PLOT TWIST!!! (You saw that coming?)I am trying to put this in civilian speak. Background - Michael had his retirement CEREMONY on 14 Aug. He is now on TERMINAL LEAVE (vacation time owed to us) and his RETIREMENT is to be administratively EFFECTIVE 1 NOV.
We saw Dr. Lee, a WONDERFUL, retired then rehired, military Christian doc. He wants the best for us. He said Michael's diagnosis on 31 Aug of Parkinsonism (even if the diagnosis doesn't progress to Parkinson's Disease) is an automatic medical hold and "Medical Evaluation Board" (MEB). It is OUR CHOICE to simply not say a word and retire on 1 Nov as planned. However, if we do that, we have to "fight" the VA system to label Parkinson's a "Service connected" disability - this takes years. It matters because of life-long income and medical care.If, on the other hand, we allow him to submit the request for a medical hold/MEB, the DoD will determine Michael's disability, he'll be active duty when the diagnosis is finalized and they navigate the VA rather than us navigating the VA system alone. When pressed, he admitted he thinks this will be best for us. We agreed.
Dr. Lee is submitting the request to Randolph AFB. They will determine if they want us to retire 1 Nov or if they will place him on medical hold and have him face an MEB. Until then, we are on TERMINAL LEAVE and we plan to go on leave and enjoy ourselves until we are notified we are on medical hold and need to get back to Beale - or that we are not facing an MEB and we can go fight the VA system. Prayers appreciated for the process to work out as God intends.Yes, we've moved into the Caboose and we plan to stay there. The man who coordinates records for the VA for those going through MEB boards says on average it takes 12 - 18 months to get a final decision. Dr. Lee thinks they'll move much faster.
Our heads are spinning, but our souls and hearts are sure! I realized I wasn't putting much stock in "Parkinsonism" until hearing Dr. Lee's reaction and seeing how seriously the military takes this brought it all home.
Now - we are heading for the beach, the mountains - somewhere and will be in touch by Sunday.