Archive for July, 2010


July 28, 2010

tractor in yard

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

There are words that are significant-but many that aren’t on our general tongue of speaking. The truck sitting in my yard-in the industry-is called a tractor. Many call it a cab-some call it a semi. But the words connected to the truck are not as common in some conversations because the topic is not of the norm.

That sounded bland! I feel bland! Bland means everything from smooth to dull! A wide path.

I’m feeling the dull side of bland. Truthfully I feel like the idiot that tied the twine to the brick and the brick to the beam-and gave it a good swinging toss…and stood there while it swung back and forth only to be slowed by the times it kept hitting my head. I’m guessing it is a fair enough description.

I have wanted to find a place to stop writing this journal-thinking that there has to be an end somewhere. Being that I cannot ever forget the incidents that have led me to write…I’m wondering how an ending would come. I never intended that it would be this long . Somehow I thought that if I wrote on the web that so many would hear what I am saying about MST (military sexual trauma) and about the way a survivor has to follow the same procedures as every veteran to file a disability…I thought that this would bring a fever for change. I imagined that some special person would read it and learn about our injuries and the policies-and become outraged and enable a change.

I was just a kid! I was doing what I thought it was we were supposed to do-I just wanted to serve.

I know that people say the bible is just stories. You have to believe me-the stories are real. Brothers do hate brothers-jealousy is a dangerous thing-just as much as the tongue in our mouth. I had so many things in my eyes as a 18 year old-and being aside my brother was one. He made sure that was the wrong idea.

What happened to me 40 years ago was mine inside for all of that time. Five years ago I brought it up-I wrote a letter explaining to the VA why I refused to take a certain medication…it made me feel high,and I didn’t like it. I was to candid in the letter…seeing that now-by mentioning that my life has been shit and a battle to stand upright and sober (lost many times) because of my being raped in a detention barracks. My brother had a part in my being there.

No one cared! No one cared! No one cared! No one cared!

Then the letter is responded to-and I am scheduled for treatment. Treatment included the advice….file for a disability claim!

We all know about all of this-I’ve been writing about it four or five years (I lose track) where I went to a State of Florida DVA officer/advocate and told him the details of my rapes. To a stranger…who tells me it is hard to believe homosexuals have a need to rape each other.

That began this! My need to expose a wrong drove me to buy a computer (I swore to heaven I would never own one)….by God-I thought this was a wrong so huge that it would take no time to draw attention to the fact this needs to be changed!! I have been blessed by finding others-survivors-who say that my words are a comfort and help. I began to realize the Silent Wounded were a larger number I had ever thought. You understand….for too many years I thought this had only happened to me!

I did not ask for any of this to be. I just wanted to be grown up and be a man. I wanted to do something to please my father. I wanted to be like one of the heros-we kids played in our war games and saw in John Wayne movies. When I got on board ship I wanted to be there forever. In most ways un-normal,I am.

S0 in writing this my mission has come to be obvious. There are too many of us who are suffering from the trauma which none of us expected! I am explaining my experience-in life-and in the system of the battle for the so-called validation of a disability claim. Mostly because of the anger I carry about the ignorance of the Florida DVA officer who could not see rape as an assualt….he saw it as sexual behavior. It was so embarrassing to tell this man my life.

Let me tell you this one fact for sure….the disability claim is NOT going to validate anything! You WILL NOT heal from the finality-it is not good medicine! You must trust me…I mean this for a fact.

The harm of being a survivor has been enough to be doled out. To have lived with it in the pattern of my life-really has been enough. Thinking back at the life I’ve had…yearning happily for the day it will finally end-and I can find the Joy in Gods arms and gardens.

I am leading up to this…what I wanted to end-won’t!

I have wanted to stop having to tell the story and tell the effects and tell the current events…I have wanted it over-to the end.

But then yesterday a phone call makes it just worse. That phone call came while I was trying to define the abbreviated words about my recent CAT scan. Good…an end is coming-those abbreviations meant I have coronary artery disease!!  I’m glad the computer is here-otherwise I would be one stuck chump trying to figure out what vitamins to buy!

The phone call-it was from my attorney. He explained to me that the VA is accusing me of malingering and being a faker.

Yesterday-the day of definitions!

I called my pal…”what’s malingering mean?”

It means they think I am a liar!

Looking for validation,folks!

dis,from latin apart asunder

July 27, 2010

Originally uploaded by jayfherron



I never know how these computer links work…or if they do,but we try: 

If this article will appear when one clicks the link-the better the impact of what I am going to say will be! 

