Back to compression socks and thankful for the VA

I’d been doing really well and haven’t had to wear my compression socks at all for a good six months, but the last few days were looking ominous, and today – yes – I had to put them on.  They’re not bad.  They’re not the same as the compression hose that people have to wear at night.  These are compression socks, and are worn only during the day.  As a matter of fact, they (my doctor and my occupational therapist) are very specific that I don’t wear my compression socks at night!  It has to do with my salt intake over the last week or two, I think.  I’ve been really bad about my sodium.  The edema in my feet, ankles, and calves could also be due to some of my medication changes.  It’s a possibility. I’ll have to research it and ask my doctor when I see him Monday.  In any case, I’m wearing my compression socks, which are really nice and look like regular athletic tube socks to the untrained eye.  I have to say that the VA has taken very good care of me that way, and I’m fortunate to have a great doctor at the VA.  Actually, let me start a new paragraph on my experience of VA Healthcare while we’re discussing it…

VA Healthcare.  I’ve found that the VA is like the military – the resources are there, and the vast majority of individual health care providers that I’ve encountered are top-notch professionals and have compassion in their bones, but the wheels of the VA bureaucracy are huge, and turn extremely slowly.  Efficiency isn’t the VA’s middle name, which frustrates the doctors and other healthcare providers in the system just as much as it frustrates us Veterans.  The individual providers are trying to get things done on a local level for the Veterans, but the big wheels of the government system and all the departments that everything has to go through stifle the quick progress that might otherwise be made in treating Veterans.  Getting authorization for treatment is a big stumbling block in the system.  I must say, though, that I get extremely good care locally and even at the regional level of the VA.  I have an outstanding primary care physician, and the specialists I see at the VA are fantastic as well.  Another issue that faces us, though, is both the physician shortage and the fact that the VA doesn’t pay their physicians nearly as much as they could make in private healthcare positions or other positions outside the VA.  There is also a ceiling of sorts for physicians as far as advancement goes in some cases.  The physicians that work for the VA aren’t in it for the money, that’s for sure!  So, to be fair with all the bad publicity that the VA has gotten, I’ve had my share of frustrations, but I’m still alive and I wouldn’t have any healthcare at all as a Disabled Veteran without the VA!!!  Patience is a virtue and if you treat the VA providers well, they will treat you well in return.  Their hands are tied, too.  I’m very thankful for the VA and I want that to be known!!!  They could do better, and need to, but things could be worse.

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