Readers: The message below is from a U.S. Marine, Vietnam War close friend of mine. Though he is missing both legs and is 100 percent disabled from a land-mine in Vietnam, he never complains, he never whines and this is how the VA treated him.
Ollie, people that know me well will tell you I’ve never once been bitter or angry about what happened to me in Vietnam, but I can tell you for certain I am angry at my country and especially the Veterans Administration.
Two quick stories to state my point.
A few years ago, I had a serious kidney stone shaped like a jack – as in the kid’s game jacks and ball. I was in extreme pain. At the emergency room at Baylor Hospital they said it would require surgery. I asked how much and they said $10,000 plus Doctor’s fees, another $2,000. I had never had insurance. I always paid out of pocket my Doctors visits, prescriptions etc. I always figured if I had something major I could go to the VA hospital.
We headed for the VA hospital in Dallas. (Horror stories have been written about this place.) They immediately gave me a pain shot. Less than 2 minutes later someone else gave me a shot. My wife asked what it was for and they said pain. She said he just had one and the nurse said “well, I guess he’ll be feeling good then,” and laughed.
After tests we met with the doctor and he informed me I would be put on A FOUR MONTH WAITING LIST!!! I was in some of the most extreme pain I had ever been in. There was no way I could wait four months. I headed back to Baylor where they did the surgery. I turned the bills in to the VA and nothing ever happened. I was out $11,000 (doctor cut his fee in half.) We didn’t have that money.
Second story and something currently on going. When I came home from Nam I was informed the VA would pay to have certain things done at the house to make it more wheelchair friendly.
I think they initially paid $6,000.
We moved a few years ago and recently looked into doing some remodeling and was told by the builder we might be eligible for VA assistance. Sure enough there was almost $50,000 in my account for this kind of stuff. We started the process last August. It has been a fiasco! Every time we turn around it is more paper work. They say this is all we need and then they come up with something else. You would think we were building a $400,000 home instead of $40,000 in upgrades. They guy in Waco has promised us and promised us and then goes days never answering calls or emails.
I know this is insignificant compared to people dying, but I’m thinking this is a pattern, just wear these veterans down and finally they will give up and stop asking. I get sick to my stomach thinking I almost have to beg for something I was told was owed to me for what I did for America.
Not sure why I’m writing you. Just needed to unload and I knew you would understand.