Category Archives: Veterans Administration

President Trump’s V.A. and his promise to Veterans

@POTUS , ‏, @realDonaldTrump ‏, @SecShulkin ‏ @DeptVetAffairs

Dear President Trump and Secretary Shulkin, 

As a United States Marine Corps, Vietnam era veteran, that served our country ‘honorably’ and was discharged with a ‘service-connected’ injury; I believe I have a unique perspective on the V.A. I have to write you to tell you just how dysfunctional your Veterans Administration hospital is.

I would have been on the phone to your ‘promised’ hot-line, but sadly with all of the battles you have been dealing with on other levels, it appears that you have not had time to deal with this issue.

Trump’s promised hotline for veterans remains unfilled

 

During the Vietnam campaign, the Marine Corps trained the women as they trained the men. I believe this is why there was such a high rate of attrition, as there were only 2,700 women Marines that served during the peak of Vietnam. We are truly thefewer and prouder’!

The Marines slogan during Vietnam was Join the Marine Corps and become a man … During boot camp, my bunkies and I would joke that the Marines were trying to turn us into men! Believe me sir, it was tough! But for some of us, our love of country was even stronger! I was never so proud as the day that my ‘eagle, globe and anchor’ were pinned to me. And to this day, that same ‘eagle, globe and anchor’ is tattooed to my heart. The sayingonce a Marine, always a Marine” is very true! It is literally drilled into us!

Because of the rigorous training it took a physical toll on my body, particularly my knees. To my dismay, I was only able to last one year and one month in the Marine Corps, as that is as long as my knee would hold out. I was medically discharged, under honorable conditions, and had to say goodbye to my beloved Corps.  While my ‘Oath of Service’ lives on in my heart, sadly, my Marine Corps injury, as well, lives on.

My first job out of the Corps was lost due to my knee injury. It has been a problem that has plagued me all of my life.  I have now had to take an early retirement, because that injury still persists. However, if I had to do it again, I would! As I know it was women Marines like me and those that graduated with me that morning, on the sunny parade deck of Parris Island, that blazed the trail for the 12,000> current woman Marines.

Because of losing my first job, due to my knee, I filed for my military disability. Rather than honoring my claim, the V.A. put me in a full leg cast for six months to stabilize my knee. That worked for some time, but did not heal the injury. I went about my life and tried to work around it. Now that I have had to take an early retirement because of it and because of your campaign promises that were made to veterans, I refilled the day after the presidential inauguration.

A Test of President Trump’s New Veteran Administration

Mr. President, let me tell you my experience so far …   Yikes!

Approximately three weeks ago, I received a letter from John Pershing V.A. I presumed the letter was about my ‘disability claim’ but when I discovered the real reason I was not only astonished, but am now very gravely concerned.

In 2009 I had a procedure done at the John Cochran V.A. Apparently they ran some blood work during that time. It appears that I had contracted Hepatitis C. I was being contacted by another V.A. EIGHT years later that I had , potentially, a deadly virus! I was astounded! In ‘private industry’ I believe this would be considered ‘malpractice’ for not disclosing this information in a timely manner.

This last week I had my appointment at John Pershing, V.A.

FYI, Mr. President, I had read that some of the V.A.s where not posting your photo, so I searched for it and found you in a position of prominence ,as was V.A. Secretary Shulkin. But let me state Mr. President, clearly you and V.A. Secretary Shulkin have your work cut out! 

I was on time for my appointment and had my labs done, only to wait for almost two hours on my physician.  When I was finally seen I was not in the best of mood, as I make it a point to be on time and I believe that the V.A. should do that as well. It was explained to me, by one of the nurses, the ‘wait’ is due to being short-staffed due to budget.  I believe the doctor understood my frustration, but was confused as to why I was there. I informed him that I was there to get an x-ray of my knee and to have a blood panel done for Hep C. He asked, who told you that you had Hep C? Well, of course it was the V.A.! He then directed his attention to his computer and started to ‘chuckle’ … stating that the lab had not run a test for Hep C, but rather they ran a test on my ‘prostate’ Mr. President, I do not believe that the Marine Corps succeeded into turning me into a man, I am pretty sure my daughter is good proof of that! The doctor then ordered the appropriate test and said he would call me, that day if it came back positive, and sent me on the way to have my knee x-rayed. I received no subsequent call.

