(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)
A lightning strike Sunday at a Florida beach injured eight people, Clearwater Police Department Lt. Michael Ogliaruso said.
A lightning strike Sunday at a Florida beach injured eight people, Clearwater Police Department Lt. Michael Ogliaruso said.
The Thunderclaps it’s deep baritone base
Singing its song, yet is it from near or far away
When the Thunder rolls does the Lightning flash
We hear its warnings yet we stay out and play
Giving no heed to the danger headed our way
Is Thunder truly God’s angry words like Momma said
Is the Lightning truly the finger of God on display
We stay out and we listen for the loudest of claps
In rivers, lakes and pools we sit like a proverbial duck
Some are simply too stupid to get out of harm’s way
The Thunder Claps and the LIghtning flashes our way
Play golf, go swimming, be next to be cooked and fried
How much grass is now covered in the ignorant ones blood
Red on the grass with the unused brains splattered around
Be wise, stay inside, don’t let the flash be your end of days
A Decision That Changed My Life
I believe that most every human who has ever lived has at some point in their life looked back upon their life and said what if. What if I had taken that other job offer and not the one I did except? What if I hadn’t married the person I did but had married a different person? Or maybe what if I hadn’t decided to drive drunk that one night or maybe what if I hadn’t shot that burglar. I am an old man now and I have had many such conversions within my own self throughout the years. Personally I know that I have made many mistakes in my life that I wish dearly that I could go back and change yet even those things would have thrown the life I have lived right off the rails. Personally I believe that if there were an Angel up in Heaven with a little clicker like a home plate umpire uses in a baseball game and they clicked it every time I have screwed up, sinned, or made a wrong decision I think that clicker would have broken many years ago. Not something I am proud of, but the truth is still the truth.
Today in this letter to you I am going to pick out just one of those decisions to talk with you about, I hope you will think along with me as I talk to you about it. The year was 1983 and that summer I decided that I would enlist in the U.S Army. I lived in the Dallas Fort Worth area of north Texas and I went to the designated location to take a battery of tests to see what I was best qualified to do once in the Service. Turns out that I scored very high on them and then a Sergeant with the Texas National Guard came over and talked to me. The Guard was looking for someone who scored real high to accept a position of a Lieutenant with the Texas National Guard but I turned down the offer and went into the regular Army instead.
I entered the Army on July 18th of 1983. While in Boot Camp at Fort Dix New Jersey while on a training mission I was struck by a bolt of lightning. To say the least that messed me up inside a lot. The results of that event totally and completely changed the course of my life from physical stand points. This messed up my legs, spine and heart and disabled me from any form of a natural life. What if I had taken the job as a member of the Texas National Guard? The Guard Boot Camp would have been in Texas at one of their Army Forts, not New Jersey. I would not have been hit with that bolt of lightning. Maybe I would have been able to have lived a normal life style and never been injured at all. But, isn’t that really just a guess? Just because I wouldn’t have been at Fort Dix at that particular time, what if that decision of going into the Guard would have put me into a place and time where I would have gotten killed or mangled in some other event? Only the Lord knows all of the couda, wooda, shouldas, I know that as a human the best I can do is to just wonder, what if.
THUNDER THE MEMORIES AND THE LIGHT
4:30 In the morning listening to the rain outside
Quiet massaging thunder rumbling to distill the night
Do we consider the thunder as the fury of God or His love
O’ listen to the somber drum roll fading off into the night
Thunder the voice of an Angel singing, or a warning of might
The flash of light it can and will change your life from that time
A near miss, a near that didn’t, you tend to remember the pain
Is it a wondrous thing that you got lit up and yet you survived
In the rumbles deep and low you wonder why you’re still alive
Did the Lord steer the light so we could see our own darkness inside
To The Scepter Above do we humbly and meekly bow even now
Is it guilt, shame or pride, do we hear the Devil laughing at us now
Our final tally sheet, did we end up doing more good than harm
Something as simple as choking on one’s own spit we can die
None knows if once again we will hear the thunder role then light
Thunder the last thing we hear tonight, or is it forever goodbye
Open Your Mind To What Could Have Been
I believe that every one of us could have had many different lives than the one we now have, this is what I mean by alternate history’s. I also believe that we could all also have many different alternate futures lying before us, it is all a matter of choice. Do I believe as some do that as we speak and breathe that there are ‘alternate universes’ playing alongside the Realm we are living in right now, no. But I could obviously be wrong, it is not like I am God and know everything.
