Yesterday I had an appointment at the "Falls Clinic." I wasn't sure what to expect. I was in a bad mood to begin with. I haven't been sleeping well. My partner and caregiver has been really sick. I feel totally helpless because I don't know what to do to help her. She is back at work but she still looks and sounds like shit.
We got to the clinic early. My friend and sometimes driver, Jojo, picked me up early for yesterdays appointment. The Falls Clinic isn't at the main VA campus so we wanted to give ourselves some extra time to find the clinic. GPS is a wonderful thing but when the sky is full of storm clouds you don't always pick up a satellite signal. So much for modern technology. We had to resort to old fashioned printed directions. We did find a quicker way to the VA Hospital so that was a plus.
We arrived about half an hour early. The staff noticed us out in the parking lot and they were trying to rush us in. I wanted to smoke a cigarette. I was annoyed as hell that they were trying to rush me in. Remember, I was not in a good mood.
I saw three different people at the Falls Clinic. First I saw a ... Well, I'm not sure what she was. She checked my eyes. She put me through all these weird little tests. I had to put on 3D glasses for one of the tests. Then I had to do a mental health exam. I'm getting tired of that exam. Spell WORLD backwards. I'm going to tell you three words. Then we will talk about something else. Later I will ask you what those three words were. What the hell! I'm not crazy. My knee gives out and I fall. Don't you people understand that?
Then I spoke with a physical therapist. She asked me what assistive devices I have in my house. I have a shower chair, a potty chair that sits over our commode that has grab bars so that I can get off it. And I have grab bars that some VA contractor installed outside of my shower. Why he put them there is beyond me. They don't do me any good once I'm in the shower. I have this cool thing that I can grab stuff with. It's really come in handy. Oh yeah, and I have the spiffy new walker that I've decided I hate now that I've used it for a few days.
After I saw the PT, the doctor came in the room. This is the part where the details get a bit fuzzy. I can tell you that I was very upset and very angry. The doctor thought I was being combative. I explained to her that I was not angry with her. I was angry at the system. What set me off was the medical note from Dr. Miller, the ortho asshole that I had seen last week. The doctor I saw yesterday said that Dr Miller recommended "revision surgery" to correct the problem with my knee. Dr. Miller went on to say that I refused surgery. What Dr. Miller didn't put in my record was the fact that he told me that there was nothing wrong with my knee. Why the hell would he recommend surgery when he believes there is nothing wrong with my knee? What the fuck??
Let's talk about the spiffy new walker for a minute. I told this to the doctor, the physical therapist and the other technician who, I guess, was trying to determine if I was completely out of my mind. I don't fall because I get dizzy. I don't fall because I am mentally impaired. I fall because my knee buckles. Plain and simple. I don't give a shit what the xrays show. I feel like I have a knife in my knee. It catches and it pops. I feel like it's got gravel in it. The spiffy new walker is on four wheels. If my knee buckles, the spiffy new walker isn't going to help me anyway. The spiffy new walker hurts my shoulders. I have to put more weight on my left knee when I use the spiffy new walker. As a result of that, I'm in more pain now than I was before I started using it.
The doctor agreed with me about the spiffy new walker. She told me to stop using it. She told me to go back to my cane and to wear the brace that Dr Miller the ortho asshole issued to me. At least we agree on one thing.
So now I'm contemplating my next move. I don't want another surgery. But why would Dr. Miller recommend surgery after telling me there is nothing wrong with my knee? It doesn't make sense. What the hell is wrong with these people? Are they intentionally trying to mess with us? Why do they want to screw with the Veterans? Do they enjoy it? Why would Dr. Miller tell me there is nothing wrong with my knee, then recommend surgery. When I questioned him about it, he put in my record that I refused surgery. That's just wrong. Shit like that hurts Veterans in the long run when we put in a claim for disability benefits. They review our records and they see all that. They never hear our side of the story. They don't know about the pain that we suffer from day to day because the VA doctors write down what makes them look good. They don't give two shits about the Veterans they are supposed to be taking care of.
The Falls Clinic can't do too much for me. They are sending someone else out to look at the installation job of the grab bars. They ordered two new bars to be installed inside my shower stall. The doctor wants me to go back to using a cane.
I've got a brand new spiffy walker on wheels. Hardly used. Can anyone use it? Come and get it. I'll give it to you.
Until the next time ...