Stuck in the Slow Lane


One of the more frustrating aspects of my job is that I often feel as though I am not being a force for change that I would like to be.  More accurately, that I am not seeing “change” happen as fast as I would like to see it happen, and that bugs the hell out of me.  I see articles in VA publications or Government publications that either talk about what the VA is doing or should be doing for survivors of Military Sexual Trauma.  I never, ever see any conversations about making the military and the perpetrators responsible.  Once again, it seems to me like a conversation akin to “who is responsible for shutting the barn door AFTER the horse get out.”  Nobody wants to talk about whose job it is to make sure the horses NEVER get out.

I admit it takes a toll on me, advocating for the change that needs to happen.  It seems that nobody with any power really wants to listen to the low-grade technician.  I know that is not really true and I know that there are people listening and helping me to spread the message. Without those people I would feel truly useless.  Occasionally, I feel completely exposed and vulnerable; I just really want someone to make this easy. 

Part of the problem is that I have an “overdeveloped sense of justice.”  I believe that there is a clear right and a clear wrong.  I also have serious trust issues and a heightened sense of “betrayal.” Things that other people brush off seem to really get under my skin.  Things I am working on.

I applied for a much higher level job but I already know that I won’t even get an interview.  I would be great at the job, it is a patient advocacy position, and I know that I would love doing it.  I don’t have a chance and I can’t help but think that they are going to give that job to some civilian who has no more knowledge of the military than a flea.  Part of why we are the way that we are is because the military re-educated us on the way life is.  Some for the better – some for the worse.  I just don’t believe that you can effectively connect and advocate for a veteran unless you have walked a mile in our shoes.  I hate to be an elitist…but you just can’t get it. 

That is a big part of the problem; people just don’t get it!  I had that stupid cystoscopy last week and although everyone was very, very sensitive and very supportive there was one bad apple.  She was in the operating room and pretty much spoiled the whole thing.  Here I am, lying on a table in nothing but a short gown.  There is a male at the end of the table getting a clear view of areas not covered by the gown.  No sheet, no towel, no modesty offered to me at all.  This nurse/tech/whatever is strapping my legs to the stirrups in an elevated sit-up position and once that is done she walks away to look at the paperwork again.  NO..I don’t feel at all uncomfortable…really?  What is she thinking?  Thankfully, the nurse with the drugs saw that the heart monitor went from a nice even…beep…beep…beep to a nasty little beepbeepbeepbeepbeep.  Time to take the edge off.  Which was very nice of her.  Then Nurse Cratchet comes back over, shoves my legs apart and starts “prepping” me.  It is a week later and I am still having bad dreams and I can close my eyes and see her shoving and pushing.

That is part of what they just don’t get.  Everyone else was very nice and the doctor made sure I was comfortable.  I really, really appreciate them…but what about the rest of them.  Don’t people know that it is the “one” that can really mess up a situation?

I did make an offer to a person in a position of authority that I would be willing to speak with people in positions of patient care to help them better understand the needs of a survivor of military sexual trauma.  I don’t know if they will take me up on it.  I don’t even know if I am strong enough to do it.  I just know that if God brought me here it must be for a reason.  I just wish things would move a little faster.

Stuck in the slow lane.

Joan

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