Help?

BoatGod

PEB Forum Regular Member
First, thanks for providing this source of information for all of us that are going through the PDES process.

I am active duty Coast Guard currently @ 19 years and 10 months. I hurt my back 3 years ago, went through pain meds, physical therapy, shots, and finally surgery. I had a fusion of L4-S1. Spent 6 months in the brace. Surgery didn't relieve the pain. Had a laminectomy. 6 more months in the brace, still didn't help. Went through another course of PT and shots. Still hurt. Have been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, GAF consistently in the 30's. My range of motion has been 17 degrees forward flexion and I can't remember the other ranges. I had an EMG done at the VA and have nerve damage in both legs. My pelvis feels like it's on fire and my right leg hurts so much that I have to use a cane. I signed my MEB findings a couple of months ago which were chronic pain and depression. My Command doesn't seem to have any info saying that the IPEB people will contact me directly.

I have lost my family over this (the back pain and effects of the narcotics) and have went through a really bad bout of suicidal idealizations. I still get quite upset everyday. My psych says that I can't be on narcotics anymore, so I hurt even more now. Sometimes I can't see any light at the end of the tunnel. I don't know what to do. I sit in this house all day every day alone and if I didn't really like to eat, I would never leave.
 

Jason Perry

Benevolent Leader
Site Founder
Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
BoatGod,

It is good to have you here! I am sorry to hear of your injuries and problems.

First, I want to urge you to seek any care and support for your suicidal ideations. You are important and it would be a tragedy if your injuries and situation caused you to harm yourself. Please seek treatment (or if you are already, make sure you follow up and make sure your providers know about your situation). You may also want to call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline:

"The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour, toll-free suicide prevention service available to anyone in suicidal crisis. If you need help, please dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You will be routed to the closest possible crisis center in your area. With more than 130 crisis centers across the country, our mission is to provide immediate assistance to anyone seeking mental health services. Call for yourself, or someone you care about. Your call is free and confidential." National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK

You may want to contact the Safe Harbor program, too: Safe Harbor - Severely Injured Support

As for your case, you are very close to 20 years and it is extremely important that you reach this mark. Doing so will allow you eligibility for Concurrent Retired and Disability Pay (CRDP) which would grant compensation from both the USCG and the Dept. of Veterans Affairs.

A few months time passing indicates to me that you should hear from the IPEB with initial results shortly. Here is a link to contact info for the CG PEB:
CGPC: Administration Division (CGPC-adm-1)
Remember, it is to your advantage that this process drags out a few more months. It seems highly likely to me that you will not be retired until you hit 20 years just for the length of time that the process takes to finish administratively. However, keep this in mind as you proceed through the process.

I hope all goes well for you and please let us know any questions.
 

robs42

Well-Known Member
PEB Forum Veteran
boatgod,

welcome! sorry to hear about your inuries and issues. you have come to the right place. many of us here have similar back injuries and stories. i personally am going through the same situation as you and i can feel your pain, litteraly:). i was injured in 2006. had an l5-s1 micro-discectomy w/no positive results. i hurt more. had an l5-s1 fusion and felt worse. then in 2008 i had the trial surgery for a spinal cord stimulator and later had the perminate implant done. nothing seems to help. i think i've pretty much come to grips w/being perminately disabled. depression and anxiety just add to it. if you don't get those things under control, you are fighting a losing battle. what has helped me, is the treatment. i go to the VA's Vet's Center every 1-2 weeks for counseling and i go to the VA's PTSD Clinic once a month. i opted to go the VA route because the Navy base i was going to for mental health was no help. have you tried taking advantage of the VA? here's the link to the vet's center:
http://www.vetcenter.va.gov/

the other key to dealing w/all this stuff is pain management. i'm surprised your dr's took you of the pain meds.. it seems like your injury is similar to mine and chronic in nature. if you not getting the treatment you need, see if you can get a 2'nd opinion. if not have you thought about going to the VA? to apply for care w/the VA, all you have to do is go on-line and fill out their 10-10ez form. here's the link:
https://www.1010ez.med.va.gov/sec/vha/1010ez/

if you need any help along the way w/these things or anything else for that matter, feel free to contact me. even if you just need to vent. i know it's easier said then done, but hang in there. good luck!
 

