get what you need. Great song by my favorite band. They were a solid Rock n’ Roll band once upon a time in a place around the world from here. They still are. You needed that back then. Here, the lyrics merely alert you to the sentiment many Vets must feel after a road long traveled (9 years) and an utterly anticlimatic finish- literally a whimper. VA hierarchy disgust me.  Years of endless denials and dissembling only to get it back from the BVA with “granted”. Doesn’t anyone at the local Fort Fumble  Quality Control Team review these mishaps and come up with a band aid? Shucks, bubba. You must be smokin’ some powerful gunsha. We’re talking VA here. They were the last govt. entity to go paperless- and only with a lot of bellowing and screaming.

I wrote about Donald and Janet ( John and Jane Vet) several years ago and his R1 fight.

https://asknod.org/2017/11/22/a-warm-fuzzy-thanksgiving-story/

After reviewing the CUE grant, I realized we still hadn’t reached Janet’s original goal of T or R2. So we decided to go for it. Miz Janet had originally asked for SMC T. Unbeknownst to her, the Vietnam Vets Of America VSO was was the very idiot who filed her for it. You must have served after 9/11/2001 in order to qualify for this. It pays at the R2 rate which is where Donald should be paid. SMC T is also only granted for extreme Holy S**t, Batman Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). I FOIA’d the VA in 2014 to give me the stat sheet for how many Vets were rated R1, R2 and T. I’m still waiting. Apparently I need a current TS/Crypto clearance. Mine expired 48 yrs. ago. Nevertheless, I’m guessing from the way VA fights each one of these, there are not very many Vets who collect R2. Worse, when you argue SMC with a DRO or VSCM, you suddenly discover they can’t comprehend it. It’s utter Greek to them. It has to be done by VA’s magic SMC Calculator. It’s worse than a cold one-armed bandit in an Indian casino. I have to take them up to the BVA to find intelligent life forms capable of reading 38 CFR-not gazing into an M 21 Magic 8 Ball.

As with any request for such a rating, I always schedule a hearing. In this case, with the advent of the new Appeals Improvement and Management Act (AMA), we “opted in” to the new system rather than go the VA 9 Legacy route. Unknown to us all, VA had changed the rules on hearings. We had two ugly choices now. If we desired a face-to-face, we had to pack Donald up and take a train cross country to 1425 I Street Washington DC. Our only local option was a videoconference. We accepted the lemons and made our lemonade out of it. I plunked Donald down front and center of the video camera. I’m sure Judge Michael Lane kept his eyes on him throughout the hearing. Donald said nary a word but was, hands down,  the best witness.

Janet and Donald -Fort Fumble, Arizona

The Squirrely SOC Denial

The SOC was an enigma. In the preliminary denial sentence they admit straight off he would have to be institutionalized but for Janet. They freely admitted he was under the constant care of lots and lots of medical folks with MDs, DOs, PA-Cs and ARNPs after their names. And then a polite “but he doesn’t receive R2 therapy-like… well… medical stuff- you know, like catheters and PICC lines. Like IVs…like someone on Hospice. In short, like someone knock knock knocking on Heaven’s door, dude. Using this metric, most of us who managed to qualify- and trust me there’s darn few that can- would essentially only qualify for it for a month or 6 weeks on hospice. I’m sorry. I don’t think Congress’ intent was to be so niggardly as to only give you a bump at the end like handing out Christmas bonuses at the “Holiday” Office Party. Read this hooey below. Yes, we feel he needs it (a&a) but he’s not getting any medical treatment near what he’d get if he were institutionalized. Whoops. Wrong legal standard of review. R2 includes “physical therapy” specifically. VA missed that part.

Donald SOC 2-19-2019

So Janet and I shook hands and we filed for the R2. Remember my adage about Win or Die. It’s a Me and Bobby McGee thing- nothing left to lose. What’s the worst that could happen? We’d strike out and I’d get to take it to the Court. Besides, I was taught you don’t leave your buddies behind. Donald and I were both Air Force so the bond is even tighter. Turns out we didn’t have to do that. Common sense prevailed and Judge Lane ruled in our favor. I’m glad it didn’t take any more than the time needed to transcribe the hearing. I guess I have to thank my lucky stars for this being 2020 and not 1980. Back then, Donald would never have won in front of a Triumvirate of the BVA.

