Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Rules

I am dealing with the Veterans Administration regarding possible cancer in my lungs. I need further tests to determine whether or not I have it. I moved to Portland, Oregon from Redding, California the first week of May, 2011. There has been problems with this move. One is the computers at the VA can't keep my new address in their system. That is minor in comparison with the possible cancer.

When I was a kid, my mother let me do whatever I wanted to do as long as I was home for dinner. She had this old cow bell she would ring at dinner time and my brother and sister would have to come home as dinner was ready and my father was home and wanted to eat. Every so often I would go to Grants Pass, Oregon to visit my aunt who was my mother's sister. The first time I stayed for a full year, I left in the morning as usual and did not come home until dinner. I was nine years old and my Aunt Sonia was livid with rage and beat me with a strap that raised welts all over me. I was astonished. When did the rules change?

When my doctor called and told me that I had failed the first cat scan and that I would be taking more blood work and another cat scan she told me that someone would call me about the times. I sat around waited for the call. Then I got a call from a dietitian regarding another matter and I asked her what I should do about not getting a call. She looked into the computer and said that the cat scan was ordered as well as the blood work. She said I was supposed to be on a fast before the blood work. I went to the hospital and took the blood tests. I went to the cat scan place and they said that no one calls me, I am supposed to call them. That is the way it is supposed to be done at the Portland Hospital. I called and called and left messages but no one called back. I already had a call from some doctor and I answered back and left messages and no one called back.

I went to a volunteer at the hospital this morning and told him about what was happening. What is the proper procedure since I did not know the rules here. He sent me to the patient advocate. Well, I got through to the cat scan people and will be taking it tomorrow. The person called and said she was puzzled why they said I had to wait to take the liquid as it is not required for a lung scan.

When you are dealing with a large bureaucracy such as the Veterans Administration, one expects problems; however I am looking at possible lung cancer. I was exposed to Agent Orange which makes me very vulnerable to cancer and I have had it several times. The VA has saved my life more than a few times. I am scared and don't want to wait until the VA gets its act straightened out. Usually, when cancer might be around the VA acts very quickly which it did at first. I just did not know the rules of the Portland VA Hospital. I did not even consider that it may be different. That was my error. I should have gone down to the hospital earlier and asked.

When I was in the military or working for state or federal governments, I was always told not to assume. I was well treated at the VA in Redding. I knew the rules and the people who worked there. I was a Veterans Rep. in Redding for over ten years before I retired. That was a mistake. Never assume anything. In this case, it could have cost me my life. In this case, it didn't and I will find out more about what is happening in my body.

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