To Service-Oriented People Everywhere
This is a story about someone you probably know; a soldier. You may have one right inside your home, in your family, or walking on the streets of your town. Like many, Harold Gilson is an 89-year-old veteran who has gotten lost in our system; the government and country needed him, only to find they aren’t there in return…in his time of need.
Standing proudly, Harold Gilson, a WW2 Veteran of the U.S. Navy, served four years fighting on the Pacific Ocean for our country. He always knew it was his patriotic duty, and is thankful every day that God allowed him to come back home to his family.
Even today, Harold serves his country through events that support peace and freedom. Most recently, he was part of a recent honor flight, and he simply loves to share this and other stories with those around him.
Although he will be ninety in January, he is still very sharp in mind. The problem that Harold faces is not in his head; it’s physical…and it’s extremely painful.
Read now what Harold’s daughter wrote to me; asking for help. I don’t know why she chose me, but for whatever reason she saw hope in what I might be able to do for her father.
“About three years ago, after an illness, my dad started to get psoriasis. He first went to a dermatologist, where he was given a cream to use. Unfortunately, this had absolutely no effect on him.
We went back to his family doctor, who in turn sent us to UC Hospital Dermatology Department in West Chester. With time passing, and one doctor appointment after another, it was determined that his psoriasis had gotten so bad that my dad would require ultraviolet treatments. The problem wasn’t taking him to three or more appointments each week; the problem now is cost.
We also went to the VA Hospital and had a full evaluation, and they agreed with UC about his condition. However, due to his income being over annually ($1500 over) to qualify for VA to pick up his copay.
At $40 per copay, three times a week, we would have to spend $120 each week, and that’s for a number of months! This is the moment when we felt completely helpless. My parents are very low income; they make less than $20,000 a year and are retired. Still, that’s about $1500 too much for the government to approve VA assistance. A second option was to have an ultraviolet machine brought to dad’s house. Once again, the copay of $4,000 is just too much for their income.
I have contacted every possible agency I know of for help, and sadly, no one responds back to me. The sad part is when my dad fought for our Country, he was thought of so highly, and now it’s as though he could wither up and die…and no one would even notice.
Over the past few months, my dad’s body has gotten completely covered; everywhere but his face. It breaks my heart to see him like this, and I don’t know where else to turn.
Kim, thank you so much for taking the time to read this and any help would be greatly appreciated. I will forever have the deepest respect and admiration for taking the time to do this for my Dad! There are no words to describe my appreciation for what you have done. I read it to my Dad and he is overwhelmed! God Bless you!
-Linda Whisman, daughter of Harold Gilson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Do you feel it’s right for an elderly person, with very low income, be rejected the care he needs because their income is about $1500 too much in order for copays to be approved; should he be shunned because of such a small difference? I do understand policy, and that there have to be boundaries in order to continue business, but I more so understand bills, and don’t feel anyone should do without when they are in pain.
There are moments like Harold’s when a hospital or doctor should figure out some sort of deal…so a veteran doesn’t have to do without. This is especially true, when I hear stories about others getting procedures that are more cosmetic in nature (i.e. rhinoplasty). It’s not that he doesn’t want to pay; it’s simply the fact that he can’t afford to pay more than his copays. Is it right, or fair, that we dismiss the needs of those veterans who stood proud in the light of controversy and uncertainty? He put his life on the line, and now that life is painful.
One thing I truly believe is if we continue to dismiss those who are near, and dear to us, who are hungry, homeless, abused, along with those who stood tallest for us …serving our country, we eventually will feel the repercussions of our silence or self-serving behaviors.
Sooooo…..what could we do? The one suggestion I had for Linda is to set up a fundraising company or gather advice and help from others; in hopes of getting her dad the care he needs. With that, consider making a veteran someone you help in this coming year…so she can get her dad some relief from the pain. If you decide to help, please send an email to Linda Whisman.
So why post this…what will it do? Maybe my sharing will bring a thought to someone that’s helpful, or perhaps someone is waiting for an opportunity like this that speaks to them…and they know exactly what needs to be done. Who knows–but it never hurts to try.
God bless our veterans, the United States of America, and all people who are peaceful.