Here was my legal argument:

Donald BVA Brief redacted

 

Janet has doggedly pursued this for nine long years. After her VA attorney won the easy money for A&A and the bump to M for an extra 100%,  she cut and ran when the subject of SMC R1/R2 came up. I’m not sure if she was simply unversed in SMC or felt she had plucked all the low-hanging fruit. Either way, it’s a little disconcerting to look over your shoulder and discover your legal beagle wingman has morphed into a VVA beagle flying a VSO doghouse.

I just pulled this one down hot off the press. Janet and Donald are some of my oldest clients. We began all this back in 2017 or so. “We got what we need” for Donald. VA, you will discover, hoards R1 and R2 ratings. You should be prepared for a knife fight in a dark alley. VA will lie, cheat, misrepresent and shade the truth. R2 pays $9.062.26 per month so now you know why.

Donald R2 3-6-2020 redacted

Here’s a shot of us after we had the hearing. The Judge probably would have granted right there on the spot but due process demands they make the the hearing transcript part of the record. Red power tie I was wearing. Yessssssssssssssssssssss.

Donald and author in front of the Den of Iniquity

All in all, an excellent week for everyone but those Phoenix VA Bozos. Too bad they don’t dun these chuckleheads for misadjudicating. I can’t wait for drive-thru windows at the VAROs soon with the Corona Beer Virus out of control…

P.S. Gary Larson is coming out of retirement. How cool is that?


 

 

Posted in Aid and Attendance, Appeals Modernization Act, KP Veterans, R1/R2, SMC, SOCs and SSOCs, Tips and Tricks, VA Agents, VA AMA appeals knowledge, VA Attorneys, VBMS, VBMS Tricks, Veterans Law | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

VA AMA 20-0995–YOU TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME

Boy howdy, I sure hope I don’t have to do these types of claims every day. Tyler is my neighbor. By now everyone is probably thinking about moving up here and becoming my neighbor. One Vet already did! Tyler was a what we called a Mouthbreather in the Air Force-i.e. he was Navy. Like in a fish, right? You know-with gill slits right ahead of the ears?  We used to sit around after we landed drinking scotch up in a country that rhymes with mouse back during the war complaining about how rough life was like the Monkees song. Remember that “Mothers complain about how hard life is And the kids just don’t understand.”? We made fun of Army and Navy guys. I’ll keep my mouth shut about Marines.

The Flight surgeon would prescribe us speed and there was always an oxygen tank with a mask at the Air Operations Center (AOC) at 20 Alternate. It would banish a hangover in 3 minutes or less before wheels up. I disremember if they had one over at L 54 Luang Prabang. I do  remember the Air America Hostel over there was top drawer. They sometimes even had single malt and real Schweppes tonic water.  But generally it was rough. Friends would take off in the morning and didn’t come back. Ever.

My neighbor Tyler from Allyn Washington.

Meet Tyler. Helping Veterans is way to assuage that guilt you feel for having somehow lucked out and survived it. Tyler came to me from well, gee. I forget. I met him at Shari’s restaurant up in Port Orchard. He’d lost again on his PTSD claim and was wondering what  he needed to win. What do you do? Well, the short answer is you help him. I set him up with a psychologist who was trying to get my business. Baaaaaaad idea. I had no idea other than that the shrink talked a good streak about how he kicked ass and took names.  He even flew out from Colorado and bought Cupcake and me dinner. Long story short, Tyler got his clock cleaned by the VA examiner who wasn’t buying the $2,000 IMO. I don’t blame the VA jackwad. I don’t think I would have either. It was pathetic.

Feeling guilty after a long two-year delay and now a denial, I took advantage of my IMO wizards at Mednick Associates and got one of their top-notch subject matter experts in PTSD to write a new epic story of Tyler’s military adventures. Long story short. Tyler was in the Persian Gulf in ’97 aboard one of those flat top airplane cities.Tyler’s wife was giving birth prematurely back in Washington State. The Navy pukes wouldn’t let him go back to be with her. Then they changed their minds. Too late. By the time Tyler got back, his newborn daughter was in the meat locker. They refused to transfer her down to Madigan Army Hospital where they had  a good infant ICU to save her. It was a paltry 35 miles away.

