Official disclaimer: nothing in this post reflects the views of the Department of Defense, the Army, the Marines, etc. This is only the unofficially terrible, wrong and poorly written opinion of one person who happened to have served at some point since 9/11. You have been warned.
Immediately after you return from a deployment, the Army has you fill out a Post-Deployment Health Assessment (PDHA), and 90 days after that, the Post-Deployment Health Reassessment (PDHRA). These consist of questions regarding basic physical and mental health, drug and alcohol use, etc. Each phase is completed by a phone call with a doctor where they go over your answers with you and make sure you have no questions or other issues.
It’s a straight forward process, and in my opinion it is very beneficial to returning soldiers. You may be surprised that I support this process, and that if I do, why I am writing about it here, given that all of my other Army posts are about its screw-ups? Because the Army deserves credit where it is due, and when something works like it is supposed to work, that is worth noting. However, as you will see below, even when the Army gets something right, the process is not without its issues.
So, after my recent deployment to Afghanistan, I started to get a tingling or numbness in my left hand, specifically the ring finger and pinkie. Nothing crazy; it feels like after your funny bone gets hit and the tingling is almost gone, but not quite, and it’s all the time. I’ve put up with it so far for many reasons: laziness, just not wanting to deal with it, fear of the possibility of surgery, and sheer stubbornness.
During the PDHRA, one of the questions asks if you have any numbness or tingling in your hands. In a new-found effort to be honest with the Army about my health, I answered “yes.” I say new-found honesty because when I returned from Iraq I was honest about how much I was drinking, and they tried to get me into a program. You keep a red-blooded American soldier away from booze for 15 months, and then act surprised when he lives it up a little when he gets home? Come-on. Continue reading