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Hearing Loss & C-130's


Pat Hatch
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Just wondering if anyone with C-130 time and a hearing loss ever been successful in making a claim to the VA.

As I approach 67, I have to admit my hearing isn't what it used to be.:) I had always heard the high frequency noise such as produced by the C-130 could lead to hearing loss. Today my barber, an infantry dude, was telling me how the VA paid $6,000 for two hearing aids for him. He said the VA hearing test revealed that his hearing loss was consistent with loud noise produced by mortar fire, arty fire, etc., that he experienced in his Vietnam service.

Was wondering if any of you C-130 guys have had any experience that you can pass on, good or bad, with the VA and hearing issues. Thanks!

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Just wondering if anyone with C-130 time and a hearing loss ever been successful in making a claim to the VA.

As I approach 67, I have to admit my hearing isn't what it used to be.:) I had always heard the high frequency noise such as produced by the C-130 could lead to hearing loss. Today my barber, an infantry dude, was telling me how the VA paid $6,000 for two hearing aids for him. He said the VA hearing test revealed that his hearing loss was consistent with loud noise produced by mortar fire, arty fire, etc., that he experienced in his Vietnam service.

Was wondering if any of you C-130 guys have had any experience that you can pass on, good or bad, with the VA and hearing issues. Thanks!

Get a copy of your medical records. Then go see a claim representative from the VFW, American Legion, or DAV.

I am drawing 20%. !0% for tinnitus, from being around jet engines.

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Pat, Piece of cake. Worked on the flt. line for about twenty three of my thirty year career, mostly around C-130s and F-111s. When my wife and kids started to complain the TV was too loud decided to get a hearing exam. Made an appointment at the Wright Patt Medical Center. Sure enough, hearing shot. Talked to the VA rep. Several weeks later had brand new state of the art hearing aids. The VA rep. said they were the best aids on the market and to buy them in town would cost about $5k. Unlike CharlieLifeSupport did not persure the disability part but have several friends who did and qualified easily. At the onset was expecting pushback but the process was painless and the VA rep. was on my side.

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Hi Pat, I've been getting my hearing aids at the VA for about the last 15 years. They don't particularly care why your hearing is bad. Recently I got the new RIC, (Receiver In Canal) types that are in the 5-6 thousand dollar range. They are really great, easy to wear, batteries last longer, no ear sweating, and you can hear around them. They are not like wearing ear plugs. Don Powell got some after I did and he also was issued a wrist watch the can control the hearing aids, borderline magic.

Ralph

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Ralph, Larry, Charlie,

Thanks for the great information, guys; I'm applying through the DAV folks and I'm in the process of doing my paperwork. They even had an old VA claim # for me even though I out-processed 39 years ago. I was only in the Air Force for 5 1/2 years, so wasn't sure I would be eligible, but we shall see. I guess it depends on the outcome of the hearing tests, and my specific circumstances, so... Sounds like I might have a good chance of getting some help. That would be great. I'd probably have to be almost deaf before I would spend the $6K on my own!

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Pat, I was at the PLA Gathering of Loads last week and heard a VA rep talk about benefits. Before you can submit a claim - or before they will accept it - you have to first be diagnosed. If you're like me, your FAA hearing tests over the years showed deterioration if you were taking the tests in the box. The first time I took the test after I went to work for Ashland Oil, it showed loss in the areas associated with industrial noise and with exposure to turboprops.

Before you apply, you need to go somewhere and take a hearing test unless you've had one recently. I've not applied for benefits for hearing loss yet, but plan too. If you're already drawing VA disability, it might be easier. Remember that the VA is for VETERANS, not retirees, and anyone who served in the military at certain times is eligible for some benefits. Military retirees are handled differently. Personally, I wouldn't mess with the DAV, VFW, etc. They don't have a clue about C-130 veterans. You can do everything yourself online on the VA website in about an hour. I applied for benefits for Type II diabetes several years ago and it took about three or four months for my claim to be processed. They will send you to a VA doctor, probably a contractor, but they will want to see documentation from a doctor of a problem before they'll do anything.

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Pat, I afraid that Sam gave you some wrong info...I hve been a volunteer at the main VA hospital info desk for the past 13 years. (ten at Tampa the biggest VA hosp in the system and for the past 3 years hare in Atlanta). The VA medical system is for ALL military veterans who have served over 180 days and have an honorable type discharge or be a military retiree. Any service from WWII up to including OIF an OEF. No requirement to be in the combat area...just be a veteran.

