So we had to go to the VA today. This is not a place I take Mr. Wonderful willingly. It’s a trigger for his anxiety just to get ready to go there. Then once we go, it’s usually hurry up and wait. And get care from an organization that still doesn’t know what to do with soldiers that suffer from PTSD and traumatic brain injury.
Bless their hearts.
I think many of them are trying. The lady we saw today was actually running almost on time and we were shocked! She was kind-hearted and doing her best to do her part.
But it’s always an exercise in frustration. We know this and prepare for it. Today it was in trying to get into the Caregiver Program. That’s not advertised by the VA. That I was probably eligible for two plus years ago but didn’t know about.
We’ve already sent all of Mr. Wonderful’s medical documentation multiple times to the VA and now the caregiver part of the VA will be asking for it again. Can’t you guys just communicate with each other and save us the trouble while saving some trees??
Also, we found out that to be part of the Caregiver Program I, (said caregiver) will have to attend classes on how best to be a caregiver. Taught by medical professionals who are not caregivers. While they’re asking the already over-worked, over-scheduled caregiver to leave the home where she is caregiving, creating a situation where I will have to find and pay for a sitter for each of the six classes. This will be after I go through the online application (done), two phone interviews, a home visit by a nurse and after a team decides if I’m caregiver material according to the VA.
Not to toot my own horn, but I am a pretty good caregiver. According to this article, 53 veterans die every day waiting for their benefits claims to be processed. The number of claims the VA has on backlog currently stands at 900,000.
This isn’t good caregiving. Mr. Wonderful and I may have walked to the very edge and looked over it but my veteran is still here. The very entity charged with benefits and caregiving for our nation’s heroes is letting 53 vets die every day on their watch. And they’re going to determine if I’m really a caregiver? Or teach me how to be a caregiver?
No thank you. I like my vet and want him around for a long time.
This just isn’t ok. I don’t have the answers. I don’t know how to fix it all. But I do know that making it so difficult that even people like me want to give up is not the answer. When you make it so hard on the veteran and their family, the people that are already broken down and struggling as it is, that they want to just take whatever you’re handing out to make all the hoop jumping go away, there is something not right.
Maybe if I tell our story and then others tell their stories more people will realize that this is happening all over the Unites States to our heroes. Maybe it will make you a little uncomfortable. Maybe it will make you mad.
I hope so. I hope you will stand with my family and say this isn’t ok. Support military families, write your senators or representatives, ask a vet if they need anything. Shake their hands, get to know them. Appreciate them. Make them feel human again.
Because goodness knows the VA won’t.
(Photo credit Life Change Ballroom) ©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015
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