By Clayton McCrary, Army infantry veteran of the Persian Gulf War
I think about my experiences seeking benefits through the regional Veterans Affairs medical center where it seems to me that they care to not care for anyone.
“Thanks for coming in,” they say. “Now what is your problem?” they ask. Whatever ails the veteran had better be pharmacologically treatable or they’ll sure to hear, “Sorry, we can’t help you.”
Slow to care or too slow to care, if they care at all, Veterans Affairs workers seem to always ask, “why we come in?” I tell them that I was told this is “the place.” Then, do they care?
The system. Do I get it? Do you get it? Do we veterans get it at all?
It’s my benefit, but I care to come here why? Why do I seek care in an uncaring place? How do the government drones work? “Do you still want to come here,” they ask?
The doctors and most of the nurses have the ability to recommend federally approved drugs and it seems that they might not know exactly what the drug will do to me. Do we really need to be guinea pigs anymore? I thought we did that in the service by fighting for our country and defending our “freedoms.”
After gaining my courage to finally go into a VA clinic and “get things started” probably 3-4 years after I returned to stateside from my Army enlistment that took me to Europe and the Middle East for the first Gulf War, my experience came to a halt after my physical. The road to opening a claim seemed endless and full of many hoops I couldn’t understand. It pissed me off. We are not pieces of equipment that fall into a warehouse that gets filed and refiled every fiscal year!
The slogan “support our troops” goes into a deep place with a lot of active duty military. It’s harder for veterans, they just went through it and their needs detract support for the next.
The people who tried to help me were only there for a paycheck. Could they have tried harder if they wanted to?
I think a solution is well overdue especially now that the feds are cutting troops and we will start to see more veterans come home with the need for some assistance transitioning back into society. What’s the plan for them? Maybe some of our less affected troops coming home can transfer into a government type job that actually helps people transitioning from military life to being a good honest citizen who has support and meaning.
I hear that the computer systems are actually talking to each other and sharing medical files at the VA. Maybe that will improve something, but I suspect it won’t change the drones.