HOUSE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS AFFAIRS
PRESENTATION BY CHARLES W. KELLEY
December 6th 2005
TESTIMONY OF THE DAUGHTER OF A VIETNAM VETERAN
I was recently sent a collection of articles to review concerning Agent Orange Exposure. I took great interest in the article, "House Committee on Veteran's Affairs."
My father was an AF veteran from the late 1950's to mid-1960's. My father worked crash rescue state-side and in Korea, where he was exposed to radiation and various "agents.” Not only was this exposure duty-related, my father claims that herbicide and other testing was conducted secretly on veterans. There are no witnesses to date to corroborate this, they all appear to have died, nor are there any records.
As you suggested in your article my father has peripheral neuropathy and no diabetes.
My father filed repeated claims for AO exposure, but darn they got lost somewhere. Then he got one through and it was immediately denied because his exposure was stateside not in VN, and the wording was not correct. There are also multiple copies of his VA medical records. One with generalized medical conditions that he has received copies of, and two with official medical test results that he had not known about and was shown by accident. Upon request, the latter two files do not exist.
My father has spent the last five years being chronically ill, with no known reason for his conditions. He has not been able to work since about 1985. He underwent several surgeries last year to remove a black blob from his sinus cavity that was keeping him from breathing. To date, he still does not know what that object was or what the lab results determined. He suffered an anomalous illness for nearly a year and had his gallbladder removed. He is still sick. Now he is stumbling and falling down, suffers tremors and muscle weakness, has night sweats, chronic fatigue, can't remember things and is now suffering from violent outbursts. Several weeks ago, he got impatient because he was not waited on at a restaurant in a timely manner. He does not have an adequate concept of time. When the young lady attempted to wait on him, he threw a coffee cup at her. He was promptly removed from the restaurant but no charges were filed against him. The next outburst he has could be much worse.
When I first heard about AO exposure, I was skeptical at first, because the government reports glossed over many of the facts. When I saw other articles and the long-term effects, it finally hit home. It is sad that veterans are being denied the care they need.
What about their children?
Now adults, they also suffer from CFS, muscle tremors, cystic fibrosis, weakness, ADD, chloracne and other skin ailments, miscarriages, infertility, reproductive system disorders, fibroid tumors and chronic nosebleeds and hemorrhaging. And what about the next generation? Migraines, hypoglycemia, pre-menstrual syndrome, ADD, weeping sores, and severe muscle spasms...just to list a few.
When I mentioned to a physician that my dad had been a veteran and was exposed to AO and radiation and wondered if it had any bearing on the significant problems I had, he remarked that AO was not dangerous. If my dad had been exposed to radiation, the military would have told him. He doubted that either had any long-term genetic effects.
It would be nice to know what the signs and symptoms are for the next generations, so our physicians would know how to handle these matters, instead of patting us on the hand and telling us, "It's just a state of mind, you'll get over it!"
I don't mind paying for medical care, so long as they don't have to pay for the same medical tests repeatedly because they can't find out what is wrong. After a while, you and your condition are not taken serious...until you end up in the emergency room suffering from shock for no apparent reason. Then you physicians look to see how quickly they can get you back out of the hospital.
It was all in your head to begin with, right? Official diagnosis...?
Please add our two cents worth!
The daughter of a Vietnam Veteran who suffers from multiple toxic chemical symptoms.