Snap, Crackle, Pop! That’s how I felt after going to the chiropractor for the first time today, but in a good way. I have been suffering from lower back problems for quite some time now. In fact I began having physical limitations shortly before exiting the military, which began in my knee. I opted for the surgical route in an effort to fix it permanently and quickly; that did not work. A knee injury turned into a lower back injury, which has now also led to my hips being out of alignment. I exited the Army with a bulging disc in my lower back, my right kneecap not aligned properly and in pain every day. Upon being seen for my injuries once I departed the military, I was given the prognosis of arthritis for my knee and back, and sent on my way by my local VA in Dayton, Ohio. That’s it. No further steps were taken.
So I went from a bulging disc to arthritis in 4 months? And an improperly repaired torn meniscus to arthritis? Really? Yes really. I tell them I’m in pain every day, and they are hesitant to give me an x-ray, even after years of physical therapy hasn’t worked. I tell them that it hurts to walk for more than an hour; they tell me I have arthritis. I’m 31 years old. I don’t have arthritis; they just do not want to properly treat me because they do not want to pay me a higher percentage of disability.
This wasn’t the only case that I had where the diagnosis wasn’t quite right, but this was when I was serving. The first time I went to see a therapist for Posttraumatic stress disorder, I was told to suck it up. I was also told that every soldier goes through it, and I was just trying to get out of the Army. The diagnosis that was given was adjustment disorder. ADJUSTMENT DISORDER rather than PTSD! This was in 2007-2008, and during the time where PTSD was being looked at closer. Also when a clear diagnosis wasn’t being given, obviously, and when there was no concrete treatment plan in place. This was also the time that a new policy was disseminated to all of the VA official and or health care providers. The directive was to use the term adjustment disorder rather than PTSD in soldier’s medical records, this way it will save more money when they apply for disability.
It is unfortunate that my case isn’t the worst-case scenario. It is unfortunate that things have escalated from soldiers being misdiagnosed to soldiers dying because of our VA hospitals and they way they are ran. It isn’t just unfortunate, it is a damn shame.
This is why we, all military Veterans, need an organization like Operation:I.V. This is why I’m passionate about this organization. It is the answer, and this is the treatment that will help my brothers and sisters suffering lead healthy lives again.
How many of you have also had similar experiences such as mine when dealing with the VA?