This article today is designed for the purpose of simply getting people to think, to contemplate their own personal past and even their future. For the purpose of opening up people’s minds I will start the process rolling using myself as an example. I will start at the age of 18 (44 years ago). I got my girl friend pregnant and we got married, the marriage lasted less than 2 years, we had 2 kids, one year and nine days apart. What if I had not gotten her pregnant and I had gone into the military at 17 or 18 instead of at age 20, how would my life have been different? Would I have gotten ‘fixed’ and have had no ‘blood’ kids of my own? Would I have met someone else while in the military and gotten married to them? Would I have gotten killed while in the military if I had tried to make it a life long career? Would I have never been hit by lightning if I had decided to not go into the military at all? If I had not gone into the military would I have stayed in the same States that I did, personally I doubt that one. Is it possible that if I had stayed a civilian that I could have walked into a store or a bar that was being robbed and the gunmen would have shot and killed me when I was just 18 or 20? Would I have gone to the ‘Sun Set School Of Preaching’ in Lubbock Texas and have been a lifelong Minister? What if I had done this and would have married a woman whose family was from Spain or Mexico or California, would I have moved to a Church near her family? Only God knows these answers, but I believe that the questions are all valid, for each of us.
How would your life be different if you would have made different choices? The choices could be as simple as times we chose to go right instead of going left. There was a time down in Florida that I was checking trailers late at night and my flashlight had gone dead and I was at a drop yard way out in the country. As I started to check the first trailer as I was walking toward the back I happened to hear a very loud rattle. As I started to put my right foot down I heard the rattle get louder and louder, so I withdrew that step, then another step and another and the rattle stopped. What if I was wearing ear buds and was not paying any attention, would I have still been here today? As I said earlier I do not believe that there is another parallel universe, singular or plural running in ‘threads’ alongside this one but that concept is not what I am speaking of today. I am just asking you to think about the ‘what if’s’ of life. What if you had married a different person than the one you did, how would your life have changed? What if you never got married at all, or if you have never married, what if you had? How would your life be different? There are all of these past tense ‘what if’s’ and there are future one’s also, choices, life always comes down to choices, as well as other people’s choices in matters that concern us as well in ways that we can’t even contemplate.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)
Severe winds and rapid-fire lightning strikes from a violent dust storm demolished homes and displaced trees across India on Wednesday, killing at least 125 people and injuring more than 200 others — with more potentially deadly weather still to come, officials said.
At least 111 people were killed in the northern states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab, with many of them in Agra, the city that houses the Taj Mahal, according to BBC News and Agence France-Presse.
Another 14 people were killed in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, “which was hammered by more than 41,000 lightning strikes on Wednesday,” AFP reported.
Homes and businesses now lay in rubble littered with downed trees and electrical lines.
Livestock are dead. Schools are closed.
And residents are bracing for another storm that’s predicted to strike in a few days: The Indian Express reported early Thursday that Indian Meteorological Department scientist Himanshu Sharma warned of another round of dangerous weather likely to strike the area.
“There is a high probability that winds will intensify in the next 48 hours in Rajasthan, which may lead to another dust storm,” he told the Press Trust of India. “It will affect areas of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan border, especially Karauli and Dholpur.”
The majority of the deaths were in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, in the north.
The death toll in Rajasthan soared past three dozen, and the number may continue to climb, according to the Indian Express. The worst damage was in the Bharatpur district, according to the newspaper. “Most of the deaths occurred after walls and roofs of houses collapsed in the middle of the night,” T. Ravikanth, the district divisional commissioner in the state capital, Jaipur, told CNN.
Dust storms have hit India in the past, but officials said what made this storm so deadly was the fallen debris.
“Many houses collapsed due to high intensity winds, or the trees fell over onto the houses,” Sanjay Kumar, Uttar Pradesh’s state relief commissioner for the National Disaster Management Authority in India, told CNN, explaining how residents had become trapped and died.
India’s National Disaster Management Authority issued an alert earlier in the week, warning residents about “severe thunderstorm activity” with hail and strong wind gusts in Gangetic West Bengal and Odisha, as well as other areas in eastern and northeastern India — but not specifically Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
“I’ve been in office for 20 years, and this is the worst I’ve seen,” Hemant Gera, secretary for disaster management and relief in Rajasthan, told BBC News about the storm.
“We had a high intensity dust storm on 11 April — 19 people died then — but this time it struck during the night, so many people sleeping and couldn’t get out of their houses when mud walls collapsed.”
Shivam Lohia, who owns a resort hotel in Rajasthan, told AFP that his car was almost blown away in the storm. He abandoned the vehicle on a road, he said, and ran for his life.
“Everyone was scared and running for cover as trees and homes were getting blown away,” Lohia said. “It was a nightmare.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a statement Thursday that he was “saddened by the loss of lives” and that he has asked state governments to provide assistance to those who need it.
Saddened by the loss of lives due to dust storms in various parts of India. Condolences to the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon.
Have asked officials to coordinate with the respective state governments and work towards assisting those who have been affected: PM
Marijuana Is Not A Gateway Drug Up: It Is A Step Down Drug Though
The first time that I ever tried smoking Marijuana (Pot) was in the High School parking lot the year I turned 17, that was 1973. As I learned through the years the Pot I tried was Norther Illinois Homegrown and was basically worthless as far as getting a buzz (high) from it. Back then you could buy a five-finger bag for $15 but I thought it to be a waste of 15 hard-earned dollars. I am now 62 years old so I have been around Marijuana for 45 years now so yes, I do have some opinions that I would like to share with you about what I think and believe about this God-given plant. The next time I tried Pot I was 23 years old and living in Houston Texas. I have never really been a drinker of alcohol nor a user of hard drugs and I have never once stuck or been stuck with a needle with street drugs in it, I have never had such a desire to do so. The far right (wrong) media has been talking trash about Pot at least since about 1988 saying it is a ‘gateway drug” that gets people to go into doing “hard” drugs like Crack, Pills and Heroine. Folks, my life’s experiences have shown me that Pot being a “gateway drug” is a bunch of lies (BS).
