Friday, November 18, 2016

A Tired Caregiver - VA Visits

I happen to enjoy visits to the "big" VA clinic. It gets me out the house and gets us around other people. But -- my husband hates those visits.  He associates doctors with pain, because every visit causes him pain, dread, and fear.

Example:  he hates the dentist and we had to cancel several visits because he just plain refuses to get dressed and leave the house.  He knows he needs to go, but just sees the painful part.  PTSD, anxiety and mental issues make it worse. 
How do other caregivers deal with it when your Veteran refuses visits to the Doctor/VA?  When it’s hours away and turns into an all-day event?  Do you bribe with visits to certain places?  Do you risk them having a meltdown in the VA or wherever they hate to go?  We try to stay in our role as spouse, but it feels like being a mother, or shaming him if we insist.

Why is there no program at the VA for Veterans with Doctor-related anxiety related to enduring pain?  Every visit seems to incur pain and the further apart the visits, the more pain.  If we go to the dermatologist for a mole, that won’t hurt, but do I bring up the infected toe?  Removing part of a nail takes the VA three separate visits!  One to look at it and say "Yes, it’s infected and needs to be removed", the second is the actual surgery to remove the sides of the nail and the third is to look at it two weeks later. 

Each of those visits is a two hour drive -- one way.  Again, why can't they just make it easier for us?  PTSD and anxiety make this very hard.  Can’t this be referred to the big VA for surgery and follow-up locally?  No need to make a ten second visit with a Podiatrist turn into an all day thing.

I hope I can find an easier way to get his care to make his life and mine easier.  The care team doesn’t respond except to tell him to man up.  That doesn’t work because he doesn’t feel they care about him. I’m tired of badgering to do doctor visits; am I the only one who’s made out to be the bad guy in “supporting my vet” for care? 

A Tired Caregiver


  1. I am very fortunate in that if my husband NEEDS to go to the hospital, he goes. We have a deal that if I ever tell him, "Honey, we need to go to the VA.", his job is to trust me. In 4 years, I've only used this twice, but it was needed. My husband has more mental health problems than physical, so I know it's not exactly like your situation. But it was really a turning point for me as a caregiver because that mentally moved the power from his doctors to him/ us. I go with him to all appointments, so he knows I wouldn't take that lightly. He had been having such bad problems with the local doctors that we now travel 1.5 hours one way, with our local being about .5 hour.

    Thank you for the post!

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