“That’s Crazy!!!” – More Chronicles From the VA Chapter 3

Bobblehead DollIt is no secret I am on several prescription medications.  I take these under strict medical advice, and three of these prescriptions regard mental health improvements.  However, my prescription reasons were subtly shifted because Phoenix’s last two primary care providers did not listen to the patient.  Since the El Paso primary care physicians appear to be utterly incapable of even attempting to listen, I have now been without a mental health prescription for an entire week.  This is called bureaucratic cold-turkey prescription stoppage!

Not the first time this has happened, especially for this particular medication, a serotonin blocker.  Here’s the rub, the physical and mental withdrawal symptoms of cold turkeying the drug; includes, but is not limited to, the following symptoms, of which I have ALL of the problems!

      • Nightmares
      • Suicidal Ideation/Thoughts/Visions
      • Headaches
      • Heart Palpitations, radiating chest pain
      • Anxiety
      • Depressions
      • Mood Swings
      • Irritability
      • Tinglings and Prickling sensations of the skin
      • “Brain Saps”/”Brain Shivers”/Spaced-Out Zombie Spells
      • Fatigue
      • Dry Mouth
      • Insomnia and Sleepiness – Which is a major whiplash feeling!
      • Pain and neurological events in every part of my body!
      • … and more… Much…  Much… More!

I have been without this medication due to bureaucratic stupidity for several days in the past due to pharmacy issues.  But, this is now the longest I have been without this medication since getting prescribed this medication.  I wish, like anything, I had known some of these withdrawal symptoms before I went to the ER earlier this week for pain and neurological problems; I would have raised the refill issues as part of the ER visit.  I went online looking for other people’s experiences; I want some medical advice before continuing this medication!!!

PACT_modelI am a root cause kind of person; why do I bring this up?  I have had three primary care providers since arriving in the El Paso VAHCS in May 2021.  None of them have gotten any of the medications correct due to a blatant refusal to LISTEN to the patient with the INTENT to understand!  Nurses with VA-provided primary care providers are expected to communicate with patients between 24 and 72 hours post any ER visit.  Since moving to Las Cruces, I have visited the ER twice and have not spoken to the nurse yet!

I have initiated the conversation with the nurse through phone and secure messaging, and the nurse has refused to engage.  Through secure messaging, I am advised, “Secure messaging is not the place to triage a patient, and no question can be answered as this requires triage of a patient.”  No direct phone contact is possible with the clinic.  One must call, get routed to a call center, leave a message, and then hope the clinic calls you back sometime before you die!  Don’t forget; I am the same patient told, “The clinic will not see you in person because you “WILL NOT” wear a mask.”  Completely refusing to understand, accept, and believe that I cannot wear a mask due to medically documented (by the VA medical providers, which medical records they possess) reasons.  Best of all, the veteran is then sent letters and marketing materials urging the veteran to use secure messaging through “MyHealtheVet as a safe and secure way to access your medical team and get your questions and concerns addressed by your PACT team!”  If the VA were a mental health patient, they would have schizophrenia and at least a dual-personality.

PACT 1Snide, rude, and disrespectful staff, all made possible by, supported through, and legally accepted under federal government fiat.  Do you realize that the nurse not doing their job will have any number of valid and acceptable excuses, and these excuses are accepted because of designed intentional incompetence allowed under federal employment laws, regulations, and directives, established by and supported through Congressional oversight?  In Disney’s “Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement,” Viscount Mayberry has a line,

Your staff is incompetent and unreliable!”

The VA is incompetent and unreliable, and the victims are the veterans and their families.  We are talking about dangerous drugs, forced addictions, and then the ineptitude of incompetent and irresponsible bureaucrats who refuse to do their jobs in a timely and responsible manner.  But do not take my word for it.  Let’s review what a watchdog organization, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG), has to say on this matter.

