I’m sorry to have been away from my blog for so long. It’s been a very, VERY, busy year. Work has been kicking my butt and by the time I get home I really don’t want to do much. We’ve had some other things kicking our butts too, but that’s another story (click to read more). I’ve also taken on a new hobby that incorporates some “me time” along with my love to share smiles and helping veterans. I joined Pinups For Patriots! YAY! Go me! If you want to check out what I’m doing in the Pinup world, please like my Facebook Page.
Anyway, what I would like to talk about today is the fact that I haven’t stopped advocating for my husband when it comes to his pain and the VA. In fact that is also another part of my busy life. So, last year in October was his last civilian Botox treatment. He was due for another one in late December, but you know how the Holidays always throw off everyone’s schedule. So we went to schedule it in January. For the past 3 years he has been having this done, every three months, all we’ve ever had to pay for was the doctor’s visit. The Botox was covered. Well, 2016 rolls around and not any more. We will have to pay $1000 every 3 months in order for him to get his Botox. We just couldn’t afford this.
So I asked him to ask his Primary Care at the VA to refer him to VA Neurology. He had that appointment on the 3rd of February. When we explained the conditions, he said, “No problem. I can refer you to the Pain Center for that.” We also brought up the fact he wanted to try Ketamine Infusions. And the doctor said he would include that in his referral and we could discuss it at the Pain Center.
A month goes by and we never heard anything. We logged into MyHealthEVet every so often to check for an appointment. Called the VA Pain Center and they said they never received a referral. He finally found out that on the 4th of February, a different doctor went through his records and saw that he was getting care outside the VA for Botox and revoked the referral.
Ok, two months have gone by since the original Neurology appointment. He had his first visit with the VA Pain Center, his consult, on May 6th. May 6th! And even though he’s been there before he STILL had to go through his history. Oh and it’s all right there in his medical records! But they decided to start from scratch. He had to go through a “test” procedure with steroids and lidacaine, something that he’s gone through so many times before and it didn’t work. It was documented in his VA medical records that it didn’t work. Yet they wanted to do it again since “it’s a new procedure.” Um, no it’s not. TheHubs explained to the doctor the exact procedure he went through the last time he was there. It was the same procedure the doctor was explaining to him. But, let’s try it one more time. That happened on July 5th. And guess what?! It did nothing for him.
So we had to wait even longer to get that Botox injection. His next scheduled appointment was 3 October. This was when he was to have his Botox. Even though we brought his civilian doctor records of the last 3 years worth of injections, the VA only does half the dose at double the time. Oh this is so frustrating. During this appointment we also found out that the VA Pain Center is not trained to do most of the areas he has been getting Botox injected into, which happen to be his worst areas. So they are writing in his notes that he needs a referral to go to Neurology to do that. We also mentioned Ketamine Infusions. They said they have done a few of those in the past but he needs a referral for that as well. The nurse instructed us to contact his PCP to get that referral.
We sent a secured message to his PCP on the 4th. We get a reply on the 11th stating that Neurology is submitting a referral to the Choice Program (where he can see a civilian doctor). Of course we haven’t heard anything. I call up The Choice Progam and they don’t have an authorization letter for me to speak on his behalf, even though we’ve sent it in multiple times over the years. Apparently they are not the VA, but work with the VA. Ok. So I finally get to talk to them and they don’t have the referral yet and it usually takes at most 3 business days to get it.
We sent another secured message to his PCP and the nurse instructed us to contact the VA Neurology. VA Neurology knew nothing about a referral. They said his Primary needed to submit the referral to the Choice Program. Emailed his PCP back, and they said, no, Neurology needs to submit the referral.
Oye ve! Can we please stop this merry-go-round? I want off!
When we emailed the PCP back, the nurse said that she will “forward this to a specialist,” whatever that means.
So, I’m still fighting for my husband for him to get the care he deserves and hopefully some relief from all the pain. It breaks my heart to see him balled up in bed, ripping at his hair, squeezing the crap out of his neck, nearly in tears all because of the pain.
This was taken outside the VA Pain Center when he went in for his procedure…the first time. I just love it!