Do letters from friends and family really bear any weight on claim increase? I have a request for increase along with a claim for IU and I am collecting all
I can in support of this. I got a 30 day response letter today from VA requesting me to submit anything from doctors to support my claims to include letters
from people who can support my illnesses.
On my support letter I wrote the following.Claim number, xx xxx xxx Michael Harris Bowen
Military service 1971-1993 (Retired E-
This is a statement from me regarding my claims.
I entered active duty for basic training in November 1971 and continued on to Advanced Individual training for Armored crewman.During my military career I was deployed to units where I was a crew member on heavy Armored vehicles for most of my career. As an Armored crewmember I was exposed to many difficult and unusual experiences. Being assigned on Armored vehicles requires a soldier to to many hardships. Those in clude wearing a CVC to listen to communications over the radio for extended periods of times, the noise from the radio wAS constant and always static with interferance noises. Also the noise from the vehicle itself becomes very loud just from maneuvering it from place to place. Along with that there is the firing of the main gun and machine guns during Field training exercises and war time exchanges of fire with enemy personel. I have experienced all the above from overseas tours in korea, Germany, Saudia Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait not to mention my assignments in the united States. I feel the benefit of doibt for my hearing noises and ringing in my ears is directly responsible to this experience.
Additionally I would say the same for the problems I am having with my joint pain that include my knees and back which include my neck. As an Armored crewmember I was continually subjected to cold steal and slipping and falling off of these vehicles. Being inside a Tank is extremely dangerous and a crewmemebr is subjected to being banged and slammed around often causing bruising, broken fingers and bones or sprains that often go un checked and never following up by going on sick call, usually just getting some pain relievers from a field medic. I have fallen from Tanks on several occasions and landed on my head and back. I feel as though an ordinary citizen would never understand what a Armored vehicle crewmember goes through. As a soldier you are expected to "suck it up", or be called a malingerer by going on sick call. I believe my headaches are the direct result from these experiences and I have had them since the mid 1970"s. I also believe a soldier in this line of duty such as myself has been subjected to so many different hard knocks on meteal objects and slipping and falling from them can cause the joints to wear down over time. I have had joint problems with my knees and shoulders for as far back in the service as I can remember and they have gotten worse over time. The current medication relieves some of the pain and discomfort however not all. My arms fall asleep while driving or being in an upright postion for an extended period of time ( 20-30 minutes, sometimes less). I awake at night with arm numbness and aching in my shoulders every night. It is hard to get a good nights sleep even with my medications ( Ambien, Diazapam, Tylenol 3, and Ibuprofen 800's). The only reasonable explanation for this would be to my past work and service on Armored vehicles. I have reviewed my service medical records and believe that there are many times I sought medical attention for my pain but the evidence in my records is not there from what I can read. I feel that the benefit of doubt here should go to the soldier (me).
As far as my other conditions go, I have been given a rating of 50% for PTSD. I was prescribed Zoloft and Prazosin for this and I still have bad dreams and don't feel as if the meds are working. Maybe the dreams never go away and it is what we soldiers have to live with but I am trying to cope with it the best I can along with my wife. The dreams are not everynight but do cause me to wake and thinks of my past often, this also contributes to my sleep problems along with my arm numbness and aching shoulders. I tend to be very tired during the day and take naps often along with pain medication. The other conditions ( Osteoporosis, High Triglycerides, Low Testosterone, Erectile Dysfunction, Shakes/tremors, muscle pain, High Cholestorol,memory loss, High blood pressure,and anything I cant remember) I am not sure of the causes. I have looked into exposures of chemicals and pesticides and smoke from the burning oilwell fires in kuwait and Iraq. Some of them I think may be the culprit. I don't want to seem like a conspiritist but some things I have read lead me to believe those could be presumptive illnesses. I am not the one who can determine that and don't know who can. Gulf War Ilness seems to be very hard to figure out.
I have not worked since 2000. My mental and physical abilities limit what I can do and I am ashamed that sometimes I can't do the simplest of things and my memory sometimes fails me on what I focus on. I am very anti social and fear large amounts of people. I went to the Va to get help and have been treated very well on most issues. I find it hard to discuss some issues because I feel that the doctor would not understand what my military career intailed anyway. They seem to focus on one issue at atime and are asking question from a script.
I have issues just like most people in our society. I feel that a soldier should be given the benefit of the doubt when he or she attempts to get care. My current doctor at the VA clinic in Richland Washington says the VA does'nt prescribe Fosomax for Osteoporosis and Marinol which relaxes me. I will have to go to a civilian doctor for that help. I don't think I'm asking for to much, just a chance to be treated fairly and for you to look at my statement above and consider my past military experiences as possibilities to my conditions. Thank you for allowing me to provide this on my behalf.
I hereby certify that the information I have given is true to the best of my knowledge and belief.
Michael H. Bowen
10% right knee
10% left knee
10% left ankle