How to get your questions answered. A few observations, and requests of all members. All folks who come here are volunteers who do this on their own time and their own dime.To avoid burning out our best contributors please follow these guidelinesf you are reading a post and it reminds you of a question you want to ask, start a new topic, if you place your question in someone thread it will be difficult to distinguish your question from the original poster, you will get better results posting a new topic with your question. 1. Before Posting please do a search and see if your question has already been answered. If you find the answer print it out and put it in a file to use as a reference file, I find this helpful myself. 2. If you can not find the answer and you do post a question, please print out those answers and refer to them to avoid duplicate questions. 3. Refer to the Frequently Asked Questions4. Duplicate questions will come up from time to time but the keeping them to the minimum will lighten the load on the regular volunteers.5. Respect folks privacy do not request their personal phone numbers for claims help, it is inappropriate and not why they are here.6. Keep the topics focused on veterans issues, in closing Search first Search ... Ask second.it may save a lot of time or at the very least enlighten you.
Listen Live Every Wed 5:30 PM CST to SVR Radio, Veterans Issues are discussed with various guests. Please check the little home I am carving out for our SVR partners. http://www.hadit.com/svr.html
The following is on my About page, but some have been asking how this all happened. So here is my little story. Tbird US Navy 1983 – 1990 E-6 HadIt.com the website domain registered Jan 20, 1997 the domain is registered and paid for through Jan 21, 2023 at which time I plan to register it for another 15 years Lord willing and the creek don't rise. I guess the best place to start is Jan 1991; I had gotten out of the navy Dec 1990. At my separation seminar, there was a DAV rep Jim Milton he told us to bring our medical records in and he would look through them for us and let us know if we should file a claim with the VA. Well, bless his heart, he opened my medical file, reads the first insert, looks me straight in the eye, and says you will be 50% for the rest of your life and he would file the claim for me. 50% was for surgery I had in the service. True to his word he met with me and talked with me for a long time filled out my paper work and urged me to file for PTSD. I would not file the PTSD claim, nor even discuss it. By Feb 1991 I had moved to the San Francisco bay area and was staying at a friends apartment and pretty much I was just a puddle. In desperation one night I called suicide hot line, I had no job, no idea about going to the VA. They talked with me for a long time and explained to me that I could go to the local VA hospital even if I did not have insurance. Now, I know what you are thinking if I was 50% why didn't I just go to the VA in the first place, two reasons 1, this was Feb 1991 and the 50% didn't come till May and 2, even if it had come through it is unlikely that I would have had the mental acuity at the time to put the two together. I relate this here because it is where so many of our brothers and sisters are coming from, perhaps where you started. Fuzzy and unsure, in pain and sometimes homeless they come to the VA hospital for help. And that is where I ended up. Up to the pysch ward I went, blah, blah, blah, a few days later I was released with a promise of a call from the out patient program, which I would soon be entering. Blah, blah, blah, after many missed communications, and no call backs I was at the Day Hospital everyday M-F. And this brothers and sisters is where I began to learn and formulate my plan for HadIt.com. Veterans, veterans everywhere…I spent a year in the day hospital and about another year at a sheltered workshop before I got back on my feet. So I just talked to veterans everyday waiting for appointments, waiting for prescriptions, waiting for a vet rep and I started to learn the system. While in the navy I was data analyst and had to learn a 5 volume manual and just about anything you were suppose to do was in that manual. So I figured there must be a manual on how to do a VA claim or at the very least regulations. So I found out about the Code of Federal Regulations, United States Code, Veterans Affairs Manuals and so on and so forth. Of course this was 1991/1992 I was living in a tiny studio apartment in a particularly bad neighborhood, working in a sheltered workshop making a nickel per envelope I stuffed throw in PTSD and you will see that it was a difficult task for me to get somewhere where they had copies of these, let alone that they would let me look at. And there was so much knowledge around me, it was like the gold rush in those days, I could just sit on a bench a veteran would sit down next to me a little conversation later I had another nugget, I made copious notes. Phone numbers to call, ask for this guy or that guy he'll give you the straight scoop and they'd slip me a piece of paper with a number on it. You want to read this regulation or that one and another slip of paper into my hand. I spent a lot of time on those benches watching the squirrels they gathered their nuts and I gathered mine :) So I'm thinking I could put a little handbook together print it out and hand it out at the VA. Or perhaps fliers. Still formulating, time goes by, 1994/1995 I am being treated for PTSD regularly and doing and feeling much better and I go to work for a company as a marketing systems analyst and I discover the internet. Well let me tell you that was perhaps one of the most significant life changing events I have ever experienced. And I might add finally a positive one :) It seemed only natural to me that surely there must be a website that contained all the knowledge I wanted, well as it turned out not so much, lots of stuff but I wanted to get straight to the claims information and there was a lot of stuff to wade through to get to it. So taking my lesson from the squirrels earlier I started to gather, gather, gather…and learn HTML and work as a marketing systems analyst and work my claim. 1996/1997 major PTSD cork blows and unemployed. Working my claim, working the website. 20 Jan 1997 register HadIt.com domain name right after getting off the phone with the VA and saying I've had it with this. As fate would have it the old DAV board goes down just as mine opens up and folks start to wander in. So HadIt.com has two main components the website which supports the discussion board with links, articles, research resources etc. The website starts to grow, I can't tell you how many times I had to switch servers for space and features. I continue on a downward trend and in 1998 ended up back home in St Louis living in my sisters basement in therapy and working it, I swear I would have swung a dead chicken around my head at midnight naked if I thought it would have helped. The website continued to do great during this time, I just stayed in the basement bought new software, new books, and learned how to make things work and I continued to use this knowledge to make HadIt.com better. My 100% finally came through from the VA and I had a friend who is an advocate who helped me thru my SSDI claim, he was literally at my side thru the entire process and that came through for me. My therapist and sister continued to try and get me to leave the basement, but to no avail. At some point in 1998 or 1999 I put a counter on the website and was shocked to discover how many visitors we were getting. Time goes by my sister gets married and I move from the basement to the upstairs, there is much celebration that Aunt T is living in the light again. More time goes by and I settle into my life in St Louis and spend more time on the site trying new things, finding more information. 2003 I buy my own home VA loan. For years now I have just considered HadIt.com my job and I get up every morning go to the office and work for several hours, take an afternoon break and see where the rest of day takes me. I have a place in the office to use the computer and a comfortable to place to read journals and articles and take notes. Blah, blah, blah so that is my story and HadIt.com's intertwined.