I would suggest that you go to the nearest VA Medical Center take your DD214 or Discharge and go to the eligibility office. Fill out the paperwork and ask to be assigned to a Primary Care doctor and request an appointment asap. You should be scheduled within a couple weeks for an evaluation that you caim for (in your case hearing loss). You will then be scheduled by most likely an outside the VA specialist for the evaluation. They will send the eval to the VA for final review. Complete process should take from 4 to 8

months but the good part is that if approved for the disability the disability pay will be back dated to the day you filed the claim..so those several months are really not wasted. Also the VA disability pay is tax free.

If you go to www.va.gov everything you ever wanted or needed to know can be found at that site. For more vet friendly info drop me an e-mail at frankmillen#charter.net

Muff

At the appointment tell the doctor about ALL yor aches, pains, hearing loss, etc...everything including anything that might have happened during your time in service, hard landings, parachute jumpa, airplane crashes and make sure you tell them about your time in Vietnam if you did time there.

You will get a full check up including Flu, numonia and shingles shots if YOIU request them(shingles shot on the out side is $200).

As soon an you get enrolled and still at the VAMC ask to see either a State Service Rep or a DAV service rep. Both are equally qualified to submit your request for disability. Once your claim paperwork is processed in about 1 to 2 months you will be scheduled

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Muff

I am well on my way, I've already been assigned a Service Officer at DAV and they are in the process of submitting my paperwork. They appear to be very helpful, good organization in my opinion. I had been contributing to them for years anyway after hearing good things about them.

Like Sam, I'm convinced that part of my hearing loss is due to my 3,500 hours of C-130 time. Not to mention the arty fire we were all subject to at various times and places incountry. I spent my 13 months over there and had a pretty bad crash landing with a big bang at the end, so that didn't help. That and the Caribou ride back to TSN did me in for about 2 weeks! A had a loud ringing noise that would only go away with copious amounts of alcohol!

I found out about my hearing loss in my 40's when I took the obligatory hearing tests required by my employment, and it's only getting worse--the little numbers down at the bottom of the TV are almost up to the max now when I adjust the volume. Yup, I get a lot of complaints around the house!

I went to the VA site and filled out 3 forms. All pretty simple, sent them to my case officer at DAV and they said they would guide me from here, all at no charge of course. Let's see what happens...Thanks!

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I hate to see so many veterans getting the idea that they have to go through the DAV, VFW, Legion or some other organization in order to apply for benefits. It's really not that difficult a process and there is absolutely NOTHING they can do that you can't do for yourself, and in a lot less time and without having to talk to or see someone. The primary purpose of those organizations is political, meaning lobbying Congress to pass laws related to veterans. The VA site allows a veteran to apply and submit the forms online. The issue is proving to the VA that a disability/illness is service-connected, and in the case of illnesses connected to Agent Orange, providing proof that you actually set foot in South Vietnam and none of those organizations can help you with that. I applied for benefits for Type II diabetes in 2005 online and the entire process was painless from start to finish. I filled out the forms online, got a letter of instruction in the mail, followed those instructions (which was to submit a copy of my DD 214 and have my doctor submit copies of my medical records) then saw a VA contract doctor who evaluated my conditions and then started drawing benefits. I have yet to set foot in any kind of VA office, hospital or talk to a counselor on the phone. In fact, the only person from the VA I've talked to in decades is my next-door neighbor, who is a nurse at the VA hospital here in Houston. I was pleasantly surprised when they gave me disabilities for medical conditions I hadn't even thought about, but which were documented on my medical records. My application was for Type II diabetes but they also gave me disabilities for skin conditions on both feet, which I've had since 1965, and for what I basically thought was jockey itch. It turns out that those two conditions are "Chloroacne," which is one of the first problems asociated with Agent Orange. I was also evaluated for cataracts, but at the time my vision was still correctable to 20/20 and they didn't rate it. (I've since had them removed, but not through the VA.)

As I said, retirees and veterans (non-retirees) are covered and treated differently. Military retirees can apply for "combat-related" compensation for a disability which increases their benefits but this is only for retirees. How compensation works for retirees is not something that concerns me.