To add insult to injury, his wife tried to take her own life afterwards. This creates a lot of negative activity in the brain box and Tyler snapped. I would have too.  Tyler finished up his tour but was marked for life. So, too, his wife. They soldiered on but it was hell’s bells for the next 16 years trying to win at VA poker. Then we met.

I explained my timeworn analogy to a cookie recipe and told him what we had to do to win. We had the setback with the lousy IMO but the new one went through like greased lightning in VA time. I filed it around 12/16/2019 and we got a full 70% back on Tuesday or so. Nothing like having a plan work out. I was  mortified about the screwup with the first IMO so I volunteered to split the second. Tyler is planning on paying me back but I still feel stupid trusting someone without references. I don’t have that problem with Mednick. They’re spot on regardless of whether its cancer or hepatitis c.

I wrote about this back in December here:

https://asknod.org/2019/12/07/12-07-2019-you-dont-have-to-live-like-a-refugee/

As for the cookie recipe, Cupcake has updated the analogy this year to include stirring the claim with a laser beam, flying it to Jupiter to put in the oven and lastly, flying it back and serving it to the Veteran piping hot.

This is Tyler ‘s day. Tyler won because for several decades, VA has refused to state Tyler had bent brain syndrome. They said it was ADHD, drug induced, passive aggresssive personality disorder and about ten other things- but by golly it sure as hell was not PTSD. All Mednick and I did was fix it. I like fixing things. I never figured I’d ever be helping to fix Tyler and his family but then I never thought I’d be cured of Hep C and still be alive today. Cool beans.

Tyler rating redacted

We won on March 2nd after four years. Hence my choice of taking the long way home song as the title to this adventure. I apologize, Tyler. I should have performed due diligence  on who I recommended. It won’t happen to any other Vet again, though. I promise.

Life is good. Helping Tyler makes it better. Even if he’s a mouthbreather.

Posted in All about Veterans, Appeals Modernization Act, KP Veterans, PTSD, Tips and Tricks, VA Agents, VA Attorneys, vARO Decisions, VBMS, VBMS Tricks, Veterans Law | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

BVA–MAMA’S LITTLE BABY LOVES SHORTNIN’ BREAD

Feed dem chillun on shortnin’ bread

My daddy the Fighter Pilot used to sing me to sleep with that ditty in Albany Georgia back in the early fifties. We lived near Turner AFB at 1705 12th Ave. HEmlock 6-2613 just up the hill from Slappey Blvd. and my Northside Elementary School. Our parents drilled that data into our noggins back then on the off chance you escaped the white slavers with candy and found a phone booth. Can you imagine some rude punk ass 11-yr.-old kid getting his nose out of his Galaxy 5000 long enough to even notice he’s been kidnapped these days? Bless their pointed little heads.

Meet Bob. Bob was a commo guy once in Vietnam. You know the kind- a Walter Mitty Navy guy hanging around in a squad of  6’4 Marines- the kind that have a TS/Crypto  MOS. He was most fortunate to be there to join them in the celebration of  the 1968 Chinese New Year called Tet. It’s not often you just happen to luck out like this whilst on your one-year, all-expenses paid-vacation in sunny Southeast Asia along the banks of the Perfume River. I mean, how cool is that? He said it  felt like going back to basic training all over for a week and playing with all the Marines’ Big Boy toys… like Thumpers, Pigs and shorty CAR 15s. And boxes of M 26s of course. Lotsa boxes of them. Funny thing is combat Vs and hand grenades have a lot in common.  Check out his 214 below. He didn’t really consider himself in “combat”. I live for this. Darn near every guy I rep has some medals. That’s amazing when you think only 12% of us actually got into the shit. The other 88% were busy helping us do it. Winston Churchill made John Milton’s Sonnet 19 famouser when he said it best …”They also serve who only stand and wait.”  Lord knows we sure felt that way about our aircraft crew chiefs.

