NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Nearly 24 hours into the federal government shut down some North Texans told CBS 11 News it’s not anger they feel, it’s hurt. Now the hurt builds as every hour goes by.
Veterans Affairs Medical Centers are staying open during the shut down. Health care appointments are still on schedule. But those who have been fighting for more benefits, in some cases for years, are now stuck waiting — again.
Picture of Jerry Parrish in his Army days show a young strong man. Compare how he looks now and you can hardly recognize him.
The 56-year-old grandfather has skin cancer, needs a liver transplant, and he’s 100-percent disabled due to Hepatitis C.
He became infected during his 22-year service career. When asked if he thought the government remembers cases like his during the shut down he said, “No. No, I don’t think they care, to be honest with you.”
Parrish is used to waiting for the government to help with his healthcare costs. While he got some benefits last year, doctors estimate he’s been sick between 20 and 30 years. He appealed for more help, and in return has all the form letters that “apologize for the delay.”
Those letters came before the shut down, now appeals like his have stopped processing completely. “If you figure all the other VA administrations wherever they may be, my God, they may never get to me. And that’s one of the problems I’m worried about.”
Parrish is worried because his children, and grandchildren, call his house home. It’s a place now falling apart, because he’s had to spend money out of his own pocket on medical treatment.
At the end of the day, Parrish isn’t concerned if a long shut down affects him, but he is worried about the people who rely on him, the ones who he fights for.
“All this fightin’ is because of them. You know? I have six grandkids. I at least want them to know who I am,” he said as he silently slipped into thought.
Cases like Parrish’s are handled by a board consisting of more than 600 people and all of their work stopped with the government shut down.
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