Being abused by the system and need help!!!

BigWillUSAF

PEB Forum Regular Member
#1
I am a 9 1/2 year AF member that was recently demoted to E4. I was doing a special duty and blew out my back in the line of duty last October. The first diagnosis came as compressed vertebra in Jan 11. Found out in late March that I have herniated discs. Found out yesterday that i actually have 5 herniated discs, 4 bulging discs, and vertebrae defects, i.e. broken pieces of vertebrae. All during this time I have been failing my PT tests because they have been making me do the timed walk. I can't pass it. This next failure will be a discharge...at least that's what has been threatened. My doctor says that more than likely I will meet an MEB, but because it has taken so long to find out all the real problems and having had to go off base for care has delayed my treatment, they have to wait to start the MEB until the medical team has exhausted all treatment opportunities. So I am in a waiting game. I test again next month and will probably fail. I don't understand why they can't start the MEB, or how they can discharge me with all these problems. I lost all my appeals for my stripe back. I have never done a bad thing in the AF. I have done far better things than most, but my weakness is this PT, even though my Doc wrote a letter stating that my injury is the reason I am failing. It's like it doesn't matter. I improved my last test by 15 points and only missed passing by .25 points and they wrote in my package I showed no significant improvement. It's BS. I need help, but it doesn't seem like anyone or myself can find the right answers. Any suggestions?
 

michigan0782

PEB Forum Veteran
#2
You sh ould def talk to legal or IG or someone. It is my understanding they cant penalize you for failing PT tests due to injuries.

I would go to your PCM and get on a no-PT profile that leaves you exempt from the walk and everything until all of your injuries are fiqured out. Do not try and "gut it out" you will only make it worse. At the end of the day the AF just wants "bodies" You have to remember that one day you wont be a "body" anymore because you will be a civilian. Do whatever you can to take care of yourself.
 

blatzphemy

PEB Forum Regular Member
#3
I’m sorry to hear about your back. Some things you should consider are; despite what injuries have occurred, you will be evaluated for your range of motion. There are exceptions like neuropathy and secondary conditions but, the basis will primarily be on your range of motion. The argument with your PRT is going to be, “Why did you participate if you thought you were injured? Did your questionnaire reflect this? I wish you the best of luck. In my opinion, the NJP is going to make what’s already a daunting process a whole lot harder.
 

erock

PEB Forum Regular Member
#4
Blatzphemy: I totally agree, in the AF there is a questinaiore, and it tells you if you have any conditions that could prevent you from taking any part of the PT test, that they don't know about from profile.

BigWill: The unit commander before grounds for administrative discharge has to have you medically evaluated to determine that the cause of your injury or medical condition is not preventing you from passing a certain component of the pt test. If your PCM won't give you the exemption for the walk, then you must go to either Patient Advocacy and seek a different PCM, and I'd probably at the same time, do an IG complaint on the system. because the system is jacked up, for us hurt folks. mission commanders just care about the mission, and if your hurt you can't contribute to the mission, the pt is another mission for them because congress told them so. so guess what we have to understand the regs, protect ourselves, and don't let these upper echelons try to rule over us with dictatorship, giving us no word. I've got a couple herniated discs & a couple bulging discs & spinal stenosis, w/ sciatic pain causing me to limp and have little to no nerve feeling in my left foot due to herniated disc. there's no way in hell i can do anything i can hardly stand to support my own back with my legs it just goes bad after a couple minutes. standing. how much more walking? you shouldn't of had your stripe taken away, if you had all your medical issues documented. the real back bone of support here should of been your PCM, there's nothing wrong with going to them and telling them this hurts this hurts, and i don't think i can do this, that and this, can you give me a profile for these issues? I too try to tough-guy the PT thing, and probably injured myself even more by doing so, today im paying the piper, im more broke than i ever was.
 

BigWillUSAF

PEB Forum Regular Member
#5
Thank you all for your responses.

The problem with my arguement that I have is that the test prior to finding out I was injured I failed by 1 pushup and 2 situps. So they are holding that against me along with the two tests once we actually figured out I was injured.

As for the questionairre, I didn't mark anything about not being able to perform the pt test outside of what my profile said, but I can't walk fast enough, yet my PCM still felt I should be able to do the walk. The guy at the HAWC on the first test after injury asked me if I even wanted to do the walk. I said I have to because I am a large frame and if I don't do the walk I have to get down to 36.5" to pass the AC measurement standard. I can barely walk and my diet is perfect, but I cannot lose 2 inches with diet alone.

