bedside manner-VA style

My anxiety level must be soaring-it has to be the reason I am so paranoid about going anywhere…for the sake of food I finally went to the grocery store yesterday. I forgot about it being Saturday!

I spent the past two days feeling worse stress than my memory can recall. I feel like a fence post is in my throat and stuck at my chest-I am trying to breath around the post! The rest of it feels like a squeeze from some huge hand coming up from behind. Okay…I’ve known in myself something has been wrong for several years. We know these things!

I have mental health issues! I am post traumatic and with that comes anxiety and stress. I spent all day yesterday trying to justify NOT going to the store,but the crumbs here forced the task. It is just that hard-getting out the door sometimes!

There are times when simple issues become quite an ordeal for me to understand. Like the simple word ‘and’!

Recently like other times in other similar situations-I had a verbal outburst about that one word. It was at my bank…long story,and I won’t tell it all-but I was confused over the use of that word (and) on a certificate and could not settle its understanding in my head,so I blasted out at the teller. I have since apologized to her. 

If something so slight as not understanding why the use of ‘and’ can screw me up so bad one can imagine what this letter from the VA regarding my blocked arteries has done.

I wonder what they think? Send out this letter? Why not-no one knows what it means anyway!

What a strange thing to do-really! Is this how private medical care does it…send the patient off for tests and good or bad-they jot the results down in a letter (in terminology not familiar to any lay person) send it in the mail and that is that?

I wonder if the doctor that sent this letter read my record-and saw that I am PTSD and likely to be a sufferer of anxiety-stress? I wonder if any consideration is taken to think what any patient might begin to go through just thinking about it…my heart is sick? My heart is sick? My heart is sick? And with anxiety put in this…my heart is sick 100 thousand times 100 thousand!

Coronary artery disease? Hey…I had to look it up-get some reading in,learn what it is this letter is saying. No doctor has called to say this is severe. My consult date in January 2011,according to this letter. Let’s see? In January 2009 I had to call 911 rescue. The pain in my back-and the nausea I experience ALL the time hadthis time knocked me to the floor. I was taken to the ER at the Gainesville (FL) VA and from that point on I was treated like an interference and an hour later I found myself standing on the curb.

Looking up the symptoms of coronary artery disease on my own I found that the nausea I have described to them (VA) then-and in the past,and the present,and that I lose my breath when ever I simply lay down is included.

I also learned that coronary artery disease has a direct link to ‘post traumatic stress disorder’.  

My friend tells me I never have anything nice to say about the Veterans Administration Hospital.

I have never felt that I had a right to be there as a patient. My military service included just about nothing! I should have been injured in Viet Nam,or in some way connected to being a soldier-or sailor,but being raped in a detention barracks is not the honor from the legitimate wounds.

Interestingly my first knowledge that I could be a patient came from my having severe abdominal pain back in the  1970’s. I collapsed and emergency 911 was called. I was asked en route if I was a veteran…and ended up in the VA hospital ER. The doctors were ready to remove my appendix-but a nurse showed them the hardness in my belly.

From barracks D to this day-I am afraid of public restrooms! My mornings-for every day of my life,the toilet and shower are triggers/reminders. Never a day! Travel and other away from home recreation are not easy for me. The need for special time in the bathroom is an everyday chore.

The nurse back then had discovered I was impacted! Up until then I had avoided the toilet as much as I could-any interruption and I could not relax enough to go. So I quit taking a shit!

I was a patient there for over a week. They gave me something…and I had no choice. It un-packed me!

To this date-I have the blue ID card they gave me.

I have always remembered that-it was back then when everyone smoked and the ladies from the VFW came around and GAVE us cigarettes!

My next experience was about 10 years later. During the deepest times of my practice of ‘damage control’ when my self-abuse was seriously damaging-I ended up in the VA the second time. I had gone out and gotten myself attacked…like a battered wife,I needed to be touched-and the consequences put me there for nearly two weeks. Anyone then could have read my chart-it was not something I would want anyone to read. The doctor at my last consultation was so gentle about telling me what she thought would comfort me-and it was comforting. But I still was doing things out of the normal and right. And did not understand exactly why.

