After struggling to deal with issues with the VA over the past weeks, I suddenly had this vision of a Military Assault Course. You know, the things where you have to run up sheer walls, traverse wires like a squirrel on speed and crawl on your belly with a face-full of mud. The military are very creative when making these assault courses. They are said to build stamina and agility.
Well, dealing with the VA is very much like tackling an assault course. The main difference is that while on an actual assault course, you have a crowd of buddies cheering you on, and you can actually see the end of the course, no matter how unlikely it feels that you will get there. You know that with skill, training, perseverance and the support of your buddies, you can make it to the end.
When dealing with the VA none of this happens. No one is cheering you on. No one shows you the end of the course. If, by some miracle, you actually climb the final wall, they quickly place another array of objects which have to be scrambled over or under or through before you get to the end. In the very unlikely event that you do actually make it to the end, you will find someone standing with a stop-watch, telling you that you were not fast enough at the second stage and you will have to do it all again.
This all comes down to the simple fact that they do not want us to succeed. Veterans and their caregivers must never be allowed to think for one moment that they have arrived. There must be no suggestion that the last hurdle has been overcome or the last problem dealt with.
If I had to chose between dealing with the VA either in person or via the telephone or running through an assault course, just give me the assault course every time. I would haul my aching bones to the end, one way or another because I know that at the very least, no one is going to move the last wall and when I have climbed it, I have arrived!