WELCOME FROM THE

VIETNAM VETERANS' FEDERATION

SOUTH AUSTRALIAN BRANCH INC

WHAT WE DO

The Vietnam Veterans Federation SA Branch Inc. exists to actively pursue the welfare and health of Naval, Military and Air Force Veterans from all conflicts and their families. It provides this by.

Assisting members and their dependants to obtain evidence and material necessary to comment, pursue, and maintain claims for compensation for disabilities that may have been caused through special service.

Training members to perform the necessary tasks to assist others with compensation claims.

Establishing a sense of community among its members, other Vietnam Veterans and veterans from all conflicts in which Australia was involved.

Organizing social functions and leisure activities for members, partners and families and friends. Creating special services to commemorate specific battles. Distributing relevant information to members through a State newsletter and a National Magazine.

PRESIDENT'S REPORT

DECEMBER

What a year it has been and still is.

Much of the year has been taken up with RGH and its future. I am happy to report that there is a possibility that it will remain a recognised veteran area, and retain both the pool and Rehab Centre with an extended garden around the Chapel.

This is by no means a done deal, but it is a promising future if a certain bid is successful. Our closer ties to other ESO’s, ie: Korea and South East Asia, Borneo/Malaya and Vietnam veterans Associations. We are working together to get our voices heard in government and other areas.

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WHO CAN JOIN

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Ordinary Membership:

Any person who served with the Australian Army, Royal Australian Navy or the Royal Australian Air Force in any conflict or peacekeeping force in which Australia was involved, either as a member or as an accredited civilian, or is a dependant or descendant of same.

Any person who was a member of or an accredited civilian with one of the allied forces.

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Associate Membership:

Any person who is in the opinion of the committee suitable to become a member.
MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION FORM

ARTICLES OF INTEREST

Hi Guy’s, it’s me, Dawn, I’m Lynden Pettet’s wife. Some of you know us, and some of you don’t.

I want to bring to you all the awful fact that Cancer can strike any one of you at any time.

In early December Lynden had been to the Re Pat as he did every Monday and was watching a thunderstorm with our neighbour drinking a beer. He came inside to have a pee and it was blood. He had been feeling fine, no pain, and no trouble passing water.

The next day he visited the Doc and went for an ultrasound, “no worries,” we said, “just one of those things.
Three day’s later we were in the Urologists rooms. The ultrasound had shown up a 3.75cm x 2.45cm cancer. “HAPPY BLOODY CHRISTMAS.” The Urologist said not to worry, these were quite common, an overnight stay in Hospital and it would be gone. Lynden rang a few days later for the results of the biopsy to be told “sorry, but it’s still there. We will have to do it again in a month after this one had healed, and go deeper this time, but don’t worry we will get it this time.”

He had to have a CT Scan a week later in early March and dropped into the surgery to pick up the appointment time. The Urologist wanted to see him! “Sorry, but the Bladder has to come out!! And soon.”

Well, the outcome of this is that Lynden is now without a bladder. He is 13 kilo’s lighter than when he went in to the Hospital. Nine day’s on crushed ice can do that to a fella, six of them in CCU.

As you can imagine, he is now impotent, and has to wear a bag for the rest of his life.

Is this fair? You bet your boot’s it isn’t. Like most of you, he is in his prime, or was.

I could go into a lot more of the gory details but I don’t want you to stop reading this.

PLEASE BOYS if you notice any changes. Trouble passing water, blood in your urine, get to your Doctor. It may be nothing, but I wouldn’t want to hear of any one of you going through this. That goes for the back half of you too!

You have all been through so much, and still are, you must look after yourselves.

We must care for each other.

I love my Vet and it has been an ordeal which has tested us both.

PTSD is bad enough to live through but this as well is too much to endure.

Lynden is now slowly recovering, thanks to the love and support of all of you too many to put on paper. You know who you are.

I learnt how to use the Internet so I was able to keep you updated on his progress. I kid you not E-mails kept me going when I felt like giving up.

To all of you known and unknown,

THANKYOU.

Dawn

Recently, there have been media reports regarding General Practitioners and Medical Specialists rejecting the Gold Card for treatment, or charging a Gap Fee.

If a doctor accepts the Gold Card they cannot then charge Gap Fee. If a doctor states up front before accepting the Gold Card that there is a Gap Fee payment, it is up to the veteran to make a decision to pay that fee, which will not be reimbursed.