That was in 1982-there about…It was not until 1999 did I find myself back at the VA again.

Even today-I feel I have no right being there. It seems to me all wrong…even though countless others say I do deserve to be there. I have always ALWAYS felt that the description of my military service is documented there for any clerk to see…that is a level of treatment regulated by the level of your active duty service. Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts got the best when grunts and swabs got median care. And my military record had nothing to impress anyone with. Why should I be there?

I’m rambled off the word “and”!

And? What does this letter mean? At what level of worry should I reach? To what degree of ‘preparedness’ should I go for? Is this squeezing in my chest something that should concern me….or am I okay waiting until January 2011? After all,I’ve only been feeling this way for a few years…must not be much! After all-I am sure by now someone would have called me personally!


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9 Responses to “bedside manner-VA style”

  1. bookwitchery Says:

    So what if you never have anything good to say about the VA? You have no reason to say anything good about them. None at all.
    Everyone points to Bethesda to say, “look at what we do for our veterans”. Bethesda is the show pony. I hate to put it that way, but that’s what it is. It’s the show pony.

    My husband’s 80-some year old grandfather had to undergo a colonoscopy TWICE. Why? Someone forgot to put it in the computer the first time, and if it doesn’t get into the computer, well then, we know it never happened.
    I’ve had a colonoscopy. I was in my early 30’s. It was tough. They made this 80 some year old man do it TWICE because someone didn’t enter it into the computer.

    So yeah. Go ahead, say all you want about the VA.

    • jayherron Says:

      I am saying it as I see it! I try and try to find something positive(about the VA)-and cannot! I know what I am saying is true. I believe my friend is bitter about something deeper and is just setting on my comments about the VA to show it. I wonder-when is it appropriate to stop radical procedures on folks over a certain age? My father was in his 80’s when colon cancer showed up-the surgeries were radical,and left an unfair way for a person to die without dignity because the surgeons saw MEDICAL INSURANCE and everything went dark. There can be no other explanation-just the dollars. I hear talk of a public medical reform? If citizens need a sample of what it will be like-maybe a visit to a VA will open some eyes! Yes…Bethesda is the show place-you are correct! Actually…SOMETHING NICE…Tripler in Honolulu was the most exceptional treatment I ever had,as a VA-Military Hospital combined,I was treated there with respect and as if I was somebody. My pal has a burr up his rump about something bigger…he just has enough deception not to say so! peace

      • bookwitchery Says:

        EXACTLY. If people want the government involved in their health care, walk into a VA hospital.

        I’m glad you received good treatment and Tripler. Too bad there aren’t more hospitals like it.

        Again, Jay, bless you, for continuing to put your opinion out there. If we don’t speak up, then people can go on pretending that the bad stuff doesn’t exist.

      • jayherron Says:

        Tripler was an unbelievable experience! I had a serious rise in my blood pressure while visiting my son in Pearl City-and the moment I was checked at the VA side and seen that my BP was so high…I was in the ER. The entire process-less than five minutes. They treated me with absolute respect. EVERY person I came in contact with made sure to thank me for my service to our country-very real-it was nice. The doctor was an Army officer-he spoke with me as if I was a human being and not like I was a pain in the ass. They kept me there until we both were comfortable for me to leave. Today I see a cardiologist from a private practice-on my Medicare card. I telephoned three before one accepted me. Each time I mentioned the VA the person on the other line tells me “that is not the first time I’ve heard that”…”we hear that all the time” I was told from what I read off the letter the VA sent me that my need is urgent-and beyond reproach that the VA has yet to contact me. We will see how things go. Bless you for your kindness! peace

      • bookwitchery Says:

        I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.
        I’ve been on medication for blood pressure since I was 19 (genetic on both sides, I guess I was doomed from birth. LOL.), and it’s hard to control. I’m currently on two high powered drugs which have worked better than anything I’ve been on so far.

