Being married to a combat-veteran comes with its own challenges, but having to deal with the VA on a regular basis can become extremely taxing; not necessarily on me directly though. It is the dynamic between the VA and my veteran that can be extremely exhausting to be a part of.
When dealing with the VA, it seems as though we get one of two versions:
- The VA that couldn’t care less about the veteran’s well-being, but is completely down for extra money and screwing veterans and their families with every opportunity they get. So they use money to create programs to make the VA look good at first, turn around and make these programs practically inaccessible, just to turn around and tell the country that our veterans are basically at fault for the failure of the program or initiative.
- The VA that cares too much and every person working there knows exactly how to fix a situation, condition, illness (even if it doesn’t pertain to their scope of practice)! So they try to help and come up with all kinds of nice programs that are completely irrelevant or inaccessible for a sub-group of veteran; i.e. rural vets.
And they wonder why there is so much mistrust.
Over the course of the last 9+ years, there seems to be this pattern that emerges every time we have to deal with the VA. It is to the point that we, and others we’ve spoken to, feel as though many people at the VA live and operate in this alternate universe.
So here are 3 things I wish the VA understood about my veteran
My veteran is a grown man
So many times I feel as though the people who work for the VA suffer from some sort of superiority complex giving them the impression that they somehow have the ability to dictate or parent every aspect of his life. He is supposed to have certain rights as a patient, but those rights all seem to fly right out of the window; because some person could potentially interpret his words in a manner that is not suitable or acceptable for some person working at the VA. He can’t technically say that he doesn’t want to take a particular medicine, because of X,Y and Z; because if he did that, he would be labeled as refusing treatment. He can’t seem to raise any concerns, because he is just a veteran and does not have the professional licenses to determine whether he is right or not. Last I checked, my veteran was a grown-ass man who should be able to voice his opinions and concerns and have the ability to question treatments without being labeled as refusing treatment.
My veteran fought for (your) rights to be a total dumb-ass
Let that sink in for a second. Regardless of what your political affiliation, personal convictions, notions about the wars, feelings towards veterans and abilities to actually perform your job efficiently and correctly truly are, my husband has fought for your rights to be secured for you and your family! You chose to go to college, get a degree in social work and work for the VA? You chose to go to medical school and take a job at the VA? You chose to get a PhD in Clinical Psychology and took a job at the VA, knowing that the VA will less likely use your evidence-based treatment plans over their willingness to prescribe away problems? Great! That was your choice. That choice was also provided by the sacrifices people like my husband and his fellow brothers and sisters in arms have made! You have an open seas of choices, because of people like my veteran; who have fought and will always fight for our rights!
My veteran is more than the last four digits of his Social
My veteran is more than the last four digits of his Social. I understand that for identification purposes, this is highly practical; however, it upsets me when people start to look at my veteran and other veterans as nothing more than a number in a computer system. Animals participating in medical research are numbers in a computer system. Lab animals’ sole purpose is to provide the researcher with measurable evidence. There is no emotion involved in research, because a scientist’s goal is to gather reliable and valid evidence to support or reject their hypothesis! Veterans, on the other hand, are people! They are individuals with souls, experiences, a conscience, emotions, families and friends! Treat them as such!
Feel free to rant or comment, if you feel the need to do so. 🙂
Disclosure: Everything I share is solely based on my personal experience and is for informational purposes only. This post contains affiliate links. For more details please view my disclosure policy.