To go along with the re-evaluation of my service connected disability, I needed to get my asthma under control. Just trying to set up a doctor's appointment at the VA takes an act of Congress and yesterday was my appointment set up over 2 weeks ago. My appointment was for 9:15 am and I left work at 8:30 to arrive in time as Foothill Blvd is quite full of people at that time. I made it to the clinic at 9:00 and by 9:15 I was seeing the nurse for measuring my vitals. That was all taken care of in a rapid fashion and by 9:30 I was sitting the the room waiting for the visit from the physician.
Little did I know that for the next 4 hours I would be the victim of government control. I waited for almost an hour for the physician and then had to give her my complete history, and because my file wasn't in the computer, she even asked me to recal details from 20+ years ago that I could not remember. I mean, who remembers whether they were suffering from night sweats or rashes when Ronald Reagan was president. After she was done grilling and poking and listening, she brought in her attending as she was only a resident, and he proceeded to inform me of all of the things that could be wrong with me that further testing could either eliminate or confirm.
After filling out the requests for perscriptions, sleep tests, and pulmonary function tests, they were finally done and sent me on my way with instructions to:
1) Set a follow up appointment
2) Set an appointment with a Primary Care Physician
3) Get a chest x-ray
4) Pick up medication
So in that order, I set off for my tasks. The follow up appointment was easy as I just stopped by the desk on the way out. The PCP appointment was a little more difficult as I had to phone in the request and the scheduler hung up on me before I could get the appointment, but I called again and the next lady helped me just fine. The chest x-ray, again wasn't difficult, but took about 20 minutes of waiting. Then the house fell in.
The medications are a completely different world. Once the physician inputs the prescriptions, a pharmacist has to approve them before they can be distributed at the pharmacy. You have to take a number and when I took mine, twenty people were in front of me. Please remember that this is a VA hospital and I love the men and women of the military, but old veterans take a lot of medicine and it took almost 45 minutes before I got my turn with the pharmacist. As he was reviewing the scripts, he discovered a problem with two of the three. I had to hunt down my doctor and ask her to contact the pharmacist so that he could discuss the problems. I returned as they were conversing on the phone. She agreed to make the changes but it took another 10 minutes for that to happen. After the pharmacist approved the changes, it took almost another 30 minutes for the pharmacy to get the scripts ready and me to pick them up.
All of the time I am waiting and being poked and prodded, my boss is texting me about my return to work. I can only move as fast as the government does.