Relieved, that I did not have a life-threatening virus, but yet cautious about the V.A. I decided the following day to call and verify. Sadly, Mr. President, they now state that it is positive and want me to get another test. 

I have since been researching Hepiitus C, as I have no clue how I could have contracted it. But my research has shown me that, it appears, that the Marine Corps keeps on giving …

WM Recruit getting inoculated with Jet Gun – Parris Island, SC

During my time in the service I was inoculated with what we termed the ‘cattle gun’ as it was a pneumatic ‘Jet Gun’. I remember very well standing in line and concerned that we were being inoculated as ‘cattle’ might be.  It was very painful and left many profusely bleeding, as it used air rather then needles. I personally never saw  the use of any type of sterilization between uses.

HCVets.com reports:

Of the total number of persons who were hepatitis C antibody positive, and reported an era of service, 62.7% were noted to be from the Vietnam. The second most frequent group is listed as post-Vietnam at 18.2%, followed by 4.8% Korean conflict, 4.3% post-Korean conflict, 4.2% from WWII, and 2.7% Persian Gulf era veterans. It wasn’t until 2012 the Department of Defense began to test recruits entering and exiting the service. The figures for the War on Terror lack accurate research and expected to exceed the stated claim.”

Mr. President, this clearly is an epidemic among Vietnam era veterans and it is killing them! The above website that I addressed: HCVets.com is a  website that specifically addresses this issue.  One of the administrator of the site, was like me, a USMC Vietnam veteran that was inoculated in Parris Island with the ‘cattle gun’. Sadly, Mr. President, he has now died due to this virus that he received from his military service.

“Military Marine Corps Veteran, Corporal Gary Lupole, 61,   co-founder of HCVets.com, Educational Website . passed away suddenly on Thursday, February 2, 2012. His death was caused by cardiac arrest related to terminal liver cancer due to the hepatitis C virus that he contracted during his military service.

The Vietnam war has never ended for Gary, or for many Veterans and Retired Military members with service incurred disabilities like HCV disease. Please tell a friend that 1 in 5 Vietnam Vets have HCV disease.”

While some enlisted to fight for ‘Old Glory’ and our Constitution because they believed in our country,  they did not sign up to contract a deadly virus because of incompetency! I am sure, President Trump, you will have to agree with me — This is unacceptable!

~Semper Fi!

 

President Trump’s NEW Veteran Administration – Wow!

Yesterday, on my monthly re-supply ritual, I stopped by my P.O. Box and picked up my mail. Among the correspondence, one stood out, as it was a letter from the V.A. I believed that I was expecting this letter, as I suspected it had to deal with my disability claim that I submitted in January. When I learned what this information was to contain, I was absolutely astounded!

In 2009 I had a procedure at John Hopkins V.A. – St. Louis. They took several blood tests prior to this procedure. I would have never guessed that the reason the V.A. was contacting me about blood tests from eight years ago, but they were!

I was told by MSN Kelly Noisworthy, of John J. Pershing, Poplar Bluff V.A.; my blood work from 2009 showed that I had Hepatitis C! EIGHT YEARS the V.A. waits to disclose this, potentially, life threatening virus? And a virus that is communicable and treatable, none-the-less!

Obviously, I was very upset and took to Social Media –

This information was ‘disturbing‘ to say the least! A viral infection, that is, not only, potentially contagious, but one the is curable and LIFE THREATENING!  If this does not prove the poor care the V.A. has provided in the past, I don’t what more proof one would need! 

 President Trump’s new V.A.

I gathered myself last night, calmed my nerves and prepared a big batch of Colloidal Silver.

This morning, with a collected mind, I called the V.A. to investigate. I am told that the V.A. is contacting, not only just me, but all veterans that have tested positive for Hep C and offering them a new medical cure. The cure is an injectable and oral medication called Harvoni.

