Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Power of Facebook Again

This last Monday, my doctor from the Veterans Administration Hospital called and stated that I had a tumor in my right lung and said that she sent a referral to the pulmonary department of the hospital so they can work up a biopsy. As my earlier blog mentioned, I have been waiting since then for a call. Nothing. I called them and gave the appointment person a heads up regarding the referral on Tuesday. She said that the doctors had not reviewed the referral as yet and that when they did their nurse would call me. I called on Thursday. The doctors still did not even look at the referral and they had no idea when they would. Then I put a note on Facebook that I was worried about the length of time it would take for the doctors to review and decide the next step for my treatment. I was exposed to Agent Orange and have already had cancer more than a few times. The chances was good that it was a cancerous tumor and I was scared. I know it does not seem long, but I have had trouble with this hospital responding. On Friday, everyone was calling me including my doctor.

Maybe, I jumped the gun. I don't know. The last time I waited for a cat scan that was supposed to happen in a few days did not happen for almost two weeks. I learned not to wait but to call. I did not know there were appointment numbers I was supposed to call. In the Redding VA Clinic there were no appointment numbers. The different departments called the patient or sent them a letter. Since the Portland VA Hospital had trouble with my current address, I was concerned. When I did call the appointment person, they were vague about when the doctors normally reviewed the referrals. I got the answer "in a while" or "in a little bit" and so on.

I had used Facebook one time before and got the answer I wanted from the Veterans Administration. I still have not heard from phone calls I have made three or more weeks ago. Those calls had nothing to do with the lung issue and I can do without them. I am amazed that the notes placed on the Facebook Page of the VA can be so powerful. My son said that the one thing no government agency wants is embarrassment. Having a veterans putting a note for all to say stating they can't get anyone to answer their calls is embarrassing.

All I can say is thank you Facebook. I sent a message to someone from Washington who sent me a message from the VA there and thanked him for bringing it to the attention to the VA in Portland. I have been promised that I will have an answer to my question by Monday. It shouldn't have to be this way, but I am glad there is an avenue I can use to get answers when my life depends on it.

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