Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A typical day at the VA Clinic

      Where I live the government decided to build a new Veteran Affairs medical clinic. Yesterday was the first time I went to the newly built facility. In the past I went to the smaller one closer to where I live.
       The smaller one was cramped but wasn't over crowded and did it's best to treat you (as much as a Government run health care service could). Initially when I started going you came up to the desk and spoke to an actual person, later on they decided to speed things up by using touch screen kiosks. To the older veterans this was witchcraft and I agreed with their assessment. Case in point I had to help this elderly World War II vet who had no idea what he was doing, use the touch screen because the front desk was apparently too busy to take the man's information in person. Forget that he fought and risked his life. No, the hen clucking conversation at the front desk is way too important.
      Imagine that for a moment. A veteran of World War II who is in his late 80s or early 90s being told to use a touch screen to sign in for his appointment. The VA has gone to new heights not to deal with people. You have to use the touch screen. So I would sit there and have to answer the same questions before I could see my medical provider.
      The questions always the same, are there any weapons in the home, are you at risk, do you drink, do you smoke, on and on and on. Questions that would make anyone raise an eyebrow to why do you need this information. Of course I lie to the questions asked mainly because I and most other veterans do not trust any of them.
      Then you go in to see the medical provider and God forbid if anything other than what is documented is wrong with you. If that happens you have to wait longer and then receive an appointment months down the road to the main VA medical center which usually involves a long drive and always the possibility of your condition becoming worse.
      Now as I said before I went to the new clinic just built. It was your typical VA clinic, the same cold, drab Government white painted walls, the same pretend cushioned chairs, and the same attitude presented to anyone seeking medical attention. When you walk in you have to go to the touch screen kiosk even though there are administrative people at the front desk. When you walk up they look at you like you have a screw loose then direct you to the touch screen. After that I actually got lost because the atrium was big with lots of chairs and doors I had no idea where to sit until one of the admins saw me struggling. I sat down and saw as I always do veterans of different ages, some with amputations, others sleeping, and some who are sad with a drawn, worn look.
     Nurses come out and call names. One man who could barely hear and had a hearing aid went up to the nurse after his name was called four times, and she joked by asking him if he was deaf. My turn was next and I was shuffled in, asked the same questions as before, refilled my prescriptions, given a return appointment, and thrown out just like that. It happens to every veteran at least at that clinic. At this clinic there was no Christmas tree, no decorations, no mention of the holidays just a dreary, cold, waiting room with so called medical providers who just don't give a damn.

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