Thursday, December 13, 2018

Stop comparing and start understanding PTSD

PTSD is not a contest

Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 13, 2018

This has become very strange times in this country. PTSD is now so popular on social media, there seems to be a contest on how much worse one person has it over others. It used to be something that was kept secret but apparently, the only secret folks seem to be keeping, is that lives can be healed. 

Post Traumatic, means after trauma. Trauma is Greek for "wounded" so it literally means, after wound. Surviving something terrible, causes stress in every part of the survivor. Mind, body and spirit are all involved in the second "it" happened and every second after the event happened. The disorder comes when nothing is "normal" within your sense of how you perceive it was.

The trick is, to get out of the terrible moment and begin the healing moment as soon as possible. That is why Crisis Intervention works best when available as soon as it is safe to have that type of aid respond.

OK, that said, it can happen after just one time. If you survive something and the symptoms do not ease up within 30 days, or go away, then that is an indication you should seek professional help. It means the event has attacked deeply inside of you.

Like an infection, sometimes you just need something to help the wound heal and it is available within your own reach. Other times, the infection is so strong, it spreads out without getting stronger help to heal it.

The scar left behind is determined by the strength of the infection and the response you apply to heal it.

As for how many Americans have PTSD, this is from the Sidran Foundation.

Facts at a Glance
  • An estimated 70 percent of adults in the United States have experienced a traumatic event at least once in their lives and up to 20 percent of these people go on to develop posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
  • An estimated 5 percent of Americans—more than 13 million people—have PTSD at any given time.
  • Approximately 8 percent of all adults—1 of 13 people in this country—will develop PTSD during their lifetime.
  • An estimated 1 out of 10 women will get PTSD at some time in their lives. Women are about twice as likely as men to develop PTSD.
Extreme Trauma and PTSD
  • PTSD may develop following exposure to extreme trauma.
  • Extreme trauma is a terrifying event or ordeal that a person has experienced, witnessed, or learned about, especially one that is life-threatening or causes physical harm.
  • The experience causes that person to feel intense fear, horror, or a sense of helplessness.
  • The stress caused by trauma can affect all aspects of a person’s life including mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
  • Research suggests that prolonged trauma may disrupt and alter brain chemistry. For some people, this may lead to the development of PTSD.
Now you know how many others have it, but also consider how many do not know they have it.

This is a good place to begin the next part of what you need to know. While you have just read how far reaching PTSD for just regular Americans, after surviving one time, there are others who have faced so many of them, it is hard for them to remember all of them or know exactly which one hit them the hardest.

They are the responders to the events the rest of us needed to be responded to. EMTs, Firefighters, Police Officers, Military Service Members and National Guards as well as Reservists, top the list.

There are also those who develop PTSD because they live with, or treat people who have it. That is called "Secondary PTSD" because they were hit by too. The Atlantic has a pretty good article that should help you understand this one.

"Whether an altered world view is ultimately destructive, Pearlman writes, “depends, in large part on the extent to which the therapist is able to engage in a parallel process to that of the victim client: the process of integrating and transforming these experiences of horror or violation.” She recommends that all trauma therapists undergo therapy of their own."
It is why I constantly have people I can talk to so that I can keep doing this work without falling apart. After 36 years topped off with living with it in my husband, I lost count on how many times I needed help too.

"Trauma after tragedy is nothing new: Evidence of PTSD in soldiers and commanders is present in ancient Greek and Roman texts. The pages of many Greek tragedies, like Sophocles’s Ajax and Euripides’s Heracles, are rife with veterans maddened by war. In the Roman army, suicide attempts were, strangely, punishable by death—unless a soldier was found to suffer from shame, sadness, or “weariness of life.”"
Really good summation there!

Years ago, I had a veteran tell me that since I was never in combat, I couldn't understand what it was like for him. In other words, he challenged how I could dare assume to know. I was in one of those "bitchy" moods and decided I was not going to take that from anyone. He wanted a contest, so, I brought my A-game.

First, I admitted that he was right and I did not know what it was like to be in combat. Then I proceed to run down the list, going back 50 years of many times when my life was on the line. 

And then I asked him if he could understand what each thing was like for me. He said he could not.

But then I asked him if he could understand what it was like afterwards. That he could understand.  The clincher was when I told him that I did not have PTSD and the 30 day window was shattered. I asked him if he wanted to know what that was like. He said he did.