Bob 214 redacted

Bob’s also my neighbor. He got turned on to me by my “brother” Ed the LURP. Ed the LURP with a Silver Star (not my other brother Ed the Huey door gunner) was also my neighbor. Confused yet? I’m trying. Vietnam Vets are tight. Shoot I like Ed, Ed and Bob even if they were idiots and didn’t serve in the Air Force. Why walk or paddle when you could fly…and they had cold beer? And ice for TnTs. I do a lot of neighbor work here in little old Key Center Washington so I have to forgive them. The Marines are the worst. They all grab their nuts and yell OOh-raa! Sometimes in mixed company, too. Eventually they call me up and tell me all about how the DAV/AmLeg/VFW dude never called them back about their claims. Imagine that? Better yet, imagine Brian Williams in Vietnam…

Bob got the Myelosuppressive disorder (MDS) from dining on a steady diet of Agent Orange for a year. VA gave him 100% for a couple of years and then dropped him like a hot potato to 10%. Well, shoot. Bob was waaaay past 10% and nigh on to buying burial insurance. Which is why Ed told him to call me. I began filing him for everything but the kitchen sink-phlebotomies and everything associated with Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD). That’s some nasty shit that tacrolimus/Prograf.

VA kinda got the drift of what I was up to and after about of year of granting secondaries, they finally threw in the hat and granted TDIU.  About then, I asked Bob if he was a betting man. If he was willin’ to cotton up $2 K for an IMO from an oncologist wise in these ways, I was willing to let on as he could get some retroactive backsheesh and SMC S. It wasn’t going to be a big $60 K hit but more like about thirty- less my pound of Shylock flesh. He was all in and off we went.

We did a legacy appeal up to the BVA and got some partial blood but not what we wanted. On remand, VA conceded he was toast and gave him the brand new DC 7725 for Leukemia but not back to 4/2017 when they’d whacked him from total to 10%. We had to rebut the SSOC and go back to the BVA for that third and final act. Lo and behold, the fat lady sang…

Rebuttal 9-19-2018

The weird thing about this was Veterans Law Judge Cherry Crawford, who I argued in front of face-to-face, refused to bite initially on our new IMO saying DC 7003’s Note 1 stated 100% would continue until “cessation of antineoplastic chemo, glow-in-the dark  radiation shit or other  therapeutic procedures“. I was trying to bust open DC 7703 and get a broader definition to encompass phlebotomies and Prograf treatment. Judge Cherry wasn’t having it as I came to find out. She was not about to step on the precedential third rail. Boy howdy did she do a lot of dancing to get around it, too.  No sir. She went after this with a big fat §3.344 stick and said nobody has the right to reduce a poor sick man whose medical records- in toto, mind you as in §4.2-clearly and unmistakably would never support reduction-let alone to 10%. Void ab initio baby. Give that man back his 100% rating under DC 7703 and be quick about it. CUE yes. Therapeutic procedure? We need not reach that argument because this puppy was DOA back in 2017. Next Victim-err, Veteran?

Green BVA Grant 2-26-2020 redact

So… David 5, Goliath 0 again. We tagged them for 100% from 4/2017 to 12/2017 and SMC from 12/2017 to today. Win or Die, folks. What do you have to lose? I liked Janis’ version of Bobby McGee about Freedom being nothing more than a word for nothing left to lose. So me and Bobby whipped the VA at their own game. The $2 K for the IMO was money well spent. Moreover, it’s one more collective dagger in the VA’s back for what they do to us.

However, this was not the end of the matter. I won two others this week which I’ll be  telling you about here directly.

Today is Bob’s Day. You won Bobby-but not because of me. You won because VA tried to do what they always do-they cheated. They tried to screw you out of your due. They were hoping that nasty ass AO cancer shit would eat you alive while they rope-a-doped you like Muhammad Ali did to Sony Liston. I’m just glad you let me have a hand in kicking their ass. Fun it was. Yesssssss. Oh, Hell yeah!.

 

Posted in 100% ratings, Agent Orange, All about Veterans, AO, KP Veterans, Lawyering Up, Legacy Claims, Nexus Information, Tips and Tricks, VA Agents, VBMS Tricks, Veterans Law, Vietnam War history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

VA–BABY YOU CAN DRIVE MY CAR

Nothing tickles me better than to get a mess of wins in one week. You folks who allow me to represent you have no idea how much pleasure I get when I slay the proverbial Goliath. It’s certainly not like winning the lotto but the joy is also derived from VA’s hanging me out to dry from 1989 to 2016. Every one of you I put in the driver’s seat is equally long overdue in most cases and in some, an important adjunct to your financial ability to survive. And every one is one more dagger in their back for what they did to me. 

