I got out of the Navy in 1980. In the heat of Orlando at Nuclear Power School, under fluorescent lights, I developed ophthalmic migraines. I was an MM-3. They said I could stay in as a Yeoman or a Hospital-man. At 6’4″ 240 lbs, it didn’t make sense. They voided my contract and I took an honorable medical discharge. I got a 10 % rating. I went to a year of college, under Voc. Rehab; got the 1st coed I met pregnant, and dropped out to make some money. I came in 1st on the local Fire Department test, and afraid they would think I couldn’t work around heat, I voluntarily gave back my 10%. (OK – guys and gals … breathe slowly into the paper bag until the light headed-ness goes away.)
I never joined the Fire Department, for the same reason I didn’t become a hospital man, I can’t stand someone else’s blood. I joined the Post Office, then transferred to the FAA as an Air Traffic Controller. I got my back hurt at the tower in 1990. They put me on disability. I stayed on OWCP for 5 years. My kids were getting bigger, and instead of the $4,000 a month I made as a controller, I was down to $1,800. I gave up a second disability compensation, and became a Realtor. l made great money … sometimes. My best year I made $157,000. I also bar-tended most of those years. I got most of my clients from the bars. During the last recession, the real estate business stopped. I took a job at Best Buy, worked at the VFW as a bar tender, and did a karaoke show on Fridays. I quit Best Buy 4 years later and both bars closed shortly thereafter. In 2012, the VRAP program was instituted for unemployed veterans. It gave us 12 months of school. I got my associates degree, but while I was there my ophthalmic migraines began again. I applied to the VA and got back my 10% rating. They’d never heard of anyone giving it back before … it only took a month or so. When my 12 months of VRAP were over, I called Voc Rehab and asked how much time I had remaining in Voc. Rehab from the 90’s. They gave me 3 more years,
I graduated with a BA from UMASS in 2 years as an accountant. During the 3 years of school, my eyes got more out of whack (My Cousin Vinny). I did most classes online and that aggravated it. I applied and received an upgrade to 30% and then 50%. I had picked accounting because of my back problems. I now couldn’t do it because of my eye problems: discerning 6’s from 0’s and 8’s or 1’s from 7’s was impossible. So I went to an VA eye exam on 06/27/16. They burned out my eyes. For the last year it’s been constant, persistent migraines in the left one, and all sorts of weird stuff on the right. I had to stop driving. I can’t sleep. I am antisocial, grouchy, and mean. In November 2016, I applied for unemployabliity. I used our state veteran’s rep. and it only took 8 months. First I got 10% for tinnitus. Everything else was deferred. 17 days ago I had a C & P exam for depression. I was never depressed before. Today, one year and a day from the eye exam from hell, I received 30% for Depression and I do not have to be reevaluated. The total was 68% rounded up top 70% and met the threshold for unemployability and 100%.
Why so fast? I spelled out everything and kept a daily journal of what was happening. I went to the right people, and had the doctors on my side. And I was always respectful and nice to everyone. The girl that messed up my eyes felt terrible … I was nice.
Last week I was in Providence and a diabetic veteran, missing half a foot, was screaming at the poor young lady behind the window. An idiot. I worked 40 years as a bouncer and bartender and never fought. I was always nice, even when I could have hurt them. The last fight I was in (not working) I punched an idiot in the mouth. I got blood poisoning from his filthy tooth. I’ve been nice ever since.
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