V.A.-RAMP UPdate

Here it is 3 AM again and I have a visit from the USMC via the sciatic attack running down my leg.  I sometimes wonder if someone has a voodoo-doll of me and is sticking in pins … probably … 

I look to the calendar and I am reminded today is my one year anniversary of my accident; a night I will never forget! Even after all my ‘local’ interactions with the sheriff’s deputies, this last year, I still give praise to the organization that saved my life! 

The local sheriff is an interesting gal. She reminds me, in ways, of a friend in another county that traveled the same employment/Constitutional track from Corner to Sheriff. Although by different entry paths, one by election the other by constitutional authority; never-the-less they have similar stories/events that occurred on their watch that had the potential to soil their good character. Due to subordinate bad actors, the constitutional office of sheriff was reflected upon in poor decorum among our community. In one case it brings home just how corrupt our news coverage is by covering ones’ potential career ending event and not to follow up on the highly publicized story. Which to my surprise would have been the better story, showed character and true grit vs. the bad actor that stole the, ironically, ‘Masonic’ ring. Local readers will know my reference, as well they should also know that our ‘local’ newspaper is now owned by WARREN BUFFET! But that is another story….

This event reaffirms and illustrates how the ‘swamp’ is EVERYWHERE! AND it confirms our President’s rebel yell … FAKE NEWS!

I will never forget those Coyotes starring me down that night, as my faithful dog stood by my side, in the below freezing temps to protect me  Once I finally found the elusive AT&T signal, which took several hours, it then took several more for sheriff and crew to finally find me! It took me a while before I could hear the lost and distant sirens, but Maya could hear them for miles and did her ‘ambulance’ howl to let me know they were on their way. Understand that until recently my property did not have an address, nor was marked, so this was not an issue of the sheriff; but one of RURAL. However after this year’s interaction with the local deputies, I am now confident they know exactly where I live! But, again, that’s another story …

The V.A. ended their RAMP program when President Trump’s signature law Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 went into effect on the 19th of this month. The goal of the program is to not have the vet wait years, sometimes decades for their appeal, but this program touts a 125 day turn-around! 

My RAMP was approved last year in less than the promised 125 days! 

However, in VA fashion, I have to appeal. My Appeal was submitted in October and now is among the 69k appeals waiting @ the BVA. From what I am reading from other vets, via net forums, getting the program off the ground seems to be a challenge. As for me, my Appeal is yet to be listed in my eBenefits. Well, I figure, it took a long time to break it; it will not be fixed overnight, no matter how much our President loves his Veterans.

In the meantime, the V.A. is making good on their Voc Rehab. They have enrolled me in their Independent Living Program. At first, when it was explained to me, that the V.A. came into my home and did an assessment of my living conditions, I refused. To me, the person that was giving me this information was doing so in such a derogatory fashion, so that I would declined the program. That appointment was followed up with an armed security guard (seems to be, IMHO, V.A. gestapo tactics ) questioning my driver of  why he was there. These folks have the same playbook as most, intimidation. After making a complaint to the White House V.A. Hotline, this problem was corrected and I was assigned a new VRC, who is also a veteran! I believe that all folks working for the V.A. should be veterans, as they know what the score is, versus people filling up the ‘minority’ billet that are NOT veterans.

This VRC explained, more in depth, the Independent Living Program; where I was inclined to agree to be involved. She setup an appointment for someone to come to my home. Initially this idea to me could be a frightening experience, as I do not let strangers on to my property; let alone into my ‘tiny’ cabin. But the potential benefits of getting things squared-away on my property, I bit the proverbial bullet and agreed. A few weeks later I was contacted by an Industry Psychologist that would be traveling to Missouri for my visit. I was astonished, as I thought the V.A. would be sending out someone from their, god forbid, STL VA Home Health Care. I was impressed that the V.A. would go to this extent to help veterans.

Lost Valley Lake

The Doc contacted me by email to figure out  travel arrangements. I let him know in the first email that he needed at least AWD to get to my property, but better he rent a 4WD. I guided him to the next town for overnight arrangements. He was to be at my place at 8:30 the next morning. As anyone knows, that has been to my place, the first trip one always gets lost! That is the point!

When I met with my realtor I told her I wanted something where I could just get ‘lost’ … believe it or not, my lake community is aptly named Lost Valley Lake …

God works in mysterious ways

Mark, my Aid/friend arrived on time as usual, at 8 am. He offered to go meet the Doc and guide him in, but in texting; he found his way and by 9 am was seated in my living room. Not quite what I expected, as I am sure he had similar thoughts. This fellow was clearly educated and not really a ‘country boy’ by any means, but he did see the ‘peaceful’ value in the beautiful surroundings. I enjoyed chatting with him on his 3-hour tour, which seemed to be a dissertation of my life and adventures. For some reason I was oddly at comfort explaining how I got here … I guess that can be attributed to the fact that I was interacting with someone, these days, of rare intelligence. I was glad to realize that the V.A. actually has compassionate contractors. Not all is bad.

Because of the fact that I have been ‘jacked’ around by the V.A. almost my entire adult life, I started researching the V.A. Independent Living Program, which I was amazed there were so ‘widely’ different experiences.

Some folks explained this program as one that the V.A. would
“assist with hobbies” so that one is occupied while they wait on their creator”
 … 

… while other vets were building greenhouses, or getting fishing boats (according to a 2009 GAO report). However what was most common, among the vets, was ‘door ramps’, ‘sock grippers’ and ‘bath mats’.

VR&E ILP–RESTRICTED ACCESS CLAIMS CENTERS (RACCs)

Have you ever disobeyed a direct order and literally come out smelling like roses? Have you ever plunked a pair of MK 82 500 pounders right into the mouth of a limestone karst cave off Route 7 and gotten secondary explosions for three days? This one is better than that. A little music, Maestro while I discourse on my perennial battle for a proper greenhouse.”

I was contacted by my VRC, a few weeks later, to meet and discuss the report. Because of my research I had a hunch of what to expect, but not really. I was impressed to know that I would not have to wait months to file a FOIA for Doc’s report, but was actually handed a copy! I was happy to know that the Doc had suggested, among other things, that I be granted Aid and Attendance as well light housekeeping.

If granted this is certainly going to help, especially the A&A as I have to finish (ceiling and walls) my cabin. I understand that the V.A. cannot go further and help me with much more needed work, i.e., bathroom remodel, driveway/sidewalks, cabinets/storage units, typical V.A., go backwards to go forward, but glad I will get the help! 

No way I can do this work, but I know how it is done. That ‘strapping’ young man can do it and I get to watch! 

Of course I was also granted the proverbial bathmat and handrails. But also among the ‘haul’ was an electric scooter, so that I can, once again, visit the lake. I am thinking it would have been better to be an ATV, but I will do that on my own, once I get back on my feet!

So now I have these referrals from my VRC, the next step is to be signed off by my Primary Caregiver next month. In the meantime I wait on my Appeal @ the BVA, along with 69k vets in front of me  but there lays my backhoe! While the ILP will not purchase the front loader/backhoe that I desperately need, I may be waiting from my new lift chair and scooting around my property on my new scooter!

Where we go one, We go all. 

Thank you President Trump!

SEMPER FI!