So, we proceeded to change the conversation into how I healed so that he could do it too. So that he could recover most of the control of his life and what could not be healed, he would have the tools to prevent their power from taking over.

These are the conversations all of us should be having instead of who has it the worst. Aren't you tired of fighting the wrong battles? Then join the right fight to make it oh, so much better for so many more people!

Navy SEAL sues drug company for all others given Lariam

Navy SEAL Sues Roche over Malaria Drug, Claiming it Left Him Permanently Disabled
By Patricia Kime
12 Dec 2018

According to the Sheetses' lawyer, Kevin Boyle, the case is significant because it could "vindicate the fact that many veterans are suffering from a legitimate condition" and "ensure that those who are responsible for these serious injuries are held accountable."
Mosquito close-up. Getty Images 
A former Navy SEAL has filed a lawsuit against the company that makes the anti-malarial drug Lariam, or mefloquine, alleging that the medication left him permanently disabled after taking it while serving in Afghanistan.

Andrew Sheets and his wife, Kristie, of Cazadero, California, allege that pharmaceutical giant Hoffman-LaRoche, known as Roche, was aware that the drug caused serious neurological and psychiatric side effects and failed to warn patients of the dangers.

Sheets, who served in the U.S. Navy from 2000 to 2006, said he immediately experienced "violent and tragic nightmares" the first time he took Lariam, during a deployment in 2003. He later developed psoriasis, extreme paranoia, hallucinations, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

"In February 2017, Mr. Sheets was finally described as permanently disabled by his treating physician because of his debilitating, Lariam-related mental disorders," court documents state.

For more than two decades, Lariam, also known by the generic name mefloquine, was distributed to troops to prevent malaria in endemic countries. At the peak of military use in 2003, nearly 50,000 prescriptions for mefloquine were written by military doctors.
read more here

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Homeless veterans shipping into tiny homes

Shipping containers being turned into 'tiny homes' for homeless vets

Las Vegas Now 8 ABC News
Cristen Drummond
December 11, 2018
"My vision is that we have no veteran that is homeless and that we never use the words United States veteran and homelessness in the same sentence." Arnold Stalk

LAS VEGAS - A local group has found a way to help America's veterans who are struggling with homelessness. There was a groundbreaking Tuesday on a new project that will provide more housing at the Veterans Village.

Veterans Village is dedicated to making sure that those who served our country are not left behind if they fall on hard times.

There is an apartment complex that serves as homes for veterans and now some tiny homes are being added to the village.

The homes are each made from an old shipping container, around 320-square feet, including a bedroom, kitchenette, living room, bathroom and shower.

With the help of donations and federal grants, Veterans Village is able to offer them to homeless vets for just a few hundred dollars per month.
read more here

The Navy does not know about the data that is available on suicides?

OMG! The Navy does not know about the data that is available on suicides?
"The Navy isn’t sure why more sailors are taking their own lives. In terms of a longer-term trend, because the publicly available data only goes back to 2012, it’s not clear how the recent rates and the 2015-2017 spike fit into larger historical trends."
Well, here are the links to all the data they need to review!

2010 has extensive research on this one, including attempted suicides.


These are the reports from 2012 to June of 2018

Navy Sees Sudden Rise in Suicide Rate Since 2015; Unclear on Causes

By: Ben Werner
December 11, 2018

THE PENTAGON – Over the past two years, the number of active duty sailors who committed suicide grew rapidly at a time the overall number of active duty service members taking their lives increased more modestly, according to data from the Department of Defense obtained by USNI News.

The sudden death of U.S. 5th Fleet Commander Vice Adm. Scott Stearney in what is an apparent suicide is part of a troubling trend for the service. During 2017 and the first half of this year, the Navy reported an increase in the number of sailors taking their own lives, and service officials haven’t been able to pin down a cause for the increase.

Between 2012 – when the DoD’s Defense Suicide Prevention Office started publishing suicide data – and 2016, the Navy’s suicide rates tracked below the DoD average rate and generally mirrored DoD’s year-to-year ups and downs. In 2017, though, the Navy saw 66 active duty sailors – a 53 percent spike compared to the year before – commit suicide, according to statistics collected by the Defense Suicide Prevention Office. During the first half of 2018, 36 active-duty sailors committed suicides, according to the most recent numbers provided to USNI News. The six-month total suggests the Navy is on track to finish 2018 with a number of suicides similar to 2017’s six-year high.

