As promised, I will continue to bore you to tears with the ongoing saga of attempting to summit Mt. CAVC.
The latest chapter is my attorney’s request to assemble a timeline of my life. You read that right. All the way from “I was born at University Hospital in Washington, D. C. on April 1, 1951.” That, incidentally is where they took President Reagan after his Meet and Greet with Jodie Foster’s paramour, John Hinkley.
You may laugh but it is an arduous undertaking to retrieve 61 or so years of your life. The timeline is constructed in a simple format. What wasn’t mentioned was it was in some arcane format called Word Perfect. I promptly downloaded some free version and merrily proceeded to encode 4 days worth of ruminations, thoughts, memories and the twenty three year battle with the vA. Baaad idea. The download was a free thirty day version. Anything you created on it was locked up there if you did not back it up in another format like Microword. (I didn’t). When it came time to add the Record Before the Agency, or RBA, page links, I discovered it would only cost me US $159.99 to bail it out. Fortunately member Shawn (who is Member Bob’s girl Friday) took her copy and converted it thus saving me from hunting down and killing the idiots who “gave away” the “free” downloads. The RBA is a complete and unabridged copy of your C-file. C-file stands for Claims file; unabridged is a metaphor for what is left after any close encounters of the shredder room kind.
My memory is still intact give or take a week or two on most of it. I had to dig out old funny papers of where I spent my summer vacation in 1970 to refresh some of it.
Muang Souy was one of those places that traded hands between us (the Hmong led by Gen. Vang Pao) and the Pathet Lao frequently. We owned it during the Monsoon and they promptly took it back in the dry, burning season. It was up at the top NW corner of the Plain of Jars adjacent to Interstate 7 (or what passed for it) in rural Laos. This was the main east/west thoroughfare for all the gooks’ military traffic and a terrific place to blow things up. Here’s another view.
This was Indian country. We weren’t there in the real sense of the word. Anything that happened there was like Las Vegas. And much like Las Vegas, if you got shot down there or killed, you stayed there. We’re still excavating and discovering some of our KIA-BNRs even now. On the right side where Route 71 branches off from Interstate 7 ( the black and white dotted line) is where I had my date with HCV. I got the tainted transfusion at the AirAm/USAID hospital down at Sam Thong (Lima Site 20).
Back to chronologies. I’m being tasked with remembering every nuance and detail of all this as well as the rest of my life. Every triumph, child birth, claims filing, and denial must be plotted on the graph to show the attorney. It’s no use to to keep referring to it in the abstract. Likewise, with the way vA sends it to you, its completely out of order or any logical context. I find dependency filings cheek and jowl with important back and hips medical charts. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. Whether its a vast vA-style conspiracy to obfuscate or not is immaterial. What’s obvious is that recently, vA has started delivering these RBAs (Record Before the Agency) in haphazard, hopscotch format. Since time is of the essence in preparing a defense at the Court, everyone must scramble to unscramble this unholy mess. That is what I’ve been doing for the last three days which explains my absence here.
Most CAVC attorneys send these out to specialized firms to organize at great expense. Each piece of paper must be collated chronologically in order. My file contains three thousand seven hundred fifteen pages. Each one must be analyzed and a determination of what it is in reference to (which claim) must be made. Then the document page number must be attached to the cute little map of your life that I mentioned above. Thus, you get:
153. 3/31– File for PCT as a residual of Hepatitis or A/O with AMVETS as VSO. Service rep. is Rick Talbott (may he rot in the used-car salesman part of Hell).(RBA pg 3395-3415)
154. 11/7–VARO denial for all issues. VA recharacterizes the filing as residuals of hepatitis and PCT due to AO only. No adjudication based on PCT as a residual of hepatitis. VA fails to associate VAMC American Lake AO test/examination from 9/21/93 with 1994 claim.(RBA pg 3392-3394 ;submitted for first time at Board hearing)
155. 12/2– File NOD with N&M evidence (See RBA pg. 868 showing receipt of N&M Evidence)
156. 12/7– VA posts N&M evidence into C-file. (RBA pg 3385-3391)
What will interest readers is what happens all too frequently at Regional Offices across America when paper files are involved. Yep. Your shit ends up in another Vet’s file and vice-versa. Thus it came as no surprise to find Brian M. __________’s information co-located where it will never be found- in mine.
Scary, huh? Vets wonder why they can’t win at this game. Here’s living proof of why. Imagine a new paperless system out on the horizon. Does anyone think this is going to improve with the adoption of it? We’ll simply come up with a term like “paperless misfiling” to describe the phenomenon. Then there’s the merely humorous:
This might seem innocuous, but a newsflash is in order. I have no VSO. I represent myself. So what is some gomer from DAV or the American Legion doing roaming through my file? Why? Who gave him/her access to it? Doesn’t this bother any of you? Frankly, it makes my hair stand on end. Knowing that the VSOs are co-located in ROs throughout America, it would be easy for these service officers to roam up to, say, the unsecured sixth floor of the Winston Salem cigarette RO and peruse your files at their leisure. One hopes they would return them to the same alphabetical file pile!
On a more humorous note, I found this in the RBA. I had forgotten about it but it will make good fodder for a future CUE. When I escaped from the VAMC the first time for about ten days, I realized I was in deep doo-doo medically speaking. It wasn’t the constant nausea or the colostomy bag leaking that led me to this conclusion. I was toast.
So I filed for Aid and Attendance or Housebound. Either one was fair game. Here’s what the good doctor down at va had to say about it.
And do you know what? Those funny guys down at the RO thought I was pulling their leg. I guess they had an VAOIG airplane out flying around and confused me with some other guy at the golf course. Well, they pulled the plug on this one lickity spit.
I was still learning how to do this back then so you’ll have to excuse me. I was also about a half bubble off when I was filing this so I might have forgotten to use the magic word.
If any of you have had occasion to
ask beg for congressional intervention, you might find it humorous how they treat us. I read several entries from the Congressional Interests Section chief at the Seattle RO (Danial E. Kutchler). He must play golf or do happy hours with Senator Sneaker’s congressional liaison, Kim Brown. They do everything but high-five on their emails. We are considered an unavoidable issue in the course of their work. As in, “We already paid him in excess of $38 K last week.” Not. The date of that one was 7/08/2008 and I didn’t get the check until August 12th. When I said that a Dial-a-prayer “technician” called me up and said they dropped the ball on my PCT claim (again), ol’ Daniel replied that they never “drop the ball” and that some claims are horribly complicated and require a lot of development. Oddly, the claim was rated three days after they dropped the round object that resembled a spherically-shaped orb. Hand-written on the Form 119 Report of Contact was “MYOFB” which I have been led to believe in the past stands for Mind your own F business.” What do I know of such lofty vA abbreviations? C-files are fun. You get to see all the neat little forms they use and what they have in their arsenal about you to deny with.
The chronology has been assembled and the extraneous files have been duly noted for expungement. This is good because the mere presence of them in the file will make the General Counsel look like a bunch of goombahs. I apologize for my neglect of this site in the interim. Happy Labor Day Weekend and where did the summer go?