Since so many of the service-connected issues are related to Agent Orange exposure, veterans who apply for them MUST have PROOF that they physically set foot in South Vietnam - and not Thailand. Just flying over doesn't count and those of us who were in the C-130 squadrons at Naha, Tachikawa, Clark, Mactan and CCK may recall that we were given "blanket orders" that covered pretty much the entire Pacific. The ONLY documentation of physical service in South Vietnam are the travel vouchers we submitted for travel pay. The military did not put TDY duty on our personnel records. A citation for a DFC or other decoration won't get it unless it specifies something physically on the ground in South Vietnam - this is because of missions flown out of Thailand which is not covered. I was fortunate in that I reenlisted at Cam Ranh Bay and it is shown on my first DD 214. Some C-130 veterans were credited with an SEA tour if they spent a cumulative 365 days in either Vietnam or Thailand but unless there is something that specifies "South Vietnam," that will not do. Veterans who flew out of Thailand and did not land in South Vietnam are SOL. Maintenance and other support personnel have an even more difficult time of proving South Vietnam service because not everyone went TDY to the C-130 operating locations. If they have orders that specifically assigned them to an APO in South Vietnam on TDY, they will have no problem but if they were on "blanket" orders, they are going to have to come up with some kind of proof. By the way, there is a hitch when it comes to pay records, I guess you could call it a "catch." The catch is that although pay records contain copies of travel vouchers, the VA does not request them until they get proof that the veteran actually set foot in South Vietnam. I get 15-20 Emails a year from guys who have applied for benefits but have been turned down by the VA because their records don't show Vietnam service (the VA goes by APO numbers.) Most of them are able to eventually get benefits but the process is long and slow for them. Ten years ago the VA would accept a letter from me based on my "expertise" on Vietnam airlift operations and a reference to Ray Bowers book TACTICAL AIRLIFT but I don't know if they'll accept those now or not. They've gotten a lot tighter due to the current government lack of funds.

Since I haven't applied for a disability for hearing yet, I can't say what the VA will accept, but I do know that the VA rep. I heard last week stipulated that a percieved disability has to have been diagnosed prior to applying. That means it has to have been diagnosed by a doctor and has to be in a person's medical records somewhere. The FIRST thing the VA asks for are medical records showing the diagnosis. One of the conditions for service-connected is that the condition has to show up within a specified time after the veteran leaves service (I believe it's seven years.) They make special exceptions for some diseases that are "presumptive" in relation to exposure to certain chemicals. By the way, I just got an Email from someone who has something to do with mesothelioma:

Hi,

My name is Colin Hare and I'm the Veteran Liason for the Mesothelioma Center (Asbestos.com); an organization devoted to assisting veterans through their application processes for VA benefits, and helping them obtain the maximum benefits for which they are entitled. While I was browsing through a number of Veterans sites I came across your website and was very impressed by the information you have listed.

Countless veterans are currently suffering from life-threatening illnesses that are a result of exposure to asbestos, a material that was commonly used in hundreds of military applications, products, and ships because of its resistance to fire.

The Mesothelioma Center provides a complete list of occupations, ships, and shipyards that could have put our Veterans at risk for developing asbestos-related diseases. In addition, we have thousands of articles regarding asbestos and mesothelioma and we've even created a veterans-specific section on our website in order to help inform about the dangers of asbestos exposure.

Because so many veterans visit your site, I thought that you may be interested in posting our link to help educate veterans on the dangers of asbestos exposure by linking to our website from your page at troopcarrier.org/links.html. Please let me know. You can reach me at chare(@)asbestos.com or at 407-965-5755. Thanks again.

Best Regards,

Colin Hare

Mesothelioma Center

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Sam said "Since I haven't applied for a disability for hearing yet, I can't say what the VA will accept, but I do know that the VA rep. I heard last week stipulated that a percieved disability has to have been diagnosed prior to applying. That means it has to have been diagnosed by a doctor and has to be in a person's medical records somewhere. The FIRST thing the VA asks for are medical records showing the diagnosis. One of the conditions for service-connected is that the condition has to show up within a specified time after the veteran leaves service (I believe it's seven years.) They make special exceptions for some diseases that are "presumptive" in relation to exposure to certain chemicals."