When compared to other services, the Navy’s 2017 active duty suicide rate of 21.4 per 100,000 sailors was in line with the suicide rates experienced by the other military branches (Army 24.9, Air Force 20.3, Marine Corps 24), according to USNI News calculations using the DoD suicide rate calculation formula. Nationally, the 2017 suicide rate was 14 per 100,000 U.S. residents, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention calculation.
read more here

Veteran found guilty of embezzling government funds

Omahan will pay more than $170,000 for concealing income while on disability

Omaha World Herald
By Kevin Cole / World-Herald staff writer
Dec 11, 2018

A 62-year-old Omaha man has been ordered to pay more than $170,000 in restitution after being found guilty of embezzling government funds.

Michael A. Basile was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court by Judge Robert F. Rossiter, who ordered him to make restitution to the Department of Veterans Affairs in the amount of $62,255.56 and to the Railroad Retirement Board in the amount of $108,352.32. Basile was also ordered to serve five years of probation and perform 150 hours of community service.

U.S. Attorney Joe Kelly said Basile was receiving disability payments from both the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Railroad Retirement Board based on an existing disability.
read more here

Desert Storm Veteran needs help for family

Fort Hood veteran in hospital with infection that could have killed him

KXXV ABC 25 News
Erin Heft
December 10, 2018

A veteran out of Fort Hood lays in the hospital tonight with an infection that could have taken his life.

Kenny Kreiter served in the Army out of Fort Hood in the early 1990s. During his time spent serving our country, Kenny sustained knee trauma and ultimately left the military due to his sustained injuries.
The same knee injury that haunted him years ago, has now taken a turn for the worse.
On Nov. 19, he was admitted into the Olin E. Teague Veterans Medical Center, and he has been there ever since. He is fighting a staph infection that took hold in his bad knee.
As the breadwinner of his family, it has been hard financially on them during this time. Since he has not been able to work, Kenny's manager said he was gathering a $1,200 check to donate to the family to help make ends meet.
The manager had misled them.
It was that day that Kenny's fellow veteran friend started a GoFundMe campaign in Kenny's name, in hopes that it will help the family during this trying time.

Getting over PTSD?

You can get over it...when you overcome it

Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 12, 2018

When you are depressed, feeling as if there is no hope, someone will eventually become frustrated because they do not know what to say. Sooner or later, the words "Get over it!" pop out of their mouths. 

While you may have been offended by those words, as if you are supposed to just forget and move on, there is power in that message when you think about it. You can get over it by overcoming it and making peace with it.
Back in 2012, there was a fundraiser out at the Orlando Nam Knights and MOH Sammy Davis Jr. was there. I know Sammy and his wife Dixie. I was talking to them about the PSA Sammy had done with some other Medal of Honor Recipients trying to get the troops and veterans to seek help for PTSD.

I asked Sammy if he wanted to add to what he said, and he agreed. This is the message he and Dixie wanted to give.

Kathie Costos DiCesare
Published on May 8, 2012
Vietnam Medal of Honor Sammy Davis has a message to all the troops coming home. Talk about it! Don't try to forget it but you can make peace with it. Dixie Davis has a message for the spouses too. Help them to talk about it with you or with someone else.

Why stay down there with the pain? Why surrender your power and remain trapped by what "it" is doing to you?

The only reason you have PTSD is because you are a survivor of something horrible. No shame in being a survivor! So, no shame in you unless you choose to have it control what you do now.

The next time someone tells you to "get over it" tell them that is exactly what you are doing by working to overcome it!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

White House VA "Advisor" had nothing to do?

‘There were times I didn’t have a lot to do.’ Trump loyalist at VA forced out after collecting pay but doing little work

Washington Post
By Lisa Rein and
Josh Dawsey
December 11, 2018

The Trump administration has forced out a senior White House political appointee at the Department of Veterans Affairs who spent months on the federal payroll doing little to no work.
Peter O'Rourke, who served as VA’s acting secretary for several months this year, was asked to resign from the administration last week. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
Peter O’Rourke’s departure marks an unceremonious fall for a Trump loyalist once seen as a rising star at VA where he nonetheless had a rocky tenure, first leading a high-profile office handling whistleblower complaints, next as chief of staff and then, for two months, as the agency’s acting secretary.

Since August he has held the nebulous role of senior adviser, with an uncertain portfolio and senior executive salary as high as $161,000. VA Secretary Robert Wilkie asked for his resignation Friday.

