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Complete Psychological Topics 2: Chapters 1-2 - Part 2

 

by Ben Huot

July 10, 2018

in more formats

Table of Contents

Veterans Administration

The Military Way, Chemical Weapons, and Terrorism

Misconceptions about Military and World History

For people who have never served in the military and who base their understanding of warfare on World War II or even Vietnam do not understand how contemporary wars are fought. In World War II they did what is called carpet bombing where they would find a target within a few miles and then bomb everything within that area and around it for many miles.

One of the big strategies during World War II was to destroy Germany's manufacturing basis. Also, most modern technologies and techniques used in warfare are derived from the much more advanced technologies developed by the German during World War II. One of the reason why the US won the Cold War is that they let the Soviets have more of Eastern Europe in exchange for the US getting more German scientists after World War II.

If you study the history of European warfare, warfare tactics change over time, according to the technologies available, at the time. During World War II, we needed millions of troops, because that is what was required, to make use of the technology available, during that era. Today, warfare is much higher tech and we need specialists, who are professional soldiers or even mercenaries, but the number of troops needed is much smaller.

Also, most of the current US military is what are called contractors, which are mercenary corporations, so there are many times more troops involved in a military operation, that the media never counts in. It is like a shadow army, whereas the real army is just the tip of the iceberg. The list of Americans, that have security clearances, that the government recently lost, contained names of 22 million people.

During this war on terror we are fighting an entirely different war with entirely different technology with entirely different objectives, tactics, and political situation. Bombing infrastructure in the Middle East and Central Asia does basically nothing as the infrastructure that we have now in America is not present in this region. We can't bomb them back to the medieval era, because they are already there.

There is nothing of any value in the Middle East now except oil. Throughout most of history, the Middle East economy was based on trade. In ancient times it was very fertile, but, due to minor weather changes, during the late medieval and early modern era, much of this land has lost is fertility. Today, there is also very little money in food production or any other commodity.

The Ottomans Turks took over the Byzantine empire and cut off trade with the west, shortly before Columbus sailed to America, which caused Portugal (the first world power) to figure out how to navigate around Africa and the Dutch to figure out how to navigate over the open ocean. This was the basis for the European colonies and colonial domination.

After the Industrial Revolution, like today, the trade items of greatest value were the ones with the most advanced technology. Coal and iron were the main ingredients necessary, for the Industrial Revolution, whose big cash products were trains, ships, bridges and guns. So the nations with the most coal and iron became the dominant military and economic powers. This included America, England, France, and Germany (which was a brand new country at the time).

If oil was not found in the Middle East, in the last few hundred years, the Middle East would be very poor now. By then the Suez canal was created and so Egypt was important for trade, but most of the Middle East had little to offer.

Misconceptions about Contemporary Warfare

One of the big problems with the way we are fighting in the Middle East is that we are fighting a war with very high technology. That would work well in the United States or Europe, where we have extensive infrastructure and advanced electronics, that are the basis for a very fragile world economy. Without a high tech infrastructure, our high tech weapons are of little use.

We also have spent huge amounts of money trying to do the almost impossible task of destroying the leaders of a country and then putting in groups that cannot hold power when we leave. The terrorists are fighting a very low tech war, that is very cheap and easy to carry out, which is effective against high tech societies.

To do what we need to do to win the war in the Middle East we need to be more brutal than ISIS or Saudi Arabia. The result of this action would mean we would lose access to most of the world's reserve oil and the one group that is keeping the price of oil low enough, for the world economy to keep going. Without access to cheap, plentiful oil, the entire world goes back to the stone age.

We are not in danger of being invaded, because even China and Russia do not have the resources, to even maintain a navy, that could deploy to other parts of the world, while the US Navy completely controls all the world's oceans. Russia and China are deceiving us into thinking they have advanced weapons or can compete with us militarily or economically, when they cannot. They have very obsolete militaries that are designed and used for internal suppression of revolts. This is what Americans would call police.

Russia has a very long hostile border, that is has never been able to defend the entirety of it, at one time. Russia has tried to maintain the situation, in the former Soviet republics, the same as they did in Eastern Europe, during the Cold War, but the US intelligence community has successfully blocked that. Russia cannot even invade the Ukraine (which has basically no military) either due to lack of resources or fear of US retaliation.

The Chinese are making so little money on trade, that they just have enough to keep the economy going and there is no real lasting wealth being created in China. While 15% of their people on their East Coast have the equivalent money of Europeans (not Americans), their army is focused on keeping their inland mountainous regions, where most of their mineral wealth (coal and rare earth minerals) is stable, so that China does not split into several countries. This area is dominated by poor, foreign Islamic peoples, who are losing their sustenance level incomes from farming, due to environmental degradation.

China and Russia will also be hit terribly by global warming, starting in the next 10 years. The Chinese are already running low on water and all their potential sources of water are controlled by other hostile countries, which they have no water treaties with. China cannot even grow its own food, as only 10% of its land is arable. China and Russia have always been hostile to each other, Siberia is just North of China, and the Russians only have so many bullets.

China and Russia (independently) definitely will work to lower the status of America overseas in less overt ways like hacking into our computers, promoting Islamic Fundamentalism, and other information/psychological warfare tactics. The big driver of radical Islam comes from the official policy and political strategy of Saudi Arabia, who runs their country on the same ideology and uses the same tactics as ISIS.

