The longer I go on this merry-go-round, the more I am in awe of my unwillingness to consider change on certain things. I won’t go so far as to say I am immovable, but I am pre-stodgy and getting more and more careless about just blurting out the first thing that comes to mind. Swagger and the inevitable acid tongue of a fast-moving soon-to-be-geezer is a very lethal and an amusing spectacle. So, to the latest episode. Followers of this blog know that I am prone to fits of baboon-like thinking and curious urges. Thus what you are about to digest, is straight-up true and the by-product of a clouded soul suffering the loss of several brain cells around the summer of 1969.
Case in point — I am apparently unable to put off the approaching window of retirement nirvana. I think about it some. I recently opined while shaving one morning, “I wonder by a quirky chance if at some point I might be eligible for V.A. health care?” Why I wondered that is not important to this story but for the sake of continuity of thought, let’s go with the premise that the current Medicare system sucks and is itself circling the drain along with most of its client base.
For the record, I do have an open mind and a propensity to hedge my bet having been a practicing Baptist, Methodist, and a Catholic at one time or another. Thus being a free thinker, I am also a believer in holistic healing up to a point — like where the healer, usually named Star Child, starts chanting and burning off some chicken feathers. So fast forward to my shaving moment as I looked in the mirror and said, I am paraphrasing now, “Every man for himself.” My next action was to hop online and Google the Veterans Administration. Ironically the search list also produced a hit for Viagra on the same page. “This must be a sign!”
As might be expected the V.A. has a form, well more like an application one might have filled out to be on the Inquisition road crew. As I read through this maze of bovine excrement I became increasingly depressed at my chances of snagging that V.A. brass ring. Then I found this very small entry on my DD-214 record. For you non-jar heads that is your service separation document. At the very bottom in really small print it said, Served in RVN. I jumped up from behind my computer and broke into song like Charlie finding the golden ticket to Willie Wonka’s crib! So like a madman I finished the application for V.A. health care bennies and hit the send button on the off-chance the new-found bipartisanship in Washington might be failing.
Low and behold a few weeks later I get a letter saying, “Hello sailor! Come on down!” Allow me one more fast-forward…..to this past Tuesday. I was scheduled for a session called, “care establishment.” That is V.A. speak for physical, as in exam, as in, well you know. I arrived at the clinic 30 minutes early. Lab work was at noon, of course a fasting lab, so no food, coffee, cocktails, nosh, nothing. Labs were a non-event. Then the main event, the establishment of care. Now, God bless the V.A. On a very serious note it was an honor to be in the same waiting room with men and women who have served our country, it truly was.
So, I am waiting my turn. A very nice and stern nurse finally calls my name and instructs me to follow her. A stout woman she was and full of authority. She puts me in this very MASH4077 looking room. Takes my blood pressure, which is now near stroke level, sticks a wooden stick in my mouth, and shines a light in my eyes with the brightness of an incoming meteor. I would be the last person to stereotype but honest to God, if my eyes weren’t blurred from the light, I could have sworn the name tag said, Ratchet. Then the interview, what do you eat, do you smoke, do drugs, done drugs, night sweats, COPD, ADHD, ED. “No, but you will be the first to know.”
“Alright Mr. Moore your regular physician is out today so you will be seeing Dr. A.” “OK, that will be fine, thank you.” So you know the drill, you sit, you wait, you hear people murmuring in the hallway. Your hands start to sweat, you are feeling nauseous…and then the door opens and viola there is Dr. “A” — Well, I was expecting some old gnarly, funky retired corpsman looking guy with a handle-bar mustache and nicotine stained hands.
Well, Dr. “A” was this jaw-dropping beautiful young woman. She looked at my chart, I mumbled some incoherent responses. You know how this goes, right?
Dr. A, “Ok, let’s get undressed Mr. Moore.”
Patient, “Huh?” ( How is that for a snappy line?)
Dr. A, “You know, we need to examine you.”
Patient, “But I feel fine, this is just an establishment visit.”
Dr. A, “Mr. Moore……”
Patient, “Really, I am fine.”
Dr. A, “Stop being a baby and drop your pants……”
On behalf of a grateful nation, thank you Dr. A for your service.