Hi I've updated our HadIt.com Pass It On Cards. They are in a PDF format you can print them out cut them there are 12 to a page. If you have found HadIt.com helpful and would like to pass it on to other veterans this is an easy way to do it.I hope you find them helpful, feel free to leave a few anywhere veterans gather, veterans centers, veterans hospitals, public libraries, be creative. Please make sure though, that if you want to leave some at any business you ask permission first.Here you go http://www.hadit.com...it_on_cards.pdf
hedgey added a question in Compensation & Pension ExamsJust Looked At The Notes From The Comp & Pen For IbsI'm so upset, I'm in tears. I didn't even look to see what the examiner wrote about my feet.
Her conclusion about my Irritable Bowel was that it was less that likely that my IBS was related to my PTSD and she attached some medical finding that said there was no concrete evidence of comorbidity.
She also said something about amplification of symptoms that could not be connected to my state of mental health.
I understand what amplification of symptoms means - it means that she thinks I was overstating my distress. All I know is that I was sitting there with cramps that were making me sweat. My DH was there and chimed in that I suffered from "tummy trouble" constantly and that it was running our lives.
So I had handed her my Gastroenterologist's DBQ that specifically stated the IBS was definitely caused or aggravated by my PTSD. I also came home and submitted that DBQ via IRIS because even though I had already submitted it back with my original claim, but the examiner didn't have it or see it in my records.
My question is whether there is any point in asking my Gastroenterologist to write a statement for me. He already filled out the DBQ, and the VA has requested my records.
But is there any hope? I have always gleaned that whatever the C&P examiner says goes, never mind that they see you for 45 minutes out of your life and they are a NP at best. Is there any hope at all that the VA might actually take the word of my MD - specialist??
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hedgey added a question in (VA Claims Research) Veterans Affairs Claims and Benefits ResearchComp & Pen And Pain Killers...I know this might belong in the C&P forum, but the question involves painkillers and that seems to be a hot topic these days, so I figured it might be more general...
I have a C&P this week, a two parter, and one is for an increase to my rating for the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy in my feet. When I got rated back in 2009 for an increase and to make it bilateral, the examiner asked me how far I could walk and I replied not very far without having to stop... She said, "oh but you could walk a quarter mile, right? Just down the track at a school, right?" So I said, yeah, but I wouldn't enjoy it...
So of course in my paperwork she said I could walke more than 1/4 mile unassisted. Well, anyway, I was just really grateful that they SC'd my 'other' foot as secondary to my original one foot injury, so I let it go. A quarter mile without stopping? Not in years, my dears.
ANYWAY, I see a private podiatrist and private Primary Care. My podiatrist gives me shots occasionally, but she advised me to see my PC for oxycodene to help when the pain was very bad. She has experience with the VA and told me not to bother asking them for pain reliever beyond OTC stuff.
So yes, my PC was more than willing to prescribe Percoset, first with 5/.325acetominiphen then with 7.25/.325. I only take it when the burning and pain is so bad I really can't take it. I've managed to make a script for 120 tablets last from January 14th until last week (going in today for new script).
I did tell my VA Primary that I had the prescription, and it's in my records (at the lower dose).
My question is this: Should I make a point of telling the C&P examiner that I'm taking Percoset to manage the pain? It seems like this should support the level of severity of the pain I'm living with, but the VA is quirky. I'm a bit afraid they might go all "the Vet is getting DRUGS from a private doctor!!! DRUGS!!!" Yeah, drugs that actually work, and that I take so sparingly that I still suffer (believe me, it's awful).