O’Rourke said in an interview that he remains “very supportive of the president and the agenda of the Trump administration” and would like to rejoin the administration.
read more here

Still think that the VA is bad for veterans?

Still think that the VA is bad for veterans?

For all the people who say that sending veterans into the civilian healthcare system is a good idea, remember this sample of what you do not read about as much as you complaints against the VA.

Oh, by the way, since when is it OK to forget that veterans pre-paid for their healthcare WHEN THEY DECIDED TO DIE IF NECESSARY FOR THIS COUNTRY?

10 latest healthcare industry lawsuits, settlements
Becker's Hospital Review
Written by Ayla Ellison
December 10, 2018

From hospitals suing HHS for finalizing a site-neutral payment policy to a nurse pleading guilty in a telemedicine fraud scheme, here are the latest healthcare industry lawsuits and settlements making headlines.

1. Hospitals sue HHS over site-neutral payment policy
The American Hospital Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges and three hospitals sued HHS Dec. 4 for finalizing a policy that will cut Medicare payments for hospital outpatient clinic visits.

2. BCBS of Texas beats physician lawsuit alleging ER underpayments
A lawsuit filed by 49 physician groups against Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas was dismissed Dec. 3.

3. Walmart, 3 pharma companies sued over impure drugs
Four companies — Walmart, Aurobindo Pharma, ScieGen Pharmaceuticals and Westminster Pharmaceuticals — were hit with a lawsuit alleging they contributed to the sale and production of impure drugs.

4. Medtronic resolves medical device probes for $50.9M: 5 things to know
Medtronic will pay $50.9 million to resolve three U.S. Justice Department probes. The payments settle allegations that companies it now owns conducted improper medical device marketing, paid illegal kickbacks to hospitals and participated in other physician-engagement practices.

5. Tennessee nurse pleads guilty in $65.7M telemedicine fraud scheme
A nurse practitioner pleaded guilty Nov. 27 to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud for her role in a $65.7 million scheme that involved prescribing expensive compounded medications to Tricare beneficiaries.

6. Indiana medical company hit with first multistate HIPAA lawsuit: 7 things to know
Attorneys general from 12 states united to sue an Indiana medical company over a 2015 data breach.

7. 7 New York hospitals reach settlement, agree to stop improper billing of rape survivors
Seven New York hospitals agreed to pay restitution to rape survivors and revise billing procedures as part of a legal settlement.

8. Chicago physician convicted of billing fraud
A Chicago physician was convicted of billing insurance companies for nonexistent chiropractic manipulations.

9. Bristol-Myers Squibb must answer lawsuit claiming it knowingly underpaid Medicaid
A federal judge in Philadelphia ruled that Bristol-Myers Squibb must face a whistle-blower lawsuit alleging the drugmaker knowingly underpaid rebates it owed to state Medicaid programs.

10. Scientologist physician sues North Dakota hospital over religious discrimination
A former Grand Forks, N.D.-based Altru Health System physician filed a lawsuit against the hospital Nov. 20, claiming the hospital system discriminated against him because he is a Scientologist.
read more here

U.S. veterans' hospitals often better than nearby alternatives

By Lisa Rapaport
(Reuters Health) - - U.S. Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals may provide better quality care than other hospitals in many American communities, a U.S. study suggests.
Researchers looked at 121 regional health care markets with at least one VA hospital and one non-VA facility. Altogether they assessed 135 VA hospitals and 2,988 non-VA hospitals using Hospital Compare, a public database that ranks hospitals on quality measures like mortality rates for common diseases and preventable complications.

"...they held hands. He raised a gun to his chest and killed himself."

"Meredith said she and her husband went to their primary care physician and asked for a referral to another pain clinic. They were told it would take a minimum of six weeks."

"That was too much for Lawrence. In March, on the day of his next medical appointment, when his painkiller dosage was to be reduced again, he instead went to a nearby park with his wife. And on the very spot where they renewed their wedding vows just two years earlier, they held hands. He raised a gun to his chest and killed himself."

Go here to read the rest of this story...then maybe you'll understand how taking away pain medicine can be hazardous to our lives.

As doctors taper or end opioid prescriptions, many patients driven to despair, suicide

I have not had to take pain medicine for a long time, since the shots into my spine worked, but I remember what life was like in that kind of pain and no hope of it going away. The only thing that allowed me to keep going to work, was the medication to take some of the pain away.