Sam I do not want to get into a pissing contest but some of the info you state is so wrong! Like above...and your disinterest in retiree issues and lack of knowledge of such....I am 71 years old retired from the USAF in 1985 I recently was awarded a 50% service connected disability for sleep apena and COPD from smoke and fume ingestion for working on flight lines for 26+ years...as you can see I did not get the diagnosis BEFORE applying for the disability and I worked with a DAV rep. My other 30% was for injuries that I received in a plane crash in 1962. I went to register on the AO register in 1991 6 years after I retired and the VA called me in to evaluate my injuries from 1962 and then awarded me the 30%SC without me even applying for it. So as you can see the VA can be and is very helpful to worthy vets.The DAV reps are on the DAV pay roll and have to complete a vigerous academy prior to being a certified benefits counsler. These folks are real professional and are able to cut red tape and jump through the proper hoops to get the best shot at veteran getting what he/she has earned. I have worked closely with both the VA and DAV and State Reps for over 15 years on a weekly basis and I can assure you and the other vets on this site that the earned benifits are there but need to be applied for.

Muff

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  • 3 months later...

Muff, I'm with you.

Sam has represented what I would call the exception to the rule. Perhaps because agent orange exposure is a given if you have proof of time in an area now included for probable AO exposure and display listed symptoms from exposure. Plus, Sam has great communication skills.

Had I not saved every possible piece of paperwork with my name on it, and had I not had excellent representation from the DAV. The VA would have dismissed my claim in a heartbeat. In fact they tried, had it not been for the records I kept (tdy orders, combat pay, travel vouchers, etc;(thanks Mom), and although incomplete, medical records from the records center) the VA would have turned me away for lack of proof to substantiate my claim. Meaning they may have believed what I presented as true or actual, they(the VA) will not approve any claim without supporting documentation and their doctors diagnosis must also agree with the claimant's claim. For me it was a process that took over two years, beginning to end, and while I may have been able to do it own my own. I'm glad I didn't try.

Vets, if you know or feel you have a justifiable claim for a service connected disability. It is your obligation to prove it, in most instances. Whether you look to the DAV, VFW, Purple Heart, or any other veterans service support group for assistance . In the end the representative who takes your case is a very important part of the process. They need to be well trained and not overwhelmed with cases. I have dealt with two of the groups I mentioned and the DAV as an organization is as top notch as you get.

Hope this helps someone.

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I was diagnosed a little over 7 years ago with Ischemic Heart Desiese. Last work I had done in my heart was Oct. 09.

Sometime last year I saw where it was to be added to the list for disabilites so I contacted the VA clinic in Greenville Sc. and requested an AO exam.

Somehow I had kept a set of orders placeing me in country for about 25 days. Seems these orders are enough to prove I was there.

I have had sevral check ups at the clinic and was sent to the hospital in Columbia Sc. for a PTS evaluation.

Last time I went to Columbia was 2 Dec. 10, and they want to get an EKG of my heart.

As of today I haven't had the appointment set up so I am thinking about getting my Cardiogolest to do it then send the hospital the results.

The clinic in Greenville said I would have to go to the VA office in my county to file a claim so I did in or about April of last year.

I also have COPD and use a CPAP when I sleep.

I have been on disibality for Degenative Athritus in my knees, hips and back for 6 years but that is through the SS. I am 65.

Just my experience.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thought I would update this thread. I went through the DAV and applied to the VA for a service connected hearing loss from my time in Vietnam, etc. A few days ago I got the notice from the VA to report to the West Palm Beach VA hospital for a hearing evaluation. At about the same time I got a call from the VA hospital requesting the information to get enrolled. They also asked if I wanted to schedule an Agent Orange screening. I really didn't know the answer to that, so I kind of put if off. I must say, though, that I was duly impressed with the response that I got from the VA. I went to my hearing/tinnitus evaluation a few days ago and again was tremendously impressed by both the facility and the service I received there. I was told that it would be approximately another 3 months before I would hear the results of my case. My DAV case officer keeps referring to the possibility of receiving a service connected disability, but I'm not real sure what that means and was hesitant to ask. My intent from the beginning was just to try to get the hearing aids and I'm not sure what other benefits are out there that I might be entitled to. It would be great if someone could explain exactly what a service connected disability means in terms of benefits, etc.

