My VA Won't Help Me!

"The Walking Veteran"

Before I list my symptoms, I would like to share the following.  I write this on 7/15/16. The image was shot on 9/22/15 twelve days after my last visit to the MRVAMC on 9/10/15.  My Primary Care Provider (Primary) at the time, Dr. Le, diagnosed me with swimmers ear despite the fact there was no indication of infection which she acknowledged. She then prescribed antibiotics and swimmers ear drops.  They are still in a drawer unopened!  

I knew I didn’t have swimmers ear or any other form of ear infection. I requested a new Primary at the end of September 2015 and was accepted to Home Based Primary Care on 1/11/16. During my initial meeting with my new Primary, Melinda C Boudah, my face was still swollen (not to the degree in the image) but Melinda had no answer for the cause, and no further attention was paid to an obvious problem. The other RN with Melinda that day, I can’t recall her name, also had no answer for the cause.

                      It seems once a diagnosis is given at the MRVAMC,


                        whether right or wrong... It's Etched in Stone! 

 Click On Image To Enlarge


Image Shot August 2012


Blood Pressure - For months I would go to the MRVAMC, and my BP would be at stage one or two off hypertension and on more than one occasion at Hypertensive Crisis despite the fact it was within safe limits before I left home.


I finally realized this was due to my increasing difficulty walking safely and the stress it produced. The MRVAMC is the only VA I’ve been to in the VA system that has allowed me to leave while my BP was dangerously high.

Please Note: An MRI I paid for revealed I suffer from Advanced White Matter Disease which increases my chances of stroke or heart attack significantly. I would be unaware of this fact had I not decided to seek help from outside the VA.

24-7 365 Flu - I relate the way I feel every second awake to the way I felt in the mid 70’s when I had the Honk Kong Flu.  It’s not as bad as then, but I’ve been feeling this way for the last year and a half. If you've ever had the flu, imagine dealing with it for that long! Please Note: I explained the above many time to various individuals at the MRVAMC, Hampton Oaks ENT, and Brooks Home Healthcare. Each time fell on deaf ears in regards to any attempt to seek a cause.

Facial Swelling - My last visit to the MRVAMC was 9/10/15 at which time the swelling was apparent (see image). My Primary at the time, Dr. Le, said my entire head was swollen. She misdiagnosed me as suffering from swimmers ear and prescribed antibiotics and swimmers ear drops; they remain in a drawer unopened.

Also; for close to a year applying even a soft touch to my head results in increased pressure in my left ear and when swallowing I feel it on the left side of my throat. Any attempt at bending my head forward or exertion increases the pressure in my left ear to the point of causing a sharp pain.

Please Note: The problem in my left ear is the root of the majority of my medical issues in my opinion, yet once Dr. Le diagnosed it as Swimmers Ear no further attention was given it. I write this on August 13th, 2016.  I'm in worse shape now than I was then, and I'm beginning to believe the reports I read in regards to the VA desiring to Kill off Vietnam Veterans and the Aging Veteran Population as a whole to reduce the workload and the expenditures incurred to service us is true!

Headaches - Are more of a constant pressure that centers in my left ear where the pressure is magnified and often results in a dull pain varying in intensity. Any attempt at bending my head forward or lifting even a gallon of water intensifies the pressure in my left ear to the point of increased pain. I have, and still do experience severe headaches.

UPDATE 9-3-16: Headaches have been constant for the last three weeks. The worst they are the worse the vertigo is.


Balance/Coordination Problems – They have gone beyond an annoyance over the past year to episodes of vertigo so bad to walk is almost impossible.  I no longer walk without assistive aids or “Wall Walking.”  I’ve experienced many falls, three of which I sustained injuries. I've been wearing a Splash medical device with fall detection for close to a year.


Debilitating Fatigue - Makes it difficult to do anything.  To accomplish a task as simple as changing my linen, a much-dreaded endeavor, requires 15 to 20 minutes and many breaks to perform.  I only have enough energy/strength/breath for very limited daily tasks, anything beyond nourishment, elimination, and daily hygiene is taxing and dangerous.  I've got to be very careful not to raise my BP while engaged in any activity.


Mental Confusion - Has progressed to a point of making it difficult even to think at times. The energy and concentration it took to write this was a struggle. My short term memory continues to diminish also.


Loss of Strength - It started becoming noticeable around two years ago despite the fact I was bicycling 75 to a 100 miles a week, strength training three times a week, and always active on a daily basis.  I now find it difficult to lift a gallon of water.


Slurred Speech - Swelling of my upper and lower lip results on the left side of my face results in slurred speech.  The degree of swelling varies and has lasted for close to three months on an intermittent basis. This could be from my CPAP mask.


Inability to Maintain Posture - I began noticing this around February of 2016.  I have always tried to maintain proper posture throughout my life, and I realized it was becoming increasingly difficult to do so. Now to maintain good posture is painful, it’s as if the muscles dedicated to that chore are losing their ability to do the job. It's now so bad that I can't even sit for long unless I do so in bed.  As with all symptoms, this one is getting worse and causing additional discomfort. I shared this symptom with my former Home Care Primary, Melinda C Boudah, as with all symptoms I shared with her they were ignored.


Nausea - I have experienced periods of nausea that have lasted for days.  These episodes come and go and vary in intensity. I never vomit, but I have experienced severe episodes of dry heaves lasting for 15 to 20 minutes.


Blurred Vision - I experience short periods when my vision blurs to a point of becoming scary. It has always returned to normal, but the episodes are becoming longer in duration and intensity.


Spasticity - Occurs when I either stand too long or attempt to accomplish a task that takes too long. The spasticity affects my legs and upper body in regards to decreased functional abilities and involuntary movements. At times my legs feel as if there is an unseen force pushing against them making movement difficult and dangerous. On other occasions, it seems as if my legs weight so much lifting my feet off the floor is hard.


Light Sensitivity - Any bright light causes discomfort, fluorescent lights cause pain. I now wear anti-glare protection all the time.


Dexterity - I find it increasingly difficult to use my hands, and I often drop things for no apparent reason.


Panic Attacks - When my vertigo is so bad I have to lie completely still to achieve any degree of relief panic attacks come in waves.  I’ll fight one off just to have another follow with increased intensity.  I believe the reality of my situation is unavoidable during these episodes and trigger the attacks. Fortunately, the episodes of extreme vertigo are not that frequent at this time.


Anger - Is once again a concern as it was in the past.  I have not experienced rage since 2010, and it’s not near as bad as then, but I find myself angering quickly.  I have to work to control it.


Be angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.


Ephesians 4:26

UPDATE 8/23/16: The pressure in my head, headaches, extreme vertigo, and nausea has been plaguing me for the past two weeks. EITHER the episodes are increasing in duration, or it’s now permanent.  Whichever it is, it’s becoming more difficult to do anything.

“If You Listen…

The Patient Will Tell You the Diagnosis!"

Frederick Holmes