Hey Y'all!

It took me awhile to get here, but alas I'm finally joining the blogosphere of bloviation. It took a rant floating around in my head to send me toward this journey, but so be it. We'll have some fun here too. I promise. Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget to leave me a comment or two. ~ diane

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Day at the VA

Now I know why I was so hesitant to commit to a blog. Life keeps getting in the way until days and weeks fly by and I realize I haven't blogged a single syllable. Then again, I promised myself I wouldn't let it hang over me like some killer deadline or mandatory task. My only intention was to write when I had something to say. And now I do!

Since I last wrote, my dad had outpatient surgery on his eyes. He did fabulous - in fact, his surgeon told us he was her best patient that day! For 86, he is a most amazing man and I couldn't be more proud of him. We arrived at the VA early last Wednesday (Dad is all about being early, of course) and we waited. And waited. And waited. They finally took him off to the ambulatory surgery unit around 10:45 and sent my sister and me to, you guessed it, the official waiting area which was located in the main lobby of the hospital. There we sat for the next SIX HOURS. Around 2:00 or so, the receptionist called us over to the desk with the message that one of the surgeons was coming to get our signatures for them to biopsy a suspicious spot on Dad's forehead. We gladly signed and off he went.

And again, we waited. And waited.

With no cellular service available inside the building, my sister went outside to make a phone call. While on the phone, she noticed a patient in his VA PJs who wandered out the front door, a pack of cigarettes peeking out of his pocket. Suddenly, his foot caught on the curb and he went straight down - no hands to break his fall, he landed on his face, surely breaking his nose. Morlee ran inside to alert the receptionist who signaled a CODE BLUE on the PA system. Doctors, nurses, carts, and guerneys flew through the lobby as folks gathered to help the old guy who'd bloodied himself and a significant amount of pavement. They loaded him up and off they went. I'm thinking he should consider giving up those cigarettes . . .

Aside for that little burst of excitement, much of the day we suffered through the agonizing horror of being in the same room with a TV showing non-stop Jerry Springer-type programming. If ever there was a reminder of the depravity of humankind, those shows are surely evidence. I would have killed for a pair of ear plugs and some blinders.

Eventually, the room began to clear out. Around 4:00, the staff went home. Morlee and I eagerly changed channels and watched a little Oprah. Then it occurred to us there was no way for the folks back in the surgical unit to reach us now. The receptionist was long gone, her desk phone turned off, and we knew our cell phones were useless. Around 4:30 we decided to make our way through the deserted hallways and see if we could find our father.

We eventually found Dad getting dressed in his post-op "bay," with one lone nurse at the desk nearby. "I've been trying to call you," she said, as she gathered all the discharge paperwork. Yeah, I'm thinking maybe they should invest in beepers (remember those?) if they aren't ready to go cellular. Just sayin . . .

But overall, I have to give the folks at the VA an A+. They go out of their way to be friendly, to give directions (that place is a maze!), and any help you might need. I've heard horror stories about VAs over the years but aside from Jerry Springer, no cell service or wireless capabilities, and the deserted afternoon lobby, all was well.

Dad looked a little scary with his drooping lids, stitches, and bloody tears, but otherwise he was fine. All day long he'd been looking forward to having pot pie at Cracker Barrel on our way home. We gently discouraged that, thinking the other restaurant patrons might not appreciate those bloody tears, opting instead for carry-out. And wouldn't you know, they were all out of pot pie! But we made do, got him home to rest, and took turns staying with him until he was able to get around better. A mere two days later, wearing a pair of those heavy glaucoma-like sunglasses, he joined his buddies (whom we've affectionately dubbed "the grumpy old men") for their regular Friday lunch date at Cancun.

Here's lookin' at you, Dad! (A little optical humor there. My apologies.)

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