The article was in most of the major newspapers. My own city-a home of a Veterans Administration Medical Center did not carry it,but…Huffington Post,The Washington Post,and Reuters run Los Angeles Times along with the above linked Star Tribune,Minneapolis – St.Paul,home of a VA Medical Center,are among many across AMERICA that did! 

The Veterans Administration is to permit ‘medical marijuana’ use at any VA Medical located in the 14 states that have legal-medical marijuana. 

I’m not making this up! I revere the use of marijuana as a medicine-and would be pleased to be treated in a holistic fashion in preference to a chemical prescribed. 

You would think I am jumping with joy! Well-yes I am,kind of. 

I have been in pain for going 8 years or so…but because I smoke marijuana-my VA Medical Center cannot,and will not treat my pain. Hey…I am OKAY with that-my dears…I have too much problem with drug abuse as it is to be needing 60 percocetes each month,which is what the VA allotted me for five years until I wrote and said no. Somehow-we got around my use of marijuana! But let me ask-how fair is this to those who understand the comfort marijuana gives who are also veterans-who are also in pain…and,in order to be able to have pain med’s from the VA must go through a period of not smoking in order to pass a test so to qualify for pain med’s! Let me add that these would include many who suffer severe pain. I do! I know! And funny odd ball thing-me…that will dis the chemicals from a pharmacy in exchange for those found ‘elsewhere’,I know it won’t make sense to some. 

My point is….what about everyone else? What if there are…and there are-those in other regions where marijuana as a medicine is not legal,but you can count that under the cover marijuana use is happening…what about those veterans? Because we don’t live in a ‘legal’ state-no?? 

I know this decision will expand eventually…but come on! 

I had a phone call last night-from a friend who is a combat veteran from Viet Nam. He remarked that I have never said anything about the good things the VA does. I am certain there are…there are sections of the VA many of us never see-the dental clinic is one place…never ever has a dental appointment been made for me and many others. Different level-IT IS! 

My friend is not my only combat vet friend. I have known a family over in Micanopy for as long as I’ve been in Florida. The step-dad was in Viet Nam for 28 days when a bullet ripped through his leg and tore out a huge chunk of bone. A poor man-had to work nights at an orange crate factory,a thankless job if ever one was! Every three months the old boy had to put away his pot stash and get ready for pain pill test at the VA. This was not some hippie-no. He was a man in pain who found the ease of marijuana to comfort much. This is a man in pain. 

I want to say much is good about the VA-and there is good,usually it is found in the person…the human-but not the system. 

My friend fought for years for medical compensation-only receiving it just a few years before my VA claim was passed. Years way to late…and in my heart makes it so unfair to me. I can go to my friend’s house anytime and hear the details of how the mistrust of the VA system is enough shatter your nerves. 

The man I am telling you about is crippled-and has to ride a cart everywhere…and to make ends meet-sit on that cart from dusk to dawn protecting orange crates! 

I have another friend-he stepped on a land mine which blew his left thigh into shreds and gouged his stomach and sent his left heel flying. Somehow all of that healed for a while-and my friend went on to retire from the US Marines after 25 years service. Everytime I visit him it never misses-he makes me read the award framed and hanging on his wall-written by President Nixon,my friend was a part of a long battle for some crummy hill-and was also a hero,but 34 were killed on our side and….the rest of the dead. 

This guy won’t set foot in a VA…but he loved the Marines-his home should be a monument to the Marine Corps by the way it is adorned by the flags and mascots and brass work,but you bring up the VA and he proudly states he is on private care-and screams about the abuse from the VA. 

My one friend called me last night and said I do nothing but dis the VA…this by reading my blogs-and I am sorry to individuals there that do try to make the experience of medical care better. 

 Hey…my friend is one of those who has the better care-he knows his doctor by first name,so the experience must be varied. My doctor never told her first name-she never has phoned me ‘just to check up’ 

 I try to trust the place….this last week I requested outside therapy for my PTSD…in particular-for the MST. 

The VA claims we MST survivors are eligible for full-time permanent care-if permanent is what it takes. The VA rules say-if we do not like the therapist we can request another! 

I requested a therapist-on the outside! 

I’ve been told that fee approval was denied. 

Here’s the stick in the road….I pay nearly 100 dollars each month for Medicare. I have paid nearly 100 dollars each month for 12 years plus. Here where I live I cannot use it. I must be refered by the VA to been seen elsewhere. I have checked this to be sure…even Social Security was stumped. 

The VA hospital here in Gainesville Florida is connected to the University of Florida Medical Center by a tunnel. The students from the medical college are the consulting physicians in most cases (at the VA) and in many they are not qualified doctors.  Why do I say this? Because it is true! 

I received results of the ‘CAT’scan and it so states it at the bottom of the page “The TEACHING  physician has read the results…” 

I am thankful somebody read it…by the way-it says that  1) my non-calcified nodules are in the inferior segment of the lingula,and RML and LLL.
2)that I have Atherosclerotic disease of the LAD and RCA with evidence of prior myocardial infarction in the vascular distribution of the LAD 3) Diverticilosis without diverticulitis 4) and a stable left renal cortical defect….all of which makes clear sense to someone,but not me! 

I copied that word for word….definintions,anybody? 

And I need to note that three or so years ago a letter came from the VA saying that an MRI had shown an aneurism…and during the consult the student doctor admonished me in lingo similar to a DELL tech almost suggesting I broke in the VA and did the MRI myself-punching a hole in it with a pin to make it look like it was an aneurism. I still wonder when that bubble will burst-hoping it is eventful when it does! I still wonder why someone would think of someone doing something like that?? 

It is my hope to be classified fully disabled! Did you know once so you can be free of the reaches of the VA? I sure can’t make any sense of the ‘medical care’…my son and I still talk about a year ago January when rushed by 911 to the ER at the VA. He wrote them a letter saying he did not approve at all of how his father was treated. I was put out…literally put on the curb. Later that evening-another 911 truck came to my house! The driver said “Man…if we take you back to the VA you will again be put out!” 

They took me to a local hospital-they were forced to see me-but treated me kindly and with respect- with my Medicare card…the EMT told me that secret-telling me if an EMT wagon brings you in to a hospital ER with that card,no matter what…you must be seen. No referal !! 

I was taken in-given many studies and told what was wrong (a diagnosis of the pain,and 8 year ordeal)…why while I was there (novel approach)-THEY TREATED ME and kept me overnight!!. The info was forwarded to the VA. Never-ever-once have they (the VA) answered my question “what…”?? What are you going to do? What  about the test results the other hospital sent you? 

Could it be my LAD with my RCA?? Is that part of the brain? Or am I choked from the other side of the sage weed? 

Yes…a thrilling experience the VA hospital-it is the reason why we got sent to boot camp anyway! To learn how to wait-and to remember to be stupid-only respond when our name is called! 

Sure…I dis the VA. One-I’ve NEVER felt right about being a patient,my military service was void of anything real. 

But you can count on this…I believe in the Military! That is why I enlisted-I believed! And I still believe! 


this news is clearer!

July 25, 2010

American flags
Originally uploaded by jayfherron


Best read what the VA writes…they can explain it better than I can:

But…just a preview:

Rule is for Veterans of any era.The new rule will apply to claims:


received by VA on or after July 13, 2010;

received before July 13, 2010 but not yet decided by a VA regional office;

appealed to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals on or after July 13, 2010;

appealed to the Board before July 13, 2010, but not yet decided by the Board; and

pending before VA on or after July 13, 2010, because the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims vacated a Board decision and remanded for re-adjudication.

“Stressor Determinations for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder”

1. What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition resulting from exposure to direct or indirect threat of death, serious injury or a physical threat. The events that can cause PTSD are called “stressors” and may include natural disasters, accidents or deliberate man-made events/disasters, including war. Symptoms of PTSD can include recurrent thoughts of a traumatic event, reduced involvement in work or outside interests, emotional numbing, hyper-alertness, anxiety and irritability. The disorder can be more severe and longer lasting when the stress is human initiated action (example: war, rape, terrorism).

2. What does this final regulation do?

This final regulation liberalizes the evidentiary standard for Veterans claiming service connection for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Under current regulations governing PTSD claims, unless the Veteran is a combat Veteran, VA adjudicators are typically required to undertake extensive record development to corroborate whether a Veteran actually experienced the claimed in-service stressor. This final rulemaking will simplify and improve the PTSD claims adjudication process by eliminating this time-consuming requirement where the claimed stressor is related to “fear of hostile military…”


getting a grip

July 24, 2010



Originally uploaded by jayfherron

This comic book clipping has been in my possession since weeks before I went to boot camp in 1969. 

On my 18th birthday-July 28 1969,I bought a King James Bible on Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring (MD). The bible store was just on the corner only steps away from the Navy recruiters office. I still have that bible. 

My birthday that year was a big day-I registered for my draft card at the post office…walked down the street and bought the bible…and went around the corner and at the recruiters I was formally discharged from the pre-enlistment reserves and legally signed in to the real service. I had to wait til the first week of August before being sent to boots…then being sworn in with what must have been a thousand other men (not many woman enlisting-or being sworn there) at Fort Holabird in Baltimore. There I dropped my draft card into the cardboard box that was passed among us. 1969! 

When I was a kid growing up-comic books were the item to have. In the 1950’s-television was boss too,but the availability was not as full as it is in these days…so comics filled the gap. 

War heros were fresh-many living heros from World War One and Two and Korea were alive then,the men from World War Two and the Korean veterans as fresh to us then as the veteran from Viet Nam and the two conflicts now are among us. 

When I was a kid my friends and I spent every free day playing soldier-we killed nazis and japs in our imaginary battles…all that inspired by the things we saw and read. Vic Morrow played Sgt.Chip Saunders on the television show ‘Combat’. We kids would battle to be Sgt.Chip when ever we played war. 

When I was a kid-we were taught to protect and defend our Constitution and freedom was expected from us as citizens. Those who ran were cowards! We were too dumb to fully recognize what war was doing-indoctrinated by the thrills of being a comic book hero,not knowing what war really does. 

I never saw war. 

I am not a kid anymore-my next birthday proves that…except my mind seems to be stuck in the immature world of the 18-year-old that has had as abrupt an awakening of tragic proportions as I had. 

I am getting a grip-sometimes. It’s not always,but I work at it! 

This ‘blog’ is not a guide of any sort. Yes,there are links to the side of the page-one can use them to work through things on their own. I’m not anything other than a survivor of MST…and chose to write about the way my life has been-how it goes from one extreme to the other-how I lived with the PTSD without knowing what it was that screwed up me up so bad…but always knowing why it was. 

I use this place to tell anyone that will read how wrong it all has been…I hardly believe it can be used to encourage anybody-but that I hope it does in ways that I had not expected (and I’m told it has) by allowing others to know how much it hurts a pain that nothing can ease. 

I write about the disability from the VA-that is what started my venting here! It is almost as disabling for someone like us-the MST survivor-to go through the experience of asking for consideration of disability as it was to be hurt! 

18 years old and I was still playing war games like I was still a kid. I remember how neat it was to be in boot camp. Everyone dressed in uniform-denim blue with white spats. As we marched we looked like birds in flight-it was all so uniform and correct. I remember the time our ship went out into the Atlantic and met the fleet-we followed the various ships towards the Caribbean,there is just something so majestic  seeing these huge vessels all going together out in the ocean. An excitement I am glad that I experienced. 

I’m stuck there. 

I can trace the decks in my mind-I remember the route from my berth to the mess decks,the social area on ship for off duty sailors. My ‘rack’ was at the top-but I had a port-hole! I had to climb past ten others to reach my rack-but it was so cool to open my port-hole and look out at the fleet. 

Like the kid in the comic clip…I never knew it was going to be like this! 

on my knees so I can look up

July 22, 2010


Originally uploaded by jayfherron

This is what it is…for those that don’t know the whole story-I am writing this online journal to describe what my life as a male survivor of sexual trauma has been like. The nature of the trauma changed the way I lived my life-my gauge to say that is that I was prepared to spend my life serving in the US Navy. That life ended abruptly while I was still just fresh enlisted-18 years old.

I was made promises by the education officer on our ship-there was a program then where certain personnel could enlist for 10 years and trade for college right away and return as an officer-although something like an Ensign.

I believed in the things that were being told to me-and I was very excited.

My older brother was stationed on the same ship (I had requested that myself-in boot camp). He told me that was never going to happen,that the education officer was not telling the truth-I had no idea that it had made him jealous. He had not achieved much in his service.

I can only try to guess what happened the weekend I was arrested. I was on a liberty pass for the New Years weekend of 69-70 but had jumped the gun the night before-trying to use a round trip bus ride to spend a few hours extra with my family in Washington DC-from Norfolk VA-and got stuck in a serious snowstorm. When the bus finally made DC it was too late to try to get back to ship-but I had managed to have myself cleared by having the military liason call my ship-after all…I had a pass! And the ship’s Master at Arms told the liason I was free to go.

It was a day later my brother was sent by the ship to arrest me…I was taken back-and accusations were made based on story’s another sailor had told them. Nothing true-but I was afraid…my brother saw to it that I should be. They kept saying I was going to prison!

That night I was taken to barracks D-a detention barracks. There I was raped-and for two months led around like an object-made to do things hard to describe and repeat.

I was given an HONORABLE discharge at the end of the second month. I have never felt honor.

Over the past several years-I guess five or so…I began writing this journal to try educate as best I could that the term ‘sexual trauma’ is not only trauma to woman,but that men can be victims too.

I would never thought that I would ever write about what happened-I lived with it and all the damage that followed for almost 35 years before any one ever cared! I then began a different kind of pain-one that has taken me by surprise and has caused me to shudder at what has been another form of abuse.

My life since 1970 has been an erratic ride of alcohol and drug and sexual abuse. Sexual being the worst of it…like a battered wife who returns to the husband I went over and over to find injury on me-to repeat the life in barracks D. I don’t think I’ve ever said it this way-this openly here. The pain and disgust of it makes me sick.

I fought for years to separate from it…and at times won-quitting cocaine in the 80’s,finding freedom from drinking off and on. Both contributing to the self abuse-the abuse…and both battles-big battles with lots of work to overcome. I walked away from cocaine in the mid 80’s with the help of counseling and my two teenage sons. I have walked away from alcohol too many times…sometimes good,sometimes not.

I managed to finally find a place where I stopped. My stroke in 1998 helped more than anyone could ever imagine. No more cigerettes-no more drugs…no more drinking. That ended later in the year when an individual wanted by the authorities came in my life-and I got caught up in her case…I quit drinking for 5 years! FIVE YEARS!!!

Then one day at a routine visit to the VA….all the goodness ended!

I was asked if I was ever depressed-the standard interview…and YES by GOD-I am! And I said so…and they gave me pills to take home. The pills honestly gave me a high I can only compare to a mild psychedelic and I felt strange-and dumped them out!

I am free of drugs by then-over 12 years. Sober the longest I’ve ever been!

I explained in a letter why I dumped the pills-that I had fought sobriety for what seems forever…and the pills made me feel high. I explained about my life!

That brought an eventual response a few months later-I was scheduled to begin three years of weekly meetings with a social worker-my therapist!

During that time it was suggested that I validate my injury-the PTSD-by filing a disability complaint against the VA.

That began this blog-journal.

The ‘healing’ that was supposed to come from all of this has become more detrimental to my health than ever! I have constantly explained that my first meeting with the State of Florida DVA advocate brought insults of bigotry…he tried to suggest the rapes were homosexual behavior-and could hardly believe the men involved were not black men.

I hired a lawyer instead…only to receive a letter from the VA saying she cannot represent me-after all,she was not registered with the VA for their approval.

Eventually three years later it is ‘agreed’ that the rapes had happened-and they had disabled me with PTSD. I was given a 70% rating and at that time thought it was appropriate-after all,it happened in 1970!

Strange crazy insane thing! I say that because I am so confused!

I find myself scheduled for a new hearing-like the same one I went to two years ago-having to again prove myself….prove something that has constantly daily affected my life-and has made me who I am because I cannot escape it-and tried to live with it…HEALING? It has never happened.

I am having to defend myself. The whole matter-built up over these years-has exploded inside of me! The anxiety and the pressure of the memories intermingled with the current affairs of what this has done…an institution (the VA) has literally repeatedly offended me in trying to convince that I shall be validated!

I woke the other night (shall I say-came to?) on my knees with my face in the dirt in the woods that surrounds my house. Toxic…again! God I HATE IT…that must have been what I was saying when I was trying to look up!

the VA…depression-and suicide

July 18, 2010

my tombstone

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

It is Sunday-so some time for a little reverence.

My mind is stuck on this past week-my visit to the VA Medical Center. I havent been in a while-the crowded lab and the crowded waiting area,even the line at the small coffee booth-had my nerves on edge. Going there had my nerves on edge. There is always that one veteran that catches your eye and determines you are ready to hear how “they don’t know what they are doing” and “if they let me run this place” and you have to try to ignore it-knowing in my heart already I am stressed about being there.

It scares me! I am 59 years old and I know more about my body and my mind than what can be understood by a stranger in fifteen minutes. It also scares me that my truthful manner-you ask me the question and you will get the truth in detail. Indeed-I hate this life…it is mine-and I can hate it all I want! Yes…I am depressed-and I am freaking out in my own skin,trying to calm down and get settled. There is so much pressure-the VA hearing (again) coming up. I am wondering what good is coming out of any of it!

During the interview the doctor (a step past the nurse that wanted to make the joke about STD’s and life) begins to ask me about my depression. There was the usual sales pitch about the good of taking anti-depressants…there goes the medication push! I said No.

Then we came to thoughts of suicide! The doctor asked if I ever thought of suicide?

“Yes I have…in which direction do you mean”? Meaning-how can one avoid it?

The doctor asked me when my last thoughts of it came to me? I respond….”a little while ago-out in the waiting room”!! And…I was serious-from sitting out there looking at some in wheel chairs-and some with wheezers,to help them breath. Dang right!! I think of what I might do if my ankles were to start turning purple-and my ass getting so huge that only a wheel chair can tote it around! Or if a doctor was to take me aside and give the bad news that chemo had to start real soon….yup,I was thinking about suicide out there in the waiting room.

Wrong thing to say!

I got a little afraid of what was going through my head when doctor said she was going to have me hospitalized….whoa,just wait one minute! I realized she meant it-and it could happen…and what would that be?

I told her-dying is a part of my life that would please me….but death belongs to God,and if I took my life I would be stealing from God.

She reminds me…I was thinking about it-I just said so! And she wanted to let me know she was required to have me put in the hospital.

I gave her the whole picture…I live with my casket in my living room! I have a grave in a great little cemetery and on that grave is my tombstone! All ready-just like I am-and have been ready! I seen a vision (telling the doctor that gets the look) and it was about the beauty of being alive in eternity-and not the darkness most think death is! But suicide? It is not hard for me to think of that either…but only as a last resort when the physical pain is too much to bear.

She asked the dumb qustion…”have I got a plan”?

Well…I guess so-especially if everything is all arranged. I even have the funeral plans-my sons met with the undertaker when I gave him the instructions. Yes…it is all arranged-and so…that is a plan! My casket is in eye’s view right now…I saw my tombstone just yesterday-as a matter of fact. The only thing left now is the lift off. When God is ready.

Not that that makes me happy…but it makes sense,in the same sense the Garden of Eden does. Don’t eat the apple!

But…it makes me curious? Why is it we all know one way or the other we are going to die. I got fined one time for not wearing my seat belt-the cop chewed me out saying he “didn’t want to have to pull me out of a car dead someday”…and I promised him that one day someday someone is going to have to pull me out of somewhere-DEAD-and when the dead day comes there won’t be a seat belt strong enough to stop it! He did not like that at all. But-it is true. I worked in a funeral home for four years-I saw it all the time!

It wasn’t just the other day either!

I got up later than usual this morning. I’ve found some stronger than beer pain pills and have been adjusting my sleep with them…the up-coming VA hearing date has me so magnified on the PTSD triggers that I’m just a basket case of nerves and stress….so I woke later than usual-and after a cup of coffee-to the bathroom. The bathroom! Reminder ONE! Trigger the thought-trigger the memory…remember the rape the first night…remember the days after…remember why you are like this Jay…wish you were dead,don’t you? I will never be able to go to the bathroom and NOT remember!!! Yes…being dead would be a better place.

In my own life-with my brother and sisters death,and Mr.Hoke,and the time working in the mortuary…I saw the truth about death not respecting people. That matches what is says in Acts 10:34 “God is no respecter of persons”-which in my head tells it like it is…the mystery of death belongs to God.

I get to a point where I may not make any sense! But the thing really bothers me as why it is anybodys business of your living or dying (when it is by our own choices)!

There is a church near here-I went to it once upon a time ago. There was an old woman who lived in her bed in the living room of her house. She had a serious stroke some years before-the church paid some younger lady to live with this invalid old lady…a 100% need to have a care-taker including diapers and such!! Ooomph…and sometimes the old lady (who couldn’t talk-only mumble and drool and needing that wiped off)…sometimes she’d get a little worse-and the care-taker would tell the church about it on prayer night. And they would pray-out loud-for God to give this old lady strength and be merciful. I though of the mercy too…let her go! What’s any faith doing in asking God to keep this woman alive? To trust and believe there is  a ‘better place’ than believe in it and instead of praying to keep some bed ridden diaper clad woman alive-pray that God will slide her in to home plate…swiftly!

See what I am saying?

“we are both dying”

July 14, 2010

VA stairs drawing-jay herron 2006


Originally uploaded by jayfherron
That is what the nurse said! “We are both dying from a sexually transmitted disease”! 

I’m sitting there trying to comprehend that…she is going down a list of  ‘routine questions’about blood pressure and pain levels asking if I’m depressed and then that statement! 

I’m sitting there thinking about that-what? What did she just say? I had ‘labs’ earlier that morning (the VA is an all day affair) and have previously routinely requested HIV testing…(yes,why not?) And-I could not digest what she just said!

I don’t know how long it took. I suppose I asked her faster than I think,but I had to think it over first. We are both dying of a sexually transmitted disease? 

“What did you just say”? 

“Huh”? was her reply. 

“About the sexually transmitted disease”? 

“Life”! was her answer. 


“Life…we are both dying from it”! 


“Life…a sexually transmitted disease”! “We are both dying from it”…”I’m joking”!! 


“I’m joking!…don’t you get it”? 

“Wait a minute-first explain the sexually transmitted disease…?” 

“It’s a joke”!! 

“No…first tell me what we are dying from-are we dying?” 

She smiles at me and nods her head as if to realize I’m the stupidest guy in the room. “I’m joking…just a joke-I thought you’d get it…life-it’s a sexually transmitted disease….we are ALL dying from it….(then comes) “never mind” (and then that dismissing hand gesture)…”it’s too early in the morning for you”! Still shaking her head in disbelief looking at me like I am a dim-lit bulb! 

It was not too early in the morning…it just did not register as a joke! 

What a fucked up thing to say to someone. 

anxiety…how it squeezes your throat

July 12, 2010

the door to barracks D

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

My day has a plan that I cannot get aboard with.

I have an appointment at the VA Medical Center. It is the first in over one year with a medical doctor-not counting the scene with the MST doctor. That day contributes to the already in place angst-this past week building up to what is happening now.

I wanted to call and cancel…last week!

I kept saying it to myself-call…and the anxiety about that interfered all the way to now. And now I have to go. And now-I am fighting it…not me personally but the personality that seems to take over in times like this.

I want to puke and I want to crap at the same time-but it feels like a fist is in my mouth deep into my throat. I feel like I’ve been jogging up hill and cannot get my breath-and the same fist has another grabbing the pit of my stomach,and I so badly want to puke.

Pass the fact I don’t feel any confidence there-it is the waiting area that really works me up. It is always a crowd. There is likely to be that disgruntled vet that chooses me to grunt at-which causes me such pain inside from the aggressiveness of the tone. You always see one-upset that he has had to wait…and then somehow it seems I lock in on that and allow it to mess with my own peace of mind.

The day is getting harder to face by the second-it really seems so. The pressure it puts in one,as if my head were going to explode.


these words….

July 11, 2010

American flags

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

 The following is cheating…I did not write it-just copied it from:

Here is what they are saying about the new VA PTSD rules.

New VA Regulation Eases Burden of Proving Service Connection for PTSD

A new U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) claims adjudication regulation has made it easier for certain veterans to receive disability compensation and health care for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

PTSD is a debilitating anxiety disorder that is triggered by an extraordinarily stressful event (or “stressor”), such as combat, motor vehicle accidents and personal or sexual assaults. PTSD can become a life-long battle for not only the veteran, but his or her family and friends as well. Symptoms include uncontrolled anger, violent behavior, exaggerated startle response, flashbacks, hallucinations and blackouts. Service members and veterans with even moderate PTSD are often unable to work, go to school or have functional relationships with others. One of the scariest things about PTSD is that it can take months, years or even decades for symptoms to appear. While PTSD can be successfully treated, there is no known cure.

VA regulations require that in order to receive VA benefits for PTSD, a veteran must prove that the disorder is related to his or her military service. To prove service-connection for PTSD, there must be: (1) medical evidence of a current diagnosis of PTSD, (2) medical evidence that establishes a link between PTSD and a stressor during military service and (3) credible supporting evidence that the claimed stressor during service actually occurred.

If the veteran was in combat and the stressor is combat–related, the VA is required to accept his or her account of the in-service stressor as proof that the stressor occurred. If there is no evidence of combat, the veteran must produce military or other official documents that establish that the stressor occurred, even if the claimed stressor is combat-related.

Proving that a stressor occurred during service is often quite difficult, sometimes taking years for the VA and/or the veteran to find. Because of the backlog of pending VA PTSD claims, the VA decided to eliminate the requirement for veterans to produce credible supporting evidence of a stressor if they received a diagnosis of PTSD during service and the claimed stressor is consistent with the circumstances, conditions, or hardships of the veteran’s service. In these cases, the veteran’s description of the stressor alone will now be sufficient to establish the occurrence of the claimed in-service stressor for benefits purposes.

Without having to produce documentary evidence of the stressor, veterans with diagnoses of PTSD during service will receive their VA claims decision much faster than under the old regulations.

The new VA regulation is currently in effect, however, the VA has invited the public to comment on the relaxed evidence requirements and can still change its policy. For now, the VA will apply the new burden of proof standard to all PTSD claims for service-connection that are pending as of October 28, 2008, or that are received afterwards. Veterans with diagnoses of PTSD during service whose claims were denied before that date will not receive automatic reconsideration. Rather, they must file a new claim and specifically request considerations under the new regulation,

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the shrink…the VA…and the hearing!

July 10, 2010


Originally uploaded by jayfherron

There has got to be an end-somewhere! There has also got to be some  perspective to all of this…I am not sure if I will ever see it though.

In four weeks I am to appear before a judge-another judge…this will be my second hearing at the Veterans Administration at St.Petersburg Florida. This is yet one more time to defend myself for something that happened 40 years ago…a crime against me-a crime where no one gave a rats ass about me,and no one was convicted…and I am the one going before a judge?

I had thought a year ago that most of this could just quiet down to just the horrid dreams and the usual bouts of social confusion and the usual phobic moments-such as what happens going into a Wal-Mart or some such. I thought when I reached the judgement from the first hearing…I thought it was over. Now I find I may have to defend this over and over-as the VA has deemed my PTSD has improved,we must now fight to raise the claim to where I never have to come back,the unemployable status is what they call it.

I had not expected this-until last Fall when the notice came that an appointment was made at the VA to re-evaluate my mental health. I did not feel comfortable at that meeting at all…and my attorney spoke to me saying the evaluation was not a good one-he suspects the agent had it out for me.

I had to go to a private psychiatrist,an expensive deal…very expesive-I ran two toll exits NOT understanding the roadway and the signs and the fact it was a fee required exit that did not have a toll collector…you had to have a pass-with out one the photograph of your vehicle will be sent with the bill.

I didn’t need to say anything about that…what difference does a fine make? Honestly I’m trying to avoid thinking at all…thinking of all of this-it is all-consuming,it always has been,but now it seems so magnified and intense.

The expensive psychiatrist sat me down-he took 15 to 20 minutes…I’m still trying to calculate that,my appointment was at 11 and I was driving out of the lot at 1120 feeling incredibly depressed that I could hardly impress someone what 40 years of living in my skin has been like-and 650 bucks (850 including the fines) and 20 minutes later. It is so insulting.

I had to pee! Just like in barracks D.

I drove down early in the morning-130 miles-and was in front of the building two hours early to do my mental adjustment (hypnotize) myself for the entry and the meeting. I had to pee! I walked around the parking lot-totally void of any wooded  area…there was a jiffy-john,but it was locked inside a fenced compound. There was an enclosed dumpster…with gates,and they were unlocked-but with my luck some office cleaner would be needing to dump trash at the moment I got started.

I waited two hours-standing in the sun…the wonderful lady in the office kept bringing me cups of water,not knowing how badly I had to pee.

Like in barracks D I waited. I fear public restrooms…restrooms trigger my anxiety-my first attack was in the ‘head’ in barracks D.

Maybe it was a blessing that the meeting was so short…and thank God for the eternal construction the Florida Turnpike is so proud of,where I found the jiffy-johns. An old road trick I learned from trucking.

Really…my words are subdued this morning,it is almost like defeat! Now I have to prepare mentally for the date in four weeks. I’ve been to the building where the hearings are held-large multi-story place. The hearing rooms are enclosed cubes-hardly room for more than a table and chairs. The restrooms are a one seater-the doors open right in to the waiting area…the hearing is at 1100. I am again-one more time-have to repeat the details….trying not to forget-the man back in 1969-New Years eve said “get used to it” (the officer I reported the rape to-which was the early morning of New Years eve 69-70). That has never been…I still suffer from the memory to this moment.

I was told to file a disability claim to find validation. Biggest joke that has ever been!

Just this experience of mine…which seems to  be typical of all who suffer from post traumatic stress from MST-is the insult to our privacy to have to continue to defend the assaults on our being. It was bad enough being victim,worse that those who should have helped-DID NOT,my hope for help laughed and said “get used to it”,and it has been the same for others-many many others….just by what I am saying here should raise cries of the need for change in regards to our PTSD treatment-too!

 What really pisses me off…I lived with this alone for 35 years! No one cared then…no one understood me afterward-and then the VA gets involved (sure…I finally said something) it all just seemed so perfectly right when my therapist told me I should file a disability claim.

I worked around things in my life to put this together-it never really worked. I hard times with jobs-I’d get one and do good for a while,and then something would trigger-and things went askew from there….drinking-or the drugs years,and then-a new job…

I fought the battle and got a lot of it under control…my drinking was non-existent for five years,the longest ever, and moderate after that five years dry,and my self-abuse was seemingly over-long long over….

It seems like the battle is still going on!