ISIS is of little concern in Syria, as there is little to no oil there and nothing else of any value, but if ISIS crosses Jordan into Saudi Arabia, we will have a serious problem, as the Saudis share the same ideology, but the Saudi royal family would no longer be able to control their country, in that situation. None of the 9/11 hijackers came from Iraq; all of them came from Saudi Arabia or Yemen.

Currently the Iranians are doing a good job of holding back ISIS, as well as the Kurds in Iraq and I am sure the US special forces are involved as well. ISIS is a very small group, but is very effective because of its PR tactics and that its soldiers are former Iraqi special forces, that served under Saddam Hussein, but now cross trained in terrorist tactics. Regular US troops deployed in Syria would be massacred.

The Military Way

The military was a really stressful situation for me, for an umber of reasons. The military seems to embody all the negatives of a large bureaucratic organization like a large company and at the same time it treats its people like they are on parole from prison.

My experience in the military was uniquely painful, because of my being a highly sensitive person and having a pre-disposed genetic tendency towards Schizophrenia. While what I have experienced is accurate and common, the vast majority of people who serve in the military come out without severe psychological trauma.

The military's failure with me was not realizing (even after I told them) that I was exhibiting the psychological symptoms of a person who should never have joined the military in the first place. I would be useless in combat (especially because I could not hit any of the targets even though I could see them well).

The US military place extreme emphasis on what they call discipline, which basically means doing exactly what you are told immediately without question. Everybody does everything the same way. You study the same skills you did during basic training, throughout your entire enlistment in the army, so that your actions become instinct. This is how we win wars.

Both the Roman and Alexander the Greats armies were so effective more because of their training and being able to work together quickly and uniformly than because of their weapons or other technology. The Europeans finally beat Asian armies once warfare technologies favored closely coordinated action amongst large groups of soldiers over individual bravery.

We were never taught hand to hand combat in the Army, because the drill sergeants said that if it came down to that that we would lose the war. If the military was mostly interested in recruiting people with good aim and trained in firing weapons well they would recruit from street gangs and white supremacist groups.

An M-16, despite its continual need for maintenance and the ease at which is jams and becomes useless, its great strengths are that it is very accurate and very easy to learn to shoot accurately with, in a very short amount of time. The military taught us to conserve our ammunition, in what the military calls one shot, one kill.

Another basic strategy of the Army, from their experience in at least one war (I think it was especially true in the Battle of the Bulge in Word War II) was that every soldier was an infantry soldier first and foremost and the speciality that you sign up for is a secondary, less fundamentally important skill. In this battle, they needed more soldiers than the ones that were technically infantry, so everyone fought in, even the chaplains and the veterinarians, and this was essential to our victory in that battle.

The military has its own culture, because recruits come from different cultures and so they learn a common, different culture which once they adjust to they can depend upon it working the same way at any US base in the world. This is the third important aspect of training besides the physical and mental and the one which I never adjusted to.

I am an unusual person, in that I was willing to bend, so that nobody felt the need to try to break me. Even though I did whatever I was told, without question or hesitation, every time, always gave 150% and passed all the physical and mental tests, I always was who I was and never thought to change that. I never changed the way I thought, so I never really fully psychologically adjusted to the military way of life.

My Military Training

The military also really never trains you. The military loves using trial by fire for almost any type of training. Training usually consists of throwing you into scary situation and seeing how you react under pressure and putting you through as much pain as a person can possibly take.

If you are not an officer, they treat you like a piece of meat and you have to do whatever they say no matter how demeaning or scary it is without question and without hesitation. The military does not tolerate any less than 150% always, no matter what the circumstances. Luckily, I never had torture training.

In the military, in your first few weeks or training they have you listen to videos about a bunch of different rules and procedures for everything from environmental ethics to STD protection. They had us fill out many forms. In the military, you do not fill out a form as it is before you are told how to fill out the form. For instance, you cross out the name field and enter your social security number and you leave most of it blank. I had the exact same form with the same font for my discharge paper that my grandfather had 50 years before.

They then tell us to drink a whole bunch of water and then they make us sit still and listen to these videos. They won't ever let you take notes, because they think that if you do so you are only doing it to goof around. Then they give all 60 of us 1 minute, to go to the bathroom, an hour later.

We usually only had 2 minutes to eat our entire meal and we had to yell out our complete name and social security number, before we were able to get food. They have soda pop and ice cream, but, if you take it, they punish the whole platoon later. When they turned the lights on at 4:30 am, you must get up that split second and do intense physical exercise for several hours, before you get to eat anything.

When I go to the Veterans, it brings back the feelings I had during the military because the veterans are another kind of irrational bureaucracy. In the VA, like the Army, every thing is screwed up and although you are powerless to control your own fate, you need to be proactive about spotting when they screw things up, so you do not suffer more, as a result. One of the hardest things to do for me is to fill our forms, because I am very literal and the forms ask questions in such a way that I do not know how to answer them.

The Veterans make every attempt to use their services as slow, complicated, undocumented, confusing, unpredictable, obsolete, inaccessible, inadequate, and unqualified, in an attempt to get you to give up, so they can save money by not providing the services they are legally required too. The VA "only" has a budget of 300 billion dollars a year.

