Sunday, March 24, 2013

Backlog This

I am in a pretty good deal of pain every day of my life. Back in February of 2012, I volunteered to take a Diagnostic APFT so I could apply for a position on a US Army FET Contingent (Female Operation Team.) It took our military 10+ years to figure out that local women in predominantly muslim countries will ONLY  talk to other women. Since my first few years of military life were something of a disappointment for me, I figured I'd start the application process to do something with "the REAL Army" for a change. One step in the application process is an APFT score above 70% in each event, part of what that diagnostic APFT was for was to get my packet started if I had passed.

I had already failed at Push-Ups, but since it's a practice-run it doesn't count. Then came Sit-Ups, usually that's the hardest part for me. There's a general assumption that women are better at Sit-Ups because of how our hips are situated. I call bullshit on that one, in fact, we suck at them. The two-minute timer kicks off and I blast about half-way through before I feel a huge SNAP!

It felt like something exploded inside my shoulder and then tried to close in on itself like a black-hole. THEN it began to burn.

Of course I started crying, it hurt like a mother-fucker. I was also pissed off and frustrated, I had already put this off for far too long and now this is just another wrench in the gears of my plans. Despite my protests, they made me finish the last even: A two mile run which I could barely jog (I failed, in my defense I've always passed the timed-run with shining colors in the past.) Again, since this was a voluntary diag, they didn't count it officially.

I spent the next year or so seeking medical treatment for my injury, not once hearing a solid diagnosis as to what was actually wrong with me. The first doctor I contacted told me everything from Arthritis, Fybromialgia, Scoliosis, "just a bad muscle-spasm" and at one point told me that he thought I was making it all up. Another doctor told me that I ripped up my Trapezius & Rhomboid muscles into ribbons and I now have more scar-tissue than muscle in my right shoulder.Only within the last month or so did I FINALLY find out what the real problem was: 

Herniated and Bulging Disks, they press onto very sensitive spinal nerves and cause massive 'electrical damage' much along the same lines of frayed wires shooting off sparks.

The procedure-in-progress shown above, basically a variant of an Epidural going directly into my spine using anti-inflammatory drugs to calm the angry nerves, relieved my pain for about a day. The following morning I was back at square-one, repeat procedures yielded about the same results: I was my normal self for about 24 hours, the next day I couldn't even turn my head from side to side. One of the disks in question, the biggest culprit, can be seen just above the head-end of that giant needle sticking into of me. It's choking the life out of a group of nerves that go into my right shoulder, the nerves end at my hand.

On particularly bad days I'm woozy and mere nodding kills me, there are days where I have to physically force myself to get out of bed. I get these headaches that start with my neck muscles tightening up like an internal anaconda choking it's prey, then slowly moving up the back of my head until it finds it's nasty snakey-self inside my skull somewhere: I can't do a damned thing when it gets to that point.

This injury is so painful that I can't even carry my own purse anymore.

The weirdest injuries are the ones that you can't really see. A Combat-Veteran without a limb or two is an unfortunately common occurrence, but most military injuries aren't so obvious. Hell, mine isn't even combat related. And what was even MORE irritating was being on a can't-do-shit profile for over a year: It seemed like when I WAS an able-bodied combat-ready Soldier, nobody really needed me around for anything. But now that I'm practically a fucking Invalid I was getting phone-calls halfway through appointments wondering where the hell I was, never mind the fact that I was otherwise constantly being dragged to the Motor-Pool or some other menial bitch-work that my profile would put into question.

And the best part of this ordeal is that not only have less-than-understanding "leaders" casually accused me of faking it despite all manner of evidence to the contrary, but my own doctor led me along for months telling me he'd put me in for a Medical Evaluation Board (but never actually did, boy was my face red when I found out!) So now here I am with one foot out the door with little other recourse than an already strained and back-logged VA system.

I am NOT going to wait 2 years to see a doctor without calling someone in Congress and throwing a very messy bitch-fit about it.

Assuming I can get my files in order, make the VA do their jobs or publicly humiliate them while trying, I may still never get my full benefits from this injury legitimately sustained on the Army's time-card. And if I hand them my two-inch-thick folder of medical paperwork and they deny it, which can happen in some cases, I won't rest until SOMEONE gets shit-canned for not doing their job.

I spent a year in one of the shittiest places on Earth so that you can put gas in your tank, now the VA is GOING TO fix my goddamn spine or I'm GOING TO hold them publicly accountable for failing me.

No comments:

Post a Comment