VA Expands Hepatitis C Drug Treatment

 “We’re honored to be able to expand treatment for Veterans who are afflicted with hepatitis C,” says VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. David Shulkin.  “To manage limited resources previously, we established treatment priority for the sickest patients.  Additionally, if Veterans are currently waiting on an appointment for community care through the Choice Program, they can now turn to their local VA facility for this treatment or can elect to continue to receive treatment through the Choice Program.”

President Trump’s choice of Dr. David J. Shulkin Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is now clear!

I will be scheduling an appointment to be seen for this viral infection, as well as have them check my darn knee!

Another promise kept by President Trump!

~Semper Fi!

A Test of President Trump’s New Veteran Administration

WMAfter one year and one month of active duty service in the U.S. Marine Corps, during the Vietnam era, I was discharged on a medical under Honorable conditions. It seemed that the rigors of boot camp had ruined my knee, as it clearly states in my medical boards. Some may say that was not a lot of time to serve, but the fact is it did give me a permanent injury.  And sometimes it is not the quantity, but the quality. The Vietnam era Woman Marines paved the way for the new Women Marine Corps. During the peak Vietnam campaign there were only 2,700 women that served in the Corps. We trained with the guys in those days, it was tough and one had to be tough to survive! It wasn’t till after the Vietnam campaign that the boot camp for women was ‘lightened up and geared more towards a woman’s body’, rather than a mans. But because of these initial women, blazing the trail, and the lighter duty training, there are at least five times as many Woman Marines that serve our nation today! So while it may not have been a long time, it was an import, challenging and historic time!

Many were called, but few were made!

Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King

While, sometimes, this type of injury can be corrected by surgery, often it is not. During that exact time of my injury, tennis player, Billie Jean King, was suffering from the same issue. She elected to have the surgery. She spoke about it at an event in Palm Springs, that I attended. During this time I was on convalescent trying to decide if I wanted the surgery and she stated that if she had to choose again, she would not have elected to have the surgery. She has since had to have both knees replaced. I chose not to have the surgery and, sadly, consequently took the 10% disability rating and my Honorable discharge and said goodbye to my beloved Corps.

The injury is a recurring subluxation of the patella. The V.A. tried to fix it, after it occurred during my first job after the Corps, with Southern Pacific Railroad. I jumped from a locomotive in the roundhouse to the deck and there it went. I laid in painful agony, as my entire knee cap had destabilized and was now on the side of my knee! I waved goodbye to my job at the railroad and took the long ambulance ride to the Los Angeles V.A. The next six months were spent in a full leg cast to stabilize the region. Talk about a pain! 

For six months I had to bathe with a garbage bag and needless to say, getting around was a chore. When the cast was finally removed, my leg had totally atrophied and I dared not wear shorts and show it off! But once I regained strength in it, it seemed to have healed, for that moment in time.

Later in years, I started a business where I built fixed-wireless Internet networks. It was a physically rigorous business, climbing high rises and towers. But it had its rewards of bringing broadband to areas where it had never existed and I enjoyed the challenge.

The spring morning of 2008 was beautiful and sunny, I noted, as I was strapping on my climbing gear, and was thankful for the good visibility.  Visibility was important, as we were verifying ‘line of sight‘ to another location that we wanted to connect a radio link and open a new service area. The climb I was about to embark on was a 120’ water tower. Water towers, to me, were a bit scary as one has to climb in a dark tube and there are heavy hatches that have to be opened along the way.  I was lucky to have my favorite climbing partner with me, Norm, as he was a very strong fellow and could handle these hatches with no problem. As I checked my gear, I lightened my belt of unnecessary tools and whatnot’s, I grabbed an energy drink from the cooler; thinking it would be my reward after the last hatch had been popped and daylight was once again visible.

