After receiving my discharge from the United States Marine Corps, the most deplorable fight of my life/career started. The biggest war was soon to rear its head in the way of battling for my health care benefits from the U.S. Veterans Administration.
Returning U.S. veterans are subjected to a psychological evaluation upon discharge, which in my opinion does not serve any value primarily due to the lack of follow up on the results. Throughout my time in the military I was taught to be strong and complete the mission. After I left that appointment, I wept in the lavatory. I was not dealing with life well and had no one to discuss my lost condition with. I remember returning home and telling my mother to burn the letters I had written her and I never wanted to discuss the subject matter again.
We are returning to a community that we no longer share a commonality with and having just returned home are still in the honeymoon phase of joining this community. What happens after three months when we are expected to re-assimilate into society and the memories start to haunt you? Psychologists prescribe medications for veterans to control their emotions, nightmares, PTSD, depression, and anxiety. After receiving a diagnosis of manic depression with anxiety, I did not receive follow up care from physicians or care teams. Upon my request, I was given an appointment to speak to a psychologist and offered medication to “deal” with my problems. By prescribing medications, the underlying issues are glossed over and not addressed in a meaningful manner. I declined these medications in exchange for verbal therapy to be cognitive of what I am feeling and get through it in a more organic method.
U.S. Army General George Patton once said “a good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week.” We, as a society and a country, should vow to invest in the complete health care of our military personnel. We need to challenge the status quo of minimally adequate medical care treatment received by veterans (so that veterans) get the care needed to honor the sacrifices made. Aside from issues with policy and management of the Veterans Administration, utilizing existing and newer technologies correctly and efficiently allows for the delivery of proper medical care and record keeping to those service members who not only need it but deserve it.
The military now has medical research interest in traumatic brain injury, lower body (leg, hip, spinal) issues, as well as mental health. There is a large gap between the need for mental health services and the use of those services. There have been new opportunities and innovations in the medtech field that are working to make the transformation of traditional medicine more reliable and financially responsible. The biohacker movement has evolved by moving science forward and working on DIY projects and using citizen science to solve the economic problems that are caused by privatizing medicine and the resources for research.