Chinook

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
hello boatgod, :)


Well, you do have some things going on, ;) but I guarantee you there are greener pastures! We'll get you there...but were gonna have to take one step at a time.

As Rob said, there are a few of us here who know exactly what you're talking about, down to the relationship issues. I know of the physical and emotional pain you are describing...even though we are still different and still process things differently, we can still relate.

I think Jason covered first things first. If you are feeling alone, stressed or suicidal then you need to take that seriously and make that confidential call or you can call 911 at any time. You are important, and you never know, in this chain of events, your life purpose may be in helping others get through something similar...so keep your mind open to all possibilities here. :)

Secondly, get to that 20 year mark!!!!! It will make things easier.

As far as getting to feeling better....I'm not a dr although right about now I think I'm heading to P.A. school to specialize in back care! I'm serious. I come from the medical field and I can't be more disgusted by the over all lack of care and compassion that back injury patients receive. So, I'm so sorry to hear that you are in pain and that its not controlled as of yet.

As Rob said, he's had the surgeries like you with no real pain relief. He's in water therapy now, you might have seen his post about that...gets him out of the house :)

I haven't had surgeries and my pain is constant as well, yet mostly controlled. Living with a 3/4 and intermittent firing back pain is ok with me-I'm still moving, albeit slower. :) Funny how life changes. I think there is a time and a place for narcotics, but in time they can destroy your liver, kidneys and brain & as you've mentioned, sometimes relationships. Are you on Lyrica for your neurologic pain? It has been linked to suicides. So if you are on that medication I would urge you to call your provider immediately and ask about alternatives such as neurontin.

For any of us with SERIOUS back pain that is caused from nerve impingement from discs or other etiologies, it is important to rest and keep that nerve root from firing. Thats why you're feeling all that pain in your groin, etc...nerves are sending impulses cause they're squished and injured. When they stop firing, the muscles will calm down and relax. Then you can slowly do a few things....like make it out to eat or to the store to get some food. I had the chinese delivery guy out 3 days in a row during one of my episodes...he even cooked chicken for my little girl Chinook ;). You do what you gotta do.

Its important that you rest and don't get those muscles tensed up. You must stay cool, calm and collected!

I do have a million more suggestions for you; meditation-its not just for girls :) I'd love to talk if you feel up to it. If you do, Private Message me and I'll get you my number or email.

I'm glad you signed in and I know we all look forward to talking with you some more!

Felicia
 

BoatGod

PEB Forum Regular Member
I was able to get a lot of help for the suicide stuff but I still struggle somewhat with it. I am currently on neurontin, cymbalta, paxil, flexeril, ibuprofen, and 3 blood pressure meds. I was on vicodin for about three years and that really messed with my head, I became very mean and irritable and, of course, suffered deep depression. All that plus the wife leaving, losing my house due to reconstruction on the base and having to move into the barracks, the utter loneliness (the dog I had didn't laugh at too many of my jokes), and the uncertainty of what is going to happen to me. It's just a big mess. I don't even know where I'm going to go after all this is over.

I really try to be strong and to think through 'the fog'. I know I have to and that maybe things aren't as bad as they seem sometimes, but those moments of clarity seem few and far between. I was going to the VA in Little Rock, but something happened and I'm not allowed to go there anymore unless I'm referred or some such nonsense. So, this board is now my support and I thank everyone who has responded.

I was able to bring my Son back with me from a visit in AZ to help over the summer. I went to AZ to find out what was going on with the marriage, only to find out that it is over. I really don't understand how you could be with someone for 19 years, seemingly happy years, and then just drop someone like they were trash. I even bought her a 2010 mustang and she turned it down. So, I go from no car payment to big car payment and insurance increase, right before I lose my job. Yeah for me.

