Seven Months Without Care After a
Heart Attack in Iraq

My name is Sean. I served in Iraq with the New Jersey National Guard. On August 16, 2006, I had a heart attack in Iraq. I was shipped to Germany for further care. In Germany they inserted a stent into my heart. I was in intensive care for 2 to 3 days. I really don't know the exact time. I was heavily drugged. I then spent a few days in the ward. On my last day the cardiologist told me that I had heart damage and it would never recover. He told me that when I got to the states I would be put on Community Based Outpatient Care (CBOC) and he wanted me to take 30 to 60 days of convalescent leave, then when that was over to have a cardiologist put me in Cardiac Rehab.

When I arrived at FT Knox I was sent to the care station there. I explained what the cardiologist had wanted and showed the doctor the paperwork I was given. I was told that the convalescent leave was not needed because they would have me home in a matter of a week or two. As I was rushed through the process, I started to wonder what was happening. I was told that I would get the care I needed when I got to my home state. At the end, I realized that I was getting the run around.

I started asking for someone to put it in writing. I told the people in charge that I wasn't leaving until I got assured I was going to get the care I needed. My wife received a call that stated that everything was fine. I was going to be put on CBOC. I was going to be put on 6 months of orders to complete it. This assurance was left on the answering machine.

The Major in charge of the med hold company at Ft Knox called me into the office to ask what the problem was with me. I told him that I was concerned that I would not get the care that was recommended by the Army assigned Cardiologist in Germany. He told me to wait outside. I waited. He called me back in and told me, “You have been medically cleared by our doctor and you will get the HELL of the post ASAP.” He also stated it was not his job to make sure what happened to me was "Right". It was his job to get me to the next station.

I was flown to FT McCoy and out processed. The out processing took about 1 day and I was flown home the next day. Since then I have not received the care I was promised. The state of New Jersey has done everything they can to help but, the Army has not budged. I was put in for Military Retention Processing Orders (MRP). The request was denied by the Office of the Surgeon General. An appeal was sent forward with the supporting documentation they asked for and it was again denied. It has been 7 months since I had the heart attack and I still have not received my care.

Empowering Veterans wants your story of Healthcare Injustice. Visit http://www.empoweringveterans.org/, Click on the "Record Your Story" tab and leave your story.

52
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Sat
Mar 3 2007
06:07 pm

Have you ever driven by the Shrimp Dock on Kingston Pike and thought about stopping in for some fresh shrimp, fish, gumbo, etc. but didn't because you were on a mission and thought it would spoil before you got home?

Here's a tip:

They sell these nice little logo/branded soft-side coolers (with a free bag of ice) for $5. It kept our shrimp and crab cakes cool for about two hours as we finished errands. We'll keep ours in the car from now on. The proprietor says they're a bargain because they will be collector's items someday. OK, then.

Another tip: they will peel your shrimp for $1 per pound. Tail on or tail off, your choice. And they're fast at peeling shrimp, so there's very little waiting.

P.S. In addition to fresh shrimp and fish, they have a nice selection of fresh/frozen crawfish, lobster, crab, octopus, squid, and gator tail. They also have a great assortment of etouffees, gumbos, and bisques, plus assorted Louisiana style condiments and ingredients.

The Shrimp Dock
5210 Kingston Pike
Knoxville Tennessee 37919-5018
(Map)

Hours
Monday - Saturday
10:00 am - 6:00 pm

192
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Sat
Mar 3 2007
06:00 pm

Girl Scout Cookies are here!

We were out running some errands and came upon a local Girl Scout troop offering up everyone's favorites at $3.50 per box.

We got: Thin Mints (of course), Samoas, Do-Si-Dos, and, what I think are a new addition to the lineup, All-Abouts.

All-Abouts are a shortbread cookie with fudge chocolate on the bottom. Mmmm. Each cookie has a saying about what being a Girl Scout is all about, thus the All-About name. Recommended.

(The irony is that one of our later stops was to get me a new blood glucose monitor to replace the old one I've had for about ten years.)

49
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Sat
Mar 3 2007
11:28 am

A couple more movies from the recent Blockbuster stack: "Invincible", and "All the King's Men".

Read about them after the jump...

Continued...

49
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...the Gestapo...

The Bush administration has accelerated its Internet surveillance push by proposing that Web sites must keep records of who uploads photographs or videos in case police determine the content is illegal and choose to investigate, CNET News.com has learned.

That proposal surfaced Wednesday in a private meeting during which U.S. Department of Justice officials, including Assistant Attorney General Rachel Brand, tried to convince industry representatives such as AOL and Comcast that data retention would be valuable in investigating terrorism, child pornography and other crimes. The discussions were described to News.com by several people who attended the meeting.

Amazing how it all goes back to "keeping America safe from terrorists...". Give those bastards an inch and they take a mile. Read this little snippet:

Continued...

107
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Sat
Mar 3 2007
09:16 am

Gerald Largen wrote a fine compliment to Don Williams in Friday's Roane County News. He is a respected attorney and journalist. When he speaks, 70% of Roane County shuts up and listens. The other 30% get pissed at him for telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Gerald makes the point that Williams' commentary on national affairs is at least as good as the national columnists Jack McElroy pays for.