It takes acts of congress to get them to do anything. We call them on the phone and they are busy and we go down to the clinic and they are busy on the phone. It is now 2016 and we can barely order medicine online for only the last year or two. They still won't use email for anything. They often send a letter reminding me of an appointment after the appointment has already occurred. Where does the money go? We could give them 3 times the budget, if we bought 6 less F-22 stealth fighter aircraft.

Gas Chamber

One of the things that really downright terrified me was the gas chamber. The military does not use mustard gas, but rather tear, gas in a small room, with 50 people. They have good reason to do this, because it motivates soldiers to put on their mask, as quickly as possible, and it is a good way to detect if your protective mask is working properly. Most people dread this, but my experience was more sever for several reasons.

The first reason was that I can barely breather under heavy smoke, like in a sauna. I wrote that I had allergies and hay fever, on my medical entrance forms, but my recruiter ripped them up and said to fill it out again without saying that. This is why you cannot enter the Army, if you have asthma.

Second, I have very sensitive skin and eyes. Third of all, we were the last platoon to enter the gas chamber and they added a stick of the tear gas every time a new group came in and we were the last, so we got a higher concentration.

You come in with your mask sealed up on your head and only your hands are bare. Your hands feel like they are on fire and someone's mask doesn't work and they start freaking out. Then you are told to take of your mask.

You are then in there for about 5 minutes, which feels more like a couple hours. You can't get out because there are only 2 entrances and a big drill sergeant was blocking either end. I felt like I was in hell and drowning in fire. Ironically, the drill sergeants with you inside did not take off their masks or complete chemical suits.

I was about to be let out and I asked if I could get out and then I was thrown to the back of the line for one or both of two reasons: they thought I wasn't opening my eyes wide enough as I have narrow almond shaped eyes and I had written in a letter to my parents regarding an incident between another drill sergeant and a young soldier. I criticized the drill sergeant, in the personal letter, which I found out later they read both for laughs and to monitor what was going on.

You are forced to do his, at least once a year, in the army and later in the open air, at what they called FTX, at the end of basic training. The commanding officer or first sergeant told us afterwards that if we didn't do properly at the rifle qualification range that we would be sent back to the gas chamber. I told my drill sergeant that I should leave the military, because I got too scared in the gas chamber, but the military likes fear, because it motivates people. They said I wouldn't have to deal with this in the rest of my military service in computers, which was not true.

Chemical Weapons

I had asked my recruiter, who claimed he was a US Army Ranger, and served in the first Persian Gulf war, about what the training was for what the Army calls NBC, which is basically the same as weapons of mass destruction. It stands for Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical weapons. Chemical weapons are basically either nerve agents or blistering agents that either burn you eyes and lungs or destroy your nervous system, which are very similar to insecticides. The blister agents like mustard gas are generally not fatal, just very painful.

They were invented in Word War I, because the only way to escape machine gun fire is to dig trenches and they had long stalemates during world war I and so to force the soldier out of the trenches, they released mustard gas (because the gas was heavier than air) and then kill them with machine gun fire. A fox hole is like a portable trench.

The recruiter said that we do not have to worry about this, because no one uses them because there are international treaties every country has signed that state they will never use them. The problem with this explanation is that all the countries we will have any chance of fighting either never signed the treaty or were never had any intention of honoring it. Almost every country in the Middle East and Russia has huge stockpiles of these chemical weapons and have used them in a number of recent wars.

When the first troops went in, during both Iraqi wars, they were wearing what is called MOPP4 gear which means they wore chemical suits, gloves, boots, and masks. You don't usually wear these as the suits only last 6 hours and the masks 18 hours without new filters/canisters for the mask and fresh pants.

There are four problems with the suit. The suits are rubber and so make you very hot, fighting in a desert, which is one of the most common types of environments, in which many of our recent wars have been fought. There is no way to cool yourself off, without drinking a lot of water (which is very difficult to do, with the suit on) but if you need to go the bathroom, there is no way to even pee, without exposing your private parts, to chemical burns. It is also much harder to shoot accurately, while in this rubber suit.

In both these Persian Gulf wars, the invading American troops wore these suits, because they felt there was a high chance of the US Army being exposed to these chemical weapons. Therefore, the recruiter would have remembered this very vividly, which was only 4 years prior. He lied. After the gas chamber, I finally realized what the military was like, but could not get out, at that time.

Military Lies

I found out, over time, that almost every benefit you are claimed you get were all not going to happen, for various reasons, which were designed to be that way, because of the policies the military decided on, even though it would cost very little money.

The military is a worse job then being a janitor or fast food worker, because you get very little money, none of the benefits they claim, and you never really have time of. The military is extremely hard on you physically, once you get out of training, almost every job is on the front lines (even dental or chaplain), and you are exposed to toxic chemical, in almost every field you can get a job, in the army.

You do mostly janitorial work, even with the most advanced jobs available, and many of these jobs have no civilian equivalency. You have no rights and are subject to extremely brutal punishments for minor infractions (plus you get all the civilian penalties, in addition), you cannot leave under any circumstances and are almost guaranteed to be called back, whenever there is a war. It is very difficult to get an honorable discharge, because there are several other types of discharges, between honorable and dishonorable and only honorable discharges get any government benefits.

