I was a combat medic in the United States Army, serving in Bosnia of where I became sick, suffering from appendicitis and pancreatitis at the same time. My symptoms were so quickly onset and so severe that I ended up having an appendectomy in a German hospital. From that point on my story of the worst of VA care began from misdiagnoses to unnecessary surgeries to physical & sexual abuse.
Combat has a way of tearing your life back to the studs to your first childhood trauma. For me it was sexual abuse. The problem is that you don't understand this at first. And then the other problem that exacerbates the first problem is that your abuse was so normalized at a young age that you inadvertently become putty in the hands of any caretaker or institution playing the Good Samaritan.
For me, that "Good Samaritan" has been the VA. When I suffered severe trauma to my left leg years later, the pattern of disrespect, misdiagnoses, and maltreatment continued with no recourse but to spend thousands of dollars to heal myself, to get second opinions on my health issues, and to get my story heard.
But there has been a price I have had to pay to get my story heard and the little bit of justice that I deserve. The VA has lost critical paperwork, given me substandard care, inflicted pain upon me unnecessarily, and have bullied their doctors and practitioners into silence when I have sought answers. At some point I said "Fuck it. Enough is enough." And I started fighting back.
Summit High School Honors Me & Other Veterans
for Veterans Day (2018)