On April 26th 2013, Elly got her biopsy report back, and had surgery to remove a lump on her breast. When the doctor found that the cancer had spread, he performed a mastectomy. Luckily Elly's family is always supportive of her and made things go a lot better.
After serving my country for over 20 years of active duty, I found that TRICARE-Overseas, specifically the contractor who administers the program (Wisconsin's Physicainas Service), denied Ellys claims for her hospital stay and surgery.
Is this fair-No, is this honorable-No, Does anyone in the U.S. governmnet give a damn-No.
I brought Elly to Hawaii for her Chemotherapy at Tripler Army Medical Center.
Elly arrived on June 13th, and on June 14th we had an appointment at Tripler Army Medical Center. She is now scheduled to see an Oncologist to start chemo-therapy.
Here we are at "Zippy's" in Mililani having lunch.
I'm not sure how long my contract here in Hawaii will last, we are updating 1 month at a time mainly due to sequestration. Hopefully another 6-12 months, and we can both head home to the Philippines.
They made me an offer, I couldn't refuse!! I went back to work. I took a position in Hawaii with my old company, SecureInfo Corporation. I left Elly and Lea in the Philippines on February 25th, and have been in Hawaii on an Army contract. I can make some money, then I can go back to my funny little honey and retired life.
It is already November, and have not started work yet while a certain 3 letter agency is doing a background investigation on my lackluster past and my in-laws. I am getting paid though.
It's been one year since Elly, Lea and me packed up and moved to the Philippines. A lot has changed since then.
A Monsoon hit us in August, devastating Dinalupihan, in fact President Aquino flew out here and declared it a "Calamity Zone". We helped as much as we could. Since we had a generator, we charged over 150 cell phones for not only our barangay, but for people in the surrounding barangays as well. Elly also walked around and passed out rice, coffee and other food supplies to the neighbors.
We had most of the house completed by Christmas, which was nice.
I got to play Santa again for the Methodist Church, and we also passed out food packages to over 100 people in the barangay.
We had a few BBQ's here at the house, it was very relaxing sleeping without all the dust and noise from chipping tiles and concrete.
Peace at last... oh wait!
In late April, Elly was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to have a mastectomy. Luckily, I am working and able to pay the medical bills since TRICARE Overseas does not seem to give a shit about any of our claims.
Elly is holding up like a little trooper, and thank God for her family and friends being there when I couldn't. I talk to her everyday either on our cellphones of on Yahoo Messenger. I want to bring her out here to Hawaii, hopefully we can not only be together again, but get better health care, even though it's provided by the military.
Back in 2009, when my wife and I first saw this house, one thing I never thought to ask was, " Can I get Internet out here"? Well the answer would have been "No"!
We tried all the major carriers in the PI, Globe, Sun, Smart, well that's about it. They all tried, and failed. I had been getting so disappointed that whenever I was approached by someone offering Internet, I would just respond with, "yea, right, I'll hold my breath".
Elly spoke with someone at the palengke (market) in Dinalupihan, and they guarenteed Internet service, and gave her a brochure. One of the players on my basketball team, also found someone who would guarentee Internet. We drove out to her shop and I paid 999 pesos to authorize the "SmartBro installation". They showed up with a WIMAX internal device and got no signal, so they appologized and I was back to square one minus 999 pesos, which I was told could only be refunded after 13 days in Balanga only. Two weeks latter, we still haven't heard anything from the people Elly spoke to, so she called them, they siad it takes 2-3 weeks to process the application, so we waited some more. Then I got the call that they would be out to install my new outdoor WIMAX receiver. They came out, tested and said everything was A-OK! But other technicians would be out tomorrow to activate the system, please pay 499 pesos. The next afternoon, the "Activation Team arived and BINGO! I had Internet, high speed, fast upload & download. I even started playing World of Warcraft again!!! - Alas, this only lasted 2 weeks, then PDLT told me that once again, my house moved behind the mountain and I could only get signal between 1-6AM. WTF!!
I'm now pretty pleased with my new office-gym-storage-guest room.
We are still getting settled here in the Philippines, last week 3 more boxes arrived from the U.S., and my Texas Longhorns, which I crated myself. Elly had her landscaping done in th2 front, we hooked up some wall fans and hired a full time cook & maid.
Unfortunately, we had to sink a lot of money into the Ford Everest. A glo-plug busted inside the engine and as long as the were going to tear it apart, we had the heads re-done, new valves, etc.
It's running pretty good now, and I got to drive it from Pita to Olongapo City yesterday.