The climb was uneventful up to the 80′ level when that pesky ‘war injury‘ decided to revisit me …  I raised my right leg onto the rung and put pressure on it and it gave way! Norm was busy unlatching the first hatch when I yelled out, “Norm I am in trouble!” … he replied “Whatever you do, don’t look down!” … Too late, I had already done so! As I was hanging by the rung, I actually had visions of me falling and breaking my back thinking … ‘who is going to take my daughter to the orthodontist?‘ … Wild what ones mind will think of when they are in a stressful situation.  As I gathered my ‘calmness‘ and  my Marine, I reached for my pelican clip so that I could clip off to the next rung. The darn thing was stuck, frozen, the clip would not open! … I yelled this to Norm … he said, “Where is your WD-40?” Of course this was one of the items I left behind … I told him “I left it in the jeep and put a Red Bull in its place” … he yelled back “Drink it, it will give you wings!”  as he tossed his can of WD-40 down at me.

Needless to say, this was my last tower climb, as it showed me I was getting too old for this type of work, as well as the fact that the old injury was back in my life.

The V.A. never awarded me compensation for this injury and in fact denied it when they put me into the full leg cast in 1975. I did not challenge it, because it appeared to correct the issue for sometime. However through out life, it has clearly been an issue for me. I decided when I got the time I would refile on this disability, but I did not want to do it during the Obama administration … after all, he had the IRS chasing Tea Party groups, what would they do to a patriot Marine? And now that I have waited my knee has deteriorated with age. Arthritis has set in which I am pretty sure is triggering sciatic nerve attacks. I tried to be seen last summer at the Poplar Bluff V.A. and waited in the emergency room for over four hours. I finally checked with the E.R. physician and he told me that there were eight people still in front of me and he was the only physician on staff. I left, so the others could be seen. It was only, non-life threatening, pain I had to deal with not like, potentially, the other veterans. But I became very aware of how our V.A.’s have been compromised. In fact in 2015 there was $1.4 billion cut from the V.A., so I have been very discouraged.

How $1.4 billion in budget cuts will impact Veterans

“Last week, the House Appropriations Subcommittee marked up the 2016 Veterans Affairs funding bill, and slashed more than $1.4 billion from the president’s requested budget for America’s Veterans. Today, VA Secretary Bob McDonald appeared before the Senate Appropriations Committee to discuss that budget proposal.”

And now we see that President Trump has rehired part of this same administration.

TRUMP TAPS OBAMA UNDER SECRETARY FOR SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

Dr. David Shulkin will be the first to serve as Secretary of Veteran Affairs who is not a veteran. As well as it is concerning that this appointment could lead to the privatization of the department of Veteran Affairs, which to many veterans is unacceptable!

Will Veterans Affairs Nominee David Shulkin Privatize the VA? We Don’t Know

 “Sadly our great veterans have not gotten the level of care they deserve, but Dr. Shulkin has the experience and the vision to ensure we will meet the healthcare needs of every veteran,” Trump said in a statement.

The appointment is puzzling in that Trump has long touted his commitment to veterans and criticized the VA for treating veterans “horribly.”

So yesterday, the day of President Donald J. Trumps inauguration, I filled out my claim using the V.A. online system called eBenefits. The V.A. now has a program called ‘Fully Developed Claim‘ (FDC) … This is where it is up to the veteran to gather their information and submit to the V.A. This is great, it sort of cuts out the ‘middle-man‘! The previous year, in knowing I was going to refile, I had already started the process and obtained my Service Record Book (SRB). Although it took over six months to receive, I do not have to add that time now to my FDC, so that is a benefit right out the door for anyone that already has their paperwork!

Fully Developed Claims

“The Fully Developed Claims (FDC) program is an optional initiative that offers Veterans and survivors faster decisions from VA on compensation, pension, and survivor benefit claims.”

“It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots!” ~President Donald J. Trump

President Trump at Arlington
President Trump at Arlington National Cemetary

Is President Trump’s V.A. going to be any different than any other president? At this point I do not know. But I do know that he has made us a promise that it will! And in fact, ‘Veterans Affairs Reform‘ was part of his political platform:

VETERANS AFFAIRS REFORM

djt-policy-infographic-va__medium

As I travel down this path, I will keep our readers updated, as our country may have changed in the past and maybe about to embark on a bright new future, but I have always been a patriot and will keep watch!

~Semper Fi!