Well,Rick and I leave tomorrow for our last (hopefully)trip to Fort Drum,NY. We have our itinerary,and Rick begins his doctor appointments on Tuesday.It will be a long week,as he basically has only one appointment a day. It would be great if they could do more than one,and get everything done in just two or three days instead of four,but,as with everything in the military,it's "hurry up and wait."
Rick is very nervous,because he doesn't want to have to go through all this another time. I think he is more afraid of his reaction if this is not the last time we have to do this. Rick is great about holding back his anger (and that is due in part to his medication),but if he lets it go,it will not be pretty.People have told us,"What are you having a problem with? You get paid every month by the National Guard,and you will wind up making less than you do now." That is true,however,that is not the point. No one who has been wounded while serving his country should have to wait four years to complete a medical board review. No one. You never know when they will call and say,"By the way,you are going to Fort Drum next week." Usually you do not get much advance notice. What if you have planned to go somewhere? Fly across the country? Do something special with your family? You are at the mercy of the board,and it's when they have a slot to put you in. Whatever is going on in your life is not their problem. Take for instance Rick's knee appointment. This is the appt we have been waiting for for a year. First we had to reschedule because the doctor was going to be on vacation,then we had to reschedule because the med board was going to be the week of our rescheduled appt. As much as we want the med board completed,if they could have waited another week so we could at least find out what they are going to do with Rick's knees,it wouldn't have hurt our feelings any. We are also a bit confused regarding the med board and his knees. First we were told that they wouldn't do the board until Rick knew what was going on with his knees,and if it was surgery,he would have to be fully healed to his ability before they would send him to Fort Drum. Then,two weeks later,we were told that they wanted him at the med board in October-regardless of what was going on with his knees.
It has been an ongoing source of frustration for four years now,and it does not help someone with PTSD. Everytime there is a glitch,it compounds the symptoms.When Fort Drum calls the day after Rick has an appt,and they inquire if he went because the dr's notes aren't up yet,it makes him very angry. He keeps telling them,"I do everything I need to do on my end. My appt was just yesterday,if the notes aren't up,then they haven't been written yet." Or when they tell him to tell his doctors that they need to write more in their notes,that also ticks him off. "I am not going to tell my doctors how to do their job. You want more info,then please feel free to ask them."
One thing we are very happy about is now the military can access VA records electronically. When we went in March, we had to bring copies of all his records. I had to carry them around,and they weighed around 8-10 lbs and were many inches thick.Now we don't have to worry about that. My back and shoulders are very grateful!