The Long Road Home

February 16, 2007 Sean left WRAMC and returned to base.

The doctors at WRAMC recommended that due to Sean’s lingering health problems he apply for CBHCO (Community Based Health Care Organization), a military program which allows soldiers to return home for their medical care, while remaining on active duty.

On March 12th the CBHCO application was denied. The explanation was that his case was too complex and he would need to remain in medical holdover as CBHCO was not for soldiers with long-term health issues. When Sean requested to reapply, he was informed that he was too sick to come home and taking too many medications to be a part of the program. However, he was not receiving medical care except to see his case manger 15 minutes a week and refill his medications. He was also told by Dr. X that the care plan from Walter Reed would still not be implemented because he only needed that follow up if his symptoms worsened, they did not want to do maintenance.

March 22nd Sean came home on 30 days convalescent leave. He presented three not-so-promsing options: 1. CBHCO, which had already been denied, 2. begin the process for a Medical Board to be medically discharged from the military (at this point the diagnosis was medically unexplained physical symptoms–a category that does not exist for the medical board, so he was told this was not an option), 3. come off active duty, return home, and go back to work for the fire department and seek treatment at a VA medical facility.

Sean talked to Dr. X and his case manger about his options and expressed frustration at not being up to the strength and stamina required for his position at the fire department. He was told that it is not the Army’s job to get you back to work in your civilian job, just to make sure you’re well enough to do your Army job.

After spending a month at home, Sean returned to base and after a couple of weeks came home for good on May 10th, 2007.

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