Please notify the DVA of those doctors who are not accepting Gold Cards. They will discuss the matter with the doctor in question and refer you to others that will treat you under the DVA system.

The DVA is currently discussing a new Schedule of Fees with the AMA.

Taking care of your joints

Getting older implies two things, you are less mobile and your joints ache. As well as medication and exercise, there are things you can do every day to help deal with the pain and stiffness and take good care of your joints.
How to reduce stress on your joints

  • Keep to your ideal weight (see advice on diet, below).
  • Pace your activities throughout the day – don’t tackle hard physical jobs all at once.
  • Think about your movements – what makes things worse?
  • Avoid activities that put stress on your joints.
  • Wear shoes with thick soft soles, which act as shock absorbers.
  • Consider using equipment or modifying your home and workplace to help you avoid stressful movements.

Dealing with pain

As well as medication, there are simple ways in which you can treat your painful joints.
Warmth applied to the affected area can relieve pain and stiffness. Some people buy special heat lamps or creams that produce localised heat, but a hot water bottle can be just as effective. Make sure it’s wrapped in something so it doesn’t burn you.
An ice pack can bring relief to hot and inflamed joints, but you should seek advice from a physiotherapist first. Never apply ice directly to the skin – it can burn.
Stress and muscle tension can make arthritis seem much worse. Many people find that taking a long bath, listening to soothing music or using a relaxation tape can help. A physiotherapist will be able to advise you on relaxation techniques.
Eat healthily
Your body needs a variety of nutrients to stay healthy, so make sure you get lots of fruit and vegetables, meat, fish and beans, dairy foods and cereals such as bread, rice and pasta. This is what is meant by a balanced diet.
Generally, we tend to eat too much fatty and sugary food, such as cakes and chips, and not enough fruit and vegetables. Reducing the former and increasing the latter is often the key to losing weight as well as improving health.
Special diets
There are many theories about whether what you eat affects your arthritis. As yet there’s little scientific evidence to suggest that it does, but some doctors feel special diets are worth trying as long as they don’t mean missing out on vital nutrients.
If you’re considering going on a special diet for your arthritis, it’s important to discuss it with your doctor first.
Some people with arthritis find their condition improves when they give up certain foods. One theory is that this is because of a food allergy or food intolerance.
There are many tests for determining allergies or intolerances, but the only reliable way of identifying foods that could be making your arthritis worse is by systematically excluding them from your diet. This should be done with the knowledge of your doctor.
Helpful foods
There are theories that certain foods and dietary supplements may help arthritis. Some have been tested more than others. For example, there’s evidence that the essential fatty acids found in fish oil and plant seed oils, such as sunflower oil and evening primrose oil, may help some people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Other supplements you may hear about include green-lipped mussels, selenium and garlic. However, there’s little scientific evidence of these having positive effects.
You should discuss taking such supplements with your doctor.
Jim Mavromatis
State Rep Men’s Peer Health Education

PENSION OFFICERS' TIPS

Did you know:

  • If a veteran has a Defence Service Home Loan, and dies before it is paid out, the loan is not automatically paid out. In some cases the loan may not even continue for the benefit of the partner.Please check with Defence Service Homes on Freecall 1800 722 000 to clarify your position.
  • If on a DVA pension and travelling overseas it is necessary to notify the Department in plenty of time prior to departure. If you have a treatment card (white or gold) you also need to ascertain the treatments for which you will be covered, and how to access them.
  • If a partner of a veteran who receives the Special Rate becomes widowed before they are 56, they will not be eligible for the Income Support Supplement. They may become eligible on their 56th birthday.
  • All veterans still in the paid workforce are asked to contact a pension officer prior to accepting any inducement to finish work, regardless of how generous it may seem, or what your health status appears at the time.
  • For people on Service Pension or Special Rate (TPI). Next time you visit your Local Medical Officer (GP) ask for a prescription to get A 125ml tube of ‘Sunsense Ultra Lotion SPF 30Plus, It will be supplied by your chemist at the $3.60 per script rate and you can slip, slap, slop, and that’s not just in the bathroom!!

