Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Counting my blessings . . .

I figured I'd better count my blessings today because my patience has surely been tried today. First the blessings:

1.I have the love of my Lord Jesus Christ. 2. I am married to the man I love and he still knows who I am. 3. We have family who love us. 4. We have a place to live, food to eat, a car to drive, and a few friends who care. 5. We can pay our bills on our fixed income.
We have our needs met and even some of our desires. 6. I am walking and moving better than I have in 2 years. 7. One of us can still drive. This can go on and on.

NOW. We went to the VA facility 60 miles from here to speak to social work about the services we will be needing now that Rob will have to have surgery, can't drive, etc. The other VA facility is also over 50 miles one way. UGH! We had to wait of course. They can be late, but we can't. When we finally got in to see the social worker (nice gal, by the way) and told her our needs, she asked if Rob were rated 100%. That means is his disability completely service-connected? The VA has always said no, but we disagree. We had to answer that. Then she told us the services were not available if he were less than 100%. UGH! She said to go try to increase the percentage (VA says most is service-connected, but some is unemployability = 100% ~ go figure) and try again.

I don't give up that easily. Poor Rob tried to slow me down, but I kept talking. I told her I was going to have to insist that we request the services now. His list of diagnosis's was on the screen in front of her. There are 9 or 10 different problems there. I said I knew that we had a right to appeal any negative decision and that I wanted it in the system now. She started to say something negative and I asked her again to put in our request. Rob was nearly apoplectic! He's saying, "Slow down hon! You're going to get shaky and start crying." He hasn't seen this side of me yet, or has forgotten it.

I told her that Rob's brother worked for the VA in Sacramento and had told us to push them for services. Our very good online friends in WI who have similar connections to the VA also told us to ask. Another friend I wrote to told me to push as well. So I pushed. You would be proud of me. I did not raise my voice, get shaky or cry. I may have talked a little too fast, but it's the squeaky wheel . . .etc.

The gal looked again at the list of diagnosis's and said, "Perhaps they will waive it for him." The request is in the system. It takes months for these things, so if you wait until the last minute, it's about hopeless. I will not let that happen. Rob served his country well in the Vietnam War and as a civilian in the Gulf War. I will not let him be forgotten or left "under a rock" to suffer. He's suffered enough. His only child died of brain cancer because he was exposed to Agent Orange.

One more thing before I get off my soapbox: you don't have to agree with a war or war at all to support the men and women who fight for their country. I hate war. I don't think the troops like it either, but they made a commitment to serve. I think our country and its citizens ought to honor that. Except for these men and women, we would not have the freedoms we do. Remember that when you bash a war.

Okay, off the box. It's a beautiful sunny day here in Ventura if a bit cool. We bought freshly picked strawberries and oranges at one of the fruit stands on the road out of town this morning and we are enjoying them so this afternoon. We're both tired from the trip. I wish it were all closer. The Lord knows what is in store for us and he will give us what we need at just the time its needed.

Thank you for your kind comments and your prayers. They help. I pray for you as well. Be blessed,

oops! I tagged this 2005, but now remember it was April, 2006 ~ a trip to San Diego.


krissy knox said...

Miss Penny,

Good for you for standing up to the VA!! I am oh so proud of you! You go girl! Wait and see if anything like that happens again with your man, you will do the same thing right over again! Of course you can advocate! And you will do it for yourself also! You go girl!

krissy knox :)
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Heli gunner Tom said...

Penny and Rob,
You are some of the best friends we have! I will help you more personally via email, but you have the right idea to fight them hard for YOUR rights. When Sharon gets better I will have her call you to walk you thru some steps.

You are in my prayers too. I am lost without my wife.

Love and Hugs,
Tom Schuckman

Carolyn said...

Good for you Penny! I am glad you have others to talk to about how to deal with the system- I know Tom is such a help and fount of information!!! God Bless you and Rob, Penny. He does indeed know what you need~ love

Donna said...

Refined as gold.

sober white women said...

I am going to stand next to you on your soap box. My husband is a vet and we have to fight for everything. Including medical for my son and I. Keep in mind we have a child with no medical coverage at all!
I get so sick of fighting the va, but I keep doing it.
I am so sick of people saying well just cut veterans benifits. You can't cut them any more, and we have younger and younger vets that are going to need help for ever! People wake up and smell the coffee.
If you enjoy yopur freedoms than thank a vet. If you have something bad to say about this country please come say it to my face. I will listen to you.... then I will pound you into the ground!

Joyce said...

You go girl. I know where you are coming from because my Dad was in the same boat with 90%. Boy, they just hate that 100% mark. I'm glad you stood your ground.
Hugs, Joyce

natalie said...

I love the picture of you and the family! great job! thanks!