Solutions to Army Problems and Terrorism

The things the army needs to do to make the soldiers lives more bearable is to at least double the pay for non-officers, provide enough firepower and ammunitions to protect soldier, going out of range of the main army, with few people, all alone, be reasonable about punishments, let the soldiers leave after their tour is up and do not call them back, and offer a transition service to get them adjusted back to life among civilians.

If we need to take part in a major war, we need to draft every American and everyone who votes for the war can show up the next day at Basic Training as enlisted soldiers. This will cut down on the federal budget, because wars will be much more rare, when congressmen and senators have to serve on the front lines. None of the wars for the last 50 years, that we fought in, made life better, for anyone, in any part of the world.

Being a superpower, with huge amounts of natural resources, oceans away from any enemies, some of the lowest population densities, and armed to the teeth should not be afraid of terrorists, that kill less people then toddlers do with guns. If we are so afraid of death, we should look to eating more healthy and driving more safely - that would be rational. The use of terrorism will continue, because our response to it is what weakens us.

If the terrorists could get nuclear weapons, they would have done so by now. We totally destroyed Al Queda, but now have bred ISIS. In the process, we turned our country into a police state, that we fought World War II and the Cold War, to prevent, as well as destroyed our economy, trying to destroy an idea.

Terrorism is a last ditch resort, for an enemy, that cannot hurt you, in any direct way. It is more effective, for the amount of money it takes, because warfare is only hard because they are shooting back at you. Attacking a soft target, like children, requires little effort, because they cannot defend themselves. The very same reason why we say terrorism is unfair and how much we vow to destroy terrorists is the exact reason why our enemies will continue to us terrorism to bankrupt us.

Many empires throughout history have spent too much money on wars and destroyed themselves, in the process. Any country with enough money can afford the greatest weapons and army, because the highest tech weapons make other weapons obsolete, but also cost exponentially more. Empires usually fail from within, not due to an external enemy. Terrorism is psychological warfare and only works if it cripples your economy and changes your way of life.

How the US Army Should Change Training

On the flip side, Army training is way too easy to prepare a person for battle. Running 2 miles and doing 50 push-ups does not get a soldier into good enough shape to survive in combat. I thought that Army training would be more difficult, but I obviously did not rise to the occasion - I should have failed out and I realized this and communicated this to my Drill Sergeant, at the time.

Watching a TV documentary show one time about the Russian special forces, one of the Spetsnaz soldiers said that in combat you do not rise to the occasion, but rather sink to your lowest level of training. Russian regular army recruits are beat to an inch of their lives, in training, and maybe this is better, in the long run.

One of the hardest things to do physically is what the Army calls get up and get down. You stand up and then get down in push-up position and then get back up again as fast as you can. This is the kind of training that the Army should focus on for physical fitness levels needed in combat.

In another documentary, I learned that American Army Special Forces training teaches recruits how to deal with lose-lose situations. Marines, in my advanced training, said that war was 80% boredom and 20% terror. In warfare, there are not any good solutions - there are only bad and worse decisions. No one really wins wars, unless one group destroys the other economically, after the war, to improve their economy. Unless you want to deal with occupying the land and the people, starting a war is pointless.

Our drill sergeants explained in detail why they most of the things they did, that we didn't like. Basic Training could be done in a community college settings, but the point of basic training and especially Drill Sergeants yelling at you is designed to see how you respond to what they call combat stress. Basic Training is designed to be more about mental than physical training and is a kind of psychological test, to see if you can mentally survive in combat.

The skills we learned in basic training are called combat survival skills and mean exactly that. I remember one soldier taking a test where you plug in a phone and then switch it on and she failed the test, even though she was a college graduate in accounting and was very bright. People that do good in the military usually do worse in real life and vice versa, because the army is good at motivating people but some people break down under high stress situations, where others thrive in them. Any Army Training isn't intellectually difficult, as many skills are on elementary school level intellectual levels, but doing something under stress is an entirely different skill.

Veteran's Story

Definition of Word Veteran

Most people know, that the same word can have more than one meaning, and the meaning is different in a different context, even if spelled and pronounced the same, at least in modern English. What many people don't know is that many words we use, in a common speech have very different meanings, in another domain.

The abbreviation ED means erectile dysfunction, in medical usage, but means emotionally disturbed, in education. Computer terms are often used, for similar metaphors as in common usage, like the words file or file folder. A file outside computers usually means a file folder and, outside computers, we refer to a file as a document.

The same situation occurs in the terminology, in the military, as opposed to common usage. When referring to veterans, in common usage, this term was often used to mean people, who served in a war, in the past. In the modern US military and government, veteran means something slightly different.

Many people do not know that the Veterans Administration is NOT part of the Department of Defense or the military. The Veterans Affairs its own cabinet level department, with its own secretary. A veteran, in the U.S. military and government, does not mean someone, in the military, that has served a tour or served during a war.

A veteran is a civilian, who once served, in any branch of the military, in peace or war. Once you leave the military, with a discharge, you are no longer part of the military: you are then a veteran. The Veterans Administration has no power over anyone, veterans or others, unless you work for them. The VA is there to provide services, for eligible veterans.