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  • Tracy McNeil, of Raeford, North Carolina, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison and ordered to pay $90,003 in restitution for committing wire fraud involving an elderly veteran in her care. From February 2015 to February 2017, McNeil fraudulently obtained benefits from the VA and the Office of Personnel Management by executing a power of attorney over a disabled veteran who served in the Army and worked for the US Postal Service. The investigation revealed that McNeill arranged for the victim, who had dementia, to move into her home in February 2015 and then directed the VA and OPM to deposit the veteran’s benefits into her bank account. Between April 2015 and December 2016, the VA deposited $11,151, and OPM deposited $61,318 into McNeil’s account. Further, OPM disbursed the veteran’s life insurance for $17,533 to McNeil. Financial analysis showed that most of the funds were spent on McNeill’s expenses, including rent, utilities, credit card payments, and personal purchases.

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  • Strock Contracting, Inc., of Cheektowaga, New York, has agreed to enter into a consent judgment with the United States for $4.7 million to resolve claims that Strock violated the False Claims Act. The United States filed an action in federal court alleging that Strock Contracting profited financially after fraudulently obtaining federal contracts intended to benefit service-disabled veterans. The United States alleged the company, which was not owned or controlled by a veteran, recruited a service-disabled veteran to create a pass-through company, known as Veterans Enterprises Company, Inc. (VECO), which the Strock Contracting its owner, Lee Strock, controlled. The company allegedly directed VECO to submit false eligibility certifications to the government, obtaining substantial profits on numerous federal contracts.
        • Where are the VA Employees who should know what “fake eligibility certificates” look like?
        • Where are the supervisors who should have been providing training?
        • Where are the Congressional oversight teams in holding the VA accountable?

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    • William Rich, of Windsor Mill, Maryland, was arrested for allegedly obtaining more than $1 million in veterans and Social Security Administration disability benefits by falsely claiming that he had paraplegia. Allegedly, Rich misrepresented his physical condition in VA disability compensation claims, in communications with the VA, and during medical examinations in pursuit of VA disability benefits. While serving in Iraq in 2005, Rich sustained injuries that resulted in the loss of use of both lower extremities. However, approximately six weeks after his injuries, he made substantial progress toward recovery and was no longer paralyzed. Later records show the VA rated him one hundred percent disabled following an examination in 2007. The examining physician noted that he did not have access to Rich’s complete claims file, so he did not review Rich’s medical history or observe the earlier report. In 2018, the VA OIG conducted an audit of specific claims and learned of conduct by Rich inconsistent with his purported condition. Over the next two years, VA OIG special agents conducted surveillance. They observed Rich walking, going up and downstairs, entering and exiting vehicles, lifting, bending, and carrying items—all without visible limitation or assistance of a medical device, including a wheelchair [emphasis mine].
        • OK, let me be clear, I am glad this veteran got better; I do not in any way condone theft. But, where is the VA in being culpable for FAILURE to do their job correctly?
        • Will the doctor who failed to do their job be held liable for the malpractice performed?

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    • William H. Precht, of Kent, Ohio, was sentenced to 37 months imprisonment and ordered to pay $1.25 million in restitution after pleading guilty to theft of government property and participating in a bribery and kickback scheme. In October 2010, Precht registered a purported vendor, a company he controlled, as a small disadvantaged business and veteran-owned small business in the VA vendor system. He then used his VA purchase card and other employee cards to purchase over $1 million in alleged medical supplies from the vendor. In addition, from May 2015 through January 2019, he conspired with Robert A. Vitale, a medical sales representative for multiple companies that conducted business with the medical center, to devise a scheme in which Precht would receive kickbacks and other items of value in exchange for steering VA business and other monetary awards to Vitale.VA 3

Speaking of staff being “incompetent and unreliable,” did you know that the VBA is using “COVID-19” as an excuse for being backlogged in cases, AGAIN?  Did you know that COVID-19 was so powerful that it caused the VA to fall 200,000+ cases behind, in an inventory of 600,000+ cases requiring decisioning, with 70,000+ needing additional review for entitlement, and needs to hire 2,000+ new employees to help correct the problem?  Since the VBA continues to fail in staff training, exactly how will hiring new employees help?  Honest question!  With the current staff rated as incompetent and unreliable, not by me only, but by the VA-OIG who has regularly taken these issues and more to Congress asking for additional scrutiny and assistance in improving the VBA, VHA, and National Cemetery specifically and the VA collectively; what exactly can new employees do?VA 3

The VHA cannot plan construction projects and put planned maintenance into proper categories to execute maintenance tasks correctly.  Congress refuses to scrutinize budgets and fiscal compliance for just maintenance of facilities.  How in the world can anyone expect more when the VA cannot even hit the basics of planned maintenance tasks?  I can; I do!

