The appt


The appointment. Sep 8, ’08 1:10 PM
for Mel ‘s contacts

My appointment was at nine this morning and it went so well.

This was not an appt with Rheumatology, the way the VA works is that you have to see a primary care dr, to get referred to a Rheumatologist…. even if you have already been to a va (or in my case – four different va’s).  I had hoped that it would be the same way that it was back when I first went to the MPLS va (from 1997-2000) and I was not dissappointed.

I saw the (man)nurse first…. and he asked me why in the world I was taking two medications that I had documented reactions to.  (stomach problems – like ulcers and chronic anemia)  I said, THANK YOU.  I asked my va dr. in SC that VERY question for TWO. FULL. YEARS. and he ignored me.

Next was my primary care doctor.  He refilled ALL of my prescriptions (with a 90 day supply!!) even the rxs that were not empty.  He said that I should have an appointment with rheumatology within 90 days, but he just wanted to make sure I had everything I need.  Oh.  Wow.

I brought the empty pill bottle from my tension headache meds, that was prescribed for me by my SC family dr.  The VA referred me for that, but the rx was filled by my insurance and not the va. (whereas all my other RA meds are covered by the VA)  I ran out of tension headache medication over a month ago.  The PC dr said that the VA could fill it, and he transferred the rx to their system.  And filled it. 

Hallelujah! Halllll-YA-freakin-lujah!

I told him about the dr that I saw at the MN va eight years ago, and how I felt like she was the best doctor I ever had.  He listened intently, and then told me he was adding a note to my referral that said that I was to only be assigned to Dr. M and no one else.  I got a little teary then and told him that he probably had NO idea how much it meant to me, all that he was doing.

Then he sent me off to a private consult with the pharmacist.  Before I went there, I had to stop off to change my address in the system, and by the time I met Bob the Pharmacist my PC dr had already called him and explained everything.  Bob greeted me with a “we are SO happy to have you back!” greeting.  Whoa.  Seriously?  I didn’t know that kind of welcome EXISTED at ANY va.  Holy catfish, Internets.

BTP (Bob The Pharmacist) told me that he had already given the pharmacy instructions to refill all the rx’s.  A couple of my meds are controlled substances, and a few others have certain restrictions that require approval before being filled.  BTP said, I do not have the authority to APPROVE those rxs, but I do have the ability to waive the approval requirement and just refill them.  So, I just did that.  You had these medications prescibed to you at a different va, for many years, and that is proof enough to me that you need them, and that you need them NOW.

I told BTP I felt like I was dreaming.  I said, every OTHER va I transferred made me wait anywhere from 6 months to 9 months for an appt, and it was so hard to get rxs filled.  I ran out of medicine, missed treatments, and it felt like nobody at the va really cared.  He said, at THIS va?  If it makes sense, if it helps you and makes you feel better?  WE. DO. IT.

I was speechless.  Errr…. that doesn’t happen often.

BTP walked me to blood draw, and gave me directions to the pharmacy… and then welcomed me back again and HUGGED. ME. GOOD-BYE.

At that point I had to pinch myself.  I got blood drawn, went to get a new id card, and then picked up all my meds.  I didn’t wait ANYWHERE for more than five minutes.

I almost can’t believe it went that well.  Amaz-za-zing..

Thanks everybody, for your support and encouragement…. and for keeping me in your thoughts.  You guys are great…. just reading your comments made me feel better. 

I owe a lot of people a ton of virtual hugs.  How is this, for a start?



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