Veterans Administration

The Veterans Administration gets 300 billion dollars a year and their main objective is to make it so long and difficult, to get through their bureaucracy, that veterans just give up, and they do all this, to save a few bucks. Recently, the VA got in trouble, for not treating someone in time and they died, as a result. The government looked into and saw that the VA was lying, in its records, about how long the wait to get seen was.

The VA managers response was that they all immediately quit and so the Veterans are even farther behind, because now the doctors and other staff have to rotate the position of manager, amongst themselves, in addition to their normal duties. One big mistake of the Veterans is that they have, unlike the U.S. Military, off base, created their own parallel medical system.

Veterans Pension

I am 100% disabled veteran and get a full pension, but one of the conditions is that I have to let someone else manage my income. My mom volunteered and they agreed, but refused to pay her for it. We had an accountant do the actual bill paying. The veterans have a paranoia, that people like me will be cheated, by our families, so they harassed my mom so much about it, that she finally had to stop doing it.

The Veterans then assigned me someone we never heard of, from a small town, hours away and we don't even know her address. I have to pay out of my pension double what the accountant charged, for doing less. My mom had to give access to all my accounts and had to give all my savings bonds to this unknown person with no way to verify this was even the right person. We never saw this person before and I might see her once a year, at the most. We still don't even even know her address.

The first few months, she didn't pay the electrical bill and, if I did not see the flyer on my door, they would have cut off my heat and electricity, in the middle of the winter. This cannot be good for my credit score. She had trouble opening a PDF attachment, sent my ID across email unencrypted, and was using free wifi, to do my banking, before I thought to tell her not to.

To make sure the bill gets paid, I had to get her to set up all my bills, to auto pay. I don't get any of my bills, so I am unsure if they are charging for services I don't want to pay for. If I ever have problems, with my cell phone or cable, I have to get half the informative from her. I never know whose address or phone number is on file. This lady also pays everything via E-checks, which are obsolete, unsecured, and widely unsupported.

Veterans Administration Hospitals and Clinics

I am in the largest city, for over a hundred miles and a regional center, for medicine, in many areas, especially eye surgery. They are so big, wealthy, and diversified that they not only serve as a hospital, they have dozens of giant buildings, for different specialties, on their campus. They are so big and important, that they even teach medicine, to people becoming nurses, in the community.

One of the big draws to my city, from other parts of Oregon, besides the colleges in town, is that we are a regional center for medicine. The problem with the Veterans Administration hospital, for the area, is that they located it, in a tiny town, hours away from my city. There is transportation there, by a bus, but it is not operated by the VA, but by a Veteran's charity. They will take you to this Veteran's hospital, but you have to get an early morning appointment and you have to schedule it months in advance.

To make sure you don't miss the bus back, you have to hurry over to the Veteran's charity office, right after your appointment and wait for several hours there. If you miss the bus back, you have to stay overnight there, until you can get a ride back and you might have to wait several days, to get an opening.

The place they have you stay in, if you stay overnight, is right next to the place where the mentally ill are committed, to the psychiatric ward. You have to share the room, with other people, and there is no place set up for securing valuables.

I left that area early in the morning, I was then locked out, and could not get back in. I was almost stuck, in a courtyard, for hours, in the early morning, except that luckily for me, one person had accidentally left open the courtyard gate, which was hard to find in the dark.

There is a veterans clinic, in my town, but not a hospital. This clinic is only open business days and during regular business hours. They shut down after 5pm and are not open on the weekends or federal holidays. Ironically, they are also closed on Veteran's Day and Memorial Day.

If I need a to get to the hospital, or to the doctor, within 3 weeks, even to the clinic, I have to travel by car, for several hours, to get there. You have to call in and the nurse, who has to call you back later, that day or the next day then determines how quickly you get in, or if you even get in at all, for that problem.

If you want to get the veterans, to pay, for your doctor visit, if you have to get in another hospital, because you need to get to see a doctor, in less than in 3 weeks, you have to get pre-authorization from the nurse. The nurse is only available during office hours and often takes a day or two, to call back and give you an answer.

My Experiences with VA Medical System

If you do not get approved, before your doctor's visit, they refuse to pay the visit, even though they are legally responsible, for all my medical bills, regardless of source. We called before hand a few times and never got authorized, so we finally give up. If I get an infection now or anything that needs treatment, in under 3 weeks, I have to now go to the urgent care and pay the entire bill myself, without any insurance.

They only have dental visit appointments available every few years, so I go to a private dentist and pay 100% myself, with no insure, even though I am legally guaranteed dental care, by the Veterans. One time, we asked for a dentist, which was in a hospital, a few hours away, they told us to see our own dentist and refused to pay for it.

At one point, we had to go to our US Congressman, for our district, to get an antidepressant, when I was in crisis. We ended up going all the way to the emergency room, hours away and they still would not prescribe an antidepressant for me. I still had to wait 3 weeks, to get in.

I have had sinus and other infections, so I was forced to use a local private urgent care, to get seen, before the infection killed me. I had to pay 100% myself, even though I am legally entitled, to get my entire health care provided, for free, by the VA.

