Take more Motrin
I served in the Air Force from 2000-2004. When I was in I was prone to severe headaches... I got one of two answers, this is just a physical you need to schedule a separate appointment and when I scheduled an appointment the answer was take motrin and drink more water.. never a question about them.
Meanwhile I just put up with the headaches... I also had knee troubles which they apparently understood and after I got out I wanted to get them looked at because they were causing me trouble... So I had another physical done and mentioned my headaches... The response was "this is to address your knee only, you need to schedule a separate appointment" So I did, a month later the Doc looked into my eyes with the eyeball thingy which most everyone has had this done, she told me to take motrin and drink more water.. with a new answer "and try to reduce stress" bear in mind this appointment was less than 10 minutes. This was 2007 and at the time the only insurance I had was with the VA. I decided that Id rather go without than have to go to the VA again.
In 2009 I had insurance, my oldest was getting a regular checkup with my family Doc.. And I asked the Dr in passing about the headaches. The Doc said he didn't have time to look at it now but he told me to schedule it... I thought to myself "great here we go again".. I the Doc had me in three days later, looked in my eyes (didn't see any obvious issues). He was kind of old school and actually asked questions did little tests of coordination etc. He then gave me two options: try migraine meds and hope they worked, or get an MRI just to rule out any potential tumors or what not.. He really didn't like prescribing meds if he didn't have to (save paper not using his prescription pad). So he really liked the MRI as a starting point before prescribing meds.
Now my thinking was "wow he wants to actually do something" So I took his advice, got an MRI the next morning at 0 dark thirty so I wouldn't miss work...
In July of 2009 the next day after my visit with him he called me at work around 2:30 (that morning I had the MRI) and asked me to stop by and bring my wife. Thats when I found out about my brain tumor...
Within a week I was seeing THE neurosurgeon at UW Madison. One appointment with that Doc, I had left with an appointment for a fancy MR, a follow up to discuss the MRI, and a surgery date to either biopsy or remove the tumor!!!! Around a month later I had the surgery and all was good until July of 2013 and underwent radiation treatments.
Meanwhile the VA lost some paperwork submitted two years ago, while I thought it was just the normal back log.. Since I get the "working on you claims" letter they send out every three months or so.
My issues with the VA are frustrating certainly, but what concerns me the most is how many others are out there with more pressing concerns? We were quick to go to war but it seems like no one even considered the consequents... The little ones like mobilizing the VA as well as the troops, training and preparing for the men and women that will come back missing parts of their bodies as well as their souls..
I understand my experience isn't nearly as bad as others, and for every bad review there are probably a hundred success stories... It has been my experience that for those who have served are resigned to this sort of treatment.
Chances are I won't live to see my children graduate high school. I don't wish to blame the VA or the political blow hards where their support for the troops stops at buying the bumper sticker, but wish to convey my thoughts and feelings. As well as warn other vets the be wary of putting your complete faith in the Veterans Administration.
I love my country but at the same time I am ashamed