December 23, 2019

Roadtrip Plans & The VA Cirus


Within the time it takes to sip a cup of coffee my Sunday plans changed from wanting to find Carr Canyon waterfalls or the Coronado Monument to a trip to Tombstone. The surprise I had was not only how packed Tombstone was with people but how I felt within the first 5 miles of my trip. Something was wrong. Before I even saw the crowd at Tombstone I knew I wasn't staying long. I continued to drive though, enjoying the 'wild west' scenery on the way.


I can't remember if I mentioned on this blog or my bicycle blog but for the past few weeks at about the one hour twenty minute mark of riding, my right buttock (surgical side) gets really sore from sitting on that bike seat. Now for someone just starting riding that might be normal until you can get your butt in shape while riding a lot of miles. This is a distinct discomfort and it's not from lack of seat time. It's the new hip thing. I may have to pull out some anatomy websites to get the correct name of the muscle but it goes from the lower back stretching over the back of the hip. It gets really sore and close to tapping a nerve. I found out by accident if I stop and get off the bike for five or ten minutes it goes away completely when I finish the ride.


Five miles down the road in the FJ Sunday morning I had the same feeling. Did my longest ride since surgery end up being too much from Saturday? I had felt good all Sunday morning so I didn't think so. I felt that I could ride again Sunday afternoon so I knew all the muscle activity for two hours and twenty seven minutes had recovered. Maybe it was the way I was sitting in the FJ or was it how I got into the FJ? Whatever the cause, there was more than a little discomfort in that hip joint area.

As you can see, Heidi was pretty sure the sun would not be out for long today. It was on the cold side and in her book there is nothing better than a day of sleep. She has declared it a "3 blanket winter" and will move them different times of day or night to the correct position. At one time this week the Mexican blanket was completely off the bed.


She, like Stella has turned into a professional food beggar.


So I pull into Tombstone expecting it to be me and a bunch of empty streets. I could tell by the number of people walking from their parked cars and the distance we were from downtown, that it was nothing different than the highest point of tourist season in the summer. I have yet to walk the streets of Tombstone after a few trips to do just that. Combined with too many people and a sore hip, I turned around and headed home. No roatrip to blog about.

The highlight of that trip was stopping the FJ in the middle of the road to wait for a deer to cross the road in front of the credit union as I was leaving town. Did it know it had to go the other direction in the drive-thru? It stopped and stared at me before I could pull the FJ over to the side of the road and take this picture.


I was about to make a left turn into my neighborhood when I had a flash thought, it might be a good time to check out the movie Ford vs Ferrari at the mall theater. Am I really thinking right ??? Three days before Christmas on a Sunday and I would think the mall would be as empty as it usually is? What is wrong with me? I had barely pulled into a parking lot full of cars when it dawned on me what day it was. I can see the same movie during the week at 2:15pm and I might be the only person in there. I turned around and headed home. The hip joint was feeling the same.


Evidently it snowed a little up on the mountain last night. I am not sure which one this is but that should be completely white Friday morning if the weather forecasters are right. With the cool air I agreed with Heidi, nothing better to do than a Sunday afternoon siesta.



You cannot tell from this photo but the Aerostat is in the process of landing. Does that mean bad weather will arrive a day early? So far the weather app shows no rain until Tuesday. I would love to get inside that thing to look around sometime. Not possible of course but it would be something to see.


Monday morning I almost missed this sunrise. You will see later it only lasted 15 minutes.



All taken standing on the patio.



15 minutes later those skies looked like this. It was cold too with the wind blowing. Stella turned around and came back inside.




This is zoomed in so not real clear this time of day.

I was going to have a busy morning and a frustrating morning. I knew that beforehand. It's the main reason I hate anything medical. It's the reason I never wanted to be involved with medical anything. It should have been simple. I had an appointment to get blood drawn for labwork. I had fasted since 8:47pm last night, skipped black coffee (permitted) this morning and kept drinking ice water.

Since it's been a big pain in the ass to get things done in the civilian sector of the medical field I decided I'd use my VA benefits. Last month I took all the paperwork needed, filled out a new income form and explained why I wasn't eligible with their letter from 20 years ago. When I walked away from her desk 4-6 weeks ago she said I was all updated and they would be in touch to set up appointments.

I never heard a word from them. No email, no text, no phone call or regular post office mail ... nothing.

When I gave my friend a ride to VA last Friday I set up an appointment for me to have some labwork. They brought up my record, assigned me a team for my doctor appointment on Friday and the appointment for my labwork this morning. They did NOT tell me anything else except "see you Monday."

Some of you may have figured out that I have very little patience for bullshit. I assume it's pretty easy to do your job so I've always had a hard time with mistakes and errors when it comes to work. This morning only confirmed my beliefs.

I check in early this morning. He makes copies of the records I hand him from my hip replacement and cardiogram. He tells me I can sign up at the kios for a VA ID card. I know things are running too smooth and 20 minutes later the circus begins with the lady in enrollment telling him "he is not eligible due to making too much income".

Now ... two things or three.

First, she said it loud enough for everyone sitting in the waiting room to hear. (Fantastic) Second, she is the same lady I spoke to last month to correct that problem with proof of current income and showing her that reason was the one they gave me 20 years ago, as I handed here a letter from them 20 years ago as proof. Three, this same lady just told me a month or so ago that she had corrected my record and I was eligible for VA benefits. I sat at her desk for 45 minutes watching her do all kinds of data input with my DD-214 in hand and asking me questions for current address, phone number and email.

So the excuse today was ... my record had not been updated since the changes last month. BUT ... "yes you can still go to your lab appointment" How can that be? Am I not eligible until my record is not updated? They had no answer to that question.

Bottom line, blood was drawn and I'll get the results back on Friday during my next doctor's assistant visit. Oh ... that ID CARD ... go to the kios and log in to get a number. 20 minutes later the SAME LADY telling me to do that tells me "you cannot get a VA ID card today because your NOT UPDATED in the system.

Friends and family wonder why I hate life and most people .... this is just one of many examples that answers that question.

Still, everyday in the 'Wild West' is a good day as long as I stay home alone with the hounds.

6 comments:

  1. So frustrating dealing with anything these days. Had an issue with United Healthcare last week with an off shore person. Finally, after 30 minutes of his ineptness I said "I want to speak with a supervisor in the United States of America." Put on hold again, then a great gal in Virginia took care of my issue in about five minutes. Meanwhile the blood pressure just kept going up. Good luck!

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    1. That sounds like me and the billing department for the surgeon's followup visits. Luckily he told me he didn't need to see me until December 2020.

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  2. Oh my gosh... you try to tell them. I think they just don't listen. I know i am not stupid and it seems reasonable to me, but to someone else, especially govrnment work.... geez....

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    1. I was able to get my picture taken for my ID card yesterday so that means I am officially in their system and eligible. I was surprised they were open after 2pm on Christmas Eve.

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  3. It is all about who you deal with, my friend age 72 went to get his VA card and they noticed he limped. He now has two new hip joints and one knee and is scheduled to have second knee done after Christmas. All free and VA paying for it. I went in and got card and nothing else.
    Merry Christmas Steve.

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    1. That’s an amazing VA story. Like I told Lori above, I went in to their office yesterday afternoon to see if my record was updated so they could take a picture for my ID card. It was, they did and I’ll receive it in a couple of weeks. Merry Christmas to you and your wife.

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