Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Fun and Games at Fort MacToxic!
I was at Fort McClellan for Army basic training (and bonus toxic exposure). I was face down in foul smelling stuff on the firing range. They sprayed it "to keep the dust down" everywhere, on a daily basis, except when it rained. They sprayed other stuff "to keep the bugs away." There wasn't a weed ANYWHERE, but there were plenty of tanks and sprayers.
They sprayed HELLISH stuff ON US as we recited the alphabet, then said and spelled our names and shouted our service numbers through the tears and mucous pouring from our noses and mouths in the "gas chamber." They later told me I had "sensitive skin" when I broke out in weeping blisters and started having dizzy spells and headaches, even though I did as I was told and didn't rinse off afterward, and those symptoms lasted throughout and long after my time in service. I am talking floor-tilting-sideways-dizzy, not just a passing episode of vertigo here. I am now, decades later, finally diagnosed with MS, CFIDS, PTSD (not related to the toxins), and Degenerative Disk Disease, requiring frequent shots into my spine because my body can't tolerate the level of pain medication needed to try to cover up the pain. I have had 2 separate skin cancers removed--before age 40. That is NOT normal, and I've had several several other precancerous lesions removed prophylactically, and I have Barrett's Esophagitis and polycystic breasts. How long until that turns to cancer, I don't know. I feel like a ticking time bomb now that I know the truth! I also sound like a drama-queen, but I'm actually fairly low-key in person. I just get animated when it comes to things like justice and fairness and people being treated unequally due to gender, etc....
One of my sons has spina-bifida occulta, which is a deformity of the spine which ranges from disabling to barely noticable. He's in some pain but is able to work and even play football. My other son got Shingles...SHINGLES...something 88 year olds get...at 15 years old! So apparently I have passed this "gift" from Monsanto et al on to my children, as so many other Agent Orange and other toxin vets have...only as the female parent, obviously since I was also the "biological incubator" ie: the one with the uterus and thereby provided the toxin-spiked blood supply during their development, it's even worse than if I were only supplying genetic material. So, while female vets exposed to this stuff suffer just as much and are more likely to pass MORE damage on to their offspring, the VA refuses to even acknowledge we exist! That is just SO EFFING WRONG!
I visited a site on Blogger where someone said the VA was treating anyone who had served at Fort McClellan as a "presumptive case" of Stateside Agent Orange Exposure, which IS a real thing...for men. NO SUCH LUCK FOR WOMEN. That blogger was either woefully misled, hopelessly optimistic, or a very gifted psychic, because it hasn't happened yet. I choose not to think she was just plain CRUEL.
To back-track just a bit, McClellan was the WAC basic training facility and MP school as well as the Chemical Warfare Headquarters most of its existence (and "shhhhhh" leaky depository of said chemicals while I was there and until it was closed in 1999 due to all the toxins found in the water, air and on land. This was a BIG concern to the civilian population of a town SEVERAL MILES AWAY whose population did NOT have their collective heads in said toxic waste for WEEKS at a time or have it sprayed into their eyes, noses, mouths and skin while singing the Star freaking Spangled Banner!)
God, where is Tom Daschle when you need him? He's the one who fought for SO LONG to get the Vietnam vets compensated. How ironic that I took care of some of those guys and didn't know I had trained in a literal swamp of the stuff? I remember cleaning M-60's (my "reward" for scoring "Expert" on the rifle range and getting to fire one) and hearing the guys talk about how they kept leaking BARRELS of the stuff nearby and the barrels were deteriorating and leaking right out onto the ground...and no one was doing anything about it. At the time it was just another "stupid Army" thing. We had no idea it was going to kill us someday. I was going to say we did everything but bathe in it, but we DID bathe in it because it leaked right into the water system. Waste not, want not, right? ...but no great loss because the vast majority of us there were "just women." We all know how the good ol' boys network works...ohhh yes...but that's a whole different story....the PTSD one, which I may or may not tell another day.
Ugh...the way I see it I'm screwed seven ways to Sunday no matter how you look at it, but it would have been nice to leave some hope for my children. I'm just as sick as the men exposed to that crap, and though I did my bleeding, sweating and crying in an all together different way, I DID do it. The bastards who caused it were "friendly" (ha...odd term, that) but I digress...
Tell ya what though. If you share a similar experience, get in touch...preferably with your congressional representative or with Paul Tonko, the sponsor of HR 2052. Feel free to get in touch with me too, but they can do more for you!
H.R.2052 : Fort McClellan Health Registry Act
Sponsor: Rep Tonko, Paul [NY-21] (introduced 5/26/2011) Cosponsors (11)
Committees: House Veterans' Affairs; House Armed Services
Latest Major Action: 6/24/2011 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Health.
I am working with my congressman on some issues related to my disability, and I HOPE he may help me look into this too, though I have my doubts as he's one of the Teavangelicals owned by the Koch brothers. In the meantime, CALL YOURS! Every single incumbent, be they democrat or republican is sweating bullets right now, so PRESSURE THEM TO PASS THIS LEGISLATION. It's in committee and just needs to be brought to the floor and voted upon. They are wanting to look good...especially these republicans who have done nothing but OBSTRUCT, OBSTRUCT, OBSTRUCT. If they do something like this even *I* may vote republican...so get busy. Write, call, email...and repeat. GO!