I’ll try to make a long story brief: while serving as a junior officer with the U.S. Coast guard in the mid-80’s, I was assigned the collateral duty of Physical Fitness officer (this was just after a bodyfat test was instituted, and a bunch of fatties needed to lose weight to remain Coasties). I took enlisted folks on platoon runs during lunch hours, and spent 2-3 hours each night taking people through workouts. As I was a powerlifter myself, I also worked out alongside my troops in the mistaken belief that the added volume would help my totals.
Needless to say, I suffered much wear and tear, and over the course of those three years suffered rotator tears to both shoulders. Over the years the condition of both has worsened, enough so that I often have trouble sleeping, can no longer straight-bar bench, etc.
I have filed a Veterans Affairs claim for service-related disability, and have been able to show the medical reports indicating both injuries while in service, as well as the continuing treatment over the years for the injuries (including MRI’s showing tears to both supraspinatus tendons).
My claim counselor told me today that my claim would probably be a lock-down cinch if I can get a doctor to say that, upon reviewing my service medical records and my current condition, that it appears my current disabilities are a result of those initial injuries.
The problem is, I have no good ortho docs to whom I can turn. I’ve had a couple look at me and order up MRI’s over the years, but basically they don’t want to talk to you anymore if you don’t a) want cortisone injections or b) consent to surgery. As such, most of my long-term care has been through physical therapists, ART practitioners, etc., and I’m afraid a letter from them just won’t carry the same weight with the VA. Nor do I want to walk in cold to some ortho who doesn’t know me or my story, as time is of the essence and I can’t afford to wait for an appointment for a doc who isn’t interested in helping me out or who won’t put a medical opinion in writing (which is quite common, unfortunately).
So, basically, I’m looking for an open-minded ortho in the RI/Massachusetts area who might be able to help me.
Any suggestions, connections, etc.?
Sorry for the long post, and thanks…