I-CareWhen the VA publishes marketing materials claiming they set standards for excellence and lead the industry, I want them to prove their competence and abilities!  Right now, their failures scream louder than the voices in their own ears, and they refuse to listen to anyone, and I am not happy!  You, the taxpayer, should not accept the performance of ANY government agency, including the entire legislative, judicial, and executive branches of government at the local, county, state, and federal levels, until they correct their behaviors!  It is time to end the charade and put paid to this contemptible behavior and abuse!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Perspective – Another Powerful Tool

Garfield - Good Explanation NeededI am a foodie!  I love talking about food, creating recipes for food, eating food, redesigning recipes to make food better, and have spent a lot of time enjoying gustatory experimentation!  I can discuss the finer points of chocolate and carob, ginger, spices (including the history of spices) until people are drooling and begging me to stop.  I have no mouth-brain filter where food is concerned.  I like it hot or cold, and lots of it!  Thus it is no wonder I am a fan of Anton Ego from Disney/Pixar “Ratatouille.”  Anton Ego and I are slightly different; if he does not love food, he doesn’t swallow.  Me, I will try anything and eat to know more as a learning experience; perspective.

Anton Ego has a fabulous line:

“… Do you know what I’m craving?  A little perspective.  That’s it.  I’d like some perspective.”

One of the most pleasurable experiences I have is shopping at Trader Joe’s.  This is especially true when I get a fellow customer who wants to discuss food, recipes and is looking for a gustatory experience.  There have been times I have been led to a product by a fellow customer exclaiming how wonderful that is in this recipe, that recipe, or straight out of the package.  Trader Joe’s used to carry these pretzel rolls that went so good with BBQ pulled pork, pulled chicken, or brats.  You would have thought you had died and gone to food heaven!

Trader Joe'sTrader Joe’s has previously had some great frozen desserts.  For example, ginger and lemon ice cream from Italy, a salted caramel gelato that was to die for, and several other unique concoctions that went so well with other products you would have thought they would still be carried today; except they are not sold anymore.  Perspective in food makes being a foodie my hobby of interest.

Anton EgoPerspective is also a key element in political choices, book selections, car buying, and a host of other human endeavors.  Perspective is not simply an opinion, it is a way of seeing the world, and perspective is a choice that comes with natural consequences.  Over time, the perspective choice decision cycle determines a person’s destiny, friends, desires, foods, clothing, companions, and so much more.  How do we know this is true; look to the food choices and consequences involved in the perspective choice decision-making cycle.

Consider the following example.  As a kid, my mother was a deal hunter, and one day in March, she came home from shopping with a screaming good deal on fish.  Tuna fish, to be precise, in #10 sized cans, designed for restaurants, and she had purchased multiple cases of Tuna Fish.  From March through the end of July, we kids ate tuna fish in every possible recipe as dinner.  At this time, My father returned from a National Guard 2-week event that took his unit to Puerto Rico, where some R&R saw them deep-sea fishing.  Knowing that many of the other wives would kill their husbands for bringing back a HUGE sports fish, tuna, my dad was offered the “extra” fish caught.  Two days before Thanksgiving, we finally finished all the fish!  The dog and cats would not touch fish, raccoons in our neighborhood would not touch the fish.  As a point of fact, scavengers of all types and sizes refused our yard and garbage due to the fish.  Thus, I do NOT eat anything with fish, even to this day, almost 40-years after this incident.Anton Ego 3

Perspective and choices, with natural consequences, leaves me in a NO Fish Zone!  I will eat protein from every other source, but if it’s fish, it doesn’t matter how it was cooked; you can keep it!  US Navy, Surf n’ Turf dinner night, I would turf, and the surf could go down the drain without any problem, except the smell of the surf prepared was enough to make me gag and refuse most food that night!  Boy, was this a funny joke in the US Navy, a sailor who would not eat fish.  Made only funnier when I refused to swim in the ocean.  On land, I am the top of the food chain; in the ocean, I AM the food chain!  Guess who doesn’t swim in the ocean!