Gerald doesn't use email and never goes online, and the one computer I have seen in his office does not seem to work. One must purchase a copy of the paper in order to read Gerald's comments. I'll try to give you just enough excerpt to get you going.

Continued...

43
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Sat
Mar 3 2007
08:57 am
By: fletch  shortURL

I rarely watch the local news so don't know if this bit of info is common knowledge, but tonight (Saturday 3/3) the full moon will rise already in a lunar eclipse, which is a rare event. Best viewing times are between 6pm and 8pm provided the clouds stay away. Read more about it at NASA:

"In the USA, the eclipse will already be underway when the moon rises on Saturday evening. Observing tip: Find a place with a clear view of the eastern horizon and station yourself there at sunset. As the sun goes down behind you, a red moon will rise before your eyes."

47
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Fri
Mar 2 2007
11:22 pm
By: Elrod  shortURL

I'm a relative newcomer to the Knoxviews community and to East Tennessee. Well, I'm not even a Tennessee resident yet, but I will be this June. Anyway, I've been listening to WDVX over the web and I can honestly say that it is the best radio station I've ever heard. Period. Does this station come in all over the Knoxville area? In Maryville? Do any of you all go to the Blue Plate Specials? What's the inside scoop on this station? How do they stay afloat?

350
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Fri
Mar 2 2007
05:47 pm

Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey has resigned abruptly in the wake of the Walter Reed scandal. This article says he was fired. (By way of Newscoma.)

49
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Fri
Mar 2 2007
12:23 pm

I have to admit I don't get why trolls like lV think they have to use blogs like this one to play games. I don't know who you are but you are like some Beavis type character giggling while you go over the top on everything. Very funny. You hate BIG OIL, love Hillary, love senator Finney, are anti evolution, hate republicans just so much but defend the church that is at middle of all you hate and on and on. I do understand what the point is for this silliness. Just gigging the progressives I guess.Is it that much fun.

48
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Fri
Mar 2 2007
12:21 pm

I would consider it an honor to be called derogatory names by Coulter, Hannity, Bush, Cheney, etc. Acceptance from them would give me a severe case of hives.

42
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Fri
Mar 2 2007
12:02 pm

I'm sure you've heard by now but in case you haven't, your Windows PC might not know the right day to change over to the new Daylight Savings Time. It's not like a Y2K panic or anything, but could be an annoyance, or a major pain in a corporate IT support environment.

Microsoft is providing fixes for supported operating systems, including 2000 Pro/Server, XP, and Server 2003. We have not seen any fixes for older systems, and they say Vista users don't need a fix. There are also fixes for Microsoft applications such as Exchange and Outlook.

I'm not sure it's a really big deal for most users, because you can always just set your time manually. I guess you might have to do it twice, once on the new day, which occurs earlier this year (next Sunday), and again when your computer thinks it's time a couple of weeks from now.

Most applications aren't affected, but some might be if they use time zone functions for some purpose. Most applications just use simple functions to get a date and time from the PC, whatever it is currently set to.

Here are some links to Microsoft info about the problem and the fixes:

Overview for IT Professionals (Note: there are better instructions for Windows 2000 than are contained in this document, see below. Everything else here for XP and Server 2003 is good.)

Time Zone Updates for Microsoft Operating Systems: Has fixes for XP and Server 2003.

DST Wizard-style guide: Guides you to the fixes you need for various Microsoft operating systems and applications depending on the type of user you are.

Better Win2K fix than the original manual instructions: This document has a fix Windows 2000 Pro users can download instead of the manual registry changes described in the IT Pro Overview. You can get here by selecting "home user" and "Windows 2000 Pro" in the "wizard" dialog mentioned above.

P.S. Don't blame Microsoft. Blame Congress.

UPDATE:

Info for Mac users

Info for Redhat Linux users

More on Linux from IBM

50
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Fri
Mar 2 2007
11:05 am

A Downy Woodpecker (we think). This looks like the female. There's a male, too, but I don't have a good photo of him. We finally got them to come around to the suet. We had to keep scaring off the starlings, and the woodpeckers figured out they could come by around 4:30 and not get hassled. The suet is all gone now, I need to go get some more before they forget it was here.

44
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Fri
Mar 2 2007
08:38 am

Disabled Service Members - The 30% Pea Shell Game
Or
How DOD is Short Changing Our Disabled Veterans

Congratulations, young man or woman! You were a patriotic member of the United States All Volunteer Military. You volunteered to serve with the full expectation that “Support the Troops” was not just empty rhetoric piously mouthed by politicians, generals, and the yellow-ribbon-displaying American public. You served honorably, sometimes with multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unfortunately, you returned damaged to the point that you can no longer serve because of wounds, injury, illness, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). You must be discharged from active service. You have just earned entry into the official 30% Shell Game.

There are two players in the 30% Shell Game: the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). You are the pea.