Bob Livingstone

Bob showed up on my door in early 2017 and wanted to get 100% for DM II. Well, that wasn’t going to happen but I said I’d do my best. Being a Vietnam Vet like myself, I naturally agreed to take him on. He already had a handful of this’s and that’s for Bent Brain, PN in all four quadrants, the usual tinnitus from too many hand grenades and not enough OSHA earplug protection etc. His biggest complaint? Why, VA wouldn’t pay for his Trulicity® for his DM II and it was kicking him in the ass. He also had a brand new Weatherby .338 and a killer 3×9 scope he wanted to show me and was eager to try it out on an elk that fall. He would never get the chance.

Bob was on a combat sweep up in the Central Highlands of I Corps one sunny July afternoon just before Monsoon. They were traversing an area that had recently been sprayed and the Air Force was still running Ranchhand ops in his AO. He described what I had happen to me one day up in that country north of Thailand that rhymes with mouse. After the 123  makes its pass, you feel that oily film and a fine mist descend on you. It makes your hair and skin sticky from the oil but the mosquitoes quit bugging you. In fact, there were no mosquitoes after one of these events. Or spiders. Or snakes. Or monkeys. Or jingjokes. I think to us that was a good thing then…If there was a mud puddle or a rice paddy nearby, you’d see the rainbow colors on the surface of the water indicating a petroleum product like gas had been spilled. Agent Tang was always mixed 1:1 with anything they had lying around like kerosene, JP-4, contaminated AVGAS-hell, even motor oil or transmission fluid worked. It made the AO stick to the vegetation better and longer.

Bob described it almost the same way. Worse, it irritated his sinuses. Permanently. Forever after, he’d have a chronic clogged sinus passage with occasional infections requiring a course of antibiotics. Like all of us, I reckon he figured it was just the cost of playing soldier. I got it too and had two operations to open up the passages several years after I got out. No cancer yet. Knock on wood. I can live with the Porphyria. For that sweep, he, a military policeman, had been repurposed as an 11 Bravo 10 and was awarded both a Purple Heart and a Combat Infantry Badge afterwards. He told me it was ‘ugly’ was all. The Army is not in the habit of awarding CIBs to guys with a 95B40 MOS. They ran into a battalion-sized NVA outfit and got into a nasty scrum for several days. As usual, the gooks cut and ran after the Bigwigs began choppering divisions in from Camp Radcliffe and whaling on them from the surrounding Firebases. Liberal applications of Napalm further convinced them it was time to beat feet. And so Bob returned to being a cop for the rest of his tour. Not. But he couldn’t stay away. He signed up again after a two year civilian vacation and took a second tour. A lot of my friends said I was insane to sign up for another year in May ’71. I reckon that makes me and Bob weird or something. Didn’t seem like it back then. Doesn’t now.

Come early November of 2017, just before elk season began, he got the cancer diagnosis. It was bad and metastasizing faster than they could treat it. By March they gave up on chemo and went to morphine and Fentanyl patches as the drugs of choice. Hospice began about May 10th. He passed July 1 and I’m glad. It was ugly and painful. Best of all, VA owed him for all of July, too. Cupcake and I attended his funeral a week later. He got a big send off with military honors. The burial detail was a little green on folding the flag but they gave it their best. Can’t say I could have done any better.

IMG_0550

Robert Stanley Livingstone Sunrise 9/24/1949- Sunset 7/01/2018

To add insult to injury, VA granted 100% for PTSD and a few other nitnoy items on June 19th-eleven days before he passed- but denied the cancer. Ergo, no DIC for you, Señora. What made it even uglier was the VES c&p gal, an ARPN, who my VA Change Management Agent Tina convinced to come to Bob’s house on the same day they did the rating, gave a positive nexus for the cancer being due to AO. I called the RO two days later and asked WTF? We have an IMO. Hellooooooo? Why even have a c&p if you’re going to deny before you even read the report? Crickets. Lots of crickets in Seattle there are. Yessssss.