Folks, I have known people who have smoked Pot their whole adult lives who have never gone onto harder drugs and that includes alcohol. I have known people in several professions who liked to smoke Pot in the evenings when they got home from work to help relax from the stress of their day and who would smoke it on the weekends for the relaxation of it. These people I speak of are my age and older who are now retired from their jobs. These people were/are inner twined into the fabric of our economy. They bought and paid off homes, cars, boats, and raised families. None of these people who I know ever did anything to get into trouble with the law, they weren’t/aren’t robbers, murderers or violent people. Many millions of people believe that this is a God-given plant that is given to the people for many health benefits and believe that no man, no government has any right to refuse it to the people. President Obama as well as this idiot we have in the Oval Office now say that Marijuana should stay in the class one category of drugs because it has no medical value and this is what the DEA also spouts as truth. I know that these are educated people (at least Mr. Obama is) but if they believe this they would have to be both ignorant and stupid. The only reason that these people would say something so stupid is if big money is involved, and you know it is. So, is it stupidity, ignorance or just plain crooked. Personally I have to go with the big money, thus the crooked concept.
I am a service connected disabled Veteran from active duty Army service. I was only in for seven months because in the second month I was struck by lightning during a training exercise. The VA has in the past loaded me up with pain killers which do almost nothing for the nerve pain so I had them stop them about 4 years ago as I have no desire to walk around like a Zombie. The only thing that I have found that helps is if/when I can find some good quality Pot. The Pot does not cure the issues but then again, neither do the pills. The Pot works like a block on the nerve pain, the pain is still there but it does not let the pain signals go from (A to B) SO IT STOPS THE PAIN SIGNAL FROM GOING TO THE BRAIN. About two years ago the Senators and Congressmen who were on the committee over seeing the budget for the VA at the last-minute took the provision to okay medical Marijuana out of the VA funding bill. These disgusting people should all be fired this November!
In my life I have seen many cases where people who used to smoke Pot but had to quit because of laws about pre employment and random drug test at their employers, if I remember correctly this kicked into high gear in about 1988. If you are old enough to remember this is about when our Federal Government started their so call ‘war on drugs’. This ignorance, the way they have gone about things have cost many thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars that could have gone into the economy instead. For many people when they had to quit smoking Pot because it stays traceable in your system for about 30 days they then started drinking or just drinking more than they ever had. Also for many people who still wanted a ‘high’ when they had to quit smoking Pot turned to things like Cocaine, Crack, Heroine, and Pills because these things only stay in a person’s system about three days. So in essence, the Government has increased drug usage with their ‘war on drugs’. Check the stats, in states where Marijuana is now legal drug overdoses have gone down, Pill usage has gone down because people would rather have the mellow high that Pot gives and a fact is, no one has ever died from an overdose of Marijuana. If states would all legalize real Marijuana this new product called K-2 would disappear. It seems like every week we are hearing of people having to go to the hospital because of the chemical effects of this synthetic version of Pot. Just yesterday it was on the news that 10 people in Austin Texas were sent to the hospital because of it.
There is only one thing that comes to mind for the reason that Marijuana is not legalized and that is there is very big money flowing into D.C. politicians to keep it illegal. Remember what I said about the VA? If Marijuana became legal and the VA was able to dispense it the drug companies would lose billions of dollars each year because there would be no need or reason to take their chemicals. This would also save the VA and the tax payers billions of dollars each year, this is money that could be going into the economy instead of CEO’s pockets. The U.S. ‘war on drugs’ has in fact created drug traffickers and cartels. This ignorance has created revenue for street gangs here in the States. How many lives have been taken by these gangs from South America and Mexico to Los Angeles to Chicago to New York to small towns all over the U.S.? Marijuana being illegal has helped fuel other much more dangerous drugs and gang warfare on our city streets! How many police have lost their lives in this war? I don’t know that answer but even one Officer losing their life over the bought and paid for politicians and their hypocrisy is just plain evil. There is also the reality that many policing agencies go after the people with small amounts of Pot for the purpose of stealing people’s personal property like their homes, cars, land and bank accounts. It is safer and more profitable to go after these people who are much more mellow type of folks. The exception would be when the police are trying to arrest some of the Pot dealers, some times some of these folks will have guns or big dogs to worry about. There is also the concept of the Prison Industry which cost the public billions of dollars to arrest, convict and house/jail Pot smokers each year. Some States cry about over crowded prisons and want to have more jails and prisons built. The remedy to this problem is simple, free the people you have in the prisons who are there for simple possession of Pot. This would free up many cells in which to put the violent offenders! Also there is the problem of our Court system being so backed up with people charged with simple possession that it takes ridiculous amounts of time to adjudicate the cases of the violent criminals that our local jails are over-flowing. One last thought, the U.S. has more people in Prisons than any nation on Earth, more than Iran, Russia, China or even North Korea. The remedy to all these ill’s is simple, make Marijuana legal, every thing about this issue is a win win for our Country and our people.