I have asked my PCM to be exempt from the entire PT test but they don't want to do that. I understand the thought process, but I was always good for the AC when I was able to do any of the other components.

My PCM has been good and has wrote letters to my CC and Base CC for my appeals. But with no success. I am just scared that I am going to be booted out without any compensation or retirement, etc. This would not be good for my family of 5.

I am just trying to get them to start the MEB. My PCM wrote to the Base CC that a MEB is in my future but they couldn't start it yet due to all treatment avenues haven't been exhausted yet.

This sucks!
 

xeno

Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
#6
Thank you all for your responses.

The problem with my arguement that I have is that the test prior to finding out I was injured I failed by 1 pushup and 2 situps. So they are holding that against me along with the two tests once we actually figured out I was injured.

As for the questionairre, I didn't mark anything about not being able to perform the pt test outside of what my profile said, but I can't walk fast enough, yet my PCM still felt I should be able to do the walk. The guy at the HAWC on the first test after injury asked me if I even wanted to do the walk. I said I have to because I am a large frame and if I don't do the walk I have to get down to 36.5" to pass the AC measurement standard. I can barely walk and my diet is perfect, but I cannot lose 2 inches with diet alone.

I have asked my PCM to be exempt from the entire PT test but they don't want to do that. I understand the thought process, but I was always good for the AC when I was able to do any of the other components.

My PCM has been good and has wrote letters to my CC and Base CC for my appeals. But with no success. I am just scared that I am going to be booted out without any compensation or retirement, etc. This would not be good for my family of 5.

I am just trying to get them to start the MEB. My PCM wrote to the Base CC that a MEB is in my future but they couldn't start it yet due to all treatment avenues haven't been exhausted yet.

This sucks!
MEB's can be started by your PCM at any point that they think you can not perform your duties. at E-4 you will reach your HYT in 6 months. Get a new PCM that will start a MEB on you. Your running out of time...
 

BigWillUSAF

PEB Forum Regular Member
#7
Update:
I went and saw a neurosurgeon about my issues, (5 herniated discs, 4 bulged discs, and pars defects...i.e. broken vertebra), and he spent 3 minutes with me and told me to take motrin and see a chiropractor. I'll save my choice words from this forum as it wouldn't be appropriate...I am sure you get the jist.

Anyway, I obtained a referral for a second evaluation from a much better Doctor who happened to be an Ortho Spine specialist. He spent a good hour on me and within the first few minutes identified and later confirmed the exact issue that 5 other doctors could not. Every doctor that I have seen says no big deal about the fractured vertebra in your lower back. It's ok because your spine isn't out of alignment. Well hell, I am no doctor so I will take your word for it. Not big deal right??? Wrong!!! Turns out how were all my xrays and MRI's taken? On my back while laying down, which showed my spine in alignment. The Spine specialist sent me to take xrays standing up. All be damned, if he wasn't dead on the money...when I stand up, my spine goes right out of alignment and the disc supporting that area is 100% blown out with no fluid in it. Damn all the other doctors. I spent 8 months with shady doctors trying to figure out what was wrong with me and ALL of them said, oh those pars defects are no big deal. You are fine. WTF!!!

So now, I am going to get two epidural injections in June and get set up for spinal fusion surgery in the near future. Still no MEB yet and still can't get my stripe back even with all the new findings. Nobody cares. IG complaint here I come. Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated...
 

ceilingfan

PEB Forum Veteran
#8
BigWillUSAF,

Brother.... sorry. Yeah, man, WTF!!!

You need to heed xeno's advice and do everything you can to get that MEB started. I'm assuming the ortho spine specialist was a civilian physician off post? Have him get into contact with your PCM and your MTF's commander immediately about you being placed on a "dead man's" profile and the initiating of your MEB!

I would not only go to IG, but I would also go to Patient Advocacy and Legal to see what they can do. Just be prepared, as I'm sure you are, to take this all the way! Your future is happening right now... don't let anyone take it from you! :) Good luck!
 

skills4lou

PEB Forum Veteran
#9
BigWill, your situation is FUBAR! I'd be in IG's office every morning from here until you have your stripe back. Months of walking on a broken back, no wonder you can't pass the PT!!!
 

BigWillUSAF

PEB Forum Regular Member
#12
Update...
I got my stripe back, but they are trying to test me again right away, which will pretty much nullify the stripe...hopefully the CC will exempt me.
 