Ah, but you ask, “What is the prize in this Game?” The answer is your health care and your family’s health care for the rest of your lives, as well as other benefits to which retired members of the Armed Forces are entitled.

How, you ask, is the game played? Let me explain and you will see:

The first player is the DOD who has already decided that you can no longer serve on active duty. They get to decide your level of disability. In this process, the DOD is not your friend.

The magic hurdle is a designation of 30% disability. At or above that hurdle you are retired from the military with full benefits for you and your family including Tri-Care, the health insurance that allows you and your family to acquire care in the civilian health care system. The catch for DOD is that they have to pay for both retirement pay and benefits.

Below the magic 30%, you are passed on to the next player, the VA. Now guess how eager the DOD is to keep you on their rolls. If you guessed not much, you would be correct. If you guessed not much and were in the Army, you would be twice as correct as if you were in the other services. The other services are almost twice as generous with the magic 30% disability designation as the Army; although, the Navy and Air Force are still pretty miserly. The Army rated less than 19 percent of those discharged for disability at or greater than 30% (<4% permanent and <15% temporary) while the Navy (includes the Marine Corps) was about 35 percent and the Air Force about 24%. Oh sure, there are appeals and enough bureaucracy to give the appearance of fairness and due process -- if you have a lot of time and if you have the money to hire lawyers to fight on your behalf. “The Chain of Command,” you ask? Forget it. Let's just say that if you were short of the magic 30% hurdle with DOD in the first place, you're unlikely to clear it on appeal.

You are now the VA’s pea in the great shell game with a few thousand dollars in severance from DOD. In all likelihood, if you deserved the 30% disability rating, you will get it from the VA.

Congratulations, you are now entitled to care in a VA facility and you get a lifelong disability check. Not so bad, huh? How about your family’s medical care you ask, forget it. How about if the nearest VA facility is hours away? Too bad. How about if you have PTSD? The VA mental health system is already overwhelmed. To add insult to injury you will not receive any disability payments until the severance pay you received from DOD has been fully repaid to the military.

Welcome to the world of “Supporting the Troops”

The logical question is, “Why a service member who volunteered and served honorably should be deprived of medical care for his family because he or she is forced to leave the service, where his or her family has medical care, due to a service connected disability that resulted for his or her honorable service?” This sure does not sound honorable to me. The next logical question is, “What should be done about it?”

I have a very simple solution: By decree, declare that if a service member must be medically discharged from active duty for a service-connected disability, they are by definition at least 30% disabled. Let the bureaucrats and politicians sort out the jurisdictional turf between DOD and the VA.

-----------------------
Empowering Veterans wants the story of your first person experience with the 30% shell game. Please go to the website (link...) and click on “Record Your Story” -- we will publish it on the site as well as circulate it on the blogs. See Paula Span’s story in the February 25 Washington Post Magazine for the account of a real soldier caught in the 30% Shell Game.

55
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Thu
Mar 1 2007
09:35 pm

Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris perform at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Los Angeles. Songs include "All the Roadrunning" and "Red Dirt Girl."

PBS at ten, right after you get your Grey's Anatomy fix (It's a re-run anyway)

Topics:
52
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Thu
Mar 1 2007
06:59 pm

If Al Gore runs again for President, it ironically will be because of his position and views on the environment. (I saw Inconvenient Truth, and I'm proud of Al Gore. Of course there's global warming - humans have geometrically increased pollution each year since we started burning burning fossil fuels.)

What I find ironic is that in 1998, during the lead up to his 2000 campaign, Dick Morris (Bill Clinton's media guru) advised Al Gore to run as the environmental candidate. Morris showed Gore how people would respond to the message from Gore, not because people would agree with Gore, but because Gore would "own" the issue and be perceived as strong leader for taking a courageous stand.

Gore was an idiot (clearly in retrospect) for not following Dick Morris' advice, just as Gore was an even bigger idiot to refusing to even sit down with Ralph Nader (liberal icon and Florida spoiler). At least Gore listened to Morris. Gore blew off Nader which would be like John McCain refusing to talk to the Moral Majority or Pat Robertson.

The unifying reason for these two decisive and campaign losing decisions by Gore is that Gore instead chose to align himself with big business. Big business had Gore's ear. It was the safe decision at the time.

Instead of big business, it seems Hollywood is guiding Al Gore more than Al Gore is. I just feel like Gore is NOT the leader that our country needs. If he does jump into the race, he will be a formidable candidate however.

49
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Thu
Mar 1 2007
12:38 pm

According to Chairwoman Linda Sánchez, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law will vote today on a proposal to subpoena four of the US Attorneys recently fired by BushCo. They are interested in knowing the reasons for these sackings.

The subcommittee has scheduled a hearing on March 6 to consider a bill by Congressman Howard Berman (D California) that would reverse a new provision in the Patriot Act that allows the Attorney General to appoint federal prosecutors to serve for the duration of the Bush administration without Senate confirmation.

Last November we* began the restoration of the rule of law in Washington.

*Some restrictions apply in TN

86
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Lost Medicaid Funding

To date, the failure to expand Medicaid/TennCare has cost the State of Tennessee ? in lost federal funding.

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