Perspective and choices with natural consequences.  It has been pointed out that regardless of the candidate offered, 40% of the population on both sides of the aisle will continue to vote for the ticket; this is true for democrats and republicans.  Leaving a 20% middle ground where the elections are won and lost, provided you have honest people counting the ballots, and skullduggery have not biased the counting machines.  I am proud to be part of the 20%; I have been an independent voter since I lost a sixth-grade debate over Mike Dukakis.

Anton Ego 4A lesson I learned from that debate was the value of perception and choices, but I didn’t fully appreciate that lesson until I was much older.  Those natural consequences of perception and choice in decision-making remain a powerful tool, only if we choose to allow that perspective to change.  Religion and politics are two topics we did not discuss as children; yet, those two topics are the topics my brothers and sister struggle with the most.  Worse, the topics continue to remain a taboo subject even though religion hopping and political leanings are issues that are infecting the entire world right now.

A person’s perception and choices over religion and politics are the two topics that we all need more openness in discussing; however, emotions, lawyers, and snowflakes make an honest discussion all but impossible to have.  I have been on social media when atheists post something; if a non-atheists submits information, the tone automatically changes, accusations and aspersions are cast, and all hope of an open discussion is ruined.  I have seen the same with abortion, economics, and so many other topics.  The politics and the religion of those participating, both of which are a choice in the perceptive/choice decision-making cycle, end the honest discussion, and the tone and environment turn off people looking to discuss, worse too often, those attacking become trolls and attack outside the discussion

Anton Ego 2Part of living in a Republic is the need to form opinions based upon our individual knowledge, experience, and perspective choice decisions.  Living in a Republic is messy; this is a good thing!  The more chaotic, the better because it means freedom is alive and kicking.  When a Republic becomes less messy, people lose their rights to speech, privacy, liberty, and freedom.  Do you understand this connection and relationship?  Your perspective builds your opinions and biases.  Your opinions and biases make a Republic messy, and this is a good thing.  Please, engage and form perspectives, originate an opinion, and make yourself heard!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: The Pandemic Hysteria

I want to believe that the BBC is running the series “The Next Pandemic” as a public service in an effort to spread honest, thought-provoking information and analysis.  Unfortunately, experience has taught that the BBC is more slanted and biased in spreading fear, confusion, and angst than many of their corporate media competitors.  Some of the bias is due to the differences between America and the United Kingdom, some of this is due to the intended audience, and some of this is the difference in language used.  Yet always the truth will shine forth, that BBC is a news organization that survives on selling advertising, and like the adage claims, “If it bleeds, it leads.”  Or more plainly stated, the more lurid and emotionally charged, the more advertisements get sold.  A sad commentary indeed!

Home - BBC NewsThe BBC is reporting that one of the possibilities for the next pandemic will arrive through mosquitoes.  Now, mosquitoes have been causing disease in man for all of recorded history.  Anyone who has traveled to Maine, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, Texas, Mississippi, Michigan, Alaska knows all about mosquitoes, knows how to prevent mosquito bites, and has probably suffered at least one instance of becoming sick from a mosquito bite.  Traveling through Central America and even more mosquito-borne illnesses are included in the potential for infection.  Common knowledge!  Heck, Washington DC was historically known as a malarial killer due to mosquitoes.

How does a society prevent mosquito colonies from becoming a health danger?  The same way we have been treating mosquitoes for all recorded history.  Citronella oil, mop up standing water, drain old tires of stagnant water, wear bug repellent, all common sense, easily managed actions that work.  Heck, Disney World in Florida is known for keeping guests safe from mosquito-borne infections and other bugs while enjoying the park/resort.  Hence, the alarmism in the BBC Reporting, claiming new mosquito varieties are arriving in North America, really is a nothing burger, unless you are a bug scientist who finds this fascinating.

