Friday, May 16, 2014

Lab Results & VA Award Letter (Life After The Army)

Life has been back to normal since leaving the army, which is what I pretty much expected. I was a civilian a lot longer than I was a soldier and because of that I think I had a totally different mindset the entire time I was in the army…and probably why a lot of things bothered me. I really did feel like a civilian in an army uniform throughout my army career. I have been working my I.T. job and actually doing I.T. work on a daily basis (you know…actually doing the job I was hired to do).

I received my lab results via a letter from the VA. The paperwork shows a bunch of numbers and results from each test that was done. My blood counts and chemistries with a bunch of numbers including hemoglobin Alc, cholesterol liver, thyroid and vitamin D. Not sure what any of the exact numbers mean, I’ll have to do a little bit of internet research I guess. In the comment section the doctor said I had a high level of SGPT and that I need to abstain from drinking alcohol…I don’t drink much at all now, so no problem. My guess is that any liver damage I have is because of too many over the counter pain killers and all the meds I’ve been prescribed. I also have a vitamin D deficiency…well I do live in Washington State where it rains a lot! - Advice: a vitamin D supplement. I also have elevated bad cholesterol - Advice: diet and exercise. I have an elevated blood glucose level - Advice: diet and exercise.

I have to say that I have gone a little crazy since getting out of the army when it comes to being lazy and eating all kinds of crap. I can’t really do any strenuous exercises because of my pain and issues, but I will do a better job of eating. I’m going to add fish to my diet at least once a week and cut back on all the junk food even though my sweet tooth will be a little upset. I am 40 now and I can’t just eat everything I desire like I used to. I also downloaded a free app called “Breeze” which tracks the steps I’m taking. It sets goals and reminds you to get your butt in gear if you need to. I’m using my lunch break to go for a walk each day (weather permitting)…this will also help with the vitamin D! I’m also trying to drink a lot more water. These are my first steps to a healthier me. I have to get all the tests done again in 3 months, so I’m sure they will be better this next time.

I received my VA Award letter in the mail today. I thought everything was already done, but this one is the official final letter showing basically the same thing my initial results showed me with the percentages for each of my claimed injuries. What’s nice about this letter is that it shows the exact monthly entitlement amount that I’ll be receiving and the date that it starts. I’m in the system as of June 1st, so I’ll receive my first payment on July 1st. The letter also breaks down each date that my kids turn 18 and my monthly entitlement is reduced. It turns out to be a difference of about $30 to $40 until all my kids are off, then it goes down about $60.

As far as my pain and injuries, I’ve been using my civilian insurance to see a chiropractor twice a month and a massage therapist weekly. Luckily I’ve also stockpiled quite a bit of my pain medications from my time in the army, because I’m still waiting on the VA to prescribe me some. The doctor told me I had to wait until after my blood work was done, but didn’t tell me what to do to actually get the prescriptions. I called the local VA clinic and was routed to my team nurse…well, routed to her voicemail. I left a message and heard from her the next day. I told her I need to start getting my prescriptions. She said she would check with my doctor and get them filled. They are mailed out, so she said if I don’t hear from her everything should be done and on it’s way. Now I sit and wait I guess.

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