THIS IS PART ONE OF A TWO PART ARTICLE. BECAUSE OF IT’S LENGTH I WILL FINISH THE SHORTER OF THE TWO PARTS TOMORROW AND POST IT THEN. PLEASE, I BEG YOU, IF YOU GIVE A DAMN ABOUT AMERICAS SERVICE CONNECTED DISABLED VETERANS PLEASE READ THIS INFORMATION. I PROMISE YOU, THIS IS A 100% TRUE ARTICLE!
Along with that title I should include massive malpractice and attempted murder. I know that what I just said is a bit harsh as is the title yet when something you speak is the truth it is not slander or harsh, it’s just the truth. I know that this may well be my longest article ever but if you wish to hear some truth about how bad I have been treated by the VA system, please lend me your ear. I do not think for one moment that I have been singled out for their persecution, I am just one of millions that they are guilty of trying to kill off whether that be through the above listed actions, or even possibly intent. I know that is a tough statement but after talking with at least 200 different disabled Veterans and their wives from all over the country and hearing their own horror stories it makes one wonder a little bit if the VA is trying to kill off as many of the older Vets as possible to help save the system money so that they can afford all the new disabled younger folks coming into the system everyday.
My story would have to begin when I went into the Army on 7-18-1983. I was sent to Boot Camp at Ft. Dix NJ. While on a training mission there on the post on 8-11-83 I was struck by lightning. Right from the start the company C/O started trying to cover things up and trying to blame others for the event. To me that is really stupid being this isn’t the Boy Scouts. They did know that a huge weather system was coming up the east coast because they had been telling us about it all day, yet still I don’t believe anyone is ‘responsible’, I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, 6 PM. When I was totally cleared on medical I was discharged on 2-3-84 from Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland where I had been transferred for the purpose of learning a trade called Small Arms Repair. Ft. Dix just pushed the problem off to another group for them to deal with plus I learned that almost all of my medical records vanished. Within the first five years after I was discharged (because I couldn’t do the work) all record of me ever being in the Army somehow disappeared three different times. The only thing that saved me was the fact that I had several paper documents proving otherwise. I lived in the Dallas Ft. Worth Texas area so I started going to the Dallas VA Hospital starting in September of 84 and moved away from there on 7-1-97. Just recently (about six months ago) I was informed by the VA here in Lexington Ky that the VA has no record of me visiting the Dallas VA until September of 1995. How convenient for them to lose all those records, just like the records from the Ft. Dix hospital have almost all disappeared. One of the interesting little facts that I haven’t told any of them yet is that in their new computer system (about 3 yrs old) they call “My Healthevet” they have record of several of my lab reports dating from January of 1991, from Dallas.
As I said earlier I was discharged in February of 84, by about July of 84 I was starting to have pain in the left side of my chest and real bad pain in my left shoulder. By September of 84 the shoulder pain had gotten so intense that I could not put my left hand up on the lawn mower handle to hold the lever to make the mower function. I did not have any medical insurance at my job so I went to the Dallas VA at least seven times starting with September of 84 up through the spring of 97 when I moved to Ocala Florida and started going to the VA in Gainesville Florida. All of these times that I went to the hospitals for help it was all I could do to walk in from the parking lot because of having so much pain in my chest, shoulder and neck where I was sweating very badly and very short of breath. Each time I had to stop two or three times because of these reasons. When I would finally get seen I used to have the ‘problem’ where my blood pressure tended to always stay at about 110/70. The medical people would see that and say “well we know it’s not your heart” because by blood pressure was so good. Even though I had all the signs of having a heart attack I could never get them to “waste their time” to ever get an EKG. I always got told there was nothing wrong except maybe heartburn and they would dismiss me.
Being struck by lightning is not something I believe I had ever thought much about, until it happened. It is not something that I recommend for anyone to go through, to say the least, it hurts. I did not really know anything about the effects of being struck by it but if you will read this article you will learn things from my experience. Lightning to me is still a surprising thing in that it produces such energy that can kill a whole herd of cattle in a field or split a huge oak in half or set a house on fire, or hit a person in the head and they might still live. I have learned that lightning does not kill most of the people it hits but it does tend to mess most folks up for life. I also learned that most people (like with me) do not have exit wounds.