The Veterans hospital is a huge facility, with many buildings, but they only seem to use one and there are hundreds of people and only a couple doctors, in the entire building. They have no problem spending huge amounts of money building things veterans will never use, but are too cheap to hire an adequate number of doctors.

When you see the doctor, in the Veterans, it is really a nurse practitioner, not a real doctor. If I have any medical attention, that needs to be treated, within a month, I have to go the local private hospital emergency room, or urgent care. I then have to pay for everything, out of pocket and get no insurance, to cover it. I pay all of the bill solely by myself.

My First Surgery

I recently had my first surgery. It was to pull out a spherical piece of tissue, much like a rubber ball, in consistency. It grew to 2cm in size, just below my left knee socket. I had to use the Veterans Administration medical system. The knee is doing better than before, after just 2 weeks.

The bad side is that it took 6 months, to get the surgery. I also got a 4 different diagnoses, from 2 doctors and 2 nurse practitioners, along the way. I had to got to 4 different locations, sometimes hours away, for each one, and this was dragged, out over 6 months.

If I had cancer, I could have been dead, by then, and the tumor could have grown or shrunk, to an entirely different size. After they got the MRI, 1 doctor and 1 nurse practitioner misread the MRI, as they did not bother to pan through the entire 3d space. Luckily, there was an orthopedic surgeon there, the last day they were diagnosing the problem, or else the Veterans would have never found the lump.

Also, even the hospital, hours away, didn't have the ability, to perform even basic surgeries, so we had to travel even farther, in the opposite direction, outside my regional VA system, to get the surgery. The ER doctor, at this farther away VA hospital, had a hard time understanding me and had a thick accent from India. He had no records of all my medicines and didn't bother to write down all of them.

VA Medical Software

When I go into the office, for an appointment, they want me to use a computer, to log in, although there is a person, that does the same thing. The computer asks 20-30 different screens of directions and keeps asking for my date of birth and if my address has changed. I find this very stressful.

When I call, on the phone, they give what appears to be an answering machine message. If you know to wait past all the long winded message, including repeating over and over suicide hotline numbers and telling to call 911, if it is an emergency, you can possibly reach an actual person.

The medical software they use only runs on Windows XP and logs the doctor or nurse out every 15 minutes. At the farther away hospital, the doctor had to log on to a text only terminal and kept getting reminded, to check his mail, 5 times, while he attempted to set up an appointment. When I go to the nurse practitioner, for a number of years, half the time the medical software was not working, so they didn't record any information.

The doctor or nurse randomly records things I say when, at the VA mental health nurse practitioner. The nurse then scans through, to random times, to things a previous nurse practitioner wrote down years ago. I get a new nurse practitioner every few years and they know nothing about my case.

VA Diagnostic Practices

They often think I am manic, because I talk fast (because I think fast), so they keep on asking to put me on Lithium. I finally did so and was on it for several months and noticed no difference, except my coordination became so bad, that I kept poking myself in the eye.

When your major symptoms are paranoia and depression, this only fits Paranoid Schizophrenia, not Bipolar or Schizoaffective Disorders. Also, everyone actually qualified to diagnose me have all agreed, that I have Paranoid Schizophrenia, and not any other disorder. All of these doctors (psychiatrists) are absolutely sure of it. That is also my official diagnosis, for my veterans pension.

The reoccurring underline problem is that these nurse practitioners and doctors have very little understanding of mental illness. Oftentimes, I am scared, by the fact, that I may know more about mental illness, than them. The only thing they do, to help, is reorder my medicines. If I did not know as much about Schizophrenia, as I do, I would not know how to cope with the illness, on an even basic level.

The nurses constantly want to change my medicines. If you get on the wrong anti-depressant, you can suffer terribly, for weeks or months, to find the right one and right amount. Medicines also have some extreme side effects.

Most anti-psychotic medicines make you very tired, make you never feel full (no matter how much you eat). They also almost directly cause diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. One side effect I had, when changing my anti-psychotic, was that I lost control of my bowels. This was not fun to clean up. It was literally a mess.

VA Medicine Prescriptions and Pharmacy

The medicine is all screwed up. Even the regional center, although technically having a pharmacy, stocks no medicine and you cannot get you prescription filled from them. Some medicines I have a huge backlog of and others I get barely enough. They have no way of getting auto renewal, of long term medications. I have to manually renew them, each month.

Recently, they moved this from calling a phone number, to the website, as this was mandated, by legislation. When I first signed up, I was told I can do it at home, by myself. I had to fill out my name, social security number, and date of birth. The computer said one of these in incorrect, but I could sign up for a non-pro account. I found out later this account level would not allow me, to order my medicine or provide any functionality, that was actually needed. I had to go to the Veterans office, to get authorized or approved.

At one point, when I had to go to the office, because I got an answering machine, when I called, to reorder my medicine. This is necessary, because I can only refill my medicine, for a few months, and then it needs to be reordered and it cannot be reordered, by myself or online.

I went in there and asked the secretary there, who was on the phone, with someone else. He said that he saw me on "secure messaging". I said that I never messaged him, as I never used instant messaging. I finally figured out that "secure messaging" meant filling out an order form online. No one else uses these terms this way, in the entire computer industry.

