Harmony County

2011 & 2009 Winner of "Best Humor Column" awarded by the SC Press Association

Administrative tail, health care dog

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      A wise person once said, when describing a bureaucrat, “If you threw a bureaucrat off of a four story building on Monday, he wouldn’t hit the ground until Friday.”

   This is a perfect description of the paper pushers in the Veteran’s Administration. However, before I go any further I’d like to point out that the VA Health is unofficially divided into two distinct parts. The first is the bureaucracy, those great guys and gals who could have an archbishop kicking out a stain glass window in five minutes.

   The second is the health care providers who are the most seriously overworked public servants I have ever encountered. With no exceptions these medics and support personnel have treated me with courtesy, respect and genuine concern. Your tax dollar is well spent on these folks. I and the other vets sincerely thank you for it.

   But, this is a case where the administrative tail is wagging the health care dog.

   I called to reschedule an appointment. I have a rather ugly and slightly annoying growth on my right big toe. As a matter of fact the physician said, “It looks like your toe is trying to grow another one.” Since these would upset the balance of the universe in the “This Little Piggy” ditty, the growth had to come off.

   I was once farmed out to a civilian MD to remove a suspicious growth from my left hand. I was in the office for a grand total of 20 minutes. It was, “Are you allergic to any drugs?” then painkiller, painkiller; snip, snip; stitch, stitch and “OK cowboy, hit the dusty trail.”  

   For the toe-job it was an entirely different story. When the exam was over, in about 10 minutes, I was turned over to the admin. I got a lecture on surgery in general, had to verify my social security and address about three times with the same clerk, sign five separate forms and waited for two hours for a five-minute interview with an admitting clerk who checked to see if my SSN had changed. You would have thought they were going to amputate my leg.

   When I called to reschedule you thought I was committing treason. The clerk gave me a chewing out that rivaled any that First Sergeant Gateward gave, but with less profanity and more sarcasm.

   (The 1Sgt once set my tail feathers on fire when I failed a weapons inspection. It was a work of art. Not only did he point out my deficiencies, but cast suspicion on my parentage, suggest I was guilty of incestuous relations and displayed an amazing lack of knowledge of basic anatomy about where the weapon would end up should it ever be found in such deplorable condition again.)

   Since the rescheduling call I have gotten two letters and three phone calls verifying that I would be at the right place at the right time, or else.

   If I had enough nerve and a good sharp knife I could have solved the problem myself.  © 2009 Harmony County

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Written by harmonycounty

December 30, 2009 at 4:42 p12

Posted in Americana

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