When this event happened I had just laid down on my mat to eat my supper. When I lay down I tend to lay on one side or the other, when I do this I also tend to put (in this case) my left foot/ankle upon the right one. The impact hit me right on my ankle bones then ran up the bone system which the Doctors at the hospital told me was rather normal for it to have done being I was laying down that way. I felt the electricity moving up my legs into my low back and it left red jagged burn marks along its path which is also normal for it to do. I quit feeling that sensation once it reached my low spine where it turned my coccyx (bottom of your spine) and flipped it around backwards. I learned later that this happened because the electricity hit it knocking it out-of-the-way and the electricity ran up my spine. While on the examining table in the emergency room I could not feel my legs except for the intense pain in both of my ankles. There was an area on both ankles about the size of a silver dollar where it felt like there was a vice being cranked down on the ankle bones. There was one Doctor who I remember was a Major whom the ER called in because he had had experience with lightning strike victims. There was also another Doctor there who was working with him whom had no such experience. The second Doctor touched my knees and made comment that my knees were hot, which I did not know because I could not feel them. So, I put my hands on my knees and found out that he was correct, they were quite hot. This Doctor also by accident touched the bottom of my right foot with all the fingers on one of his hands, when he did this my whole right leg flew up and my knee almost hit me in the face and then went straight back down. This happened even though I could not feel either of my feet, this was one of my early warning signs about nerve damage. Another big sign of the nerve damage was when the now three Doctors helped me up onto the side of the table so that I could step down onto the floor, they wanted to see if my legs would be able to hold me up. The result was that as soon as my feet hit the floor an intense pain as if it were a bullet went up through the bottoms of my feet, through my whole body and out the top of my head in no more than one second. I actually yelled out in pain as I hit the floor within that one second. Actually the yelp was after the pain had already gone through me as I now laid crumpled on the floor. I remember hearing the term C-6 for the first time at that moment. I didn’t know what this lady Doctor meant by that so she explained that the sensation was because there was nerve damage to the C-6 vertebrae which is in people’s neck. Ever since the lightning strike I have never been able to take the pain of doing something stupid like hopping out of the back of a trailer or off of a loading dock with out it hurting me a lot with the same result as at the hospital.
When I was transferred to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland I spent most of my time there as a Colonel’s Orderly while I was doing rehab at clinics and occasionally going to their Post hospital to see this one idiotic lady Captain Doctor who she seemed to think that because she out ranked me that she could give me the order about the lightning of “it never happened”, as I said, idiotic. While I was at Aberdeen they tried to send me through a school called Small Arms Repair which is really no more than being a parts changer on small arms, rifles, shotguns, pistols and the like. When I took the entrance exams to get into the Army my scores were all up in the mid ninety’s which I was informed by the school CO was higher than any of the instructors, yet I could not pick it up, I could not remember things from one day to the next. The people in charge tended to think that I was failing on purpose but I wasn’t, I just couldn’t remember the material. I did fail out of that school and once my medical clearance came through I was handed my Honorable Discharge papers the next day. Up until August of 2015, I could never figure out why I now had such a hard time learning new things to where I now have to write about anything new onto note pads to where I can go over and over it until I can pick it up. That summer I was on-line just flipping through different web sites and I came across one that was from Neurology Today Magazine and I noticed a headline about a study on lightning strike survivors and spine damage. In this article I learned that a lightning strike generates apx one million volts of electricity. They said that when a large electrical shock goes up the spine that among the things it does is to zap a nerve that is at the tip-top of everyone’s spine. When this happens to a person the result is that the nerve sends something like a little beam to the left front part of the brain where short-term memory is located, and zaps it, thus screwing up a persons short-term memory abilities. I have come across several VA Doctors throughout the years who are adamant that among other things, that there is no such thing as back injuries and that there is no such thing as nerve damage. It has become my belief that many Doctors enter the military and or the VA for employment because they cannot be sued for malpractice so they also do not need to pay for that coverage. I still come across some VA Doctors to this day that believe that if a person’s blood pressure is okay that the person’s heart is okay, total ignorance!
If a person wants to find out about problems people who have been hit with lightning tend to have concerning their long-term health they would find that my problems are not any different from what would be considered as normal. The first two things on the list are heart problems and spinal nerve problems. I am no one special in this regard yet I receive 40% Service Connected disability rating from the VA because of traumatic arthritic conditions to my knees at 20% and the other 20% because of hearing loss in both ears. Nothing for the ankles which was the point on impact, nor any of the other joints, nothing for nerve damage, nothing for the heart being destroyed. I did have one test done that I had been asking for years to be done called a Nerve Conductivity Test, when they did it they “on my legs” they said that they found no problems and this “test” results are what is in my records. The “test” was conducted by one guy (I say ‘guy’ because I have learned that many people who do these test aren’t actually Doctors and often aren’t even VA employees), this guy had me take off my pants, shoes and socks and to sit upon a table. He told me to turn my head to the right and not to look toward him as he did ‘the test’. When he told me he was done I was allowed to look back at him, what he had done was to take a stick pin like you use to put a calendar onto a wall and stuck each of my legs about 20 times all over both legs. What I saw was all of these little blood drops/spots and him holding that pin. I would bet almost anything that this is not a real Nerve Conductivity Test, it was just a guy acting like an a-hole. Also now concerning lack of morals, ethics or professionalism when it comes to heart issues. When I have spoken with civilian Doctors including heart Doctors and about my problems they have all said things along the lines of “well of course” lightning did this to your heart and spine. A few used the term “well duh”. I remember this term because three different times when I met Doctors at the VA who were new to me and they asked me about my problems I was having I told them about the lightning and they said “well duh” of course the lightning caused it. But, now the kicker, and my wife was present two of these times, then I told those Doctors that the lightning happened when I was on active duty and they at once changed their opinions and said that well ‘that’ the ‘lightning’ couldn’t have had anything to do with it. We all know that poop flows down hill so that the employees catch all the hell from above if they don’t tow the company mark but when even Doctors who take a ‘solemn oath’ to do no hurt act like this, their lack of morals and ethics are well on display.