One of medicines I take for PRN is a variant of Valium, which I use less than 5 times a year. It knocks me out 45 minutes, after taking it, and it can be very addictive. The Veterans order 30 of these every month and, if I took them that often, I would both never wake up and be addicted to the medicine I still don't know what to do, with all these bottles, filled with medication, I won't ever use.

I don't stop ordering it, because if I need the medicine, for an emergency, they won't let me take it if it is expired and I have to wait 3 weeks to get in and get it reordered. I still need it, but would prefer to be subscribed 30 a year, which would be plenty. The big reason for this medicine is that there is no quick acting anti-depressant. If I am in crisis and suffering severe depression I can at least get some sleep with this PRN.

Psychiatric Treatment and Discrimination of the Mentally Ill

If you ever say you are severely depressed, they put you in kind of jail cell and make you wait a while. They then evaluate whether or not they are going force lock you up. As long as you talk really slowly and say the right things, you will get out in couple hours.

But there is no fast acting anti-depressant. If you go in for treatment of depression, the doctors response is to lock you up, against your will. I don't know why the hospitals think this will improve my depression, anymore than putting a prisoner, in solitary confinement, will improve his depression.

It comes down to avoiding lawsuits and treating the mentally ill, as the problem, to others safety. People assume the mentally ill commit violent crimes when, in reality, they are most likely the victims of violent crimes. Everybody with a different gender or skin color is legally protected, by law, from discrimination, but nobody mentally ill is protected. People are worried about being prejudiced, because of skin color, but go out of their to target and lock people up, who have another kind of genetic difference.

If a person developmentally disabled does obnoxious things, that is a normal response, for that condition, everybody goes out of their way, to help out and lift them up, and encourage them. If someone mentally ill does something normal for someone to do, with that condition, they make them a scapegoat, make laws targeting their safety, make lists of them, hunt them down, and lock them up.

This targeting and scapegoating of the mentally ill is done by both present day liberal and conservative nationalist ideologues in American businesses, media, and government agencies. They are looking to unite the country, by creating a common enemy. This is done for the same kind of baseless and ignorant reasons the NAZIs persecuted Jewish people, during World War II.

The mentally ill are targeted, because they are a convenient, politically correct, and weak constituency. The mentally ill have little ability to articulate their perspective or build enough money or bring together a large and powerful enough base, to resist these knee jerk reactionary policies. These policies are based on no more than fear and ignorance, which is not tolerated by other analogous groups.

Local Treatment of Mentally Ill

The problem with our perception by the public is that it is much easier for someone who is blind, transgender, or developmentally disabled and their families, to advocate for their communities.

Our local government lumps together people with disabilities, along with LGBTQ, and people of color, into one group and this group is there to represent people, from all those different areas. The committee was lead by a person, whose qualification was that she was gay, and almost every member of the committee was blind.

I heard about this committee, I visited one of their sessions, and could have possibly gotten on it, but the main thing I wanted changed was to increase bus service times and routes, which they had no control over. I also find it stressful having to go to the same meeting, even once a month.

So the local government is spending a huge amount of money, installing electronic talking street crossing guides. Nothing is being done for the mentally ill.

One of the big, supposed advocacy groups, for the mentally ill and homeless, that oversees low income housing, in our community, won't let anyone, who has been a recipient of their services ever work, or even volunteer for them. They won't even allow the mentally to scrub their toilets for them.

I was not even allowed to volunteer for them, after I used there services, which made me feel worthless and like a piece of trash, that they wanted to get rid of. They obviously don't care about anyone, but themselves, which is ironic, since they are a charity group. This group also takes private and government money and the community is not aware of these policies. The community would be shocked, if they heard of these policies.

Surgery Process

This last July, I was getting out of the shower, I straightened my leg and it felt like it popped and was painful. I waited a few days and it did not get better. I then went to a local urgent care, as I cannot get into the Veterans clinic, in less than 3 weeks. The doctor, at the urgent care, gave me some exercises to do and I set up an appointment with the Veterans.

At the Veterans, they set me up, for an appointment, with a specialist, in orthopedics and told me to take Alieve, for 2 weeks. I went to the specialist, which was a few hours away, at the Veterans hospital. He was a former surgeon and had somewhere between 20 and 30 years of experience doing surgeries and was only at the veterans hospital 2 days a week, as he was retired. He even knew most of the orthopedic surgeons, in the state, by their first names. They took an x-ray of the knee and he moved my leg around, to see what was liming my movement. He said I had a torn meniscus.

We then scheduled an MRI, for a few weeks later. He claimed I would only be in the machine, up to my waist and it would only take a few minutes. He said that it would be pretty open, because they have to make it big, because people today are so fat.

I ended up being in the machine, up to my neck and was in there for 30-60 minutes. There was no opening. After the doctor/surgeon got the results of the MRI, he said that it confirmed what he thought. He was sure I needed surgery.

A few months later, we went in the other direction, a few hours away, to a different Veterans hospital, as that Veterans hospital in my region could not even perform basic surgeries. A nurse practitioner looked at the MRI and said I didn't need surgery and that my knee just became stiff, because of a lack of exercise. The surgeon was there, at the time (completely different person than before), so the nurse practitioner then asked, for a second opinion, from him.

