“We have a process!”

New VA motto: “In VHA, Nos Pedicabo tu Cruda.” or “In the VHA, We Will Fuck You Raw.”

Very appropriate motto.  Not necessarily needed, as anyone who has dealt with the VHA will attest, but it is kinda cool, almost akin to, “Spes, omnes qui ibi intra, – “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.” (TY Dante)

Truly, everyone who works there, with a few exceptions, I believe suffer from the most baleful, beastly and blighting case of hemorrhoids.  It must be an occupational hazard.  There is definitely a lot of sighing to be heard and never any eye contact.  Oh, sighing when in person, “No! There is a process!” when on the phone – doing exactly what you were told to do by the sighing clerk earlier in the day.

Today’s real-life example contains many “SIGHs,” as the experience was in-person.  Had the experience been via phone, I would have heard, “No!  There is a process, Ma’am!”

Today’s Real Life example: “<SIGH> O’Connor? <SIGH>!”

Me: Smiling, “Hi, I’m Lisa O, 3PM with Dr Kumbarberrycoast. My last four are XXXX.”

VHA employee: “<SIGH> What’s your name?”

Me: Biting bottom lip, “O’Connor? Lisa?  Last four XXXX.”

VHA employee: “<SIGH> What’s the last four of your social security number?”

Me: Continues to bite lower lip but with different teeth, “XXXX?”

VHA employee: “<SIGH> First name?”

Me: Confused, “Lisa?”

VHA employee: “<SIGH>Last four of your Social?”

Me: Pouting, “XXXX???”

VHA employee: “<SIGH>You have an appointment???”

Me: Pouting and biting lip, “Yep!  3PM with Dr Kumbarberrycoast. <pause – then – gulp>”

VHA employee: “<SIGH> For what time?”

Me: Pure pout-mode, “3PM.  Is… something wrong?”

VHA employee: “<SIGH> What’s your complete social security number?”

Me: A flash of murderous rage which I instantly – and miraculously – manage to self-squash, “XXX-XX-XXXX.”  (At this point, approximately 15 minutes has elapsed since my name was first called so I could sign in.  Meanwhile, my severely arthritic knee is on fire. This after I have just gone through Mephatopheles’ version of “Who’s on first?” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sShMA85pv8M )

VHA employee: “<SIGH> You are 10 minutes late.  Hold on…<SIGH>… ”

Me: Now hopeful, “OK!”

VHA employee: “<SIGH> I don’t know if she will see you.  Your chart is in the ‘No-Show’ pile.  <SIGH> Wait one… ”

Me: Now I have a heretofore never before seen expression of embarrassment, anger, fear, resignation, sorrow, indignation; did I say embarrassment?  “Um…”

VHA employee: “<SIGH> She will see you.”

<Long pause>

N.B.: At no time did the clerk look at me.

Me: “Um, do I go somewhere or wait to be taken to her office or stay here… ?”

VHA employee: “<SIGH> Take a seat! <SIGH> Someone will be out to get you in a minute <SIGH.>”

Me: As though the thorn was just removed from my paw, “OK!  Thank you very much for your help. <exhale!>”

VHA employee: “<SIGH>”

N.B.: This is for the second specialist visit for a potentially life ending condition, first detected over six weeks ago.  No hyperbole.  The VHA is quick and efficient if anything!

__________________________________________________________________________

I have had either that exact dialogue, or a close variation, scores of times, in three different VHA facilities – usually being dragged there by my GF or a dear friend as I do not enjoy the behavior/atmosphere there.

(I’m not sure I am really that lucky to have such caring friends.)

The atmosphere/behavior not only tweaks my PTSD, I have openly wept, in the local VHA, thinking “This is the treatment our returning soldiers/heroes are receiving?  The ones with limbs blown off by IEDs?  The ones with TBI?  The ones with PTSD?  The ones who saw their best buddy’s head blown to pieces?”

Thinking, “You… dare… treat… our… soldiers… like… maggot… ridden… pieces… of… meat?”

I have never been ashamed to be a decorated military retiree.

I am slowly becoming one.  Let’s not forget, it is a process.

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Lily Pad

Lily Pad

Costa Rica

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Best Bithday Gift Evah!

I just received the sweetest birthday gift ever!!

I probably shouldn’t say anything beyond, “Thank you, I love it!” but I want to describe it – <pfffffft!>

wha… how… my… nek… hurzs… .  I was … goibg … tro…sau:

———————–REDACTED———————————-

ωε  Δ®ê  ÃζωÅŸ§  ¦¹∫τÉΠÎÑÐ

——————–REDACTED—————————————-

——————–REDACTED—————————————-

Lisa will be returned unharmed and with no knowledge of this event.  (Not that that should surprise any of you.)

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I got “read” today!!!

Image

After having my long blonde tresses done at the hair salon, this intrepid coward, boldly buys a timid sandwich, and is read!  Not as a proud member of the LGBTQIGQ Nation, several letters of which apply, but as being military!  The “Reader?”  A former soldier from Sri Lanka who tells me my confident posture gives me away.  (He is a former soldier in the Sri Lanka Army – he and that other dude.)

I smile as I give him money, and he asks me, “You are in the military?”

<pause>

I am wearing medical scrubs with blonde locks about my shoulders.

“Excuse me?”

“The military!  You are in the Army perhaps?”

<pause>

“I was back in the day.”

“What was it like to be a woman in the U.S. Army?”

<Where’s a good robbery when you need one?>

“I made it to retirement,” as I accept the change and sexily, yet crisply march, shoulders back, head high, out of the store.

“Come back soon!”

<Doh!  I suddenly miss Grant Hall.>

ImageThere is a first time for everything.  You never know who will read you as what and for what reason.  Go figure.

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Where’s the Sex/Gender?

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, Boston’s police Department had no problems leaving sex/gender out of their description of people.

                                           (Although I do feel bad for the schlep who had to take all the measurements to satisfy the requirements of the Bertillon System [http://criminaljustice.state.ny.us/ojis/history/bert_sys.htm.])

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