Monthly Archives: July 2011

Operation Mission Vision

The U.S. Association of Blind Athletes is working with 15 veterans who are blind and visually impaired so they can participate in the 2011 Rocky Mountain State Games.  The association provides sports clinics with instruction in judo, wrestling, track and field, swimming and other sports.  Sports clinic scheduled for blind veterans to prepare for state games

Blind warriors compete in state games

45 seconds in you will see Sean’s blue/white shoes and at 1:19 you can see him in the white cap/shirt behind the speaker.  It’s a stellar performance. *grin*

Sean left on Wednesday and will return tomorrow afternoon.


Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. . .

(insert appropriate four-letter word) Too late! Since I resigned in December, all but 16% of our income comes from the United States government, and they are making me nervous.  I suspect in the end it will turn out to be scare tactics, but then again, who knows? 

Fortunately, Sean’s SD Retirement will not be affected (that’s the 16%) as it is a program he paid into during his employment.  However, it is still a government body paying it out. 

Yep, we’re screwed.


Finding the VA Information You Need

Overload: Finding the VA Information You Need


Vet study links brain injury, dementia risk

Vet study links brain injury, dementia risk

TBI: the gift that keeps on giving.


Congressional Hearings–Putting the VA in its Place

The caliber of veterans and caregivers we have standing up for those left behind is outstanding!  I loved watching these hearings and reading their written testimonies. 

Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Hearing: VA Mental Health Care: Closing the Gaps
Insightful testimony from Daniel Williams and Andrea Sawyer regarding the continuing mental health crisis within the VA system.

Iraq vet tells Senate committee of VA gaps
Article from Politico

Veterans wait too long for mental health services, reports say
Article from the Washington Post

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Health hearing Implementation of Caregiver Assistance: Moving Forward
Testimony from Debbie Schulz about the recently implemented Caregiver program at the VA that highlights inconsistencies as the program gets up and running.

VA’s caregiver payments not enough, critics say
Army Times article

More Than One Year Later, Caregiver Support Finally Available
Article from HCVA


Kind of Random Musings

So here’s what I can’t get past.  Sean competed at a national level as a tandem cyclist.  He raced against men who have held national and world titles.  He rode for two weeks last summer, but has only been seriously training since December.  INCREDIBLE!! 

But. . . he gets stuck.  “I wasn’t good enough.”  It’s disappointing to see him so down after an experience that should have left him feeling very proud of himself. 

A year ago, he would not have done this.  I had to insist he go on the trips he took last year and stand with him during check-in to make sure he got on the plane.  Two years ago, unheard of!  Sean did not do anything without me, and had full blown panic attacks even then.  Two years ago, he was barely off the couch or out of bed. 

Sean has been spending a lot of time at the VFW.  He and another member are doing maintenance around the building.  He is also part of a committee to hire new bartenders and a manager.  He has worked diligently on job descriptions and interview questions.  I am so proud I could burst my buttons!  Sean is happy to be there, but frustrated that he doesn’t work as quickly as he used to. 

Still I’m a little jealous that he has new adventures while I’m wondering if my life will ever feel like my own.  Is it weird that I’m jealous? 

We are back in therapy and it’s going to be a long road.  This last trip Sean was extremely agitated with the doctor and was mad at her all the way home.  The trip wore me out.  We spent three hours on the way there processing his camp experience and trying to help him feel positive about it.  Then we spent an hour in therapy where Sean was angry and stubborn and resistant to everything she had to say.  Then another three hours in the car with me helping him process everything the doctor said. . . and Sean cannot be wrong.  His brain gets stuck on the only point of view he sees–his. 

It’s exhausting!

I apologize for dragging you through my depths.  I’ve been in the snake pit lately.  I suffer from depression and anxiety and these last few months have been extraordinarily difficult for me.  My anxiety attacks are coming more frequently and at times when I’m not feeling excess stress.  I blame facing my feelings.  Seriously, I have always done better when I repress.  Once I open that floodgate, all hell breaks loose. 

I found this article on WebMD and damned if I don’t meet almost every sign of caregiver burnout.
Tips for Coping with Caregiver Stress

I need new attitude and outlook.  “Who cares?  I’m just happy to be here!”

I have always been good at rolling with the punches (after a preliminary rant) as things come up and it has served me well as something is always coming up. 

I have faith that we will come out on other side, but what will it look like?  And why do I need to know?


WTH VA?

I would like to thank the VA for making my life easier, and by easier I mean *more difficult*.

Wednesday’s response from the VA regarding the Post 9/11 GI Bill: 

Hello,

It appears the problem with your file is that you are attending a program that is classified as a non college degree course. These courses are not payable under CH33 until later this year; October 1, 2011. Please contact your VA Certifying Official at your school regarding this issue.

Thanks.

My response to them:

Why were we never informed of this?  Not when we applied for this school in January, not when we received certification in March, not when the school submitted the certification in April, not any of the times I called in May or June.  It would be apparent to anyone in this situation that the VA has an obligation to inform applicants who are entitled to benefits when those benefits might be paid at the time of acceptance to the program.  This is not acceptable.

I had a deposit on Friday morning.  Now I just have to see how they will pay the remainder