Tag Archives: veteran

My Visit With My New Doctor & Compliments to Lake City, FL VA Hematology Clinic

I had an appointment at the Veterans Clinic in Lake City, Florida today. I was a bit apprehensive about this appointment because I have a new Primary Care doctor. Those who know me know that this is my 5th Primary Care Doctor in the past two years. I have never had so many doctors, in such a short time. What happened was the doctor assigned me when my old doctor got promoted quit because she did not like all the computer BS the VA makes the doctors do, and they had a hard time replacing her. Of all these doctors, I only saw one, back last year, for a whole 5 minutes. Needless to say, I felt like I was being put on the back burner, all the while my health kept declining from an already diminished state. I was in and out of a local private hospital because the pain of the pancreatitis, which they now say is chronic, was too much for me, and the medications I had would not touch the pain. The last time I was hospitalised, June of last year, on top of all the medications I take routinely, they were having to give me 1.5 mg of Diladud every 2 hours. I was very miserable until it cleared up. I could have taken care of things at home had I had something for the intense pain, other than what I already take for the myriad of problems I have. Moreover, I were in the middle of a dose adjustment when the doctor who was supposed to be my new doctor quit. I did okay, for a while, then I needed another adjustment, yet had no doctor who knew me to call on.

The Primary Care Doctor is very important in the VA system. They are the proverbial Quarterback of the team. When you have a severe health problem you do not want second string replacements, you want a real Doctor who is going to stay, get to know you, and you them, so as to develop that special relationship a severely ill patient needs with their doctor.

I am glad to report my new Primary Care Doctor seems to be a good one. It is going to take time for her to get to know me, and understand fully my problems, but we had a great start today. She did not pull any punches with me, and gave it to me straight. I respect that. Moreover, she discovered some medications I had been taking for a long time that are not exactly good for a man’s prostate, and discontinued them, lest I develop prostate problems. I appreciate that. I go back in 3 months. I will see how it goes, but thus far, all is good.

My blood has been tired for over six years now. I had a significant GI bleed back in 07 that created many problems for me. I want to take this time to tell whoever reads this how nice, compassionate, professional, and efficient the Hematology Clinic at Lake City has been to me. I truly appreciate them. Of note, is a nurse named Amy, and an NP named Ruth. They have bent over backwards to accommodate me, and I am truly grateful. Stacy deserves an honorable mention as she is another one who has helped me. Kudos to these front line troopers. The VA needs more like them, especially Amy, and Ruth.

As I have mentioned, my health has been giving me fits. I now have chronic pancreatitis, and it hurts like hell. Most of the time, about 70 percent of the time, my regular meds work, but the rest of the time I am in sheer agony. I had to go to the ER last month for a pain shot. I also am dealing with the crohns (from Accutane given me for my service connected disability), the effects of 11 abdominal surgeries, 5 surgeries to repair a broken bone in my face (Army injury), sacroilietis, fused disks in my neck, myofacial syndrome, osteoporosis, joint pain (severe in my hips), and neuropathy. I am dealing with more than this, but to list it all would take more space than I wish to use. Suffice it to say, I need your prayers, if you pray. Anyone wishing to send cash, that will help too, although it will not take the pain away. I have been in constant pain now for 25 years, 15 of those being severe up to now. I hope that together my new doctor, and the pain team can come up with a workable, practical, and EFFECTIVE treatment. I am grateful for what I have now, but I know they can do better.

Thanks for stopping by!

mark

ENJOY YOUR FREEDOM? THANK A VETERAN!

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Filed under Crohns Disease, Life as a Disabled Veteran, Personal

Department of Veterans Affairs – Blacklisting Patients

The Department of Veterans Affairs outpatient clinics, and hospitals have some problems, and some issues in dire need of solutions. One of the problems in need of a solution is the complaint process. Currently, if a Veteran has a problem, they are encouraged to go to the Patient Advocate; however, this system allows the VA to identify the complaining Veteran, and as I have found out, retaliate against that Veteran.

People in the civilian sector, and most of the Veterans, are unaware of the capability built into the electronic health record system enabling the Veterans Administration to flag a chart. I understand the need for employees to be aware a particular Veteran has the propensity to be violent, but conversely I fear this ability to “flag” a veterans’ medical record could be abused. I can see how such a system could lead to veterans being blacklisted by the very institution entrusted to care for them.

I would not feel this way if I did not have first hand experience with retaliation from a VA employee. A few years back I had a problem with an employee at the VA. I wrote a letter of complaint in the hope my problem would be corrected. Up until 2 years ago I assumed the problem had been handled. I gave no second thought to the matter until I was literally confronted by the same employee I complained against. This happened over the phone when I had a problem that came under this particular persons’ job duties. Moreover, since this incident, I have had several problems with that persons co-workers. To say the least, I am afraid to speak my mind anymore out of fear of reprisals. They have made it clear to me that everything I say, and do at the VA is being monitored. To me it is all a bit over the top considering I had a legitimate complaint; furthermore, I have NEVER threatened, or abused an employee at the Veterans Administration. The only “sin” I commited was to comlain about harsh treatment.

If I can have this many problems because I wrote ONE letter complaining about harsh treatment, imagine how bad it could be for others? By the way, if you are a Veteran, or the spouse/family member of a Veteran, take my advice and do not complain to the Patient Advocate. The Patient Advocates in the Veterans Administration clinics, and hospitals are a joke. They are there to protect the VA, not the Veterans. Do not fall into the same trap I have fallen into. Avoid the Patient Advocate like the plague. Take your complaints higher up the food chain. Contact your representatives in Washington, D.C., I know I will.

