8 Things Only Patients of the VA Would Understand November 19 2014 16 Comments

Here are a few highlights of what it's like to use the VA as a veteran from my perspective. Please note that this blog post relates to my personal accounts, other veterans may or may not have had similar experiences with their VA facility. This blog posting is for entertainment purposes only. 

1. Calling the VA to make or reschedule an appointment...

When will someone answer the !@#$%^ phone!?!? Enough said. 

 

2. Waiting 3 months for an appointment...

You got through, someone answered your call! Congrats! What you have a rash? You’re arm is chopped off? You’re dying? Well please get in line! As you know by now, the VA has come under recent scrutiny for long wait times for appointments and I'd say it's a valid complaint.

 

3. Getting asked the same questions every single time you go to an appointment...

No, my contact information has not changed. No, my insurance has not changed. No, my emergency contact has not changed. No....

 

4. Being a guinea pig for interns...

Congrats! You’ve managed to wait patiently for your appointment only to be greeted by a new intern!  With her fresh text book knowledge and optimistic attitude, she is sure to know how to fix your ailment that you’ve waited so long to have checked out. Don’t worry though, her attending physician will sign off on the prescriptions without even examining you. You want a follow-up appointment (just in case her suggestions don’t pan out) Naw, we don’t do those here, go back to the end of the line!

 

5. Travel Pay!

Ok this is a perk. In the civilian side I may have to drive an hour to see a specialist as well,  but as far as I know, I will not be reimbursed for my travel expenses. A surprising and often overlooked perk is being reimbursed for gas/mileage when I have to make a VA appointment, even is it's just a few miles away! It’s something I'm thankful for - seriously.

 

6. Ibuprofen cures everything...

There is nothing more near and dear to my Primary Care Physician's heart than a handy prescription of 500 milligram Ibuprofen. "Runny nose? Back aches? Dizzy spells? Take two pills every 8 hours for the next two weeks and if it doesn’t go away and you’re not dead yet, please come back so we can up your dose."

 

7. Leaving the pharmacy like you just robbed the place...

“Would you like a grocery bag Ma’am?” A question that I was seriously asked before leaving the VA pharmacy. If ibuprofen didn’t "cure it," be prepared, your are about to get 12 new prescriptions to fix whatever it is you have. The first time this happened to me, it was a little embarrassing, but I quickly realized everyone walks away from the VA pharmacy with a grocery bag.

 

8. Being the only woman in the waiting room...

Yes, please stare at me like I'm on the stage at a freak show. Yes, please ask me if I work here. Yes, please ask me if I served in the military, even though I am wearing my shirt that says "VETERAN."  

 

I have a sneaky suspicion that there will be a part II. 

Also if you are a lady veteran, don't forget to shop the store! 

-Nadine Noky, Army Veteran

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