Wednesday, September 26, 2012

True Tales of the V.A. Hospital

A couple of years ago when working the ER I had a depressed, suicidal veteran come in.  He was sincere and really needed inpatient help.  I got on the phone, and in about half an hour got him accepted into a V.A. hospital 150 miles away.  Within two hours I had him on his way, and with all his paperwork in perfect order.

I do not expect anyone to be impressed.

If you have never dealt with the generally glacial, hidebound bureaucracy of the Veterans know not your blessings.

And if you have, you have already decided that my tale is impossible.  Can't happen.  Ever.

To which I say:  Can.  Did.

Because sometimes-sadly not every day or predictably-The Force is strong in me, and all obstacles crumble.  The indifferent, perhaps malevolent Universe bows its head, tugs the forelock and stands aside.

Of course like all Jedi new in the ways of The Force there was a time when I had not yet learned to fully control my Powers.

I recall a day back in 1984.  I was in Residency, doing a Medicine elective at the local V.A. Hospital.  You were pretty much on your own there, the support staff did not do to much to be, you know, supportive.  Thus discharge arrangements that would often be handled by Social Services in another clinical milieu were handled by the residents.

In that long ago time there existed something called the Federal Wide Area Telecommunications System.  It was a free phone system that linked government systems together.  As it was, well, free we were expected to use it for long distance calls.

While trying to contact a nursing home in another part of the state I had this conversation:

Me: "Hello."

Grim voice: "White House."

Me: " this a bar or something?"

Grim voice: "No."

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