Long before he became incoherent and comatose, he looked in my eyes and begged me to promise him I’d take care of the outstanding claims and make sure his wife got DIC. His fingernails put dents in the back of my hand he was so serious. I promised him I would. I grabbed every medical record I could lay hands on and shipped them all off to my BFFs at Mednick Associates. To their credit, they provided an excellent Independent Medical Opinion for me. I filed the BVA appeal in August and we started cutting bait while we waited. This was under the new AMA appeals process and I was a little gun shy about how it would play out. I didn’t ask for a hearing because there wasn’t much I could present and Bob was now in a Heavenly zip code.

I always take a spin through CASEFLOW every several days on the off chance something will transpire- even if it’s so nondescript that you can’t tell what happened. It showed a decision but it was vague. As this was the first of my Vets in CASEFLOW to get a decision since they instituted it and got rid of VACOLS, I held my breath. I wasn’t going to call up his daughter and say “I think we won”. I waited to see it populate in VBMS. Sure enough the next afternoon it surfaced. Hallelujah.

Winning claims for widows is a sacred trust to me. I was glad I could do this one. It still makes my eyes wet writing about it.

Here’s the BVA decision. Livingstone BVA win 2-20-2020 redacted

John the Marine

I have a thing about Marines. I count one of my closest friends as one. I met John while changing out a dishwasher in one of my rentals. John”s daughter was renting from us and he came down to open up the house and watch. We got to talking and next thing you know, I was repping him for PTSD. We won without so much as a NOD. VA caved in after the c&p. John had been PCS in the Philippines and got TDY orders to Chu Lai in late spring 1968 after the New Year’s celebrations. They were running convoy protection from there down to Bien Hoa and had so many casualties they were grabbing transportation dudes and shoving 16s and Alice pacs into their hands and baptizing them as infantrymen.

As with all of us who have gone TDY, nary a speck of  military evidence could be found to prove boots on the ground and VA had made a pseudopolite point of telling him he must have dreamed it all.  By now, a lot of you know me and my proclivity to never give up. I’m worse than Double Bubble gum on your shoe in July. He’d tossed his old yellow shot book decades ago but his parents had kept all the letters he’d sent home with the “Free” franking stamp up in the right corner showing the 96219 zip code… which happens to be… yep. Chu Lai. Bingo. Instant chicken dinner winner. VA gave that envelope the hairy eyeball for a month trying to figure out how they could call it a forgery. So I sent them five more and said we had a shit ton more of them if they were still having any doubts. That did it. Remember, this is VA poker. See and always raise.

Along about September last, I called him up just to check on him. We hadn’t talked in two years. Seems the Parkinson’s was getting bad and I offered to begin again and go for loss of use of the lower extremities and Aid and Attendance. VA began all over again and wanted proof of boots on the Indochinese red clay. I sent them a copy of his 2015 PTSD rating decision for combat. I guessed they disremembered it. It still wasn’t good enough. They decided to go all the way back to the NPRC just to be mighty sure he was a Nehmer Member. I don’t know what they hoped to find this time around because they came up with a dry hole back in 2015-16. I begged them to pick up the pace because John was going downhill faster than the doctors could type it into the medical records.

On Saturday the 8th of this month, his daughter called to tell me he’d just been diagnosed with mega-advanced b cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. His wonder docs down at the local VAMC had been telling him the reason he felt run down was due to all that Parkinson’s. That failed to explain away the plummeting white blood cell count. The QTC doctor had called me after the c&p and told me to get him to a doctor like yesterday. VA docs finally decided to run some blood tests after initially telling him to hold his water. They misplaced the results and then found them on Wednesday the 5th of February. The asshats called him in for the shit show briefing on Friday. I’m surprised they didn’t take 3 weeks to schedule an appointment and then surreptitiously cancel it when he had his back turned. Delay and deny until we die. Literally.

I filed for the Leukemia that same Saturday and was on the horn Monday to Fort Fumble in Salt Lick City who was handling the claim. By now, I had Sonja the RVSR on speed dial. I got her on the horn and asked her to include the leukemia in the current claim. Wonder  of wonders, she didn’t give me some bogus “I’ll have to get three signatures for a medical flash, Mr. Graham. It doesn’t work like that.” She flashed him as terminal while we were talking and immediately got to work checking with the American Lake VAMC just to make sure I wasn’t funning her about his leukemia. Trust… but verify. You folks know how we VA ambulance chasers like to lie and cheat about our malingering clients, right?