What do you all think? Is doctor prescribed Percoset going to help my cause or should I just not mention it (unless asked, of course).
Also, I use a cane every day, but have no callus to 'prove' it. Handwashing is one of my OCD compulsions, but then so is applying hand lotion. My paws are clean and softy-soft!!
Well, wait, there is a small callus below my pinky ....
I have to go wash my hands now.
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hedgey added a question in Compensation & Pension ExamsWhat To Expect At C&p For Irritable Bowel SyndromeI've had IBS symptoms for years, and finally started complaining to my VA primary care about 4 years ago. I was embarrassed and ashamed and it took me a long time to even admit that I really had a problem and it wasn't just tummy-trouble. It actually took my daughter pointing out that I had 'tummy-trouble' every single day!
Anyway, the VA sent me for tests for parasites, infections, a CT scan and a MRI plus I had a colonoscopy... all done by outside providers due to the distance from our rural area to the VAMC. All my PC would said in my records was "Impression: IBS". She gave me script for a common med. I kept coming back and she said I had to go to the Gastro guy at the VAMC. I said nope, not going to go sit in a crowded room full of guys to let a strange guy look at me.
Meanwhile, Id also gone to my private primary care doc and she referred me to a female specialist who diagnosed IBS and said that it was extremely common that a person with PTSD would have stomach issues. She's tried me on a number of different prescriptions, none have worked well, but she's really trying to help.
She did a DBQ for me and I submitted that with my claim (IBS as secondary to PTSD). I have a Comp & Pen this week and I'm extremely anxious about it (is anyone ever not anxious?).
I'm afraid that I'll be manhandled by a stranger; that I'll have to drop my britches and ... I don't know.
Will they want me to demonstrate my problem? In some ways that sounds like a funny joke, but I"m scared. Are they going to want to measure my hemmorhoids?
Also, should I bring the drugs my private gastroenterologist has me taking? One of them is a controlled substance (something with atropine in it, for when the cramping is just too much). I'm worried they'll think I'm an addict or something, especially with the way the VA is all crazy about the painkiller situation :(
Who can tell me what to expect, and what I can hopefully not expect?
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hedgey added a topic in PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ClaimsVa Therapist Forced To Resign... Don't Know Why :(Hi, everyone. I hope this isn't something that many people have experience because it's been hell, but maybe someone can say something that will help.
I had been seeing the same VA therapist for years. I was among the first patients they had when they came to the VA, so we sort of "grew up" together - I mean a lot of our sessions were full of "isn't the VA crazy the way they do things?" Went every week and very rarely missed an appointment.
So a couple of months ago I went to a session, all was as usual. Then I called scheduling the next day to change the next appointment because spouse had a conflicting appointment. Was told that my Therapist was on Admninstrative Leave.
After weeks of asking questions and getting no answers, I was finally told at the beginning of the month that Therapist had resigned (been forced!). My VA psychiatrist can only say that she doesn't know anything about what happened, only that Therapist surely would not have left patients high and dry if there had been any alternative. Privacy & confidentiality prevent the VA from saying anything about the circumstances.
So WTF. I was such a fool, wasn't I? I actually allowed myself to open up to someone, to reveal a lot of myself to someone, and the VA just steps in and they're gone.
Yes, I know that this must be the same thing regardless of whether it's the VA or a private provider. I'm just lost and so damned depressed.
I have a C&P next week and I don't give a flying fish about it. Do for a minute, get mad at the VA and want to rail and gnash my teeth and jump up and down. Then deflate and just don't care.
The VA is supposed to fix me up with another therapist, but in this area they're severely short-staffed (good time to fire a provider - oops, I mean accept the resignation of a provider) and it will be weeks before I can see someone, unless I want to travel to the VAMC. Not.
Sorry. I'm rambling. Thanks for reading. I'd say I'll be okay, but I'm starting to think that maybe I won't.
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hedgey added a question in Compensation & Pension ExamsThought Dbq's Were Supposed To Eliminate Need For C&p ExamsHi everyone. Haven't been here in so long. Haven't been online in a long time - just not up to much of anything these days. Funny how you think you'll be okay and start living "someday" but then you look up and "someday" was two years ago...
So about the DBQ's. I thought if we got doctors to fill them out and submitted them, we'd be doing the VA a huge favor and saving them the cost of providing C&P exams.
At least that was what my VSO thought and when I filed my claim for an increase to my rating for my feet, and to SC my irritable bowel as secondary to PTSD, I had my doctors fill out DBQ's. They faxed copies to the VARO and also gave me copies for my files.
Yesterday I got a call from the VAMC (72 miles away) telling me that I have a two-hour C&P scheduled for next week. I'm very grateful that I was near the phone and picked it up.
I'm a nervous wreck about it already. I'm not good at going to the big hospital (panic attack land for me) and well....
Writing this has helped. I know I'm very lucky to have been scheduled, and even luckier that I happened to answer the phone so that I know about it. Also, I will have copies of the DBQ's in my hand to give the examiner. That's a good thing, right?
Thanks, Hadit, for being my sounding board!
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