Three previous times I have applied to the VA for an increase on my disability rating trying to get it on my heart, spine, and on my other joints like my hips and shoulders. All three times a guy would come into a room to do this ‘inspection” and as I an all of America has found out in this past two years of so, these people whom portray themselves as ‘Doctors’ weren’t. These people who have been doing these ‘inspections’ aren’t even VA employees, or Doctors, or even have medical training. These people are outside contractors hired by the VA to do these fraud evaluations. All three of these times when the person came into the room they had orders to only and I do mean only, to look at my knees, not the issues that the appointment was supposed to cover. When you tried to get them to look at some of the other issues every time they would get mad and made it plain that the only thing they were allowed to look at was my knees. One gentleman even went as far as to threaten me that if I didn’t quit complaining that they could just take my rating down to zero and make it where I couldn’t go to the VA anymore. You know what is even worse than this fraud, it’s when you find out that someone in the VA system then puts in your records that during the physical that nothing besides the knees were found to be wrong. The BS continues in this scam against the Service Connected Disabled Vets, now that they put this BS in your records all of the evidence that you had given to them to support your claims can no longer ever be looked at again.
There is the issue of the Disability checks that the Service Connected Vets get, as I said I am rated at 40%. For the purpose of saving the VA money where in times past any ratings check would go to the spouse of the Vet once they had died as long as the surviving spouse didn’t remarry. Then it was changed to where the rating had to be at least 30%. Now it is at 60%, so the check we get each month once I die, they cut my wife off unless I get it increased. Yet reality is that they may well in the future raise the requirement rating again after I’m dead. The last day I was able to physically work at all was June 21st, 2013. I applied for social security disability and got my first check in five months and seven days, first try. These other three times I tried to get my rating increased I got turned down after about a year or so but because I was still able to do some work I did not contest them but this last time (4th) I filed in mid February of 2013 because I knew that I was not going to be able to continue working much longer. I had also seen a VA Neurosurgeon at the hospital in Johnson City Tn in October of 2012 who actually in writing agreed with the results of an MRI on my neck that I should be given an increase in ratings because it was obvious that the lightning had messed up my spine. This was turned in with a bunch of other documents that the people on the ratings board in Nashville Tn totally ignored and turned me down flat on all claims. I got this turn down notice in mid March of 2014. At that time because I was no longer able to do any work of any kind I went ahead and filed an appeal which I was told would take about two years at which time I would go in front of a Board of three Judges whom were not getting their checks from the VA like the others had been. In very late June of this year I got a phone call from a man who said he was with this fore mentioned Board who told me that on April 26th of this year that my case was basically put onto someones desk there and that I should be given a date ‘soon’ to where I could go in front of this three Judge panel, I still haven’t heard anything since. February of 2013, it is now April of 2018, that is over 5 years. In March of 1999 in Ocala Florida at a civilian hospital I had a four-way by-pass operation, seven days later one of those arteries closed and I had yet another heart attack (I have had many) these civilian Doctors told me that if I really behaved myself and didn’t pull, push or lift anything that if I was lucky I might live another three or four years. Every day is borrowed time, only through God’s grace and some very good civilian Doctors in Georgia am I still breathing. How many Service Connected Disabled Veterans die each day on this waiting list trying to get an honest rating so that their wife and children won’t have to lose their homes or have the ability to stay off of food stamps? To me their actions (VA) are a moral sin that I have my doubts that God will forgive them for! How much blood are on these people hands?
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ‘LIGHTNING INJURY RESEARCH PROGRAM’, NOAA, AND MD./PROFESSOR MARY ANN COOPER, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT CHICAGO)
Medical Aspects of Lightning
How Big A Problem Is This? Statistics
Lightning has been the second largest storm killer in the U.S. for the last 40 years, exceeded only by floods. A lightning strike can result in a cardiac arrest (heart stopping) at the time of the injury, although some victims may appear to have a delayed death a few days later if they are resuscitated but have suffered irreversible brain damage.
