The ever loving VA…

So let’s all pretend for a moment that our Government wasn’t as messed up as it is and we held people accountable for the poor actions they take.  Do you think that our health care would change?  I could hope right? Well let’s talk about how my incredibly busy day yesterday that included getting kids off to school, taking care of my elderly dad (who lives with us), packing a family of 6 to go to a fundraising event, shopping, cooking meals, getting laundry done, doing some reviews, charting my It Works team and oh yeah showering and going to my husbands VA appointment went.

Well I did manage to get the kids off to school and start a load of laundry and do a few things for my dad before his appointment at 10:30am.  So that was fantastic and off to his appointment we go.  We walk in and of course because our society is all automated now there is a kiosk that he has to check in at, that quickly tells him “no appointments scheduled today”.  And so it begins….

The girl at the counter proceeds to tell us that for some reason his appointment never got put in the system but that his Dr happens to have an opening and she will put us in at 12:15 so we leave and decide to grab a quick lunch. We come back at our scheduled time and sit until almost 1:45 and they call him back and they take his vitals.  Now mind you my husband is an above the knee amputee and the  nurse looks right at him and says “so what happened”. Ugh… Really?    But he nicely explains and moves away from the conversation quickly. (First note if you work with Veterans learn how to talk to them, they already probably do not want to be at the Drs and bringing up stuff that most don’t want to talk about isn’t the best idea) but we realize some people just don’t know any better. So he is patient.   She gets done with him and takes us to another room and we sit until 2:45. So at this point we have been waiting for 2 1/2 hours and he has yet to even speak with the Dr.

Finally the Dr comes in and talks to us and we have always liked his Dr by the way.. But Mike begins to explain to him that he needs a new socket for his leg ( the socket is the part the actual residual limb goes into) because he has had his since September and we have tried to get him a new one but the prosthetic office keeps saying the VA isn’t getting them the paperwork. Well his Dr then tells him he doesn’t know why he needs a new socket because he is going to have to have another surgery soon (in a year or so) and that it just seems like a waste of time.  So basically you are saying that being able to walk in a prosthetic that does not fall off is a waste of time?  Ugh!  I am trying to stay calm because I can see Mike is getting frustrated but we go round and round about this getting nowhere for seriously like 30 minutes.  Finally Mike gets SO pissed he picks up his leg (it was off so the Dr could examine it) and stomps it on the ground and says ” I just want a leg that fits, that is all”. The Dr says “I hope you didn’t break it” and Mike says ” what does it matter when I can’t wear the stupid thing anyways” (2nd note. Don’t be a smart ass with my husband he will get you every time).

My heart is broken for him.   Picture this.. You have a child that wants a bike SO badly and he finally gets it and he gets 2 wheels for a few days and then it breaks but you only give him 1 wheel back… And he wants to ride so badly that he pushes it with his feet to make it go but his feet are so tired and achy from having to do so much extra work that he gets to the point where he can’t physically push it anymore. But he sets it in the corner and looks at it everyday hoping someone will help him fix it and get his other wheel back..  Well that pretty much sums out how my husband feels. He finally can walk again and has the opportunity to for a while but because his limb  has lost so much volume his socket doesn’t fit; it is very painful to wear his leg but he wears it because he wants to walk but then he has to go a few days without wearing it because it causes so much pain and is causing sores.   All he wants is the Drs to do what they are supposed to do.  That is all nothing more .

He was so frustrated he just apologized to the Dr and he had to leave the Drs office and go wait in the truck. I sat for another 30 minutes while he finished on his computer and I finally said “do you need me anymore” and he said “No you can go” but not without saying “I do understand why he got mad… He is still adjusting to everything”. What??? Ugh NO!!! He adjusted fantastic it is you people the ones who don’t care what happens to our Veterans that need to adjust!

Needless to say at 5:15 we finally pulled out of the parking lot and didn’t say a word to each other. Just emotionally drained!

Something has to change…..


7 thoughts on “The ever loving VA…

  1. Hi again! We’ve struggled with the VA here for a VERY long time. From simple things like a dr appt for colds, bp meds, to getting my husband’s knees replaced. We fought them until he couldn’t walk anymore, literally, and paid out of pocket ( still paying ). It pisses me off. Men sit in their wheel chairs in the hallways and piss on themselves because they are dropped off, and unable to get up on their own. No call backs for weeks. It’s a damn good thing our soldiers don’t fight the way the VA does…dirty.

    I needed to vent that obviously. You should try finding an advocate with the DAV or the local VFW post. They always have at least one salty old man willing to help you fight your battle.


  2. I am so fortunate that I came back with all the big parts still working. On one of my rotations, one of my guys inhaled the exhaust from a fire extinguisher from a jet engine (long story but not his fault, it was mine). Anyway, he had a very difficult time with the military docs, it wasn’t until he found the right one that he actually had a chance to survive.

    Three years later, he was medically retired from the Air Force and mostly he has good things to say about the VA. Nothing is perfect, but he gets what he needs. I think that there are big differences between VA regions and between the hospitals within each region. Paul lives in southern Virginia and the hospital he is treated by seems to be run efficiently. Currently, he is in the mid 30s and has about 10% of one lung and 50% of the other still working.

    In my town, after I got out of the Air Force I was badgered by some friends about going to the VA and getting signed up for everything I had earned. After a few hours getting the run around and being seen by people like you described, I told the nurse that I would freeze to death on a park bench before I came back to them. I’m so fortunate as I have a great job with great health benefits, I don’t have any major health issues so I could make outlandish statements filled with heartfelt venom.

    I get so ticked off when I read about or hear stories like yours. It seems like a very simple problem to fix and it doesn’t seem like your asking for something big like a lung transplant. All you want is a new piece of plastic so that a man can walk like a man. I would be very tempted to copy and paste the article you wrote and sent it to all my elected officials, to the administration of the VA hospital and to the editor of the local newspaper. The very worst you will do is shake the snow globe and let the little snow flakes fall in a different place.

    Give em Hell, enjoy the commotion and find a way to smile. Good luck.


    1. Yes it is very bitter sweet because we Mike never wants to be seen as someone who expects anything or that he deserves it. Although in my mind he does he doesn’t think that way. We have good relationships and Mike has a good name in the community. He runs a local talk radio show about hunting and so causing a ruckus is not something he would ever want to do but it does make me mad and sometimes I do wish that he would allow me to make a big deal of things. But he won’t he just walks away and keeps his head held high.


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