My Command has been supportive of me, I suppose, but I don't think they have the manpower to keep up with me and this process considering they have two people that oversee hundreds of people medical-wise. It would be nice to just have a sheet of paper saying the time line, whom I may ask questions of, and listing my non-fitting-for-military service injuries, the VA code for the injuries, and the percentages assigned to those codes. I know I get something like that at some point, but I'm a worrier and, sitting here, it's all I can think about. Wall of text ends here...
 

Chinook

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
hello boatgod,

I was just checking the forum before I have to go run some errands and such...

How bout calling about water therapy today? The base doc should be able to get you a referral through TRICARE to a local warm water pool....get you out of the house, get some serotonin flowing :)

Just a quick thought...I'll email you when I get back in.

Make it a great day! :)
 

BoatGod

PEB Forum Regular Member
I just got off the phone with the Ombudsman from the Coast Guard's Physical Disability Evaluation System. I asked a bunch of questions and to make a long story short, I will have an answer on my percentages in around 60 days. That answer, if I agree, will then go to Legal and I'll get an out date in 60-90 days after that. So, I'm looking at being out in November or December. This is if I agree with the decision on the percentages. If I disagree, it will take up to a month longer.

I'm glad to finally have some sort of timeline.
 

robs42

Well-Known Member
PEB Forum Veteran
BG,

i'm glad you finally got some answers. my PEBLO is bad, he doesn't answer or return calls, and he doesn't give me any info. what so ever. it makes a bad situation worse. i wouldn't even care if he lied to me, any contact would be better than none. just know you are not going through this alone. we're all in the same boat. good luck and keep us posted.
 

Chinook

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Nice. Puts you over 20! Thats great!

Its the unknown that really stinks and now you know ;).

That time line sounds pretty do-able. Nice to have some answers!

Enjoy your day!
 

BoatGod

PEB Forum Regular Member
Four weeks have gone by since the last update. Still no word from anyone. I had to move because the Army is tearing down my house tomorrow. I couldn't move into the barracks because I need to have my Son with me for the summer. Plus, the barracks doesn't allow pets. My dearest Son moved everything by himself. I felt so sorry for him and even worse for me as I tried to do some things but the pain was so bad. I don't even know if I'll get reimbursed but I at least remembered to get weight tickets. Now I'm really alone and farther from help.
 

Chinook

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
You maybe farther from help, but you are not alone ;). I get you, I know what you mean...hang in there. This too shall pass and I tell you, it does all get better. There is a bright light at the end of this tunnel, and there are skylites along the way too that bring glimpses of hope along the way:). Sounds like you have an amazing son, probably cause you raised him right;). Nice to see your post-I've been thinking about you!
 

Jason Perry

Benevolent Leader
Site Founder
Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
Have you spoken with the folks at PSC? What are they telling you? I assume by now you are past 20 year mark, if so, that means you have at least locked in your retirement.
 

Chinook

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Boatgod,

I havn't been posting much, but you've been in my thoughts and prayers. Email me if you want...I'm back in the swing of things ;).
 

BoatGod

PEB Forum Regular Member
I'm here still, just been offline a lot. I finally received word today from the CG Physical Disability Branch's Ombudsman, that my IPEB is complete with a recommendation of retirement since I did finally go over 20 last July. I was boarded for chronic pain and depression. The IPEB rated me on 3 categories; Spinal Fusion (40%), Rt Leg pain and numbness (40%), and Depression (30%). I will receive my paperwork Monday, will agree with the findings and then around 3 months later, receive my orders which will put me out 21 days later.

Next week I will also be going to the VA and applying. As all of my problems have already been noted by the VA since I already receive treatment from them, I'm hoping to get a rating from them sooner rather than later. There has been no change with my family life. I am still alone.

Chinook- Do you still have the same hotmail address we corresponded through?
 

BoatGod

PEB Forum Regular Member
November 2009: I received my rating from the board of 80%. Was told orders to retire would arrive shortly.
October 2010: RCVD call saying to turn in all of my medical paperwork for review. I asked why as I had already been rated. That was news to them and I sent in my rating letter. Two weeks later, I have orders to retire December 1, 2010.
 
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