I will turn this into a section of a multipart story, for right now though I was so blown away by the response of the VA personnel. I think it is important to have an understanding of this long-standing situation, otherwise, I just look like a psycho with an angry late-night message, which I am and this is, just in different ways.
If this is the first article on my mental health and experience in the VA, you should read other parts for crucial context.
I tend to blast messages to many departments when I am upset. One is to ruffle feathers, the issues need to be discussed. In March 2016 Charles R. Ingram III of Egg Harbor Township lit himself on fire in front of his VA health care facility as a sign to the nation about our plight and died shortly later. His voice went unheard as far as the VA, Congress, or the nation for the most part. Rational people do not make these displays. Veterans are on a trap on the U.S.S. Veterans Affairs and it is sinking rapidly. The nation is close by and has a view, but can they bring their heads up from their cell phones long enough to throw lifelines and yell for help? So far the answer has been no.
The quick context of this message.
This conversation is the result of an exchange with my psychiatrist where I requested an immediate change to my behavioral health medicine. I requested adding or taking away because my condition was continually deteriorating and the medicine increases that I had been doing were not helping.
I had told my psychiatrist that I no longer wanted to share my feelings and experiences with him because every note he entered about me said that my problems all stem from my borderline personality disorder. He constantly would neglect the fact that I have several other behavioral health conditions and not everything is a result of borderline personality disorder.
I would be told to schedule an appointment on Monday and he would talk to me about it. It was Thursday, before Veteran’s Day… So this message was created as a by-product.
After I sent the message to my psychiatrist I blasted out several other departments and received a response back from the patient advocacy office. This is the response.
An aside, I do not know what “I haver,” is or was supposed to be. I do not judge and you should not either.
To: Patient Advocacy – GLA%
Subject: Just a message for everyone at the VA
Dear useless empty suit pretending to be a medical professional,
How dare you leave over Veteran’s weekend with no help at all. Apparently, “I need a medication change now,” is short for “let the fucking veteran rot over the weekend. There is not a shred of concern within the LA VA Healthcare system.
You have the audacity of writing that “veteran could use therapy,” in your notes. This is after I have been screaming for SIX FUCKING MONTHS that I need care. And every fucking one of you has ignored me. The balls it takes to write that while systematically ignoring me is astounding and I do not know whether to applaud of vomit.
My medical conditions will make me vomit without your help. But it has only been four years. I have not suffered enough according to you people. Me killing myself would simply cause some people in the VA to fucking jizz because that is one less outspoken veteran who is tired of being treated like an utter piece of shit.
Maybe, Veterans weekend is going to be really fucking hard because I get to be extra reminded about all my fucking friends who were killed in this war that has led a mental health professional to tell me to fuck off because he can’t make a proper phone call. Don’t give me the shit about my phone number being wrong because I updated it. I am so tired of that excuse.
You also haver
Putting me on some goddamn list to be ignored, now that is brilliant. Although the VA really should find a new way to make us kill ourselves. Which is where the ignoring does well. It worked for the Vietnam veterans. Not a SINGLE person in this healthcare system gives a shit. You all should be ashamed of yourselves and surrender your medical licenses because you have failed at every aspect imaginable.
Hope you’re at home snug as can be while I struggle with the same things every day. Not that you care. Not that anyone cares. Just able to walk away from your phone and computer confident either I will be dead or so tired of fighting that I just melt away.
“Make an appointment later.” Are you serious??!! How in the world is that even possible? Is this the Twilight Zone?
But hey, again, I am just a crazy scary veteran who is allowed to be treated like shit and everyone is cool with it! Like a goddamn vacation from actually doing your job.
So now I will be complete without any medical support, but hey fuck it right? Hold my beer and shit like that. If I make it through the weekend, it is through no support of your own.
You all can go screw yourselves.
End of message.
Patient Advocates response.
Dear Mr. Insert “Name” Here-
VA has founded receiving feedback from Veterans help to improve our services and we appreciate your truthful comments about your VA experiences. We are glad you are now receiving care that meets your expectations (i.e. referral for non-VA care, access to mental health via telephone calls and secure messaging).
The Office of Patient Experience staff is available to Veterans to discuss and ensure their entitlements and patients’ rights. Our office number is (310) 268-3068. Also; Veterans and their loved ones can call (1-800) 273-8255 and choose option 1 and or chat online at http://www.veteranscrisisline.net. Plus; send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. I hope these are some options that’ll be helpful to you, when non- emergency facilities’ staff aren’t available. We strive to provide Veterans with solutions that best meet their expectations. Please call Office of Patient Experience staff, when needed.
End of message.
Who said I am receiving health care that meets my expectations? When is someone going to talk to me about being fucking assaulted by a provider? Because no one has. In fact, the director of the Los Angeles VA directly lied to a Congressman about the incident. So you can take you robotic clunky statement that belies any professionalism, nor actually possessing an understanding of the situation, yet you make comments to tell me how I feel. Wrong.
Just like a long list of people in this agency, you are really doing a poor job of being a patient advocate. How can you be my advocate when you are telling me how to feel? When are you maybe, just maybe, going to ask me a question? I am not sure if you have an educational background in being a patient advocate, but if you have spent money on it, you should demand a refund.
This is unless this is simply some default response to veterans that is automatically generated because no one with an actual conscious could write that statement after reading the letter that was sent. It really sparked not an ounce of curiosity?
If you are a human, please tell your boss the department he/she is running is a Public Affairs unit, not patient advocacy and there should be something done about it. You do after all work for the Department of Veterans Affairs. I am a veteran, pleased to meet you. I stand ready to receive someone with a soul? I have only been searching for seven months, so I am sure what I am expecting, my desires seem to be always too high.
End of message.
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