By Ed Coghlan
With the coming of a new President, comes a familiar promise – to do more for the country’s military veterans with an eye toward reforming the VA Medical System.
No disrespect to President-elect Trump, but there doesn’t seem to be much in his plan that screams change.
As Newsweek wrote: “So what’s his plan? On Trump’s website, there’s a 10-point V.A. reform “vision.” But that plan basically amounts to firing bad managers, hiring better ones and then taking some other unspecified steps that fall under the heading of “modernization” while maybe putting more money toward providers.”
While President Obama’s performance in reforming the VA has largely gone wanting, veteran groups actually asked Trump to keep VA Chief Robert McDonald, the former Proctor and Gamble CEO who has run things since 2014.
In addition to the normal VA shortcomings, National Pain Report readers know that veterans have been hit hard by the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain.
We are publishing a story today – not to review VA shortcomings – but because we received the copy of an interesting and personal letter written by a former Marine to Congressional representatives and staffers and the media about what the guidelines have done to him.
His name is Robert Rose and he lives in Gray, Tennessee and his letter, spawned by what he felt was an unfair news story. We asked him for permission to republish some of the letter which he tells his story in a way that may be familiar to some of his fellow vets.
“Personally these guidelines and the “opioid safety initiative” have had a devastating effect on my family and my quality of life. First, because my mother and sisters do not understand the true extent of the injuries to my body and the havoc they incite in my body and mind. Therefore it is impossible for them to comprehend why I would challenge the government or the Veterans Administration. Actually with their limited knowledge about my situation they consider me a “pill popper” and just another veteran addicted to drugs because of the VA’s ineptitude. What else are they supposed to think considering some of the shoddiest reporting since beginning of the technology age (in many aspects the old gumshoe reporter is preferred). The result of this nightmare, we are barely on speaking terms.
Closer to home, my wife and sons do understand the challenges I am faced with due to the chronic pain, blackouts and constant struggle to simply be a man. They do in fact support me for standing tall (metaphorically) in this struggle. Regrettably I am an old school Marine infantryman which makes me very hardheaded. I see a problem and I attack, attack, attack head on. My boys believe I need to be more politically correct such as omitting references to Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. To me, this would be tantamount of denying my God (see below) and spending an eternity in the real Hell and not just the one the Veterans Administration has created for so many. This one ends, the other is for eternity.
Additionally, because the pain and sleep deprivation created by being denied pain medications due to the “opioid safety initiative,” there’s something within my mind or body which generates an anger deep inside. Sporadically this fury erupts on my wife (and sometimes my sons) sporadically. God has blessed with enough self-control to not employ physical violence but anyone who had been in an abusive relationship can tell, sometimes the anger and the words do more damage.
This woman has stood through thick and thin for thirty years. The Marines, rehabilitation after my medical discharge, severe bouts of depression because I was once again a “civilian,” a graveyard shift in a prison while I attended college during the day, and so much more. If anything this woman deserves a monument erected in her name because as many of you know, I can be and am an “obnoxious asshole.” As a consequence of this nightmare, and the suffering they see daily as I simply try to walk upright to the restroom, it is taking a severe toil on my beautiful wife. Worse considering I have been waiting five years for an appeal from the Veterans Administration so that I might finally be eligible for health insurance to care for her cancer (in remission), heart issues (her mitral valve was replaced with a St. Jude mechanical valve), all her medications, specialists needed on top of all her the anxieties of having been on death’s door three separate times (and still is according to her) because of these conditions. Prior to October, I was doing everything in my power to care and provide emotional support to her. Going to the store, cooking, whatever she needed I was there. Only now, it is a struggle for either one of us to care for the other. Now, I pray daily I will not snap or yell at her because of my own weaknesses.
One other casualty of this campaign of misinformation is Sparky, our Yorkie. This is my wife’s constant companion (I believe she loves him more than even me). Unfortunately Sparky is getting on in years and has been diagnosed with arthritis among other things that occur to his breed as they age. We ran out of his medication in early December 2016. We have been so debilitated by our respective conditions, we have been unable to schedule an appointment for him to alleviate his suffering. How many others are dealing with similar situations simply because someone is getting rich off our ordeal created by the CDC guidelines?
As you can see, these are real life issues brought about faulty (and fraudulent) research by the CDC, the DEA and other interested parties. People are suffering and only you, our esteemed representatives and caring professionals, can put an end to this madness.”
We’ve asked Mr. Rose to keep us apprised of any response he get.
In the meantime, let us know your thoughts.