grumbles about the VA…


drawing by-jay herron
Originally uploaded by jayfherron

The thing is….my mind is going in overdrive-and I’m finding it difficult to keep it on one track at a time. I’ve always had this eccentric sense of order. That most likely comes from my life as a trucker and having everything in the tractor cab packed into an order-organized for easy reach and for space.
I’m completely distracted with other things in life and have lost track with writing and the concentration…and I have been crazy busy trying to keep afloat until the next check comes on the 3rd. That’s the day us Social Security recipients get to come up for a breath of air and then start to sink again later that same day.
That’s usually distracting enough-but now I find myself needing to put things in order,an odd sort of task some get and some don’t.

From my Social Security check they take a deduction of about 98 dollars each month for ‘Medicare’. I understand it’s a bit less now because Florida has picked up half the tag. Never the less…for the past three or so years I’ve tried to use this Medicare card at the Shands Hospital in Gainesville-across the street from the Veterans Administration Hospital…and was told I couldn’t unless the VA referred me,which they had not.
I had been trying to explain for almost eight years about this pain in my gut-the VA put me through every test a man could know of and began to reach the point where I sensed the doctors there were not giving me the full answer. One test they actually stopped the test and brought in another doctor and resumed the test and conferred out of my hearing range then said my primary doctor would be talking with me. I had to wait two months for that appointment,and then I think he got it wrong,or wasn’t telling me something.
In my life I never felt it was fair for me to seen at the VA. I never felt that I deserved any treatment there…yet after my stroke in ’98 I had no other choice because I had no insurance and still needed care. I have an ‘honorable’ discharge,so they say I do. But I do believe there are levels of treatment provided by the degree of service….I think I am in the lessor degree.
I finally found somebody that helped me get to see a doctor outside of the system-he listened to me and with a short quick blood test found what he says the VA should have noticed a long time ago.

A lot of people wouldn’t believe me about this Medicare card and how I kept being rejected because I didn’t have a referral. Someone finally called Social Security and from there got in touch with Medicare-this while I was sitting in their living room and waiting to hear the conversation. Even the lady we were talking to professed doubt at what I said so she took the phone number of the part of Shands I had once called-and the Medicare tech returned our call with extreme surprise. “That’s the first I ever heard that” she said. And then she gets the idea to tell me I could go to Tampa ( 125 miles south) and I had to tell her that most of the hospitals in the region are owned by or are Shands. I was even rejected from the clinic they run in our small community….all because of the VA.

The other day on our local news there was celebration for the new VA sub-clinic in Gainesville-one geared for the numbers of post traumatic stress cases result of the Iraq war. Every one is all excited because of the appearance of growth in the health-care-more space and more better you will feel,I guess.
It is more that the expansion of the hospital and renovation is requiring out sourcing office space for various clinics and departments. I have a friend that works for the VA and her office has been relocated to another part of the city….but there was no thrill of excitement nor a news parley in celebration.

So it’s like this-when you cannot tell the entire truth you mix it up with false smiles and handshakes. It’s kind of like wagging the dog when it make it look like something good is happening-something great! It’s due to the return of many injured from the war in Iraq (and just because they are opening more buildings to build onto the one they already have-does’nt mean things are getting better, it means they are getting bigger)

I don’t understand why I couldn’t be given the approval to leave the system when I asked. It is one thing to be ashamed that you are using something that rightfully should be for those who saw combat-but to be caught up in something you can’t get away from because you realize you are being treated like an underdog ( and already feel like one anyway)…is it alike the false pride in something that looks great and sounds great but is only a disguise?

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