Thursday, May 3, 2012

Living one day at a time from my own personal prison, a quadriplegic body.

Need help! As some of you know by reading my bio on my website, I have had multiple sclerosis for quite a few years.

It started after a heat related injury while in the Marine Corps in the early ‘80s.
I wasn't officially diagnosed until 2004 because my MS would come and go, and I thought that I just wasn't feeling well from time to time.

The one constant I noticed was my intolerance to heat and cold. The heat zapped all of my energy, and the cold made me very stiff and made it hard to walk. The fatigue and the walking problems hit a peak in early 2004; it seemed that I just started feeling bad on a daily basis, and my friends kept saying, "You’re over 40, man."

My employer stated that I walked like an old man. That eventually led to me being fired from a job as a service technician that I had been working at for 10 years. I won Employee of the Year two years in a row before being fired.

My employer said that I acted like I didn't want to be there because I always wanted to sit down a lot. In the summer, the shop reached temperatures of 105 degrees, and I just didn't have the energy to keep going. I did fine in the morning, but would die in the afternoon.

After many trips to my private doctor, I was diagnosed with depression, and the medication stopped me from worrying about everything so much, but did nothing for my poor gate and stumbling. One day I tripped over an air hose and fell on my back, so my doctor decided to send me to a neurologist because I told her that my neck was stiff. An MRI showed I had a neck full of MS lesions.

After losing my job, I moved to eastern Oklahoma where a Marine buddy suggested that I go to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center to apply for health care because now I had none. I am glad he told me that because I didn't even know that I would be eligible for it.

That was a life saver since I was introduced to Dr. Smaranda Galis, a great neurologist in Oklahoma City. She understood my problem, and I told her my story and that I had had Bell's palsy six months after being discharged from the Marine Corps.

Dr. Galis said, "You are service related, right?"

"No," I said.

"You should be," she said.

So I decided to apply for service related disability in 2004. Many of you know that is when the waiting began until I received a letter from Washington, D.C. Based on the report of another VA doctor, who came to my house after putting me off three times, I was denied service related disability. The reason for the denial was based on statements in the report from the doctor that interviewed me.

I had supposedly told him that heat did not bother me after my heat stroke in the Marine Corps and that I was able to perform my job without any problems after I was discharged from the Marine Corps. The only problem with his report is that it is a total fabrication.

My wife and daughter were here while I was being interviewed, and they heard everything I said. I stated over and over the problems I had and still have with heat and that my MS was relapsing and remitting of which the doctor apparently had no knowledge. I noticed during our visit that he didn't really know much about MS.

A couple of months ago, I received a letter from the VA telling me that I was approved and in the rating process. Then a month after that I received another letter from the board of appeals telling me that after reading the doctor’s report, I was denied. I guess they just needed time to fabricate a new letter to discredit me.

Is this common practice for the @DeptVetAffairs ?  This seems like workers’ compensation tactics against a quadriplegic veteran that did his job for our country, honorably.


  1. I just wish there were something I could do to help you, Scott. I was diagnosed with MS about 4 yrs ago, and seeing a better neurologist and a cancer doctor, I was diagnosed with a Vitamin B deficiency. But I still have 8 lesions on my brain, and I still can't walk like I used to. MS is such a terrible disease. It comes and goes and then comes and stays it seems.

  2. Wow! Can you take them to court? What's your next step?

  3. Hi just found you, I'm also a Vet Army was active for 3 years did reserves for 16, ETS 1999, couldn't pass the PT test, wasn't diagnosed until 2001. Learned later from my doctor the signs in my medical records showed I had it for a very long time. Was told by the V.A. because I wasn't diagnosed while in service, it's not service connected. After no longer being able to work, went to the V.A. because the only money I get SSD, that really isn't counted as income, the means test showed I could go to the V.A. at a reduced cost, a small co-pay is all. You may be able to do that. As for heat strokes my being from Minnesota, was a big problem, were stationed at Fort Jackson, S.C. Campbell, KY. and in Texas. Coming back around didn't know what was going on, all I knew was my shirt, pants and boots were loosened and I was all wet and had a bunch of troops standing over me,to keep me shaded from the sun.

  4. Hey Scott, just read your blog and I'm guessing you filed your claim yourself. As you have found out, that didn't work. My wife and I have been "Unofficial" Veterans Service Officers for about 15 years now so I'm going to try and give you some help. I see you're in eastern OK. so, call the Disabled American Veterans office in Muskogee (918) 781-7764. Ask to speak to a Veterans Service Officer (VSO). Tell them you need help in filing a claim for compensation. They can either come to the house or send a van to pick you up. They will have you sign a "Power of Attorney" and some HEPA forms which will give them access to your health records. The DAV is trained in how to fill out and how to properly word claim forms and know the in's and out's of how the VA works.
    One other thing you may not know is that you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance. The DAV can give you more info on that. Good Luck and keep me posted.
    Mr Puma