It does not take much of a mental leap to see how a system that allows employees to abuse patients, could use the option to electronically flag a patients chart, in a way that is not consistent with quality, compassionate care. Dare I use the word ‘blacklist”? I do not think it would be too far out of bounds to do so.

Thanks for stopping by,

armyveteran

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Filed under Life as a Disabled Veteran, Personal, Political, Veterans Issues

The New & Improved Veterans Administration – I Don’t Think So

The Department of Veterans Affairs claims they have changed. I have been told to my face “The VA is changing”, “The VA is going to treat Veterans nicer, and not allow employees to abuse patients”. The motto in my neck of the woods is “We are committed to providing compassionate, quality care”.  The first time this was told to me, I chuckled. The first time I heard it on a recording while on phone hold, I laughed. I had a new doctor tell me the Veterans Administration has changed, and I said I do not believe it. That same doctor wound up quitting the entire VA after just 6 months of service.. I wonder why? No one will say why, but the last thing this doctor told me was about a veteran being done wrong in another clinic. I am guessing this doctor saw the crap hole it is, and being one of the better docs in this area, could not stand to work there.

Back on topic. Why do I think this way? I have been going to the VA for 27 years. I have been told the VA was changing in the past. It never materializes.

The VA Clinics, as part of all of this new change, are supposed to be more approachable. I took the challenge to the belly of the beast last week, and got the same bang for my buck as usual. Most of what I was said, in an attempt to take care of a problem, was misconstrued. If they will not take the time to understand the problem, they cannot effect real change.

Do not believe the propaganda from the VA. They are the same VA, with small-minded people trying lord power over us Veterans. I truly believe the VA is a dinosaur, and needs reform. All Veterans should be given the option of being seen at the VA, or going into the private sector using the same type insurance Congress has. Is this too much to ask for? I think I know something about the VA after 27 years. I should be given the right to go elsewhere with the same type insurance Congress uses.

Thanks For Stopping By! If you want to send me a private message about the VA, please do so, or comment on this post. I approve ALL comments. Please contact your Representatives in Congress and ask that us Veterans be given a choice to opt out of VA care, and go to the private sector.

mark – armyveteran

P.S. I had to re-edit this. If you want a copy of the original, please message me.

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Filed under Life as a Disabled Veteran, Personal, Political, Veterans Issues

Quick Update

Hey Everyone!

Just want to let you all know I am still around. I have been dealing with some signifant health problems. I will blog when I am not hurting so bad.

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Desperately Seeking Inspiration To Blog – Methods I Find Helpful

Some days writing is easy. The words fly furiously off my keyboard into my computer. Often the words are coming so fast from my brain my fingers cannot keep pace, creating a situation where I sometimes lose part of my original idea, completely. Other days I am totally uninspired. This lack of inspiration can last for weeks as I muddle through my life, desperately seeking inspiration. I do not like writing a bunch of drivel, so I will just not blog if inspiration is lacking. It’s kind of like how Austin Powers felt when he lost his mojo. If I am uninspired to write, I have lost my mojo, so to speak.

When I hit these patches of no inspiration, I look inward, back in time to the many awesome, and some not so awesome adventures I have had in my life. I have been to places most people will never get to go. I have been from sea to shining sea, and traveled out of this blessed nation to places the Army would rather I not speak about. Like I said, I have many, many, many memories; however the majority of the photographs I took of the places I have been got destroyed by water damage, or just thrown out by people who did not know what they were. It hurts to not have those memories on film anymore. Back then we did not have as many ways to protect our photos, like we do today. Oh well, I cannot go back and change any of it, so I continue marching onward, and upward.

Furthermore, when I find myself in an uninspired state, unable to write anything worth reading, I engage even more in life, as I am able. It sucks that I have to deal with the health problems I have. Crohns disease, in and of itself is bad enough, but when all the other health problems are piled on top, the burden makes my back bend to the point of breaking. I will persevere, and make the most of it all. As my dearly departed sister, Joyce, would always tell me, before she was called home to The Lord, I am a survivor. I will land on my feet regardless. I miss her, She was more than a sister, she was my best friend. She had Crohns Disease too, and it killed her. Don’t think that doesn’t haunt my thoughts occasionally, especially now that I am having problems with internal bleeding; she died from internal bleeding. My doctors are aware of it, and there is not allot they can do to stop it. Its caused from inflammation inside my intestines. Unfortunately the inflammation cannot be brought any further under control because I am allergic, or have adverse reactions to many of the medications given for treatment of Crohns. At any rate, lest I digress, getting off onto another topic, let me continue with where I find inspiration. Nature trails are a wonderful place to clear the mind, take some great photos, get fresh air, and let the sun shine on the skin. We have loads of them around here. First one to come to mind is Fort Caroline, followed closely by Hannah Park, on an equal basis with Little Talbot Island State Park. There are no lack of places to go around here, to clear ones mind, have some good exercise, and capture my oft fleeting inspiration.

Look at that! I have already written a halfway decent blog entry, over 550 words now, and all I did was talk about my lack of inspiration, and the remedies I use trying to get it back.

Thanks to everyone in the WordPress community for giving me such a warm welcome. WordPress is head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to the quality of blogs, and the talent of ALL the bloggers, in this fine community! I have been pleasantly surprised each time I have surfed the community. The content is excellent, the blogs are diverse, and all are written with their own unique brilliancy!

Hope you have a wonderful day, night, evening, afternoon – whatever the case may be where you are at! Thanks for laying over here as you “fly with WordPress!”.

armyveteran, Mark, AVet, Old Soldier, etc

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Filed under Blogging, Personal