Tag Archives: hospital

Being alive puts things into a whole different light

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Those of you who’ve read here a while probably remember when I did my dramatic exit scene from Texas.  Middle of the damned coldest winter in memory, hopped in that RV trying to beat death to Kansas.  Two cats freezing and scared, me pushing things to a razor edge because I was determined to die somewhere the felines would have a home when I kicked.

Made it as far as one of those north Texas towns above Dallas, checked into a motel to croak.  And Jeanne’s sons dropped what they were doing and came down to drive me the rest of the way.

I had every reason to believe one of a couple of unhappy body parts was going on strike and planned to kill me.  The VA in Texas tried hard to avoid giving me the bad news by not examining me, but I sneaked past them into a private emergency room.  Old Gale hauled me to town when I was in bad enough shape to agree to it.  Took care of the cats while the Kerrville hospital made faces at one another every time they got the results of another test.

So I had every reason to believe my goozle was an ugly cancerous disaster, funny como se llamas on my lungs, but that those couldn’t get to me fast enough to kill me.  My ticker was going to do that honor.

So when I arrived in Oz and checked into the Olathe Medical Center through the Emergency Room I figured there was a middling chance I wouldn’t be coming back out with the amount of alive I had when I checked in.

But the cats were taken care of.  Every time a sawbones wanted to look at something else going ugly or stinking on my old jalopy of a body, I said okay.  And afterward he, or she would come around looking somber, suggesting we have a better look and by the way, I hate to tell you this, etc.

But I’ve digressed.  My point I want to make to you is that nobody anywhere along the program was saying, “On the off chance you don’t croak this is going to cost one hell of a lot of money.  Let’s discuss whether you could pay it in your wildest, most optimistic dreams.”

Hell, I’m a Social Security pensioneer.  Whatever medical care I get is through the VA, or Medicare paying the bills that have any reasonable hope of getting paid.  There’s copays, and I had a vague awareness of the fact it exists, but hell, I was having conversations with the grim reaper.  I wasn’t worrying about bill collectors.

And seemingly neither was anyone else.  Sons of bitches thought I as dying, every swinging Richard of them.  Maybe if they thought there was any hope I wouldn’t someone would have sat down with me and said, “Uh, you know, if you die you’re going to be okay.  But if you don’t, we’ve got people over in accounting who are going to try to make the REST of your life challenging.  Maybe you thought you had it bad before you came in here, but dying’s just a way to escape the accounts receivable people down the hall.  People do it all the time.”

Okay.  This defibrillator and the VA paying for physical therapy did a lot, and I believe, my home remedy herbal cancer killer took care of the goozle and lungs.  For a while it still appeared the damned ticker could still croak me, but it gradually slid down on the job.  Every physical therapy session I came away feeling better physically, and suspecting the financial world had some dark clouds looming on the horizon.  Lucky the national debt already admitted nobody gives a damn about paying debts anyway.

Well friends and neighbors, barring any unforeskinned circumcisions I won’t be seeing anymore doctors for a year.  They’ve got this ticker surveillance device hooked to me, reports to them all the time, and I’m down there three times a week on walking machines and sitting down peddler things, putting all this crap behind me.

And the bean counters are scratching their heads, dunning me and fretting over the phone about how I’m going to pay those copays that didn’t make any difference so long as I was exiting the vehicle.  Every month they get their $10 checks, and the big ones rack up a charge to neutralize that in the form of a penalty because it wasn’t enough.

And threatening to turn it over to the Roccos.

Sheeze!  I was needing a new adventure.  Aside from some help from a few good friends, I haven’t had any personal debt since Y2K.  If I didn’t have money I didn’t spend it, no matter what.  Sometimes they turned off the electricity, and it stayed turned off until I got enough money to turn it back on.

I suppose this could be called the cost of living.  I can send them $10 per month, they can call that $10 and raise, until nature can find some other way of wiping me off the Monopoly board.

But damn it’s good being alive.

Old Jules

 

 

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Thank you for your service.

Hi readers.  Gotta smile.  Someone sent me this link to a Yahoo News article saying Executives running VA medical treatment facilities got themselves high-dollar bonuses the past few years.  And 65% of all VA employees got bonuses.

Ironically yesterday I also got another co-pay demand for the meager services I got from them in the form of prescriptions a while back.  Been paying $10 per month, and they ain’t happy about it.  Gonna take it spang out of my Social Security pension check.

I thought I had all that ironed out with them, but evidently I don’t.  At least I’ve gained the wisdom not to use their pharmacy again, to just use the Walgreen down the street and Medicare.  Co-pay isn’t such a killer.

The other up-side of all this is that people aren’t in any danger anymore of finding out I’m a veteran and saying, “Thank you for your service.”  The past couple of months have provided me with the reply I never could quite come up with before:

How about we go over to the VA Hospital and jerk each other off?”

Anyway, I’ve got the pharmacy co-pay worked down paying $10 per month so’s when they snag it out of my SS pension check it will only be $50 or less.  Provided they don’t hit me with a co-pay on this Merlin@Home transmitter to monitor my defibrillator they sent without me asking them to.  If there’s a co-pay on that I’m going to have to consider the VA benefits equivalent of going postal.

Not that I’m complaining.  Hell it ain’t as though I did anything to deserve all this special treatment they’ve been giving me at the VA, first back in Texas by stroking my bird for six weeks, then here by actually taking my blood pressure and giving me a prescription.  After all, they’re paying for my physical therapy.  I’m grateful for that.

Next time I’m over that way I’m going to tell them a big “Thank you for your service.”

And meanwhile laugh my ass off.

Old Jules

Physical therapy

This thing's going to need some repairs before anyone can use it again.  Trying to get it airtight enough to do any good in outer space ought to be a full time job for someone.

