I don’t know what is wrong with my gut but something is and I’m expecting to have a lot of bed time based on recent doctors’ comments. So I might as well read something useful and Alex’s book makes a lot more sense to me now. And I still need to pull these concepts together.
My Kindle Fire HD is colorful and heavy. There are new lighter versions out. The black and white Kindle e-reader is lightweight but doesn’t have a back light for night reading. The battery lasts a long time. They are both great values. You don’t actually need to buy a Kindle device because Amazon has apps for most gadgets and laptops. And Alex has set the price so low for the digital version, it’s silly for veterans not to own it. You just need wi-fi to enjoy a 5-star reviewed book.
The VA for Vietnam vets was just a bad joke or if you were badly injured a visit to hell. In that day they only treated the most destitute vets or SC vets just for their SC conditions. I got some mental health care there but on my first visit they tricked me into voluntarily committing myself to a locked ward for “observation”. I stayed for a couple of days and then bailed out since I was getting zero treatment. I spoke to a VA shrink for about 20 minutes and took psychological tests (Ink blot test) and they decided I was a sick boy. They were 40 years behind times and all they wanted to do was give me strong anti-psychotic meds and I was not even psychotic or near psychotic. This was my awful introduction to VA health care and VA claims. Someone did file a claim for me or on my behalf. I think one of the VSO’s must have gotten me to sign a POA. I don’t even remember. So a year later they sent a form to my current private psychologist asking for his opinion. He gave it to them and they lost or ignored it. I got a 10% rating for schizophrenia because they did not have a PTSD diagnosis at the time. Schizophrenia is a waste basket DX for all those who don’t fit into other categories sort of like personality disorder. This was true I believe in the 60’s and 70’s in military and VA medicine. Hep C diagnosis should be presumptive for Vietnam vets and so should all forms of cancer since we were all exposed to AO. If AO can cause lung cancer and all the blood and lymph cancers why would it not cause all the other cancers? The VA just does not want to pay and hopes we will soon all be dead. My experience with the VA and other branches of the federal government have really soured me on politicians and our political system which is based on how much money you have or can raise for payoffs to our elected officials.
What I know about VA claims is that if you want to win a claim you usually need a good IMO/IME to back up your contentions. The VA C&P exam system usually minimizes a vet’s symptoms and goes for lowball rating indicators. The VARO looks at the C&P and makes their decisions based on that exam unless you have other medical opinions to combat or enhance the claim. I know this from bitter experience. Even my AO claims were backed by medical opinions as to cause and severity of my disability. I have 7 AO claims for various conditions but no cancer, thank God. To think that 30 or 40 years from the time of exposure you get DMII and secondary conditions is awful. Hep C and the many cancers is like a sword hanging over our heads. Now Parkinson’s, ALS and heart disease (IHD) is considered presumptive. What next? When I die the VA will still be discovering AO presumptive conditions until the year 2050 when I would turn 100.
Are you Alex’s better half? Are you posting for Alex or are you Alex under AKA? I don’t quite understand. I agree with you 100% about the Choice Program. I am using it for PT and have used it for dental with poor result. The only thing worse was the VA itself. I have been a claimant with the VA since 1971. I got a 10% rating for a “nervous condition” back in 1973 that was retro to my discharge date of December 1971. I was badly lowballed. In 1990 I got an increase to 30% and when I was fired from my job at the post office I got 70% and then with appeals I got TDIU. In 2002 I got P&T and then as time went by I got SC’ed for agent orange conditions to include DMII, CAD, and PN and then housebound. It took all those years to figure out what was going on because before the internet I had to depend on VSO’s and they were idiots and were worse than useless. Hadit.com helped me a lot learning about TDIU and getting IMO’s. If I had of really understood how a good IMO can help get an increase I would have been rated 70%-100% years earlier. I was fighting many bad c&p exams and misdiagnosis. The VA had me as a personality disorder and it took many IMO’s to convince them that it was not so. I even appealed my discharge and had it changed to honorable and not general under honorable due to that personality disorder crap. I was suffering and still am from PTSD and Major Depression. The VA just glossed over that and ignored my first IME back in 1973. The VA are complete bastards and I pity anyone who has first contact with them and who does not have knowledge of their tricks and scams. The VA is the biggest scammer of all since they scam thousands of vets out of compensation. They don’t care if you live or die and if it costs them less they would be glad to throw dirt on you. No organization has misused its charter as badly as the VA. Their only mission has been to pay out as little compensation as possible since WW11. My father was a WW11 disabled vet and he got $8 a month for his 10% disability back in the 50’s. My great, great grandfather was a civil war confederate and he got $60 a month from Georgia. I detest the military and I hate the VA since they both screwed me to the max and mistreated me. I got back at them by living and collecting for me and my wife. Compensation is the best revenge and the only revenge.
John, I’m just a guest author on Asknod. My opinions are my own and I don’t speak for Alex, the publisher. Alex knows I moderate most of my opinions. His better half is cupcake. My better half is an old Combat Marine who served in Vietnam and ended up with illnesses such as HCV. He has been in remission from hep since 2004 but other health issues are ongoing. I found Asknod looking for information and the information I found here helped my hubby get s-c for PTSD. (HCV was denied.) We’re are grateful for this project. I try to spend a few hours each week /month learning about hepatitis epidemic in the military ( and how the VA works and doesn’t work.) I don’t have a “legal mind” but do think, God willing, I may be able to make a contribution towards the goal of getting HCV recognized as presumptive.
All your comments are so valuable to someone so keep them coming. And any reforms we can move forward will help our younger vets. I met a young one who has cancer from the burn pits.
They are having a tough time.
I second that, a must read.
Let me Know if you Need anything, drive to Doc appt ect. Hope you feel better soon, Kiedove, just a phone call away.
How kind. Thank you Mark.
I bought the hard back cover version of his book in early ’15. Fired my VSO immediately after reading it thoroughly several times. Even though medical conditions were not similar. The VA denials were alike. Finally, after struggling with the VA for over 17 years with nothing to show for it. I am now at 100% P and T.
Alex is a wonderful source for all Veterans young and old alike!
Stay Healthy and remember: the VA is in business only because of us; Veterans, not the other way around.
Thank you. There is so much to learn and several reads are needed. VA = crazy. For a few months in this region, the Choice Program was expanding. Now it’s total confusion again. Very worried about this u-turn.