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Friday, August 27, 2010

I Want to Grow Up one Day and be a Sleep Doctor

Met my sleep doctor today, she spent almost an hour with me going over different symptoms and signs of sleep apnea. From all indicators, it looks like I will be a candidate for a sleep study, having a mild to severe case of sleep apnea. I told her that I had been working on my weight for about 6 months and managed to lose 25 lbs, but my sleep hasn't improved dramatically. I always like to let them know that I am trying to improve my health instead of expecting them to do it all. She said that it was normal and weight was only one factor, then she schooled me on the other causes and the problems that sleep apnea causes.

Before she finished her exam, the doctor looked down my throat and noticed that I have two grapefruit sized tonsils. Since they have always been a problem, and they are no doubt making my sleep worse, I agreed to have a consult to have them removed. Now that Uncle Sam wants to take them, I say good riddance. So my next VA Appointment is going to be with Ear Nose and Throat for an evaluation for a tonsillectomy. When she said I could have all the ice cream that I want, I didnt have the heart to tell her that I am lactose unhappy (not intolerant, cuz I can still eat milk but not without unhappiness). Again, nothing but the best service and support from the clerk to the nurse to the doctor. The Bay Pines VA Hospital is doing pretty fantastic by me. Looking forward to another chance to visit and share.

Be well and take care,


Friday, August 20, 2010

New VA Resource, AGENT ORANGE newsletter

Thursday, August 19, 2010

KERA: New Veterans Center Opens In Mesquite (2010-08-18)

KERA: New Veterans Center Opens In Mesquite (2010-08-18)

Looks Like Chronic TMB

Called the VA today to follow up on my X-rays. I wasn't very sure about the process, didn't know if they were going to have me in for another appointment or not. Civilian doctors like you to come in every time they answer the phone.
"Hello, I'd like to make an appointment to see the doctor", " yes, when can you come in?" "Oh, tomorrow around 2 would be perfect" "Ok, come in and see the receptionist at that time and she will make your appointment for the doctor."

Or something like that. So when I called the VA and told them why I was calling, they said, hold on and put me on with Lee, a nurse in my Mod. She actually took the time to explain to me exactly what was wrong with my shoulder and back and what I could do to help it, even though I cant fix it.

Chronic TMB = (too many birthdays)

I asked if anyone ever asked her for the cure for TMB, she laughed and said no.
I actually have arthritis in my left shoulder and tailbone. No wonder I'm hurting like an old worn out mule. Ibuprofen and exercise. Wow, its just like I am back at sick call with my medic buddy Spc Droz, (who we affectionately called Dr. Oz, for reasons I cannot put in writing and have nothing to do with Oprah or that HBO show about prison).
[sarcasm] --->Everything is cured with the wonder drug that works wonders.<---[sarcasm]
I guess I will have to try to find some homeopathic remedies to help my weary bones, I don't know how long I can take a pill everyday before I start getting sick to my stomach.
Til next time

Be well and take care,


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Amputated vets reach summit of Kilimanjaro | Washington Examiner

Amputated vets reach summit of Kilimanjaro | Washington Examiner

What an awesome story, truly inspirational.
The team's efforts were part of Disabled Sports USA's Warfighter Sports Series, which helps disabled veterans regain confidence and strength through participation in extreme sports.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Xrays with June in August

Back from my radiology appointment and a quick meeting with Darren at Mod D.

Darren is the Coastie who helped me out setting the appointments. He gave me a quick primer on setting up appointments and using the call center number to get things done. He was very helpful and explained how the ropes work around there very well.

June was my radiology tech who took pics of my chest, shoulder, and low back. She was very nice, respectful and kind. Even though I had two separate appointments one for the regular xrays and one for the chest xray, she got them all done at the same time and saved me a bunch of time. (and her no doubt) June was also very efficient, getting all the different postures done quickly so I wasn't in too much pain while twisted up on that hard xray table. They must fashion those things after a Medieval Torture Rack or something similarly uncomfortable.

It was such a nice day, I decided to walk to my car instead of taking the tram. Once I get back to the house, I will get the appointments squared away, still need to talk to them about the sleep study.

Be well and take care,


First Appointment with the Primary

First appointment with my primary doctor at Bay Pines was today at 10am. I arrived a half hour early so I could observe and make notes. Unfortunately, I didn't get the chance to do much observation, less than 5 minutes after I checked in, the nurse called me back to get vitals and prepare for the doctor. Blood pressure, and temp normal, Joanne, my nurse was pleasant and nice to talk to.

