By Ed Coghlan.
Yesterday, in a column published on the National Pain Report, retired pharmacist Steve Ariens and I posed the question: “Is the Chronic Patient Giving Up?”
Well, you are about to meet (again) one who has not.
51-year old Robert Rose is a retired Marine (medical discharge in 1994) who has been fighting his VA—The Mountain Home VA Center in Johnson City, Tennessee—two doctors (Dr. Edwards and Dr. Vernon) and his Congressional representatives.
His request is simple—treat my pain—pain that was brought on by compressed spinal vertebrae, bad knees, hips and ankles. All the injuries are the result of Rose’s service to the country which ended in 1994 when the Marines medically discharged the man because, well, he was broken.
He has received nothing for his pain since December 29th and takes low level Motrin and Tylenol to address the pain—but they don’t address much, he said.
Because he’s a Marine, he’s a fighter—and has been inundating the VA, the doctors, Congressional representatives and the media with letters about his plight—with little response.
His latest one caught our attention and I asked if he would be ok with republishing it. The self-effacing Rose said it was ok, as long we checked the punctuation.
Deal, we said.
By the way, before we publish the letter, one thing Rose told us was especially troubling. When I explained to him that we were doing this story following our own question about whether the chronic pain patient was giving up—he said that veterans he works with through social media indeed are in tough shape—they don’t feel like anyone is watching out for them and says that he wishes the VA would do a statistical analysis of veterans who are committing suicide.
Here’s his letter written after his last interaction with the VA—an interaction you will read that left him frustrated.
Subject: Still being punished…. LMAO….
RAGE!!! — It is funny but I knew what was going to happen at today’s appointment with my PCP. I even sent him an email requesting the pain management doctor be present if he was going to be unable to proscribe something for pain. That’s the one who promised to take personal interest in my case and see me after the big meeting back in March and I haven’t seen since.
Why was I expecting something for pain? Simple, the PCP had been promising since March 20 that once the MRIs first ordered in October 2016 for my back were accomplished, he would treat the pain. He also has stated it was not in his powers to prescribe pain medications as it had to go through pain management which is hilarious considering a nurse practitioner with no special training other than Family Medicine had been prescribing those pain meds up until October when they adopted the new policy. So she has more power than a full-fledged medical doctor!!! LOL
Anyhow he can’t prescribe anything for my back. The pain management doctor apparently was still too busy to see me. And now, I have to go through additional tests which I have already been through including the nerve conduction tests (the needles are not so bad on the left side which is mostly numb; not as much on the right). I also get another multi-discipline meeting but the good news is going to amaze everyone… I now suffer from fibromyalgia instead of from damage to my spine!!! AND remember the CAT scan in November 2016 revealed damage to T9 in my back – the reason it has been hard to breath and documented since 1991? Well the new MRIs from last week show that it is HEALED!!! I am a walking miracle to modern medicine!!! Everything in the MRIs reveal minor stenosis, minor degenerative disk disease, minor arthritis and oh yeah the bulging disks in the cervical and thoracic are both minor nothing to be concerned about it… SMH… The only thing he did mention I wasn’t expecting is that T-8 is chipped but again it is no big deal which would not cause the problems I am experiencing… LMAO
Teufelshunde (A German term used to describe Marines fighting in WW II as devil dogs)
Robert D. Rose Jr.
BSW, MEd., USMC
Rose ends his letters with a simple question—one the VA hasn’t but should answer!
We defended your freedoms…Will you support America in her time of need?
Fight on Robert Rose—and we ask other veterans to tell us their story (email us at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org)
(This Is Robert Rose’s Facebook page: Vets Fight Back https://www.facebook.com/groups/vets.fight.back/)