According to Storm Data, a National Weather Service publication, the U.S. averages 73 reported lightning fatalities per year. Due to under reporting, the figures are more realistically about 100 deaths per year. Only about 10% of people who are struck by lightning are killed, leaving 90% with various degrees of disability.
|ODDS OF BECOMING A LIGHTNING VICTIM|
|U.S. 2000 Census population||280,000,000|
|Odds of being struck by lightning in a given year
(reported deaths + injuries)
|Odds of being struck by lightning in a given year
(estimated total deaths + injuries)
|Odds of being struck in your lifetime (Est. 80 years)||1/3000|
|Odds you will be affected by someone being struck
(Ten people affected for every one struck)
Who Gets Injured
While about one-third of all injuries occur during work, workers compensation companies are often reluctant to acknowledge the injury or pay related medical expenses. About another third of injuries occur during recreational or sports activities. The last third occurs in diverse situation, including injuries to those inside buildings.
How Do Lightning Injuries Affect People?
While any death is a blow to a family, eventually the family readjusts and goes on. However, for those who have a relative who suffers significant disability from lightning, life changes forever and the dreams of that family and the survivor may be markedly altered. The family income may be tremendously decreased if the survivor was one of the breadwinners, or the spouse or another family member may have to quit work to care for the survivor if the disability is great enough.
While about one-third of all injuries occur during work, workers compensation companies are often reluctant to acknowledge the injury or pay their medical expenses. About another third of injuries occur during recreational or sports activities. The last third occurs in diverse situation, including injuries to those inside buildings. Many injuries in each of these groups can be prevented with proper education, well conceived lightning protection systems that protect the people as well as the equipment being used or �shelters� where the survivor may seek safety, and lightning safety plans for coaches, parents, and referees at sporting events. While lightning safety and injury prevention is an individual responsibility and decision for adults, adults are ALWAYS responsible for the children in their care, particularly if it is an outdoor sports activity such as soccer, t-ball, camping, etc.
Unlike high voltage electrical injuries where massive internal tissue damage may occur, lightning seldom causes substantial burns. In fact, most of the burns are caused by other objects (rainwater, sweat, metal coins and necklaces, etc) being heated up and causing the burn rather than caused by the lightning itself.
Lightning tends to be a nervous system injury and may affect any or all parts of the nervous system: the brain, the autonomic nervous system, and the peripheral nervous system. When the brain is affected, the person often has difficulty with short-term memory, coding new information and accessing old information, multitasking, distractibility, irritability and personality change. A great quote sums it up perfectly:
“Patients have difficulty in all areas that require them to analyze more items of information than they can handle simultaneously. They present (appear) as slow because it takes longer for smaller than normal chunks of information to be processed. They present as distractible because they do not have the spare capacity to monitor irrelevant stimuli at the same time as they are attending to the relevant stimulus. They present as forgetful because while they are concentrating on point A, they do not have the processing space to think about point B simultaneously. They present as inattentive because when the amount of information that they are given exceeds their capacities, they cannot take it all in.”
Early on, survivors may complain of intense headaches, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), dizziness, nausea, vomiting and other �post-concussion� types of symptoms. Survivors may also experience difficulty sleeping, sometimes sleeping excessively acutely after the injury but changing during the next few weeks to inability to sleep more than two or three hours at a time. A few may develop persistent seizure-like activity several weeks to months after the injury. Unfortunately, standard EEG�s do not always pick up injury in the areas that lightning most often affects leading to a diagnosis of �pseudo-seizures�.
Personality Changes / Self-Isolation
Many may suffer personality changes because of frontal lobe damage and become quite irritable and easy to anger. The person who �wakes up� after the injury often does not have the ability to express what is wrong with them, may not recognize much of it or deny it, becomes embarrassed when they cannot carry on a conversation, work at their previous job, or do the same activities that they used to handle. As a result, many self-isolate, withdrawing from church, friends, family and other activities. Friends, family and co-workers who see the same external person, may not understand why the survivor is so different. Friends soon stop coming by or asking them to participate in activities. Families who are not committed to each other break up.
Obviously, depression becomes a big problem for people who have changed so much and lost so much. Suicide is something that almost all severely injured people have thought about at one time or another. Occasionally, those who do not have access to medical care or who do not understand what is happening may self-medicate with alcohol and other drugs, particularly those who have previously sought solace with these compounds. It is very important that the family and friends of the survivor maintain supportive contact even though it requires an adjustment in their relationship with the survivor. An injury such as this is an injury to the family, not just to the person hit.
Survivors often complain of easy fatigability, becoming exhausted after only a few hours of work. This may be because every task that they used to automatically do without thinking now requires intense concentration to accomplish. Many return to work but find that they cannot multitask and do all of the activities that are required at their job.
