Accident Disabled Veteran Michael Seeks Grant Help For Self And Others
by Michael Westfall
(Medford, Oregon, USA)
I am 65 years old, male and from a family of eight children. I was drafted into the military in 1968.
I took advantage of being drafted and went on to Officer Candidate School. I became an officer and served three years total, getting an honorable discharge and leaving the military as a 1st LT in infantry.
As per social security, I am 100% disabled from an auto accident in 2011. A truck hit (T-boned) me on the driver's side of my vehicle.
On impact, my spleen exploded, leaving me drowning in my own blood. I also received head injuries (TBI) and 19 out of the 24 ribs broken with many holes in my lungs. I also had a broken scapula and pelvis.
On my trip to the hospital, I had to be revived several times because of my spleen being exploded. At the first hospital they took out what was left of my spleen, and repaired the cuts in my head and they shipped me off to another hospital that had special breathing equipment.
At the second hospital I was hooked up with oxygen going straight into my lungs with holes and also exit holes to let out the blood and pus.
They repaired my broken pelvis with nuts and bolts. I stayed in intensive care for over 30 days and they did not expect me to live with all my injuries.
They tested out many drugs, trying to get my body to function as close to normal as possible. They had to keep me strapped down to a backboard for my safety because I was always trying to get up.
During this time and after, I had no idea of what had happened to me. Thank goodness, I don't recall all the pain I was in. After my intensive care they put me in a private room with my own nurse for about a week until I could go home.
I left the hospital with more than 13 different drugs that I had to take daily. I had lost more than 30 pounds and had to use a walker to get around. After one week at home I had a bad pain in my stomach and my wife had to take me back to the hospital.
I had a blood clot in my right lung and was hospitalized for another four days until the clot was taken care of. And I was sent home with drugs to inject myself for another four days.
My wife was scared to death having to take care of me with all my problems. But she was great, a real lifesaver.
After my accident and hospital stay, I had to go to the veterans clinic three times a week, over 30 miles away. This lasted for over a year and they got me down to about six drugs a day to get me going.
This was very costly between gas and time for my wife to take to the doctor this much. We had to borrow money from family members to keep going.
My auto accident brought out my PTSD from my military time. So now I was going to the regular doctor and a psychologist for my traumatic brain injuries from the accident and my PTSD.
Three years later. I am still going to the VA doctors and the psychologist for my brain injuries and my PTSD but now only go to the doctor monthly.
Still my wife cannot work because she needs to take care of me, as per my psychologist. Thank God I was in the military and they are picking up most of my prescriptions and doctor visits and my million-dollar hospital bill.
It is still very hard for our family with rent, utilities, my wife's medical and prescriptions. My wife has been going to the doctors for her COPD, thyroid and breathing problems.
With the new everyone must have insurance, her doctor's visits are very expensive. My wife's mother is 88 years old and living with us, and this adds more expenses to our living costs.
My mother-in-law has very bad health with doctor, dentists and prescriptions too. I do get Social Security Disability payments monthly of $1890 and my wife's mother does get Social Security at about $500 a month. This barely covers our rent, utilities, insurance and prescriptions.
We still owe relatives over $5000 from this last four years.
I have tried to work but I do have a problem with standing too long and not being able to rest frequently. My wife cannot leave me and her mother for too long, therefore she cannot work.
I have contacted VA, many disability organizations, state help, government help and anyone I can think of with no luck. I am disabled but not bedridden and so is her mother and this puts us in a real hole.
I do not drive, but I couldn't drive anyway because of my medications. My mother-in-law does not either. So we owe most of our relatives and can't pay them back and we barely make it monthly.
We have really tried but it seems we are going backward.
I would love to be qualified for help whether it's a grant, some benefits, helping hands.
I would love to help others in the same position I am in.
I have looked into grants, but they all want money that I do not have.
There are many of us out here in the real world that need help and I feel for them, because I know how hard it is. So any good ideas would help me greatly.
I will keep striving to get my relatives paid back and really get on my feet again.
I would love to get a grant to help support people like us that really want to get ahead but are stuck. I think I was saved to help all victims and caretakers in need, so we all can help each other and to gain respect and dignity.
This idea came to me from visiting victims and caretakers in the hospital this last weekend and from previous weekends and talking to other caretakers. I knew this must be my new job, to get them the respect and dignity due to them and help them have more income as per their needs.
With no help from the state and the federal in the caretaker status like my wife has, it is very unfair having to be be ridden to get any income help. I, like many other victims depend on family caretakers to give up their jobs to take care of me and my needs.
And this is verified by my psychologist from the VA, in a letter written explaining my needs of my caretaker for her not being able to work.
My first idea is to help disabled people get government support to pay spouses or partners some money for their caregiving services. It would include online telephone services, for the disabled people to be productive and create income to help themselves. It would give disabled people some place to go, to get help if they're in the same situation I am in.
My second idea is to go to large companies such as Costco, Walmart, or any malls, where people park and have the disabled, mark by section or rows of where people park as to remember where they did park their car. For example red, white and blue sections with numbers such as 1, 3, 45, 62 would help because all our memories do get iffy in time.
My third idea is a disabled advice area where they can get help, jobs and an uplifted feeling that all is not lost, that they are people too and they do count.