Sure enough, she was true to her word-sort of. The rating came out but no R1 or R2. Why shoot. He only had lost 20% of his left and right feets and could probably still put in a credible performance if he decided to run the Boston Marathon this spring according to them. Mind you, we showed up at the 11/26/2019 c&p driving a wheelchair. I guess they thought that was just a bunch of VA Agent Kabuki theatre shit. VA probably calls that a “staged rating attempt”.

I called up the Coach and pitched a bitch about no R1/R2 but they refused to budge. What a lot of you wanna be adjudicators and DIY claims Vets don’t realize is there is more than one way to skin this SMC cat. Ever hear of two ratings for A&A? Remember, both his Parkinson’s and his Leukemia are 100%. Either disease is a full-blown candidate for A&A. I explained that to them in an email yesterday afternoon. Breniser v Shinseki (2011) is unequivocal. No condition counted twice. Last time I checked, Parkinson’s and Leukemia were not related but the M 21 may say different.  I cc;’d it to our good friend VA Secretary Bob Wilkie just in case they forgot to consult with him or the Director, Comp. and Pen. We’ll see how this ammo pile cooks off come Monday. If they decide to make me appeal, this one’s going to hit CBS Channel 7 KIRO on the 6 o’clock news with one of those “Can you believe this shit?” intros.

Here’s John’s not quite R1 rating.  It’s like someone handing you fifty one-dollar bills and telling you you’re a millionaire. In this case, it’s fifty 20% ratings when you’re already at SMC S. It’s about as useful as nursing utensils on a boar hog for VA compensation purposes.

John redacted Parkinson’s& leukemia

Andrew’s Compensation Pension Claim/Appeal

Pillow Wars.

Last, but not least, is the third story which occurred about 0534 Hrs  this morning. I’m lying in bed fighting with Pickles over who gets to put their head on my pillow when my cell phone pings on my nightstand. It’s my clients in Houston emailing to say we’ve won. GTF outta here! They call about three times a week with new horror stories, all truthful, about how Andrew is getting worse and more than in need of A&A. I was in Nashville for spring NOVA last year when this got denied. Some Coach up in Newark, NJ-scratch that, New Yawk-was doing the rating and called to say “they’d” reviewed it a second time per my personal request and try as they might, dadgummit, they still couldn’t bring themselves to grant. Mind you, if was him alone. Not some mythological band of RVSRs riding Unicorns.  I asked what the impediment was and they said he just wasn’t quite there yet. It came out more like ‘quaaaat’. Andrew has two 100% ratings for some serious shit on his plate- COPD and OSA. What’s more, the laundry list goes on and on for three more pages in the Confirmed Ratings sheet. Andrew’s got more ratings than me and I’m 290%.  He’s a total insomniac and falls asleep in mid-sentence in the middle of the day. He forgets to turn off the stove and dang near burned the house down last fall. No sirree, Bob. He was not anywhere’s near A&A material in VA’s book. I sent them down to the Houston VAMC about once a month to get his shrinks and the rest of the crew to write one 2680 after another saying he was a prime candidate. His wife was appointed his fiduciary over almost two years ago. No dice. I’ve dutifully mailed every 2680 in to the BVA while we waited and waited for them to cut some paper. Crickets. BVA even refused to advance him on the docket when I told them the kids had to refi to avoid losing the house.

Andrew’s last 2680 hit the VBMS about 20 days ago and some rocketman in Houston took it for an inferred claim. The same dingbat  also glommed onto the fact that Andrew’s VA Shrink had accidentally checked off on the Pension box instead of the Compensation box and this bozo was giddy about the prospect of denying (with prejudice). Andrew served in time of peace  so he’d never be eligible. What’s more, they know it.  We often talk about the technique of developing claims to deny. Well, this time I have incontrovertible proof they are in the process of a flagrant Texas Necktie Party. I screenshot the comment of the RVSR shit-for-brains who stupidly left the damning evidence right there in VBMS in the deferrals section. I quickly sent him an email explaining the concept of the nonadversarial, Veterans friendly regulation that says a claim for pension is a claim for compensation and a claim for compensation is a claim for pension and VA is obligated to grant the higher award if possible. What do they teach these guys in VA rating school? All I got back was the sound of more crickets. They haven’t even slowed down in their headlong rush to deny… yet.

