After my last post, I continued to sit in the waiting room for about 15 minutes. My Neurologist came out and said he was done. He gave me my file and told me to go down to the medical boards office and ask them to process a particular case number that he wrote on a post-it. I hurried down to the office and told them what the doctor told me to say… and they were quite confused. First it took them a while to realize that I was in the Army. Uh, hello? My uniform says US Army! They then told me that he had indeed done a dictation and that it would not be available until sometime next week. Talk about your hopes being dashed. We called my Neurologist again to make he sure he understood what he was doing, and he said yes. It kinda ticked me off because he gave me the impression that he was going to put it in the computer, but he didn’t… he still dictated it. Well, whatever. I’m used to being run over all the time now, so I gave in, thanked him and filled out the required paperwork to route the finished product to me at WRAMC.
I decided to listen to my stomach and went to the cafeteria to get a bite to eat. As a soldier on medical hold with a meal card, I get to eat free there too. On the way to the cafeteria, I saw my Rad/Onc, Dr. Duelge. His wife and daughter were there too, it was nice to see him and to meet some of his family. After eating, I went back up to wait for the bus, which finally came after a few minutes and I was on my way back to WRAMC. But as the bus was driving off, I got a call on my mobile phone. It was the medical boards office. Somehow, the dictation was completed already! She needed my Neurologist to review and sign it and asked me for his phone number… I gladly gave it to her. She asked me to call her back when I got to WRAMC.
I called her immediately when I got off the bus and she said everything was good to go. I gave her my fax number and the fax number of the PEBLO and headed off to the PEBLO’s office. Upon arriving at the PEBLO’s office, I explained that they should be expecting a fax from NNMC and I wanted to make sure they received it. They told me to take a seat and I did. I was sitting for no more than a minute when my PEBLO came walking out of the office! I told him they were faxing over an addendum and he raced off to fetch it. A few minutes he came back with it in hand and I breathed a sigh of relief. Whew!!
He explained that all the MEB docs were gone but he would pass the paperwork to my MEB doc first thing Monday morning. He said that they should have a determination regarding which conditions are ratable and will go forward to the PEB. I will have 72 hours from the day I receive this form to either concur or nonconcur with the findings. If I agree, my case will move to the PEB and they will say that I am either ‘fit for duty’ or ‘not fit for duty’ and then assign a disability rating. If I agree with them and everything goes smoothly, there is a chance (just a chance) that I could be home for good before Christmas. I just glossed over how the system works. It is a confusing system with all sorts of rules and such. If you’re interested in learning just a little bit more about where we go from here, I suggest you check out this link regarding the Army Physical Disability Evaluation System (PDES).
Let me know if you have any questions by posting a comment or emailing me directly. This is what the last seven months here have been leading up to. This is also what the article in the Washington Post discussed earlier this year. I’m diving head first into all of this. I hope I can keep my head above water! Please pray that everything moves swiftly and easily… I would really like to go home soon.