I just finished the annual dance with the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis. While I’m still very angry about the national scandals involving the VA, and think a whole raft of national level administrators and staff need to be fired, I’m very happy with the treatment I have had in Minneapolis.
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Starting with the young volunteer at the blood draw clinic, it was all good. She had one of those smiles that melts the heart of even the worst curmudgeon. Standing at the check-in station, she was spending her Friday morning off from Saint Thomas University helping veterans with the computer scan. Each person got a kind word and a big smile.
The tech who drew my blood was a fellow dog lover, and we had a great conversation while she hit my very difficult veins. No pain, no extra bleeding – the touch of an angel. In and out in just under 8 minutes.
Primary care? Another kind lady in a red vest helping people check in and get to the assembly area to wait. About 15 minutes later I was ushered in for the vitals and an interview. Ten minutes later it was the Primary Care Provider. While I was with her my phone started ringing. Turned it off so as not to be rude. Good examination,
Exam done, I now had four hours to kill until my audiology appointment. Good time to check the voice mail left while I was in my exam.
The voice mail was from the next appointment. Great. They’re going to cancel me and I took the day off to get this done.
Nope. “Could you come earlier? We noticed you’re already here and we have an earlier opening.”
I hotfooted it down to the clinic in question, and the woman behind the desk said my name before I could give it. “You must be Santa Joe! I’ll make you a deal – I’ll skip my lunch if you want, and we can do your exam in 15 minutes. Sound better than waiting until this afternoon?”
I knew then that I had been slipped a hypnotic when the blood draw was done. I had previously spent endless hours in that clinic over the years. But, since I could not find a camera crew, and I didn’t feel dizzy, I assumed it was a blessing.
One hour later I was done. That’s the good news. Well, part two of the good news. Best news was that all my blood work was within standards for the first time in over a decade. The other part of the good news is that I’m getting some very spiffy Blue Tooth compatible hearing aids.
The bad news? My hearing is much worse than during the last exam. I said that I figured as much since there were letters I could no longer distinguish between, such as “S” and “F”. This is a problem, because in my day job I have to be on the phone all day with my field force. Guess which two letters are the only variables in the code sequences we use? Yes, those two.
At this point the audiology team both lit up like candles. They popped a graphic on the screen and showed me the hearing loss in both ears. Plotted outside the hearing range of both my ears were three letters – two of them mentioned above.
But the nifty new hearing aids will incorporate with my telephone at work once I get the paperwork filled out. I will be far more able to do my job, and function in most environments, once I can hear well again.
On my way to the ramp, I ran across a man in a wheel chair who had trouble navigating. He’d broken some toes and couldn’t walk, but wasn’t used to the wheel chair yet. I wheeled him to where he was going. You see, that’s what veterans do for each other.
The moral of the story? I’d had a blessed day. Treated well, able to help others, and found to be in better shape than a year ago. I had been graced with blessings from the moment I hit the ramp, and was able to bestow one myself as I left.
A really sweet day. Hope this one is the same for you.
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