ElectionYet, if 2020 is any example, the government, fed by the hysterical media, including the BBC, will impose new rules, new restrictions, new problems, new actions, wasting more money and other precious resources, and will remain 100% ineffective.  Consider what the citizenry was promised January and February 2020, a “two-week shutdown to flatten the curve.”  The curve was never flattened. The government has botched everything. Common sense effective drugs and treatments were replaced for experimental options that cost exorbitant amounts of money, and the media has fueled fear in populations worldwide.  Can anyone indeed defend the actions of the majority of governments where COVID-19 is concerned?

MosquitoSpeaking of mosquitos, it took a private company (Disney) to prove that mosquito populations could be controlled, and the government continues to ruin that simple program to the Nth Degree!  Why did Disney need to control bugs, especially mosquitos, to make money.  Why has the government failed to control bugs carrying diseases; because all a government can ever do is injure!

The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” – President Thomas Jefferson

The truth is straightforward; the government cannot be the solution to any problem.  Still, the media calls upon the government to act, knowing that the government’s legitimate action will injure the same people calling for government action.  Why did the government build the military-industrial complex; governments cannot invent weapons, cannot invent better tactics, and cannot create a single productive item or service.  So, the government began choosing winners and losers through the bureaucratic minds of those administering government largess.  In so doing, more are injured, more taxes are consumed, more spending occurs, more debt that future generations are saddled with, and more injuries are passed around while claiming the injuries are really grants, benefits, and gains.

Scared Eyes!While I am grateful to the BBC for alerting me that new mosquito variants are being found in North America, and these new mosquitoes can carry more dangerous diseases, the emotional hyperbole passed along with the BBC reporting is beneath contempt!  The world has been fighting viral diseases, bacterial diseases, and so much more for all recorded history.  We have learned what works and what does not work, we have science trying to create new methods of fighting diseases, and we have individuals acting to protect themselves and their neighbors.  Ancient Egypt is famous for the bug problems they experienced. Many movies have been made about the bugs Ancient Egypt endured.  Sadly, the same problem from Ancient Egypt survives today: government!

We do not need, want, or desire more government injuries to fight bugs.  We do need a smaller and more flexible government.  We do need governments that live on a budget!  We do need governments that provide for the common defense!  We do need governments that allow the maximum amount of freedom while doing the least amount of harm!  Hence, a call to the corporate media is in order; “Cease the fear-mongering forthwith!”  “Cease calling upon more government!”  “Cease being the incestuous partner in the government bedroom!”

LinkedIn ImageAs for the government, please heed the citizenry.  “Cease the COVID silliness!”  Viruses undergo evolution and natural selection, just like all cell-based life, and most viruses evolve rapidly; this is a common known truth.  We do not need more COVID mandates restricting life and injuring citizens!  What about COVID is new?  The common cold, which has been around and used to kill people, occurs due to rhinovirus, coronavirus, and adenovirus.  Why the lockdowns, why the hysteria, why the political gamesmanship?

As an interesting fact, here are some of the most common viral infections, which even though these viral infections are more contagious and more deadly than SARS-Cov-2 (COVID-19), have never caused worldwide hysteria, mass lockdowns, ridiculous freedom stealing mandates, and 24/7 media frenzies.

      • Chickenpox
      • Flu (influenza)
      • Herpes
      • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV/AIDS)
      • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
      • Infectious mononucleosis
      • Mumps, measles, and rubella
      • Shingles

Hence, I ask again, what is so novel about a mutated coronavirus?  Even if it did escape from a Chinese laboratory, even if COVID-19 viral variant was strengthened through the use of man-made means and scientific methods and was allowed to spread through the government’s intentional actions.  Why the media emotional hyperbole?  Why the year-long government injuries?

LookThe CDC continues to affirm, “Antibiotics do not work on viruses, such as those that cause colds, flu, bronchitis, or runny noses, even if the mucus is thick, yellow, or green. Antibiotics are only needed for treating certain infections caused by bacteria, but even some bacterial infections get better without antibiotics.”  Will the corporate media please learn these facts, ask better questions, and demand better answers on behalf of the citizens affected?  Essentially, will the media, do your bloody job!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.