Much of the initial information that prompted me to apply for this benefit, I received from this list and for that I am very grateful. Hope this forum will get others to apply for benefits they might not be aware of, it did for me.

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I retired in 2003 and finally got on the VONAPP webite from the VA last year. I had documented in my medical records some hearing issues, having to go back and re-test, etc. A few months after filing on the VONAPP website (Which only took an hour or so) I was given an appt at the VA in Madison, Wi fora hearing test. The doc at the facility was very good and told me I definently had some issues after the test (The appt paperwork told me the personnel conducting the test could not discuss any findings). Anyway about 4-5 weeks after the test, I received mail from the VA that gave me a 10% disability. So overall I was very surprised how it all worked (I personally did not have to submit any hard copies of my records to anyone).

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Pat,

I carry tinnitus 10% as well - not too sure how the "math" got "crunched" but when my med-claims were calculated by the VA the tinnitus was not in the final total for % disability. Good Luck ta' Ya!

Break!

rw605! I still wanna' copy of that patch! LOL!

Fleagle aka Rowdy

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The math for disabilities, I think, crunches something like this. Say you have a heart condition that's approved for 60%. They figure you're 40% healthy. Then you get type 2 diabetes, which is approved for 10%. They figure 10% of 40% healthy, which is 4 additional percent. So, you have 60% + 4% = 64%. Then it's rounded up to 70%.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Fortunately my hearing when I retired (after 5K hours in the herk) was better than when I joined 24 years earlier, (and I didnt wear earplugs under my david clarks you college yuppies) but now I did get 10% right off the bat for bi-lateral tinitus.

You will usually be told that the max % you can get for hearing is 20 - 30 % BUT I have a buddy (ex SeeBee) who is now 100% Permanent and Total just for hearing and he didn't seem to have a big problem getting it (bastard, I had to fight for 4 years to get my 100% because the St. Pete admin jerks are morons), you may want to hit your local state VA rep, they are pretty much a straight line to the regional Admin klowns, just like the AL, and DAV.

Good luck, it seems like disability packages are controlled by a flip of the coin, some get what they want and more right off and others have to fight for years?!?!?

Dont forget your congressman, I am sure that Jeff Miller was glad to see me move out of Florida as I got a whole lot of mileage out of his office LOL

It also depends on which region your in, I loved the VA healthcare in the Florida area, then when I get up here in yankeeland its totally FUBAR, just like all the horror stories I have head about the VA and had never seen until I got here.

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An update to my situation: Back in September I applied to the VA to upgrade my disability for Type II diabetes due to peripheral neuropathy that has developed in my legs. I also asked to be evaluated for hearing loss. I was not scheduled for anything In December I developed severe pains in my legs and decided to seek treatment. It turns out that the VA has opened several outpatient clinics around the area and one is not far from me. That afternoon I went in for a walk-in appointment. When I got there, the reps were unable to access my records because it turns out VA medical and compensation are two different departments and their computers don't talk to each other. It was the week before Christmas and the people in the Regional office had gone home at noon. I spent about two hours with one of the reps and finally got an appointment to see a doctor for a "new patient" evaluation on February 24 - two months away. But I did not get to see a doctor because 4:30 came and everybody went home. The pain continued in my legs but I was able to live with it, but then in early January it got so bad I could hardly walk. I went back to the VA clinic on a walk-in and finally got to see the nurse. She took my vital signs and talked to me and told me I needed to have lab work. I hobbled in again the next day and had the lab work done. I waited about a week and then my pain got really bad, so I went back in with my wife. After waiting for over an hour, the nurse came out and told me I could make an appointment for a few days later or wait another hour or so and the doctor would see me. By this point I was about ready to give up and go to my personal doctor and pay for everything at my own expense - my wife was ready to walk out - but I decided that I was there, and could wait. I finally got in to see the doctor at the end of the day. He looked at my lab work and checked my legs, then gave me a couple of prescriptions and the nurse gave me a wooden cane. My one prescription was for an over-the-counter pain killer which is the same as Aleive although I didn't know that at the time. I was able to pick it up at a local pharmacy with which the VA has a contract, but because it was after 5:00 they couldn't talk to the VA so I had to pay for it. The other was to come from the VA pharmacy at the hospital downtown. Over the next few days the pain lessened somewhat and I was able to quit using the cain, but my prescriptions had not come. Finally, I called the pharmacy and learned that it was not a VA medication and had not been mailed. After a couple of phone calls and a couple of weeks, I finally got the prescription which seems to be helping. They set me up with two more appointments at the VA hospital at the end of March with specialists. On February 24 I went in for the scheduled appointment which went okay. I mentioned the hearing loss issue and said I'd like to be evaluated and also said I would like to have a PTSD evaluation. When I went out, the rep scheduled me for follow-ups and set me up with the shrink, but then he gave me the wrong paperwork. Fortunately, I saw that it had the wrong name before we left the parking lot so I went back in and got the right one. Yet even though I had asked for it, no hearing evaluation has been scheduled. As for my disability, I have not heard anything a form letter a few weeks ago which said basically "we're working on it."

