As I sit in my office after completing a house call for a 68-year-old Vietnam Veteran I am not only livid, but left wondering how one human being can look another human being who is clearly suffering in the eyes and feel as though what they are doing is enough. The fact that he is a veteran makes the situation much worse. His health has changed drastically since serving due to an environmental exposure in Vietnam and the inappropriate health care that followed and is continuing to this day.
I have had one too many veterans or active duty military in my office who have felt defeated. One too many veterans addicted to narcotics. One too many veterans who have been told no one has any idea why they suffer from fatigue, a mysterious autoimmune disease, Gulf War Syndrome, chronic pain, anxiety, or the effects of post-concussion syndrome; those conditions are just the tip of the ice berg.
Their health is usually at an all-time low and the person in the mirror that they saw before joining the military or being deployed is no longer staring back at them. As one can expect, when you are faced with challenges in life you will change. However, knowing that changes in health are bound to happen when joining the military/being deployed, why aren’t the resources to address these changes readily available to those who are serving or have served?
It is my opinion as a physician and a proud American that no veteran or military personnel should suffer from these mostly preventable and predictable diseases. It’s even more frustrating for me to know that there are usually very basic physiological answers to their symptoms and many researchers, including Naval and Harvard researchers, have published research stating this very fact. Yet I continue to see warriors returning home wondering how in the hell their life has been changed so drastically. And the only solutions given to them are addictive medications or surgery that will continue to drastically alter the path of their lives. What’s appalling is that there is usually testing and very effective non-addictive treatment options available and those who are suffering or have known exposures are never given these options for their care.
The current health conditions of those who have or are serving perplexes and irritates me, so since I have the ability to do something about it, I decided to. Surprisingly, I have gotten many questions as to why I would choose veterans and military to make a health care program for. Honestly, the answer is so obvious to me that I usually don’t have a quick rebuttal.
For starters providing them with the ability to choose what healthcare options they want and need for themselves is not only respectful but necessary for them to heal. Of all the sacrifices the veterans of our country have made their health shouldn’t be one of them.
Even more alarming is that I have been criticized for taking time out of my days at the office to try to help those who have given so much to me. Because of this criticism I’d like to make it even more clear as to why I want to help veterans and military.
I have chosen to take time out of my week from seeing patients in my office to help veterans because….
I can enjoy freedoms that only those who live in America are able to enjoy.
I can be a female physician.
I was able to choose what I wanted to be when I grew up.
I can worship freely.
I was able to obtain the education I wanted and needed.
I can write this blog because of my freedom of speech.
And most importantly, those who have sacrificed so much for my freedom deserve the best, most versatile health care that this country can offer. There’s been enough suffering and pain in their lives and if I don’t do something about it I am contributing to it.
What I’d like to say to those of you who are veterans or current military who feel that there’s no options, no answers, or are worried about what might happen to your health in the years to come is one simple thing; I know freedom because of a chapter in your story, know health because of a chapter in my story.
There usually ARE answers if someone takes the time to figure it out and is trained to treat the root cause of an illness. There ARE other options besides addictive medications and someone DOES care enough to try to do something about it.
As always, I am here for you through your journey. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me. Be well.
If you are wondering about the Vet Health Revolution, click here! As the program is just getting started, not all the information is there yet, but will be soon!
For new updates and information follow the Vet Health Revolution on Facebook or Instagram: @thrivingin3d.