My Disappointing Doctor’s Appointment – How An MD With Terminal Cancer Helped My Perspective

Today I went to the Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic,  for my semi-annual physical exam. I had a different doctor because the new primary care doctor assigned me last year quit December 2011 because she did not like the VA system. Pity she quit, she is a brilliant physician, very thorough, and has an excellent bed side manner (she communicates well). I got a bit spoiled after just a few appointments with her, because, as I have said, she is one of the top 5 physicians I have ever seen, in the 25 year history of my disease. For those who must know her name, it is Dr. Marcia O. Miller.

Today I saw a physician who has been given the thankless task of seeing all of her patients due for semi-annual physicals. I looked up his credentials before going in, and he is well trained in several areas of medicine; furthermore he is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), which is a rarity in the VA system. I have had wonderful results with D.O.s in the past, and had my hopes high, for a good visit, with a physician trained a bit differently than the average Medical Doctor (MD). D.O.s take an entirely different approach to medicine. If you ever get a chance, go see one. You will not be disappointed.

I guess I put my hopes a bit too high because the D.O. was really slammed trying to catch up the case load. Certain patients must be seen, at a minimum, every 6 months, by law, so he has an overwhelming task ahead of him. I knew this, and should have been prepared for it; nonetheless, I was not prepared for what I got. All I got was an 8 minute visit with this doctor. I am the type, it takes me a few minutes to warm up to someone, and 8 minutes was not enough time to cover a 25 year history, not even the high lights. He listened to my lungs, and heart, refilled all my routine meds, and I was out the door. Not exactly what I had envisioned, but after several serenity prayers, and a long drive home, I understood.

I was still grappling with it all, and the totality of my problems when I ran across an article about a doctor, 29yrs old, newlywed, who was diagnosed with incurable cancer. Her stories put everything into perspective, and made me thankful for the health I have, compromised as it is. I will let her story speak for itself. Here is the link. I hope you gain something from reading it. It is very worthwhile reading, and not too long.


If you want, cruise back by, and let me know what you think about her struggles.

Take Care of Yourself, and Tell Someone You Love Them,





Filed under Health, Life as a Disabled Veteran, Spiritual, Veterans Issues

2 responses to “My Disappointing Doctor’s Appointment – How An MD With Terminal Cancer Helped My Perspective

  1. AirportsMadeSimple

    Wow. Yes, sure does put things in perspective. I hope you’re ok. It’s such a shame the VA is so slammed. Is it because there just aren’t enough people who want to work for them? I’m wondering because my brother will soon be graduating as an RN, and he’s a former Army and Coast Guard guy. One basic term in each branch of service. Anyway, he was thinking he might get preference because of his military service PLUS it’s one of the few places that still offer a pension…(yeah, I told him not to bank on that one…). Anyway, he may go into the Physician’s Asst. thing, too, and it sounds like they need all the help they can get. Cheers, Deb

    • I have heard many VA employees say they stay, not for the pay, but because the benefits are so good. If I had a relative getting ready to enter the health care profession, I would definitely point that relative in the direction of the VA. It is a win, win. The pay, while not top dollar, is competetive, but the benefits are incredible. Moreover, the VA is part of the nation’s emergency/disaster network. If something happens, the VA is on the frontline. I remember when Katrina hit, our VAs here in Florida were opened up to the people of New Orleans. Your brother would be serving his fellow Veterans, and his country. Kind of like having your cake, and eating it too.



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