Not One To Catastrophize
Has it been a week? Eight days?
Zounds, time flies when you are having fun. I thought it had been a month. Just goes to show you that the pendulum will swing, from the perpetually manic Markie to the Dark Side.
I am here to update those of you holding your breath, awaiting news of my fractured toe, the one that Dr. Mulligan of the Ukiah VA, diagnosed as a stress fracture last March 2nd. That’s 82 days, for those of you who love a scoreboard.
At that time Dr. Mulligan hooked me up with the phone number for the VA clinic in Santa Rosa, gave me some basic logistical directions, and sent me on my way. Remaining always in character, I rushed home, grabbed my phone and made the appointment post haste.
And if you believe that, please let me know as soon as possible, so you don’t miss out on the opportunity to acquire a Golden Bridge. Cheap.
Remarkably, I had not phoned anyone after five days, so it came as a surprise, when out of the blue on March 7th, I received a phone call from Dr. Mulligan, asking if I had made the appointment. Busted, I was informed that she had herself, made an appointment for June 19th, 104 days into the future.
Even for VA standards, this was stretching it.
“No worries,” said Dr. M. “This appointment is a mere formality, in order to activate the Veterans Choice Program, which will allow you to make an appointment closer to home. You should also be able to get in a lot earlier than June 19th.”
“Great success,” I responded. "So I just go home and wait for them to call me?”
“Not exactly,” she went on, “but I will set you up with everything you need to activate the process. After you call and get started, it will take five to seven working days to get your appointment.”
Gosh, it all sounded so wonderful! Closer to home, sooner than 104 days, what was not to like?
Well, one component that I didn’t care for, was the telephone aspect of it all. You see, I have this issue processing information when it comes at me orally. I like to see things in writing, if possible. Disclaimer aside, I did make the call, and talked to that nice Tina, who took my information down, asked me a hundred clarifying questions, and assured me that in five-seven working days, I could call back and all would be well.
Tina lied to me.
I hate to put it that way but nothing that she said came true. I called after five business days and there was nothing. I called again after seven business days, and this time was told that it was actually ten to fifteen business days to gat the process started, so I waited. Again, after the fifteen business days had passed, I checked in to find that I was still not on the roster.
Each time I phoned, I had to go through the entire hundred questions part of the dog-and-pony show, and it was not as much fun as I am making it out to be. It was so much not fun that after the third time, I decided I had to reboot before I could try again.
Skip forward to April 17th, when something must have triggered new concerns for fractured toe, because I climbed into the ring one more time, and gave that nice Paul, who works the desk at the VA Clinic, a call.
After explaining the dilemma to him, the first thing he told me was that health care providers do NOT make appointments for patients, so I must be wrong about Dr. Mulligan’s having set me up in the first place.
“Oh.” Well, this may be easier than I thought. Are we done now?
When I refused to change my story, he actually put me on hold and made some phone calls. When he came back, he admitted that Dr. M. had indeed made the appointment in Santa Rosa for June 19th. He asked the hundred questions, put me on hold again, and then told me he would check the whole thing out and get back to me.
Which he did. What he told me was that I had slipped through a crack, but that he had gotten me back on track, and all I had to do was wait five to seven business days, and I would be hearing from the good folks at the Veterans Choice Program.
“And if I don’t?” I asked, not one to catastrophize, but nonetheless considering the track record, what else could I ask?
“Then you call them,” Paul suggested.
I did not have to though, because that nice Nikki called me. Of course, since it was an unfamiliar phone number, she had to call me several times and leave several voice mails over several days, before I got them, but we overcame it all.
Nikki asked me the same hundred questions, and told me that I was indeed in the system, and that I would be hearing from a local podiatrist any day now.
That was May 2nd.
A funny thing happened yesterday, not to change the subject, but I was maneuvering a fully loaded wheelbarrow of homemade compost up the path, in my sandaled feet, digging my toes into the ground for leverage up the path, and I felt no pain.
OK, I felt pain, but instead of the Nine-Point-Nine on a scale of ten that I wrote about almost three months ago ( http://markyswrite.blogspot.com/2017/03/nine-point-nine.html) it was more like a four. Could this mean I am getting better?
Lest you think divine intervention has come into play, I will provide a more reasonable explanation. Ever since March 2nd, When Dr. Mulligan diagnosed the toe as fractured, I have adjusted my program to exclude the use of my right foot for digging. I am now even one step closer to being a complete “lefty,” now pitch-forking and digging exclusively with my left foot.
When I thought the pain in my toe was just “old dude shit,” I went on using my right foot to dig; having stopped using my right foot on March 2nd, wouldn’t it be logical to think that maybe the toe was just getting better?
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Hello, VA? Anybody home?