This thing’s going to need some repairs before anyone can use it again. Trying to get it airtight enough to do any good in outer space ought to be a full time job for someone.

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

This area abounds with covered wagons, plows, cultivators, the occasional intercontinental missiles and a few of the people who used them, coveted them, wore them down to a small frazzle, or just sneaked around admiring them when they were shiny and new.  The automobiles get pretty fair physical therapy, but a lot of it just sits rusting in decorative positions in parks, front yards and displayed in unlikely places.

VA Medical Center surprised me by deciding I ought to get some physical therapy they’re too far away to provide.  They’re paying for a few weeks of me going to the Olathe Medical Center for it.  Had my first run at it last week on the day I wasn’t having something done to my goozle.  It was a surprising display of a lot of really old bastards walking around panting and generally being a lot more friendly to one another than they’d probably spent their lives being to other people.

Most appeared to be the sort I smile and speak to when I  meet their eyes in a grocery store or on the street, and they turn their heads away as an alternative to acknowledging I exist.  I sometimes carry the conversation further with, “Don’t you dare say hi to me!  No telling what I’d do back.”

But down there at physical therapy you’re more likely to meet again soon, him on the electric walking machine next to my stationary bicycle.  Snobbing a person off who’s there for a stay in close proximity could lead to all manner of long time discomfort.

So I smiles perlightly and says hi, [first to do it mostly] and while we each try to make something inside us perform better, we discuss weighty matters involving.  That’s right.  Involving.

Involving things our opinions don’t have anymore influence on than they ever did on anything else.  Mostly the weather.

Old Jules

 

Photos VA Chapel and Weston, MO house courtesy of Jeanne

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Possumly Jesse James, or a Younger or Dalton or someone else lived here, or visited here, or rode a horse by the place and gazed at it as he/she went by.

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!895 Chapel for VA Center at Fort Leavenworth in seriously bad repair. Protestant downstairs, Catholic further downstairs though the signs are somewhat misleading. No harm in a protestant attending Mass or a Catholic racking up some fire and brimstone occasionally, I reckons.

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Interesting stained glass work. Dunno whether it’s Catholic or the other one.

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Gargoyles are shared equally by Catholics and Protestants.

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The VA hospital environment surrounding this seems obliquely appropriate.

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The metalwork on those doors is probably symbolic of something, but everyone who once knew what it was is dead.

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This end of the building is in bad repair threatening collapse in places, but ain’t likely to get any better.

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Directly across the street from the chapel. It’s been through a long series of declines and repairs but we need another World War of considerable duration to bring it back to full bloom. Need to conscript all these young houdilums and get them on track to need a place such as this.

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The sign above the door reads, THE DUGOUT and can still be made out with a bit of squinting. I’m thinking it was a club for the people going through treatment, might have been used as recently as the Vietnam War.

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The Dugout

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Ex Post Facto: The retroactive waltz of point-men and snipers

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

I finally got to see a primary care physician in that KC VA Medical Center.

KC VA Med Ctr

I arrived early and put my defibrillator to the test carrying a 20# daypack 150 yards across that parking lot, up the hill to the entrance, and a quarter-mile of heroesque hallways.  Registered and waited around a comfy area filled with old vets.

At which point life became a hoot.

Jeeze we veterans are a bunch of liars!  And we all know it, but remain silent on the issue so’s when our turn comes all the the others will nod sagely and pretend we aren’t just blowing pure unmitigated horse manure back and forth at one another.

So here in this Hero Hall you’ve got close to a hundred of us, maybe a third wearing VIETNAM VET, or some other VETERAN nuanced headgear.  And roughly a third of those are talking in loudmouthed indignation about something a first sergeant did or said forty years ago in a different country.

Meanwhile the other 2/3 wearing the Veteran caps nod and wait patiently for that vocally active third to finish or pause for a breath so’s they can cut in and tell what some first sergeant did or said to THEM forty years ago in some foreign land.

Those of us not wearing Veteran headgear listen deadpan, saying nothing, doing nothing to break the spell of dramatic fantasies, of young men who never existed prowling through the jungles of our imaginary youths doing and saying courageous things for the betterment of mankind and Freedom.

“Hell man,” I muttered to the guy sitting next to me, “I must be the only person here who wandered Asia trying to get a dose of clap, never met a hero.  Never sacrificed a damned thing in the service of this country.  I can’t recall a first sergeant ever knowing I was alive.”

The guy smiled at me.  “Not me.  I was an Air Force Sniper working out of the finance office in Danang.  Spent the whole time killing zipperheads except when I was in an office doing payrolls.”

About then a nurse called my name and I trekked breathlessly back to see a physician.  He hadn’t received all my med records from the recent hospital stay, so we’re starting all over.  Got an EKG, Lab [blood] work, complete stomach sonogram, and XRays to get out of the way brand spanking new before I can be seen by a VA cardiologist.  He says they can’t get the records from the Olathe Medical Center work because the VA computer is connected to the National Defense computer system, which might be compromised if they allowed outside data to be transmitted into it.

So they’ll just have to do it all again.  Though if I go over to Olathe Med Ctr. and get them to photocopy everything and carry it along when I see the cardiologist he figures the specialist might look through it if I provide it that method and that context.  Maybe.

So at least I’ve got some things I can do to improve my health this week, picking up those records at Olathe Med, going over to KC MO VA for all that expensive medical testing I’ve donealready had, getting it again so’s to be able to see a cardiologist.

Confidence raising, being able to do something uncharacteristically positive.

Somehow it’s vaguely reminescent of back when I was an infantry point man and sniper in the US Army in a country I never had the pleasure to visit.

Old Jules