Friday, October 30, 2015

A Week at Beale

It would be wrong to leave the impression that our week was filled with medical and military frustration and nothing else.

We got a solid, full, heavy-duty week of book school completed. Full-timing has meant we no longer consider M-F "school days" and Saturday and Sunday as "off days." The school year is coming along nicely.
Wednesday, we went to PWOC.  Stacia enjoyed reconnecting with her homeschool friends and Nolan and Alex had fun helping in the Kids Flight rooms. I went to a study on Gideon and enjoyed the teaching. It won't surprise anyone the highlight of my day was seeing new faces and loving on old ones.

We also did this - Dinner with the S family -  complete with grandparent like gifts.
Thursday, Hope and Emma visited at the trailer. We also had three doctor's appointments.
Friday, Stacia spent the afternoon and early evening with Maya. The boys hunkered down with their books. Michael and I ran from one office to another, as we waited to hear what AFPC would decide on granting a medical hold on retirement. We enjoyed pizza and a movie with the boys in the evening.

All in all - a fun week.....a good week. We crammed a lot of visiting into it - thinking we'd be leaving the area we have more time to see EVERYONE!!!!

We Have a New Plan - #WYFF

Shew, what a week. We came here early in the week so we could tie up all the "loose ends" before retirement on 1 Nov. We've noted things always take longer than expected. 

True to form, everything took longer than expected. ::snort:: We were glad to have come early. We have been repeatedly told Michael's care would be uninterrupted and the transfer from active duty to retiree would be "seamless." We were told this as late as Tuesday. 
Michael logged off the government computer for the last time
We called TriCare to switch over on Tuesday and they told us Michael had to turn in his CAC card and then they would transfer him to TriCare Retiree and it would be "seamless."  We  turned things in.....switched our cards from active duty to retiree....and then
Michael tries to hold his finger still so they can get a print
Michael met with a man who is advising us with our VA claim. He was shocked that AFPC had retired him rather than put a hold on his retirement until he could stabilize treatment. Also on Wednesday, Michael was made aware he could appeal their decision. We talked that afternoon and really, really wanted to retire - we're sort of done with it all.  We decided we'd rather retire, work the VA claim as we are - and of course our care would be seamless anyway.  We'd switch our residency to TX, come back as needed for appointments and all would be well.
Then he called TriCare again. Oops - seems you CAN'T reside in TX and be seen in CA. He would have to start all over with a PCM they chose out of a hat....and try to get that man to give him a referral, get a new TriCare referral now that he's RETIRED and then wait for a new neurologist to have time to see him - originally this took MONTHS to get an appointment.
Michael has had a bad week. The instability and tremors are increasing, he has a hard time sleeping. He wants to start treatment. We agreed starting care was the new priority - not retiring, seeing America, or establishing residency in TX.  We researched states in the West region - because then we could get a referral to UC Davis....We gave them our OR address - which resulted in frustration. The NEAREST doctor which would take TriCare is in FLORENCE, OR. We are Alaska residents and have seriously thought of simply staying Alaska residents...Alaska is also in the west region. That's still a thought - but the idea of being called to jury duty and having to fly up there - because it's too late in the year to drive is daunting.....we kept researching.

We also decided to appeal the RILO decision. We asked them to put Michael on medical hold for 3 - 4 months so his care could be stabilized. This set off a lot of things....bottom line...the local doctors would like to see him on hold until care is stabilized but AFPC (personnel headquarters) will have none of it. If he is ambulatory; he can retire. ::snort::  The whole process was not even a little bit about looking at what would be the best care for him - it was about what would be best for the Air Force. So it is. You can understand why those removed from the situation would be able to be impersonal.  We really planned to file a congressional but the honest (frustrated) assessment of those in the system is it won't change anything and would leave us in health-care limbo even longer.
We had a nice discussion with our doctor when he told us the news. He said, even though they denied the request to put a hold on his retirement,  he really thinks it is best if we stay here and continue care with UC Davis until Michael is stabilized and we are sure he won't have complications on the meds.  He said it makes no sense at all to begin this medication and then be trying to find a new doc if there are complications.  It also makes little sense to wait another 3 - 6 months for the system to allow treatment in a new region.

We plan to give TriCare a CA address, Beale family practice will be our PCM (not the doctor we love as retirees can't go to Flight Med), they'll submit a new referral, and our doctor will help  push it through the system, so Michael can keep his appointment  and TriCare will cover it. Our "job" during this time is research to find names of a good PCM and neurologist/Movement Disorder Specialist in TX whom we want to be switched to. Our doc said after he's ON THE MEDS no one would be stupid enough to take him off of it cold turkey. We can call TriCare when he's stabilized and ask for a PCM by name rather than take one they pick off a list.
We've talked to Fam Camp and they will allow us to stay for four months.  SO....we ARE staying in CA - we are focusing on the VA claim, stabilizing medical treatment, doubling up on school and working to establish our residency in TX (I believe).