stress test


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Originally uploaded by jayfherron

Yesterday I had a stress test! Yesterday I got the answers!

I begin this way-I received a letter two weeks ago telling me that a CT scan done at the VA hospital showed damage in the LDA and the RCA and that there was myocardial compromise of the something-a-ruther. First available appointment to discuss this was in January 2011,6 months from now!

Not knowing what the LDA or the RCA was-thanks to the use of this computer-I looked it up. Coronary artery disease!

One begins to worry…I did almost immediately! I wanted not to,thought for a few minutes I had this thing under my control. No worry Jay! But I did. It ate at me-and naturally so…anyone would begin to think,what is this going to mean? Surgery? Stents? My favorite was death! You can’t help to think about it!

It took me almost two days of telephone calls to find a route to an answer. My MEDICARE insurance!

I phoned several cardiologists before I could find one who accepted my Medicare with out requiring VA referal,and would see me with out a referal…a hurdle I have met many times before.

Last Friday 13 I took my VA letter and drove over to the big hospital complex north of the city and entered what must be the mall of cardiologists. The entrance was like a museum that heralded each of its staff of physicians and nurses with a display of portraits. The waiting area was huge (larger than my comforts like) with so much space one almost expected to be moved about on a golf cart.

I showed my doctor the letter and he agreed that I be concerned and that he was concerned. He said that just with the three sentences these abbreviated initials read danger….but how much danger was yet to be discovered.

We spoke for a few minutes while the nurse made the appointment for a stress test. The doctor fully agreed that it was unreasonable to send anyone a letter of the kind the VA sent me! He nodded his head in agreement with me that something of this nature should be addressed immediately in a personal conversation,a telephone call at least,to explain the details and the impact. Not to just send it and expect someone to comprehend its meaning on their own. He told me these were medical details for a doctor and in fact told me as a patient nothing. He expressed his dissatisfaction with the VA saying his years at the medical college at the University of Florida the place was practically the classroom. He looked at me and said “you guys don’t get anything that you really deserve” and added “I saw it from our side of the line as a doctor and consider it sad”!

Yesterday was the stress test.

Yesterday afternoon my phone rang. It was a second cardiologist from the heart mall. He began by saying I should interrupt him at any point in the conversation if I was confused by what he was saying…but it was easy enough as he said that the results showed scar tissue from where I had a heart attack in 1998. He told me the stent that was placed there was remarkably in good shape. He told me the muscles of my heart were stronger than one would expect for the time frame of my heart attack…he gave me some numbers (frankly,I don’t concept numbers very well) and told me they were pleased with what they saw. Then he asked me why I came in the first place?

There was a silence and then a sigh when I explained about the letter from the VA. Then he commented back! He said the VA was like finding treatment in a third world country with a caste system. He said there was so much trouble “over there” that the medical ‘professionals’ of the area should be ashamed “that they turn their heads” at such a travesty. He made remarks about socialized medicine and suggested openly that “citizens should visit a VA before they let government get involved with health care”.

I began to apologize…my usual standard…for taking up the time. Then he got very candid! “Gad dong man…if someone sent me a letter about my heart I would be doing the same thing you are doing”! “Give me some answers”…”Not next month,not next year…NOW!” “It is YOUR HEART…and you deserve better and now you ARE getting better!!”

So…that is off my back.

3 Responses to “stress test”

  1. Joan Says:

    Jay,

    YEAH! Glad to hear that things are much better than you thought. I am always keeping you in my prayers.

    Yup…anyone who wants to socialize medicine needs to spend a day at the VA. This is what the social medicine model is….and it is not always a good thing. There are good and bad people in every VA and there are good and bad VA’s. I’m lucky, I work at one of the better ones, but it is still a VA. I’ve seen the bad ones. It is not a pretty thing.

    Many blessings and peace! So incredibly happy for you!

    Joan

  2. G Hogan Says:

    Jay,
    I’ve just gone through four years of your blog. It has been incredible to see your transformation from victim to advocate and from one whose life was consumed by an act of violence to taking control yourself. Sure they have been setbacks, but you’re human after all.

    Why I feel I must write is because I am an attorney who has just begun helping Vets fight their disability claims. Yesterday, no kidding, a Vet (only the third vet client I’ve spoken with) said to me, “I need to tell you something I’ve never told anyone.” And then a 62 year old man told me about his sexual assault while in boot camp in 1970.
    Because of YOU, I know more now about how to help this man. Because of YOU, I know how a person’s activities of daily living can be affected by this kind of trauma.
    Because of YOU, I’m going to be able to give this man guidance on how to get help and how to help him begin to heal.
    You ARE a veteran. You deserve our respect. You deserve our THANKS. And because of your injury, you should be granted access to all of the help we as a nation can give. Thank you Jay for your service, and for this blog. You might call it therapy- I call it courage.
    Thank you.
    -G. Hogan

    • jayherron Says:

      Well,my peace in this is that I am not in this for the money-money could never buy the goodness of how your words lifted me up,thank you! My advice to your new client-stay with this and do not give up! He/you have begun an uphill battle. It is ‘win-able’ but not easy! You have read my blog enough to know this disability claim process is unfair and unreasonable for the MST survivor to have to go through. I am pleased that one more attorney has come to see how destroyed we become from being a military sexual trauma survivor…it is my hope that enough see the injustice and the literal keeping of our civil rights at a distance,if not refusing them to us completely. You too are a hero-looking at the regular way an injured vet has to appeal for disability-it is not set up to understand the way MST survivors are injured,and this is why there are so many Silent Wounded…so,for you to believe in your client and to take on the challenges you both face,I stand in awe of you! Your client is a hero too…he has come forward after holding his own hurt for 40 years. Each time someone steps forward others will soon gain from that show of strength. I am committed to help you in any way I can! Peace

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