There are two kinds of medical tests:
Sometimes function can be ascribed to the anatomic tests but often it cannot so that it is often fallacious on the basis of a normal static picture to ascribe normal function. The mental changes that the lightning survivor has are functional (how the brain works) changes, not anatomic ones so that anatomic tests such as the CT scan and MRI are usually normal. More functional scans such as PET and SPECT may show changes but are hard to obtain due to their relative infrequency in medical centers. To use an analogy: if an electric shock were sent through a computer, the outside case would probably look okay (similar to a photo or x-rays of the person), the computer boards on the inside would probably look okay and not be fused nor melted (CT, MRI for the person), but when you boot up the computer it would have difficulty accessing files, making calculations, printing, etc. similar to a person with brain injury who has short-term memory problems, difficulty accessing and coding information, difficulty organizing output,
A functional test of how a person�s brain is working that is seldom thought of by most non-neurologists is called neuropsychological testing. These tests are administered by a qualified neuropsychologist familiar with the literature in this area, not by a psychiatrist, and consist of a 6-8 hour battery of pen and paper tests including memory, IQ, organizational ability, and other �how the parts of the brain are working� kinds of tests. Survivors of lightning and electrical injury usually have a characteristic pattern of deficits. This type of testing is expensive and not necessary for most but can sometimes be helpful when litigation is involved and there is a doubt about the cause of a person�s injury.
Another common, often delayed problem for some survivors is pain, also a difficult problem to quantify and manage and one that does not always present initially in the full-blown pattern that it may have later. The pain may not only present as the chronic intense headaches mentioned above but may be in the back (perhaps from compression and disc injury from the intense muscle contractions which may throw a person several yards at the time of the injury), or in an extremity. Many may have nerve entrapment syndromes. A small number may eventually develop classic RSD. (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, Sympathetically Mediated Pain Syndrome, causalgia)
Sometimes the functional tests that are ordered are testing the wrong thing an electromyogram (EMG) measures only the largest nerve fibers, the motor fibers, which are seldom affected by lightning injury. Smaller pain-carrying nerve fibers are not tested by EMG so that a �normal EMG� means little when ordered for someone with pain. Likewise, the standard EEG does primarily surface readings of the brain and misses seizure activity in several deeper regions. EEG�s may not pick up only 50% of temporal lobe seizures (some personality, organizing ability) and miss 120% of hypothalamic seizures.4
Lack of libido and impotence are often reported. Other common and not so common complaints involve the digestive system, the endocrine (hormonal) system, and the immune system, some of which are currently being studied. It is not clear if these are directly due to lightning injury, to medication side effects, or to other incidental causes unrelated to lightning.
Help Exists – Lightning Strike and Electric Shock Survivors, International, Support Group
An organization that has been of tremendous help to survivors, their families, their physicians and other professionals is Lightning Strike and Electric Shock Survivors, International (LSESSI), a support group formed in 1989 by a gentleman who was injured in 1969 who became tired of no one recognizing or knowing what to do for those with lightning injury. LSESSI has printed materials, offers tremendous support, networks survivors with others in their area, and provides an annual meeting where survivors come together for support as well as for lectures from professionals who work with lightning and electrical survivors and their families. LSESSI can be reached at 912-346-4708, [email protected], http://www.lightning-strike.org/index.html, or at P.O. Box 1156, Jacksonville, North Carolina 28541-1156.
Four Factors Necessary for Recovery
The four most important factors in overcoming disability from lightning injury (or from any illness or major injury for that matter) are:
Far more important than treating survivors is preventing lightning injury.
Prevention is the KEY.
Doesn’t Everyone Feel This Way? (Our Health)
How do we feel about something is an eternal poll question isn’t it? Today if you don’t mind I would like you to talk with yourself (in private probably would be best). Ask yourself how you personally rate your average day as to how much pain you are in during your average day. I am writing this to two groups of people, one group is the group who honestly can say on their average day that they are pain-free. The other group is the one that I believe the majority of us fifty plus folks fit in to, the one where you wish you could afford stock in Bio-freeze. My thoughts definitely go out to all of the men and women who by economics are pushing themselves as hard as they can each and every day knowing it is the only way to buy groceries and pay the next rent payment, no matter what their pain levels happen to be.
Back in 1983 I ended up being in exactly the wrong place at exactly the wrong time, I ended up on the wrong end of a lightning bolt (I don’t recommend that for you folks). Since that evening my physical abilities changed forever and they only get worse as age comes to visit. Believe it or not I am blessed with a wife who will help point out my flaws to me, not that a wife would do such a thing. My wife pointed out to me that the average person on an average day should have an average pain level of zero, that this is how a person should rate an average day. Where do you call your average day? For a long time now I have rated my average day as a five.
My wife see’s me each day, she pretty much knows how well I get around each day. She thinks that because it is what it is (pain level) that I don’t have any “good” days. I think that a five is a good measuring stick for a good day. If I am blessed with a day where things are less than a five, I feel that is a great day, if you just happen to have a day at a three or a four. If I am at pain levels of six or above on multiple areas, then I am not having a good day. I don’t know how else to correlate my thoughts to you. Again I ask you the question, what is a normal day to you? I honestly do hope that your days can stay free of pain. I hope that my wife is correct, that you don’t feel like I do every day, that would be just down right unfriendly of me. I wish you well, these are just the rambling thoughts of an old man to you, stay well, stay safe, God bless.
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