Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Fall and A Frustrating Call

A few days ago, Rick had gone outside to check on our turkeys. I was in the living room,reading a book,when I heard a car horn. It sounded to me like it was down the street,so I didn't bother to check it out. Brian,my brother in law,was on the other side of the house and heard the horn as well, but he heard it better. He went to look out our screen porch,and I saw him go flying outside.
Well I knew something was wrong,so I went outside quickly. Rick was laying by our well. Brian was helping him up. Apparently his knee gave out,and even with his Canadian crutches,he couldn't support himself and fell. He had tried getting up,but he couldn't. He hit the house with his crutch to try to get our attention, but it didn't make enough noise. Since he was right next to the car,he opened the door and used his crutch to hit the horn. Thankfully,he was not like that for very long at all. At first,I thought that he had broken leg,but thankfully,that was not the case. His knees hurt too much to support his weight. He was very embarrassed that he had to have someone help him up.
He now makes sure that he carries his cell phone which has a walkie talkie component with him whenever he goes outside.
We got a call yesterday regarding Rick's med board process. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a series of evaluations the military makes to determine how incapacitated a solider is,if he is indeed unfit for service,and if he is deemed unfit,how much percentage of his pay they will pay him for the rest of his life. Since we live in NH,Rick has to go to Fort Drum,NY for this evaluation. He had been once, in 2007. On the last day of trip,the Dr informed him that his paperwork was not complete and that he would have to come back. Well, that would be fine, except they only take 2 NH National Guard soldiers a month. If he was active duty,the wait wouldn't be so long. ( Bear in mind when he was wounded,he had been put on active duty!) He finally got to go back 2 years later,this past March. After all was said and done,Fort Drum contacted us and said they wanted another test,a Neuro Psych eval to help determine the level of his traumatic brain injury. In 2007 Rick had tried to do this test for the VA,but because his PTSD was not more controlled,his attention span was very poor,and he couldn't finish the test. He took the test in May,and it was determined that he has moderate PTSD,depression,and had mild TBI. So now, we have to wait for the Dr to type his report and put it Rick's medical file,then have the copy sent to us,then we send the copy to Ft Drum. This took longer than usual because the Dr was outsourced.
Tuesday Fort Drum called to inform Rick that the person who they were waiting for to read this test and write the final part of the Narrative Summary had be rotated out,so he could not review the test or write his part of the report. ( The Narrative Summary is the compilation of all the evaluations. The soldier gets to read it,if he agrees with the findings,he signs it,then it goes to Walter Reed where it is read and evaluated by three different drs who come up with a final disability rating).A new person took over and would be reviewing Rick's info.
Yesterday,we received more news. They wanted some more info. The Neuro Psych eval mentioned his "blackouts" where he will suddenly not know where he is or why he is there. Further evaluation was suggested regarding this,thinking it may be some type of brain seizure. Well,we have a Neuro TBI followup in a couple of weeks,and Ft Drum wants those results. OK,no problem. The Neuro Psych eval also mentioned Rick's heavy snoring,and possible sleep apnea ( I have never seen him have this problem). Ft Drum wants any reports regarding that. Well, there aren't any.They also want to know if his heart is fully healed for any regular activity. Yes, and getting that report is not a problem. So far, so good. Then,they told Rick that he has to GO BACK to Fort Drum for another Behavioral Health evaluation. The dr that left did his BH eval,so the new doctor wants to evaluate him herself,which,is a good thing,but not so good if you have been through the med board process three times ( the first was when he was in GA in med hold, he was only a day or so away from signing his Narrative summary when they sent him orders cutting him from active duty and sending him home. It made that med board null and void). Rick was so angry,that when he got off the phone, he couldn't even tell me what was said. He just said, "I can't talk about it now." He is worried that it will take months before he goes back, but he was told once they get all the info they request,they will give him an appt ASAP. I hope so. At his point, we just want the whole thing to be over with.


  1. Wow. What a hassle! I cannot believe they are treating our men like that. You guys have already been through so much. Why are they making you jump through so many hoops?? They ought to be more than happy to give you guys everything you need to compensate for his condition. I am so sorry that they are giving you the run-around. Unfortunately, I've heard that this is all too common.

  2. It is pretty common,and Rick gets really frustrated by it. We understand that they want to make sure he gets what they feel he is entitled to,but it is just going on and on....we are thankful that he still is getting his incapacitation pay from the National Guard.That has been a big blessing.Thank you,Kendra!