Check it out…

The art of developing to deny

Fortunately, the BVA came to our rescue… or will on Monday. The BVA decision will be posted on 2/24-two days hence- saying he’s been granted SMC P (M+K) for A&A of another. It’s showing in CASEFLOW as a grant but it isn’t posted yet in VBMS. I do so hope they post the denial for the Pension A&A about 30 minutes before the BVA decision propagates. I’d give a hundred bucks to see the look on that prick RVSR’s face when he realizes his smarmy little vindictive denial is going to flop like an almost-done cheese souffle in  Kindergarten at recess.

Here’ the way CASEFLOW shows us we won. Pretty primitive for a brand new product.

Here’s Andrew’s BVA decision Andrew redact BVA decision 2-24-20

Pickles the Law dog

All in all, it’s been an outstanding week. I’m still alive. Cupcake’s cancer appears to be in remission and Pickles seems to have quit growing. She turned 1 on 2/05/20 and is all you could ask for in a dog. If I can get her to quit eating  my bedroom slippers, I won’t have to remember to put them up on my dresser at night before I go to sleep. I’m on my third pair. She lunched the ones I got for Christmas a week after.  Life is good at LZ Grambo.

Again, thank you- all of you who entrust your VA fate to me. It’s quite an honor really. On behalf of myself and the rest of the asknod menagerie, I hope I pass the audition.

 

Posted in Aid and Attendance, All about Veterans, AO, Call Bob, KP Veterans, Nexus Information, Pickles, Tips and Tricks, VA Agents, VA Medical Mysteries Explained, VBMS, VBMS Tricks, Veterans Law, Vietnam Disease Issues, Vietnam War history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

AGENT ORANGE DISEASES PREFLIGHT CHECKLIST

Well, this isn’t exactly a  “remove before flight” checklist with the red ribbons of old so much as a “Rule Out” medical checklist. At our age, some of these disabilities can be attributed to other extraneous causes besides AO-but not many. Deciding whether service connection for exposure to the Rainbow herbicides is deserved has become a decades-long work in progress. Witness the unwillingness by VASEC Wilkie to include the newest batch of diseases like Parkinson’s-like disease which I have. Or hypertension, hypothyroidism, bladder cancer and a slew of others which the NIH have already signed off on. You don’t need a PhD to grasp what the problem is – it’s money. VA higher-ups have to be paid and especially those folks at the top who would go elsewhere for even higher salaries if they could. What I question is if these SES types are such hot properties, how did James Byrne from the OGC,  McDonald, Shulkin and all the others end up on the ash heap of history? Perhaps there s a no deposit/no return philosophy afoot here. 

Anyway, here’s the checklist. I advise you to perform all these tests outdoors to avoid any fractious interchanges with the better half. Mind you, these are informally validated test protocols…

AO Test #:

1. Go outside and pee in the garden. If ants (colonial hymenopterous insects) gather rapidly, file for Diabetes Mellitus Type II pronto. DC 7913.

2. If you pee and it never makes it past your shoes horizontally, file for prostate cancer muy pronto. DC 7528

3. If the pee smells like a barbecue, file for Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD or CAD) rapidement- DC 7005. Your LDL cholesterol numbers are probably waaaaay off the map due to all that AO exposure doing those Zippo/village sweeps up in the central highlands of  I Corps back in ’68. Well, that or all those McDonald’s sweeps the last 20 years or so but I’d keep that one to myself.

4. If  your wrist (wrists plural if you’re ambidextrous) feel numb while aiming and relieving yourself (indoors or out), file for both late onset peripheral neuropathy (PN) or PN secondary to the Diabetes (follow instructions for ant test above in #`1 first). Dépêchez vous! Immédiatement! DC 7114 or DC 8513. Check DC 8520 for lower extremities, too.

5. If you return inside after the above tests and the wife or significant other addresses the fact that Winky is still walking point, file for cognitive dysfunction secondary to Parkinson’s Disease (Paralysis Agitans) at your soonest. DC 8004

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in All about Veterans, AO, Humor, Inferred claims, KP Veterans, Thailand AO presumptive path, Tips and Tricks, VA Agents, VA Attorneys, Veterans Law, Vietnam Disease Issues | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments