I was really excited when I was able to go to the Orange City, Florida VA clinic. I thought it would be closer to my house than Daytona, but with traffic and the indirect route it is still almost a two-hour drive. I am amazed by the fact that you cannot call this clinic. Well, I should say you can call all you want, but if you want to actually speak to somebody than I don’t think you’ll want to spend a week on redial with them while the phone rings and rings.
I should be able to reach my clinic. I just got out of the hospital for 10 days and nobody seems obligated to reach me by phone, however, they love to make appointments I can’t make on my VA pension. I don’t have enough money for gas. They do reimburse me, but it is about a month later. That doesn’t help me this month.
I tried to complain about some of these issues and more and they have just blacked out communication. If you try to call Orlando VA it’s often voice mail. I tried several times to reach the Orlando patient advocate’s office and they don’t answer. You leave a message and unless you raise holy hell like I did last time about how I had never received a call back in 4 tries to contact them in the last few months.
The woman who called told me that I should make my appointments. Apparently my wife and I should starve because we need to make medical appointments. Oh, did I forget to mention that my wife has serious stomach issues and other things to do with personal issues. Let’s just put it this way – she does not do anything but puke every meal out. Not on purpose, of course, but, because that’s how bad her stomach is.
A surgeon did not tie off right on an ulcer operation for her and she almost died. She had her stomach in a triple hernia and she was very ill. She also has had other issues to do with hyperglycemia.
I have so many issues myself to do with the Gulf War and they are not recognized. Nobody seems to have the time or inclination to help me. I am not worthy of a VA doctor or PA, in my case which is typical here, who probably hates his position there and is going to show it, to actually read my record. To actually see the many issues I deal with on a regular basis. I cannot hardly move from the chair to the bathroom or the bed to the kitchen.
It seems that things are much different here in Florida. I hate to say it, because it is something locals hate, but I was spoiled in Wisconsin. I know that there are many, many more veterans in Florida. The most of any other state, I belive it is 8 million, but why can’t they ask for more staff? Probably a budget issue. The employees get more money this way? I don’t know, but for whatever reason there’s not way to get people to answer phones, read records, and you can’t even get an introduction, at least not a proper one, from a VA doctor. They don’t want anything but a quick in and out from you. I’m not an in and out kind of patient. I have had my rights violated in so many ways for too many times and it needs to end.
So what do I do now? Well, I saw that the VA “Secretary Bob” has given out his cell phone number and well, I decided, “What the hell!” I’m going to call the number? I was nervous as could be, but I did it. I complained.
My main complaint now is something that I probably should be so ashamed of, according to the VA, I smoked a joint when in pain before I signed a contract not to smoke anymore after they gave me a very small amount of pain killers.
I don’t do hoops since I got out of the Navy and I don’t plan on jumping through any damned hoops again! I grow my hair to the damned length I wish, I don’t shave if I can’t stand in front of the mirror very long and I just don’t take orders anymore.
I have earned that right by the six years I gave the Navy. I wasn’t a perfect sailor, but I wasn’t the worst one either. I did some things that I think are commendable and the point is I shouldn’t have to defend my reputation.
So, I was told I have to see a drug counselor and then report promptly to the Pain Clinic again. After Gainesville and the treatment I got there where I was told I was fat, lazy, and uneducated, I will not go to another pain clinic in my lifetime. I will not see there “pain psychologist.” Which is like “military intelligence,” to me! The two words just don’t go together. It’s a major mismatch of terms. What am I going to use Freud to stop the pain?
Next, I plan to contact the local newspaper, TV stations, maybe the VFW in Washington, D.C. or whoever will listen and let them know that even the social workers at the VA are unable to help. They don’t seem to have the time from the things I was told. Nobody wants to do their job or they are just too unorganized and incapable to keep up to the standards of the treatment of veterans that are in serious need of some help like me. They make excuses and say how busy they are and I know they are, but I have also been in the lobby while the phone rings and people who are not busy are just ignoring the phones.
God help you if you are planning to move to Florida. My advice if you are a veteran is go somewhere else if you want good healthcare. I have been to both local VA systems in Gainesville and Orlando and I am so frustrated with both that I am just ready to burst with stress and I don’t need it and neither does my wife. God help you too if you ever become sick or disabled. This country isn’t helping people like me or my wife. They have all these programs and they don’t seem to want us to use them. Isn’t that what they are intended for? That’s what I thought, but I was told that home health care was a program I had never heard of. I could actually get a doctor to come to my house.
The social worker said, “It’s usually for people who are wheel-chair bound or who can’t hardly get around and have no wife to drive them.”
I almost burst a blood vessel in my head when I heard this comment! She has no idea how much it hurts my wife, who also suffers from sciatica and hip trouble, along with some mental health issues, and anxiety. How dare her just assume that I am not a candidate when I can barely walk, I have been hospitalized four times in this year alone. I spent New Years to Easter in a damn hospital. I am completely fed up with the Florida V.A.