Shutting down . . .

Well, having accomplished what I set out to do with this blog, I think it is time to shut it down.

The reason I’m doing this now it simple:  I had 90 days to renew my domain registration when they informed me that WordPress has decided to force a 2-stage authentication process that requires a form of verification that I literally can’t provide – a cell phone number.  Since I do not have a cell phone, and wouldn’t tie it to my blog even if I did, it is time to quit WordPress.  Besides, I’ve done what I set out to do with  this blog, by laying personal claim to ideas that were hugely influential in the outcome of the 2016 election for the USA.  Everything else was gravy.

So, I’m transferring all of my files and blog posts to my original blog at:  http://mr-spock.livejournal.com/ and asking that if you want to continue to follow my journey of self discovery, you’ll bookmark that page or subscribe to it.  I’ve been blogging on that page since 2004.

Thank you, one and all, for making this page feel like a resounding success.

Keeping it real . . .

I have a confession to make; I have a bad habit.  When I get a new idea, I get so enthusiastic about it that I tend to forget that it might not work out like I want.  For example, when I first started seriously thinking about the femur replacement, I was so thrilled about being able to do serious exercise again that I didn’t stop to realize all the other things going on that won’t be fixed by that surgery.  So, to put my feet back on the ground, I thought I should make a list:

arthritis and bursitis in shoulder

bratwurst sized hernia along the center of my abs

migraine headaches

bad teeth (seriously, I should just get them all pulled and get full top/bottom dentures)

This does not mean that I shouldn’t get the femur replaced – in fact, I am still trying to move forward with the VA about it.  At this point, though, I don’t even know for sure the VA will agree that I should get it, so optimism is premature.  I just want to be realistic about how much my life will change once it’s done.  Yes, I will be able to do more weight lifting and eventually work back into distance running, but I’ll still be curled up in a dark room 1/3rd of each month on average, and I won’t be exercising my abs at all (except indirectly).

Veteran’s Choice and other updates . . .

Veteran’s Choice:

I finally found out the precise process for going through Veteran’s Choice to get any health care.  First, you have to qualify (which I do, they even re-issued the card for me).  Then you have to get your VA Health System primary care doctor to authorize use of Veteran’s Choice for every visit.  Then you get to actually go to the local physician to get taken care of.

In the case of my possibly getting a hip/femur replacement, it means that I have to go to my VA PC doc, he’ll order x-rays, and then put a consult request into the VA computer system for me to be seen by the nearest orthopedics clinic – Fayetteville.  Then Fayetteville looks over the x-rays and visits with me about my situation.  IF they agree that I should have the procedure, then AND ONLY THEN will I get to see if there are any local surgeons who work with Veteran’s Choice – and that doesn’t even start dealing with the physical therapy after the surgery.

Double the doctor visits; double the x-rays, potentially double the wait time for treatment – and this is supposed to be BETTER care?  I don’t think so!  I was so upset by this revelation that I called my dad – and asked him to call his neighbor and good friend: US SENATOR JERRY MORAN to voice my complaint.  He (dad) said he could do that today.

RANDOM STUFF:

We’re in the process of finding a new home for the black leather, overstuffed, love seat we’ve had in our living room for the last 15 years.  We still like it, and it’s not in bad shape (for sharing a home with indoor cats), but we need the space for the weight bench that I got to prepare for if I get the hip/femur surgery.

I’ve been doing some research, and determined that the hip replacement and the femur replacement are almost the same surgery.  The difference would be that to replace the entire femur should actually be less time in the surgery, because they don’t have to cut the femur with a bone saw and screw on the metal replacement.  But it will leave a larger scar.  Oh well, to get full range of motion and weight-bearing capability back, I think I can live with the scar.

The weight bench has a leg curl/leg extension attachment, so that I can start with low weight and insanely high reps to condition the muscles before the surgery.  Then, after the physical therapist gives me the all-clear, I’ll start working up to heavier weight and get these legs back into the condition they were in before the tumor – at least in theory.

The new weight bench was delivered by FEDEX this morning.

Oh, and in the middle of all the other stuff going on this morning – I got a knock on the front door.  When I answered it was one of the city employees who worked on the new sidewalk through our front yard.  He said that the city “came into some money” specifically allocated for shade trees over the new sidewalk, and he wanted to know if we were interested in getting a couple.  I laughed – I was just on the Arbor Day Society’s website yesterday looking at what we might do along that same idea!  Now all I have to do is go out and put some tomato stakes in the yard to mark where the shade trees should be put and the city will do the rest, within the next week!  WIN!

Veteran’s Choice update…

Because I live in Kansas, one of my US Senators is my father’s close friend & neighbor, Jerry Moran.  Because I’m a constituent, I’ve elected to receive his email newsletter.  Here is what he recently had to say about the Veteran’s Choice program:

Pressing the VA to Fix Choice Act Implementation

On Wednesday, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a hearing to discuss the proposed VA Choice Program Consolidation Plan. This plan addresses how the Choice program will function in the future, but Kansas veterans continue to struggle right now with access to care in their communities through Choice. This is because of the flawed implementation of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (Choice Act).  Many of our VA medical facilities in Kansas are only open part-time, or do not have a full-time medical doctor on staff, causing those who have sacrificed for our nation to struggle to receive needed medical services.

During the hearing, I had the opportunity to press Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson on the eligibility requirements for the Choice program, and whether they are being interpreted and implemented correctly. Common sense tells us that if you live within 40 miles of a VA facility, but that clinic cannot provide you with the services you require, or does not have a medical doctor on staff, you should be able to receive care closer to home. I am pleased that Deputy Secretary Gibson agreed that those veterans living within 40 miles of a clinic open only part-time are eligible for Choice. Additionally, Sec. Gibson committed to providing more information on those eligible veterans so we can make certain they are aware of the resources available to them. Veterans deserve a VA worthy of their service and sacrifice, and I will continue to push the senior administrators at the Department of Veterans Affairs to fix the problems within the Choice Act today so we can make certain Kansas Veterans have access to timely, quality care.

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One thought that immediately comes to mind is the observation of how politicians use language to mask realities.  Sen. Moran said there was a failed implementation of the Choice Act – but having read the act myself (and as one who has tried to use it without success) I can tell you that the Choice Act was so specifically written that it was DESIGNED to fail exactly the way it did.  It wasn’t an implementation failure, it was a design flaw.

The new “Veteran’s Choice” program is a joke

You’ve heard about the problems with the VA – secret wait lists, low-quality care, veterans dead because they couldn’t get treatment . . .

Uncle Sam decided to make a very public attempt at trying to improve.  The idea was to send out “Veteran’s Choice” cards to veterans who either have to wait over 30 days for appointments, or live over 40 miles from the nearest treatment facility.  I live over 40 miles from the nearest clinic, and have had to wait up to 6 MONTHS for an appointment, so I thought it was a slam-dunk for me.

Well, over the year-end holiday, I got the card in the mail.  It isn’t valid unless you call a special 1-800 number to activate it.  I called yesterday, and was told that they can’t activate my card because they don’t have me on an approved list from the VA.  The 1-800 number doesn’t go to a VA office, it goes to some outside agency who is only running the phone bank for the VA – for profit, of course.  They suggested I contact the benefits office at my local clinic, and ask them to submit my information.

Can you hear the merry-go-round?  The calliope music?  Let me put it another way.  Remember what I wrote in a previous blog about how the VA so promptly responds to requests for information from the Social Security offices?  That is actually another government agency – this isn’t.

I think this whole new program is just window dressing so Obama can say he did something about the VA mess, but nothing is actually improving at all.