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11 March 2014

Talk to the hand? I think not.

I had an appointment with my county veterans service office, scheduled for this morning. I'm not going-- I got about 45 minutes of sleep last night, my left temple feels like someone is trying to drive a stake through it, and talking about what happened in the Desert today is just a bit much.  I know my limits.

I just went downstairs to talk to Case Manager, and let her know that I'm not feeling all that well, and so I'm not going to the appointment.

She starts talking about "I have something that might help you but it's probably too late now, you needed to talk to me on Thursday. I waited until 4pm for you."

I tried. I knocked on her door twice, heard no response, and left a note on her message board that I had been there.

I also tried last Friday, since at some point I remembered having seen her in the office on a Friday. Kitchen manager heard me knocking, and let me know she wasn't there. Fine. On with life.

I tried, again (I went through this with CM yesterday, too), to explain that yes I had in fact tried to talk to her last week.

Her response?

Talk to the hand. 

I saw you turning the corner outside on Thursday, and you didn't knock on my office door.

WTF?

Note to case managers everywhere- if you hold up a talk to the hand at a veteran with #PTSD who you know is fighting off a migraine after a night of no sleep, who you know is going to his eviction hearing later today, and who you know is stressed the fuck out as it is, do not try to act surprised when said veteran closes the door in your face when you call him a liar.

She didn't follow me back upstairs, and I did not expect her to. My triggered up to here brain is imagining that she's writing up how uncooperative I am. That's how things work here- make sure to document that it's the veterans fault. 

Pro tip, CM: check the surveillance cameras from last Thursday. Pretty sure you'll see me standing in front of your door knocking.

I'd call someone to complain, but there's no one to call. The patient advocate and the social work offices at the VA hospital won't listen, because they don't run vets house, Porchlight does. Who is there to call at Porchlight, my VA social worker who knows I'm going to eviction court today but who hasn't said a word to me for months?

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(Deeeep breath)

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In the military, there is no such thing as talking to the hand. Tell an NCO or an officer to "talk to the hand" and you'll be damn lucky if all you lose is a stripe.

The military can be really fucked up sometimes, but respect and bearing always apply. Not so with some civilians, even some of those trusted to care for veterans.

No, I don't pull punches. Not any more.



















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