Jeep Freak

PEB Forum Veteran
#13
That is a great deal, make sure you get the back pay. Your MEB has been started according to you. You should be safe for know until the results come back from your MEB however the fight is not over and I'm guessing they will continue to write you up and my your life bad, I'm so negative. Try your best to lose the weight not for the Military but for yourself. I've already written how I did it and will be more than happy to share. Good luck.
 

Amygal82

PEB Forum Veteran
#14
I am so happy you got your strip back! It's really hard when you're chain acts like you a dirtbag, when you really just can't do the job and mission anymore. Seems like some good and understanding finally happened for you. Stay optimistic, it's hard sometimes. If you ever need to vent or need some understanding, feel free to write me. Good job standing up for yourself!
 

Amygal82

PEB Forum Veteran
#15
PS. Have the PT testers check your pulse and blood pressure before you do the walk test. If your pulse is 100 or more because of pain they cannot test you, also if you are on certain drugs. My resting pulse was 141 on valium and I found out they could not test me because of my pulse and my medication. The Civilian in charge of the PT progem told me I could not walk because I would fail based off my pulse alone and she called my Squadron Commander to explain that to her and my Commander had my PCM change my profile to tape only. I hope this helps. I know its not because you don't want to test or do well. Being in pain just all around keeps you from doing what you want or things you like to do. Let me know if you need any advice about it. I passed my tape well, but if you are on drugs/meds that make you gain weight, a up to 90 day exemption is allowed for you to go to a nutrition class. I had one medication taken away and 2 reduced, and it caused me to lose 9 pounds in 5 days. It's not just diet. But you need to find the regs and talk to your PCM because it's an unusual circumstance and they don't always know the AFI well. Not knowledgeable, just inexperienced since most are healthy in the military. Hope this helps too.
 

Jeep Freak

PEB Forum Veteran
#16
I'm on the drug thing as well and blamed everything on them also, you choose your own battles to deny or face. I did not think it would work either but I was up to anything just to get this behind me because I was going through the same crap with the commmander. One would think I'm a focused and strong person to maintain this diet but it was difficult and I cheated but for the most part I was not hungry. Just trying to help and encourage but I will shut up and let people complain about the unjust system which it is.
 

Amygal82

PEB Forum Veteran
#17
I meant the PTL could not test me because of my pulse and a PCM can give you up to 90 day exemption from waist tape due to certain meds. Didn't meant anything to hurt your feelings jeep freak. Just wanted to let him know he had options to give him some extra time to be taped and help him pass without walking, if he's doing it in pain...
 

pitsnipe21

PEB Forum Regular Member
#18
Raise hell brother! its a shame how flawed the system really is! My doc started my MEB before they could even have a solid daignosis for my kidney problems... Best of luck to ya and get that stripe back!!!
 

BigWillUSAF

PEB Forum Regular Member
#19
Update, so I have my stripe back. My MEB has been initiated, but have to wait to send the paperwork up until after my surgery. They invalidated my last two tests since I was tested on stuff I shouldn't have been. But they are riding me hard about this next test. My waist is going to bust and I will fail. I can't do anymore, at least in a healthy manner, and I am not going to do anything extreme for anyone. At any rate, things are looking up. I had my first spinal injection done. That sucked! I feel worse now than before I went in. Just trying to make it to my surgery.
 

klamsnacks

PEB Forum Veteran
#20
I am in a very similar situation, I've not lost the stripe yet - but it's been 6 months now since my problems arose and i'm now on my 5th in a row pt failure. The administrative action for demotion has been issued - rebutted, and sent forward to wing cc. Commander intends to do it. Now i saw an Ortho Spine specialist myself 2 days ago and he's got me set up for a spinal fusion lf the L5-L3 where as the PCM, and Neuro Surgeon, and previous Pain Mgmt specialist all said nothing was terribly wrong this guy spent a good amount of time with me as well and showed me exactly what was wrong. Prvious docs didn't even show me my MRI or go over it with me. Now that i'm on my 5th my first shirt told me you know what's comming right, and i told him you know this is not legal/right dont you. He said nothing's formalized yet but i need to get every medical thing documented...NO Shite. either way, i've finally spoken to my PCM team and informed them that you guys really need to look into an MEB, and they said they'll get it to my PCP. Either way, this whole thing has been jacked since I failed my 4th PT test while on profile for my back and now to have a stripe loss looming, i'm getting worried as well. Hopefully we get thru this,

Later,
Klamsnacks

PS. Sorry to hear about the epidural not helping....I've had 2 myself and neither did anything except put me in more pain so i feel for ya brother.
 
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