In between my whirlwind trip & surgery, Dave had a slew of medical appointments of his own. It was finally time to get all the VA (Veterans Affairs) exams done. This is a huge part of retiring from the military. It’s not for everyone, but most everyone. It is definitely for Dave.
While some soldiers get it done before retirement, Dave was still working the morning of his very last day of retirement. The months following retirement, he was focused on getting a new job to keep our family supported. Now almost a year into the new job, six months after finally finishing all the paperwork, it’s time to get all the physical evaluations done.
“It” is the disability claim portion of retirement. Being a soldier is very hard on a body. It’s been very hard on Dave’s body. I won’t list all his ailments, his file is over 1,200 pages, and I think you know about his knee surgeries. Knees & hearing are very common losses for a soldier. Dave has a constant ringing (tinitus) in his ears. Whether it’s from a TBI (traumatic brain injury) or extended exposure to weapons firing is not clear. His knees are from years of being airborne. While those cause him difficulties in day-to-day life, he’s a trooper and sucks up the pain. The hard one, the one that will fell him on bad days, are his back & neck.
Many, many moons ago Dave had a parachute accident. Another soldier crossed his airspace, his chute partially collapsed and he plummeted the last 200 feet to the ground. At the time he was young, a couple ranger candies, some time on profile (out on sick call) and he was good to go. And yet over the years, this has gotten more and more difficult for my Dave. Difficult enough that he finally filed that disability claim. I cannot tell you how hard it is for a soldier to admit any disabilities.
So now the VA is sending him all over Germany to verify his claim. This despite the 1,200+ pages of medical documentations spanning 30+ years of treatment. I’m all for double checking, but Dave has been in & out of treatment for all the things for years. Decades. And now we are racing all over Germany, well… up to 3 hours away… to be rechecked.
A couple of weeks ago I had to go with him to Nürnberg. He had an eye exam with dilation, and would need a driver to get him home. It would be my first time driving a car for more than half an hour, but it would also be our first date in ages and I’d never been to Nürnberg!
It turns out Nürnberg (for some reason Nuremberg in English) is stunning.
Nuremberg, a city in northern Bavaria, is distinguished by medieval architecture such as the fortifications and stone towers of its Altstadt (Old Town). At the northern edge of the Altstadt, surrounded by red-roofed buildings, stands Kaiserburg Castle. The Hauptmarkt (central square) contains the Schöner Brunnen, the gilded “beautiful fountain” with tiers of figures, and Frauenkirche, a 14th-century Gothic church.
I am now sad we only had a couple hours after Dave’s appointment. We wandered the Altstadt (old town), visited the fabulous Games Workshop and indulged in some delicious hot, Phở and hidden little hole-in-the-wall. I can’t wait to go back with more time.