I have learned in my experiences with the VA that there are categories for veterans. As it is, I fall into Priority 2 with 40% so I can recieve treatment for my service-connected disability at no cost. There are finanical condition considerations and any veteran who falls into Priority 8 - which is the Priority the average veteran who got out and managed to make a living is in - is not being accepted by the VA for treatment. Check the VA web site to see the priorities and conditions for each.

Bear in mind that retirees and non-retirees are NOT the same. Retirees are already elibigle for medical treatment at government expense. Veterans who did not retire - which is the vast majority of veterans - must fall into a priority above Priority 8 or they are not going to be able to be treated by the VA. Veterans with service-connected disabilities will fall into either Priority 1 or 2; Purple Heart holders and former POWS without a service-connected disability are in another category.

I feel certain that my disability will be upgraded somewhere above 50% and possibly even 100% since I am no longer able to walk without a limp. But it's been six months now since I applied and so far nothing seems to have been done. I was NOT scheduled for any appointments at all in conjunction with my claim. All of the appointments I have had or am scheduled for were made through the VA medical department after I went to them myself.

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Sam

Really bummed out hearing about the run around you are getting, they really sound like a bunch of clown acts for sure.

When I first moved up here I tried to swtich from the Shalimar FL clinic to the the contract clinic in Southbend IN.

Well it took a month to get the "authorization" for the clinic to treat me, then another two months for a "new patient" appointment.

Big problem, I take 23 pills a day and the pain pills are the most important of the lot but will they write me a quicky script for my pain meds? Not a chance!

They say "well you will have to go to the ER at Ft. Wayne", well thats only an hour and a half of driving in severe pain and then they will only give me a week or two of meds at a time!!! Its so bad here I finally said "screw it" and started going to town (Plymouth) and using my medicare and Tricare for all my stuff and just get scripts to take downtown to fill at wallgreens, paying the co-pay (it tends to get expensive with 23 differenty scripts - ouch) but I dont pull out that hair I dont have any more.

The disability thing, let me tell you, when I submitted my packages and appeals and appeals and finally a court date at the appeals court, I would outline the physical/mental deficiency, give them the page and date in my medical records AND cross reference it with the CFR that covers the condition and they would reject it ever time like they didn't even bother to look at it because I lost the coin flip.

Finally I wrote a letter for the wife and an old co-worker to sigh, sent them in and BANG, I am a 100% P&T !!!!What the hell is that all about???? oh well I got what I needed but understand it I dont.

Sounds like you need a good heavy dose of Gabapentin, I take the max dose (3600mg a day) and it works like a dream for all the Neuopathy.

I should still have a copy of the CFR giving all the tables and requirements if anybody should want a copy (it was hard as hell to find it, I think they tried to hide it) just email me and I will send it off to you, or I will put it up on my webserver, whatever is easier.

My email is [email protected]`

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Dan, the prescription the doctor gave me is for Gabapentin. It seems to be helping. I was given a disability in 2005, but it has only been within the past couple of years that I started getting symptoms of neuropathy. Until back in September when I ran into Bob Antoline from Naha at the PLA gathering in San Antonio, I thought it was arthritis or just getting old. Bob has been diabetic for a number of years. It was more discomfort than real pain, but in December it suddenly got much worse, particularly in my right leg. My current disability is 40%, from 50% for diabetes, foot rash on both feet and groin, all three of which were in my military medical records.

@Pat Hatch - you should really ask for PTSD screening. Anybody who went through what your crew did has it, no doubt about it.

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