The surgeon panned through the entire knee, as the nurse practitioner only looked at the top part and we saw a big white ball, that obviously shouldn't be there, right under the knee socket. The surgeon said I did need surgery, but I did not have a torn meniscus. He said I had a growth, like a rubber ball, below my knee and needed to have it removed, to get full movement of my knee and avoid getting tendinitis, for the rest of my life. He said they have done surgeries for this before and, while they had no idea what caused this, less than one percent of patients had it grow back, after surgery. He was almost positive it was not cancerous, either.

We scheduled the pre-op, for a few weeks later. The pre-op is when you tell the nurse and doctors all the medicines you take and any relevant issues you have, that the surgeon and/or anesthesiologist need to know. You also get directions, for what to do before and after surgery. One of my main issues was that I was and am on anti-psychotics, which are very similar to old anesthesia.

They said the anesthesia works different now and that would not be a problem. I also told them I had restless leg syndrome, so they needed to tie my knee down. I had bad acid reflux, so they should keep my head raised. Finally, I am very sensitive to chemicals, so I asked them to avoid using cleaners, around me while, I am out. These other issues they told me to tell the surgeon and anesthesiologist, just before the surgery.

When I came back for the surgery, I stayed, at a hotel, overnight, with my parents, because we were hours away, the surgery was scheduled for the morning, and I had to have someone else pick me up and drive me back. The veterans offered to pay for my hotel, but they would not pay for my parents. The room they set up was going to have 3 people, but only 2 beds.

One of the hardest things you have to do, before surgery is that you cannot drink, eat, or take any medicines, after midnight, the night before. I woke up, a few hours after midnight, due to acid reflux and could not take any anti-acid. Because of this, I went to the emergency room, to see what they could do.

They gave me some liquid antacid, that I could only gargle and could not swallow and gave me a peppermint flavored sponge, to help keep me mouth more moist. One of the things I thought to do, which helped, a little, was to continue to rinse out my mouth with water and then spit it out. The reason why you cannot eat or drink has to do with the anesthesia. You can suffocate, under anesthesia, if you have eaten or drunk the night before.

Later that morning, they put my in a room, with many other patients, took away all my clothes and belongings, and made me put on a very thin gown, with the entire back open. They then put in the IV, in the upper part of my hand, jus above my thumb and it hurt somewhat. If you have to go to the bathroom, then, be sure you remember, to carry your IV bag, so you don't rip it out. The good part about the IV is no matter what they put into you later on, they never again inject you with a needle.

I then saw the anesthesiologist and the surgeon and explained the situations, that they should be aware. The anesthesiologist said the anesthesia totally paralyzes you and you have no memory or awareness of the surgery, during or afterwards. They wheel you into a different room, with about 5 doctors and nurses.

They put a rubber mask on you have to breathe through it, a little bit. The smell is terrible, but the mask was not hard, to breathe through, for me, because it reminded me of the gas masks you use in the military, so it made me feel safe. Then, just before you lose consciousness, it feels like they are smothering you.

The next thing you know is that you are wheeled into a new room. You are quite drowsy, but there is no pain and the surgery is finished. I came out of the anesthesia very fast. It usually takes a number of hours, to fully regain consciousness. They then put you in a wheel chair and give you a special kind of icepack. You can eat and drink all you want, shortly after you fully come out of the anesthesia.

At this point, the biggest concerns are keeping your knee from swelling and keeping it from getting infected. I worried about breaking open the staples, by moving the knee too much, but the surgeon said that is not a problem, because the staples were not holding anything in and there was no pressure on them.

Later that evening, when I got home, the knee started hurting a huge amount. That first day, even with the Oxycontin, it felt like someone took a crow bar and was smashing my knee, as hard as they could, with it. For the next few days, it was quite painful, even with the Oxycontin. Another thing, to keep the pain down, make sure you ice the knee, all the time. It was very hard to get my knee comfortable, while sleeping. The first few days you cannot get water on the knee, or take a shower.

If you are using a wheel chair, you need a huge amount of space, to turn around in, and your arms will get really tired, really fast. Try to avoid bending your knee too much, or straightening it too much, as it is very painful. Use a walker and stop using the wheelchair, as soon as possible. The problem, with using the wheel chair, is that getting on or off it, you have to turn, at an angle and this can easily cause a lot of pain. Also, when in the wheelchair, avoid bumping your foot into anything, as this makes the knee hurt a lot.

I had the surgery, on December 15th, and, by a week later, I could walk with a walker. By Christmas Day, I could walk with just a cane. Within 2 weeks, I could walk 2 miles, on it. After Christmas, I stopped taking the Oxycontin or any other pain medicine. At that point, the main problem was that my knee had lost muscle, after not using it for 6 months, and so I needed, to use the cane, for a while.

A week after surgery, they pull out the staples, which doesn't hurt at all. Then they clean the area, with antiseptic, which feels like cleaning the gravel, out of a wound, where you skinned you knee. Then they put on strips of tape, which you take off, I think, a week later.

By the 3rd week, my incision was turning light purple and fading to just a scar. After 3 weeks, I can now walk better, than I could, before the surgery. After 2 weeks, I got almost complete range of motion restored, on my knee. I am going to have to do physical therapy, to get the rest of the range of motion back.