We arrived on May 2nd, and it took me a few days to get n the Internet at my nieces house. Still no Internet at my place.
Elly was worried about Lea, but she adjusted just fine.
"I'm not getting on the plane without my dog"!
Elly was serious when she said that, but neither of us would leave the country without Lea. I started the paperwork back in February for Lea, by requesting an "Import Permit" from the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) in Manila. They emailed me one the next day, but it was only good until April 8th. WTF! We don't fly until 1 May!!! It took another week and a half to get someone to stamp an extension on the permit to expire 8 May. Next was getting all the shots and the APHIS 7001 certificate.
I made an appointment with the Veterinary Services at Fort Sam Houston. Most people there were extremely helpful, (except one, a lazy lying admin bitch, which I'll tell you about next).
On March 23rd I took Lea in for all her shots and a second micro-chip. The original wasn't International, so a new micro-chip had to be impanted in her. When there I noticed the paperwork had used an address which was obsolete, the one I had while I was in the Army back in 1997. When I pointed it out to this lazy lying admin bitch at the front desk, she said she would take care of it when I come back for the physical with Lea.
Well, we returned on April 4th and the Veterinarian completed a APHIS 7001 for Lea. When the lazy lying admin bitch presented it to me, it still had the wrong address on it. I again pointed this out and her reply was, "Well, you're moving anyways, so no big deal, you won't be back here any time soon". I thought ok, no big deal, if they didn't think so......
This paperwork was next day'd to the USDA's office in Austin for their seal and stamp, then next day'd to the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles for their authentication process. Well, with under two weeks to go until we travel, I still didn't have the documents. I called the Consulate and they informed me that it was returned to my old address in San Antonio, TX, 5 days ago! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Seriously, if it could go wrong, it did go wrong, even when I enclosed a letter to the Consulate with instructions to send it to my correct address in Cibolo, Texas! Panic mode has now set in, what are my options? Wait for the people at my old address to send the papers back? I actually went there and spoke to them, an elderly Brisitsh couple who confirmed receiving the documents and returning them to the postman the next day after writing "unknown" on the envelope. I couldn't chance waiting for the documents to be returned to LA and resent to me.
So, on Monday, April 23rd, I decided to start the process all over again, get a new APHIS 7001, Drive to Austin and get it sealed and stamped, then fly to LA and have the Philippine Consulate authenticate everything and fly back home. Sound like a plan?
Holy crap!! It worked. First, I contacted Fort Sam, (Fort Sam military vet was TDY, civilian vets at Fort Sam cannot sign the APHIS 7001), at least that's what the lazy lying admin bitch told me over the phone. She also told me that I had all the paperwork so they couldn't do it, and that they are only allowed to do it once in a 30 day period. What blatant bullshit! I had Garden Ridge Animal Hospital do the APHIS 7001 based on the shot records from Fort Sam on Tuesday morning. I then called the USDA and explained my situation, they allowed me to bring the forms to them in Austin and they would seal & stamp the form, which they did. Stamped and on my way back to San Antonio by 1PM. I then scheduled a round trip flight to Los Angeles, using my Delta Frequent Flyer Miles, the ticket cost me $10. The taxi ride from the airport to the consulate and back was $55 each way, but in the end, all is well. Our Lea has her paperwork completed, she will be on the airplane to the Philippines on 1 May along with me & Elly. All is good. And yes, all this for a dog.
I am known for doing dumb things, but this was without a doubt the dummbest!
Over a month ago, I saw online that you can submite for a passport renewal and it inly takes 2 weeks. Well, my passport was not yet expired, but since I wanted to ensure I receive a 13a visa from the Philippines, I decided to expedite the process and get a new passport. Well, 3 weeks latter, I still dodn't have my passport back. After calling several dozen times and leaving hateful messages, I finally got a phone call from New Hampshite, where my passport was being processed. They said it would take just a few more weeks. (What the hell happened to "Expedite")???? Well, I pleaded with them to just return my old passport and I will renew in the Philippines, they did and it came back in the mail just a few days ago, Now, my dogs paperwork, that's a whole different story.
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Friday, the 20th was my last day as a working man! I am officially retired. After 9 1/2 years at SecureInfo Corporation. We had a small get together at The Lion & Rose Pub on Sonterra. I downed a few of my favorite brews, "Shiner Bock", and was able to laugh & joke with old friends.
I am ready for the Philippines, still waiting on my dogs final authorization from the Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles. they told me they mailed the paperwork back to me on Monday, but I still don't have it.