Friday, February 08, 2008

VA Service-Connected Disability

American Legion -- Justice for our sick and disabled veterans has always been, and must forever be, the first concern of The American Legion -- To uphold and defend the Constitution of the USA; to maintain law and order; to foster and perpetuate a 100-percent Americanism; to inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state, and nation; to combat the autocracy of both the classes and the masses; to make right the master of might; to promote peace and goodwill on Earth; to safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom, and democracy; to consecrate and sanctify our deviotion to mutual helpfulness.


My medical problems have caught up with me again. There's new urgency in my Reiter's syndrome.

Reiter's is an inflammation, autoimmune, bone degeneration, and tendon-bone connection degeneration disease. Its variable inflammation is systemic and interferes with just about every little thing that's healthy.

Although Reiter's adversely affects many of my organs -- eyes, heart, pancreas, kidneys, liver, and prostate -- its DJD (degenerative joint disease), the eating away of bone in the joints, is overmatched by its spiny new bone growth in the joints. Recent X-rays, and Dr. Roush's expert interpretation, have been a while perking out of the back brain, but they're up front now.

The new and fragile bone growth sets up easy fractures. The spine's vertebrae display "hypertrophic disease" (widening of gaps between the vertebrae) as well as "posterior osteophytes" (bone spurs on the inside of the spine, a threat to wedge into the gaps between vertebrae and grow on to penetrate the spinal cord). The amount of vertebrae degeneration is also a threat. Spontaneous collapse is possible.

No lifting. No driving. No falling down.

Needless to say, the spinal vertebrae problems open the possibility of living life mostly on a motorized wheelchair.

Not thrilled with that possibility, I'm now in some sort of gruesome race to get my Reiter's approved as a "VA service-connected disability" so that I can get to the back surgery that will prevent me from becoming a paraplegic or quadraplegic.

Aarrrgggg. Hoping for quick back surgery. I've lived a long adult life thinking that nobody with half a brain or more ever hopes for back surgery. The world upside down.

Three times across my life, I've tested positive for Reiter's genetic marker, HLA B-27. I've had a "genetic predisposition" to Reiter's since birth. But the predisposition is not the disease.

The disease is caused by strong infection, typically by one of two groups of infections. First are sexually transmitted diseases. To the best of my knowledge, I've never had a sexually transmitted disease. Second is the group of infectuous dysenteries.

In the military mess halls of the late 1950s and early 1960s, dysentery was a common affliction. An episode in basic training, at Lackland AFB, wrecked my entire training flight, about 70 men, in about twenty minutes. I was victim to at least one more very bad episode of dysentery in the first year at my permanent-party SAC base.

I had intermittent spinal pain problems -- a signature of Reiter's -- throughout my USAF enlistment. At the exit physical, the doctor wanted to fuse vertebrae in the middle of my back. (Service connected disability established.) Naturally, I refused.

It's all right there in my official medical records. Well -- if the medical records survived the National Records Center fire of 1973. 16 to 18 million Army and USAF records sets were lost in the flames.

The USAF records destruction dates were "discharge" dates from September 1947 to January 1964. My date of honorable discharge was in June 1965.

Should be good to go. Unless, that is, the term "discharge" date has been misused and the archivists really mean "release from active duty" date. If so, then my release from active duty in June 1963 probably puts my records six months deep into the fire and me in deep doo-doo.

I've given you the tip of the iceberg here. My online application for service-connected disability was received by the VA on 31 January 2008. The application is complicated. The application process is a bear. As in "some days you get the bear, and some days the bear gets you". Expect denials. Never give up.

I'm looking to the American Legion to provide me with a knowledgeable "service officer" to represent me with the VA. Miles to go before I sleep.

I'll be away from the political project for a while. No big deal, of course. I won't be missed. The do-nothing American people are still insisting on giving away their political responsibilities to players in the politics and culture of lying, anti-Constitutional governance, and zero accountability that has been masquerading as our national govt since Bush's usurpation of the presidency, 20 January 2000.

Election 2008 may go down in US politics as one of the great misdirections of the American people. Everybody voting ignores the fact that we've had nothing resembling fair elections since 2002, with the Diebold electronic vote-counting corruptions held firmly in place and expanded wherever possible by our politicians. The fascist 3-branch despotism that our national govt has become operates behind the smoke and mirrors of Election 2008 to betray more of our justice, freedom, and democracy for the benefit of themselves and the superrich. And most Americans just don't get it.


© 2008 by Stephen Neitzke


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