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VA Lifeline or Death Sentence

Community Support
Community Support
July 1, 2023
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The department of Veterans Affairs has had a checked reputation over the years. Countless Veterans do owe their life to the health care they received at a VA facility. Myself included. 

However, I have also had instances that made me question my sanity, and put my health at serious risk. 

No medical center is perfect. That is important to realize. The care you receive is what you make of it. So when asking is it a lifeline? Absolutely. Can it be a death sentence? If you neglect ownership of your own health, yes. 

For example, I caught meningitis and I was told I was being prepped for a spinal tap. I knew the blood thinners I was on would make that very dangerous for me. I vocalized my concern, and an alternative treatment plan was made. If I hadn’t done the research on the medicine I was on, and objected to a treatment, the situation could have been disastrous. But I got treated for meningitis and was discharged a few days later. 

This is to say we are partially responsible for our own care. Think about how you solve problems and ask for assistance in doing so. Do not wait until you’re on the edge of a mental breakdown to seek help. Do not wait until an issue becomes alarming to visit the hospital. Get ahead of issues before they become a crisis. By doing so, you lessen the amount of things that can go wrong. 

If you know, there is an aspect of your healthcare, that sucks, work to find solutions. Seek alternative forms of treatment. Find ways to lessen the risk factors in your life. Do not fully rely on the VA to solve your problems for you. 

If you are told the next mental health appointment is not for 3 months, don’t get frustrated and hang up. Set the appointment, ask if you can be referred to a private facility, and find what else is available in the meantime. 

Many facilities have group therapy sessions available to attend. There are also many nonprofits, and community support organizations that offer services. You can even post on social media to make a coffee gathering for veterans. There you can create a support system to talk and vent before pressure builds up too much.

Ultimately, the VA is a tool to help you live a better life. As with all tools, there are risks to use. I was always told, “Be 10% smarter than the equipment you’re working with.”

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