My VA Won't Help Me!

"The Walking Veteran"

According to Dr. Fernandez and Dr. Paisoody of the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center...


"There is nothing serious wrong with you Mr. Holgate."  I disagree!


Click On Images To Enlarge

My bedroom measures 10’4” x 9’, the grab bars make it possible to get to my bathroom regardless of how bad my vertigo is. The bathroom is out the door to the immediate left. 


The following images show how I have managed to stay out of an Assisted Living facility for as long as I have. My “Mysterious Illness” has progressed gradually affording me the ability to adapt myself, and my home to survive.

The bathroom measures 6'10" x 4'6" and has enough grab bars that I can "Monkey Bar" it from my bed to the bathroom. The shower stool and the toilet seat make it possible to dry off without having to stand. When I feel it's too dangerous to take a regular shower, I lean against the sink/vanity and take a Marine Shower.

The door leads to the utility room, rear entrance to the house, and kitchen. The utility room is narrow and always affords me something to hold on to.  Once a week my friends pick up my grocery list, do my shopping, and check my mail at the mailbox station.



My friends Pete, and his wife Tomoko, do my grocery shopping, take care of my mail, water my plants/garden, take me to appointments, and run various errands for me. I couldn’t survive alone without their help.


I manage to wash/dry the small loads I generate weekly by transporting my laundry to and fro by backpack using the bathroom to bedroom route. That allows me a secure hand hold during transportation.






Once they return with the groceries they put them away for me. You will notice the utility room door leading to the kitchen. My bedroom is to the left and next to it is my office.


I try to maintain a healthy diet. Any illness or severe fall injury would complicate my life tremendously.

A friend, Eric Johnson of Million Veterans March, always wants to know when he calls what I had to eat that day. I try to convince him I'm better nourished than the average American! I think he's beginning to believe me?

I have to be extra careful regarding my BP. I eat foods and drink herbal teas in addition to taking medication to regulate it.


Were it not for the design of my kitchen I would have a problem nourishing myself. Notice the walker; it is turned around backward, this allows me to lean into the counter tops and provides safety from falling back. I can’t stand for much more than a minute before I have to sit.

 

I have condensed everything I need into this area. By releasing one brake on the walker, I can rotate safely while sitting and access the refrigerator. With the walker behind me I can grab the handles and move about this area safely.

 

I boil eggs, steam vegetables, and make tea on the hot plate when I feel it’s safe to do so. Everything I do hinges on how bad my vertigo is at the time.



There are days when my vertigo is so bad I don’t even go into the kitchen; I eat from my provisions in my bedroom.

Half of the bed I sleep on is dedicated to my portable office.  I only use my other office for printing, scanning, and organizing everything that is going on to this website.






My office is next to my bedroom, the doors of both have been removed for easier access. Notice the two grab bars; they enable me to go from my bedroom to my office chair safely without using the walker. If I need to transport anything to the office, I do so with the walker.




I seldom go outside to my garden area anymore, but when I do I use my outside walker. When I leave for appointments, which is the only time I leave my home, I do so by using the back door.

 

I’ve done so much landscaping in the front yard it’s difficult to maneuver with the walker and impossible to use my wheelchair, if I fall getting to the car in my back yard I hit the ground, not rough blacktop.

 

My bicycle is locked to the steps. You can see the saddle bag on the left of the image. I’ve been unable to ride since March of 2016. Since the loss of both my transportation and recreational vehicle, my world became much smaller and less attractive.  Bicycling had provided both since 1995 when my driver’s license was revoked for life.

A few months back I bought a mobility scooter. I had an appointment to see if I qualified for one provided by the VA. After researching what I would get from the VA and what I would have to go through to get it, I canceled the appointment and bought one.

 

I wanted a scooter that had a long range and was capable of using off road. What I bought has a range of forty miles and a top speed of 18 MPH. I reasoned I could do my grocery shopping if need be, I could check my mail, and get back into my photography.

 

I have only ridden it half a dozen times. It increases my vertigo and causes severe nausea. I would have been better off saving the $2400.00 I spent on it. But that’s okay because I have it. If I can ever get to the cause of my vertigo and begin treatment, I hope to be able to ride it again.

For two years, my wife Tomoko and I have watered Carl's plants in addition to doing his grocery shopping.  We also take him to his medical appointments and run various errands for him. We watched his condition worsen. We have witnessed many falls inside his home.

I've never seen a man go from super active to being bedridden and still doesn't know what's wrong with him. We have born witness to his numerous attempts to get the help he needs from his VA.

Despite his condition, he has never lost his faith in the Lord or his will to continue his battle. We pray for Carl every day. 

Pastor Pete Wanchik, Gainesville, FL August 2016
By keeping my plants alive, they help keep me alive. I pray someday to be able to at least water again.