As we were going over some questions, an odd thing happened. A knock came at the examination room door, and I noticed that the nurse did not even flinch and at the same time I noticed that the room had two doors. Then, a few seconds later, another knock, and no flinch. So, I being the curious sort, asked her, " Are they knocking on that door or is that from another room?". She replied, " No, they are knocking at that door, but we are not allowed to answer it, as you can see," she pointed to the door, "their is no way to tell who is out there, no peephole, so we are not allowed to answer the door in case someone is standing there with a gun." Did she just say that?!? I just stammered something like, Oh I wouldn't want that! I didn't know what else to say, I couldn't imagine that possibility, but I suppose they have to have security measures in case one of us vets goes postal. She wraps up and tells me the doctor is in the next room with a patient and when it is my turn, she'll come get me. I hope that the guy with the gun isn't standing there waiting for me when I go out that door!!! Just a short wait and then I am in with the doctor, hallway was empty, thank goodness.

Met with the doctor, of course my cell phone goes off right as I start to introduce myself, I quickly make a point to shut it off and say so as not to interrupt us again.

A wise Veteran told me once that the majority of us Vets go into the VA with a bad attitude of entitlement and most wont or don't listen to the doctors and give them a hard time. The advice was to be courteous and respectful, make mention of what you do to manage your health and listen to what they say. Most importantly, be thankful. Don't buy into the hype that your entitled, and they will treat you like you want to be treated. Pretty good advice for life period, I wont have a hard time following those sage words.

I think I like having a female doctor, she reminds me of a much older version of my cousin, who is also a Doctor, although not a Doctor of Veterans, she is a Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine.

Immediately we get started, and go over my health history and blood work they took during my entry visit. I am generally healthy, all my blood is normal, except cholesterol which was high. She listened to my breathing and heart and she said she wanted to get xrays of the areas I have orthapedic problems, shoulder, neck and low back. Also she is going to get me into a sleep clinic for evaluation for a sleep study, my wife swears I have sleep apnea, and if I am honest with myself, I have more symptoms than I don't. All in all, pretty straightforward, very businesslike, and fast. Back to the front desk after the appropriate pleasantries, and the clerk who is a former Coastie, made my appointments for xrays later that day. Might as well get them over with and keep things moving.

So far the I have had experiences with the Prosthetics Department (professionally), VA Eligibility , MOD D clinic, and the new patient clinic and processing department. Bay Pines has lived up to its sterling reputation as a world class facility with excellent staff. I will keep observing and posting and inviting my brothers to join me here and talk about their experiences good and bad.

Be well and take care,


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

This a log and feedback from my experiences using the Veterans Administration Health System

Hello, my name is Scott, and I am an Army veteran, technically from the first Gulf War.
I say technically because the actual first war was fought and the enemy defeated when I was still a senior in high school. However, since i served in a combat zone in the Persian Gulf while the conflict still was technically in effect, and placed my butt on the line for the Kuwaiti people, I qualify. My Primary MOS was 19k10, tanker in the First Cavalry Division, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment out of Ft. Hood Texas.
I rotated back to the world all the way back in May 1996, got out two weeks early to go back to college, got my degree and a good paying job with benefits for many years. Now that i am not employed, and my family and I have no health benefits, I have come to the VA for assistance. In working with a medical equipment company, I managed to meet the Assistant Chief of Prosthetics, Greg MacFarland. Greg was also in the Cavalry but as a medic and has been with the VA since getting out of the Army over a decade ago. He asked me if I had signed up and when I told him that I needed to and hadnt because I had civilian jobs that always provided benefits, he jumped out from around his desk and we walked down to the eligibility office and he introduced me to Bay Pines. After a short wait, and filling out my paperwork, I spoke with a counselor who was very friendly and answered all of my questions. I got my picture taken and they set the first appointment for orientation. August 6th at 8am.

New Patient Orientation
8am and I am still sleepy, I didnt have to fast for this even though they are going to take blood and urine. As soon as I get there, i get my cup. Looks like I will need to finish my coffee first, I am the third one here, so I have time. Set down the sample cup and coffee at the seat in the back corner and commence heavy paper reading.

I am shocked at how many guys are in their 60's plus and are new patients.
I am glad I did not wait until then to get signed up. Even when i do get health insurance, I am going to continue using the VA and let them bill the insurance provider so I can keep in the system. You never know what the future may hold, so its good to have a backup plan.

In the meanwhile, I got my blood drawn, finally got the urge to fill that sample cup and sat back down for the presentation. Pharmacy, FDVA, and general health system familiarity are some of the topics covered. Everyone here is so nice and respectful. It just goes to show that you cant judge by what you hear about the VA, you have to experience it for yourself.

Well, I am a new patient now, and I got my first appointment, thank goodness this one is at 10, 8/12 with the primary. That was fast!! In the civilian world, it took longer than that unless I was bleeding from my aorta to see a doc. So far, I'm liking this VA a lot!