Veterans MATES

Helping Veterans Get the Best from Their Medicines

When was the last time you had a good talk with your doctor or pharmacist about the medicines you take? As we get older we tend to rely on more medicines to help us manage our illnesses and maintain our health. Often we take a range of medicines which, if not taken correctly, can result in additional health problems.

Veterans’ MATES is a new program from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs that helps veterans and their carers avoid these problems and use their medicines safely.

Most medicines are effective when used as directed by your doctor or pharmacist.

You may also use medicines from supermarkets, health food stores or over the counter medicines along with those prescribed by your doctor. But medicines taken in the wrong way or at the wrong time can cause harm, even an emergency.

Up to one-third of hospital admissions of older people are due to problems with medicines. People mix them up, use them incorrectly or simply forget to take them.

Thankfully, these problems are preventable and Veterans’ MATES can help.

Veterans’ MATES sends information about different health conditions and medicines to veterans, doctors and pharmacists every few months. So far, materials have covered Home Medicine Reviews, heart conditions, diabetes and arthritis. DVA has joined with Australia’s leading Quality Use of Medicines organisations to deliver Veterans’ MATES to an estimated 16 000 medical practitioners, 5 500 pharmacies and their veteran patients.

You or your carer can begin to better manage your medicines by talking to your doctor and pharmacist about Veterans’ MATES. They can arrange a Home Medicines Review of all your medicines.

Ben, a 78-year-old Korean War veteran, learnt a lot about his medicines after having a Home Medicines Review, which was organised by his doctor. A pharmacist visited Ben in his home, arranged to dispose of out-of-date medicines and helped him organise his tablets. Afterwards, the pharmacist discussed Ben’s medicines with his doctor. Ben felt much more confident talking to his doctor and pharmacist about his medicines after the Home Medicines Review.

To get help with your medicines:

  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist regularly about your medicines
  • Ask your doctor about a free Home Medicines Review by a pharmacist in your own home
  • Call Veterans’ MATES on 1300 556 906
  • Get a copy of the Home Medicines Review brochure at www.dva.gov.au/health/veteransmates

DIARY DATES

EVENTS

VIETNAM VETERAN COMMUNITY FUNCTION

The Federation's

MONTHLY BARBECUE

2nd Friday each month

at the clubrooms

Good fun, Good food, Good company

Socialising starts at 11.30am

Food is usually served around 12.30pm – Meal $10.00 ea

Bar Open

See Diary Dates

See Also Special Event

LATEST NEWS

Pleuralmesothelioma

Pleuralmesothelioma.com is the leading web resources for mesothelioma. Veterans comprise approximately 30 percent of all mesothelioma diagnosis due to asbestos-contaminated products that were used by the militaries all over the world. Like other navies around the globe, the Royal Australian Navy found many uses for asbestos-contaminated products. Fire prevention and safety is of utmost importance on all seagoing vessels such as submarines, battleships and aircraft carriers that featured contained engines and boilers and also hauled many weapons. This rare cancer has a severe latency period and veterans may only now be feeling symptoms of mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos decades ago. Learn more about mesothelioma, exposure, and treatment options for veterans at

pleuralmesothelioma.com


VETERANS AFFAIRS INFORMATION KIT

Independent Study into

Suicide in the Ex-service community

Review of Mental Health Care in the

Australian Defence Force and Transition Through Discharge

http://www.dva.gov.au/health/research/suicide_study/index.htm

CONTACTS

Patron: His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC

Governor of South Australia

Vietnam Veterans Federation
The Yerbury Centre,Unit 1
31 – 39 Norfolk Rd
Marion

 (08) 8296 2411

Monday to Thursday

10:00am to 3:00pm

WAR MEMORIAL

The Vietnam War Memorial Project

After many months of planning, which commenced on ANZAC Day 2003, the Memorial Project was officially launched in April 2004 with a car raffle and public appeal. The aim was to construct a truly significant memorial to remember the contribution of all those who served in the Vietnam War and to particularly acknowledge the fifty-eight South Australians who made the supreme sacrifice.

The project was a joint venture between the Returned and Services League, Vietnamese Veterans’ Association, Vietnam Veterans’ Federation and Vietnam Veterans’ Association. For the first time these groups joined together as one to ensure that the service of all Vietnam Veterans will never be forgotten. Moreover it recognises the camaraderie enjoyed by veterans of Australia and South Vietnam during the war and which still exists today.