        Of course, stress, anxiety, and PTSD don’t help that any. Once, when a therapist looked over the medical problems I have, she told me, “I’m really not surprised. A lot of trauma victims develop these types of physical health problems.” Not just heart problems, but lung, arthritis, fibromyalgia…PTSD is related to a LOT of things.

        Keeping my fingers crossed for you that things go well.

      • jayherron Says:

        The doctor/cardiologist visit went well yesterday-the building was a little rough for me-a two story place and very crowded. The doctor was all on being my doctor-he told me he was familier with the way the VA is,says he trained there during college (UF Medical College is connected to the VA) and he was quite frank when he said…”I did’nt like it there-and I was there as a doctor in training”. I should be writing more in my blog tomorrow-but the last question I asked was “should I worry” and he said no! They are going to check me Monday as why I am in pain-and do a stress test later this week. God bless you for your attention towards me-for your concern. I really am needing it and trust me-I really feel a comfort from you. peace

      • bookwitchery Says:

        I’m glad the visit went well. I understand about crowds…I can’t stand to have people in “my bubble’, so to speak. I tend towards panic attacks in those types of situations. Not sure if that is trauma related or, frankly, just the way I am.

        Keep us posted. You are in my thoughts and prayers, as always.

  2. Doodarudi Says:

    There are two types of people. There are victims and then there are survivors. In my opinion here are the differences. Victims constantly talk about what brought them to any given point and live with it. Survivors recognise that they have been victimized and look for a release from their victimization. Victims live with a moebius strip, survivors stay on one plane. Mind you I could be wrong, but I don’t think so. I am a survivor

    • jayherron Says:

      Note this-I have seen your bitterness. I have also heard about it-don’t you think that our small town that it would not come back to me? Knowing what you’ve said to ‘crew’ at your ‘office’-yes,I heard of all the the ways you’ve ‘spread the word’ about me! Sure-I know why Dennis reacts like I’m shit when I say hello. Yes,I was told what all you have said…I cannot figure out why I attempt to look the other way-and still visit? There is a sneer on your face every time I stop by…I know when it is there you are ready to say something,never easy to understand you…where you are coming from? What does it mean-my oldest and dearest friend? That statement has gotten to where there is no value to it! I have allowed my feelings to be roughed up by you so many times…mostly because you are getting like Grier,so it is excused because of that. I enlisted when I was 17 also! I tried to enlist in the United States Marines-I was too skinny and not Marine material,so the recruiter said…so I went next door and enlisted where I could go and serve. I was still 17! I walked in and volunteered! I MEANT to go to Viet Nam! Not for what I got…should have gotten hurt over in war,not by my own comrads. I am bitter too! My father quit talking to me-my mother was never right with me-my brothers all followed suit. More! I suffered-beyond the rapes. My son spends 20 years in service…for me,and says he hated it-but did so because I wanted it so bad. So fuck you man…because your support has been so false!(remember-I was married to Misty) Like the night before my hearing was to come…and you had claimed to want to write a letter,but found it more important to drink with Jack-a-thon than than to truly support an ‘oldest and dearest friend’. I am more weary of that friendship more and more! You are a fool-being that you are truly the deserving person to have monetary care-that is offered to you…and the rejections you put in the way of it! Two weeks ago the USA has extended ‘agent orange’ benefits to every citizen of Viet Nam. You reject it. Yesterday the VA extended ‘agent orange’ compensation to the family’s of vets with agent orange…you are MORE deserving than anyone that did not step foot in Nam. This summer the VA has said-you deserve compensation for what was done to you in Viet Nam….I DO NOT get you! You can stand on the sidelines and piss and moan about this just being a way to give money to the undeserving…but you are deserving,you deserve everything the VA offers. Don’t bother with me no more…I sick of trying to figure out which part of you is the one that has the oldest and dearest friend-and which part just plain out resents me!

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