Monday, August 31, 2015

A New VA - Part 1

Moving to Kissimmee also moved me to a new region in the VA system. You would think that it would be straight forward since all my information is in the computer system. Nope; Not going to happen; let's reinvent the wheel.

I get assigned a new Primary Care doctor - It's up to him to refill my medications ... and to place consults with the specialty clinics I was seeing in the old region. I get in to see my Primary Care, and he doesn't refill all my meds (leaving out some of the important ones). He also fails to send ANY consults for Specialty Clinic followups that I needed. He did send me to Cardiology - which was a waste of time. Cardiology has already said they have done all they can do and it will take a life threatening event for them to do more.

I started the process of kicking him to the curb ... and what a nightmare that was. By going around some people, I did manage to get into one specialty clinic (Pulmonary) and the Doctor there sent out consults for the other clinics. Pulmonary also said I have, "Compensated Metabolic Alkalosis".

Neurology agreed to see me; Endocrinology declined the consult - REALLY? More on Neurology in Part 2.

I finally saw my new Primary Care - we seemed to click and he agreed with most of my requests - more consults placed and various test ordered. He ran out of time and scheduled a return vist with a 1 hour time slot.

Endocrinology agreed to see me after the second consults (and the test results) More on that in Part 2.

With a few exceptions, the Orlando VA is as good as the North Florida/South Georgia VA Region. It is disappointing that the different VA Regions tend to act as totally different entities. If something is ordered in one Region, you would expect it to get done in another Region without massive quantities of red tape, but ....

More on the local VA in another blog.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Moving along - and South

My Sister worries about me - which is a good thing. However, she really started to freak out after she started working for a new School District in Central Florida and was no longer around to "watch out for me" Having the broken foot and being placed in a wheelchair was something that disqualified me from independent living in her eyes. So, she insisted I move down South to be with her so she could keep me in line.

There may be a LITTLE truth to her viewpoint - it IS harder to live a "normal" life in a wheelchair ... BUT, it is done every day by many people. Could I live by myself - yes. Do I appreciate the help and love from my Sister? HELL YES! It does make life easier.

Sidetrack 1: That brings up a point that is being discussed in one of my online groups - what is "fair" when it comes to accessibility? When you see the following, which side would you see as fair and which side do you see as fair?

Some of you would say the left side is equal because they are all standing at an equal level and it isn't fair to give someone else a higher level to stand on;
Some of you would say it's fair for all of them to have the same viewing level;
I prefer to say the view on the right is not fair ... it's equal.
People with disabilities (in general) are NOT trying to game the system or gain an unfair advantage - they are just trying to have an equal access to life.

When I go to a theme park, I don't expect head of the line access - just the ability to access like anyone else. If it requires a special car or access line, that is NOT something special - it is just what it takes to level the playing field and let me into the rides. Still think I have an unfair advantage? I challenge any "normally abled" person to spend one normal day of their life in a wheelchair so you can see just how many obstacles there really are in life. Try opening those doors that don't have an assist or automatic opener; try getting around in that bathroom; try any normal activities and you will find something that makes it a lot harder on you.

Back on track: I now live in Kissimmee, Florida. A lot more people and traffic compared to the boondocks I lived in. With a little help from the GPS and a good deal of just driving around, I have figured out most of the short cuts (time and/or distance) to getting around this area. In a number of cases, I use toll roads to cut time from my travels even if it makes the total distance travels further - especially for my trips to the VA facilities in my area. I have even found some short cuts that don't show up as alternatives on your GPS mapping app.

There is SO much more to do in this area. Before it was an hour's drive to get to a limit selection of food or entertainment. Now it is just a few minutes to a vast selection of MANY ethnic restaurants; in 20 minutes I can be at Walt Disney World, with just a little longer trip to Sea World or Universal. Lowry Park Zoo is in Tampa - which is just over an hour away.

I have done MUCH more socially since I moved here in April than I have done in YEARS! Movies; Meet & Greet with friends; just get out and go ... Yes, I love it here. I DO miss the quiet, rural town life, but the pros outweigh the cons in my new life.

If you are going to be in the area, give me a head's up and I will try to give you suggestions about things or places to go.

A lot of catching up to do ...

A LOT has been going on in my life, so I procrastinated about my blog. Now it's time to start bringing it up to date. Instead of one huge post, I will be making posts that tend to fall into the same category:

  • I moved to Central Florida = one blog will cover that and some of the changes it has made in my lifestyle;
  • I am now in a different VA Region - one blog will discuss that and start bringing you up to date on some of the health issues I am having;
  • The move brought me a lot closer to Theme Parks, so I will update you on some of those;
  • There may or may not be a blog on things that fall through the cracks between those;
  • Stand by!
If you have any questions about anything I blog about, feel free to contact me, and I will expand on the topic you want more information about. Questions about specific health issues; questions about the Theme Parks; questions in general - fire away.