Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Day at the VA

As I mentioned in my last post, TJ and I went to KC to visit the VA Center there. Normally TJ goes to the VA Center in Topeka, but he was referred to KC for his ear problems as Topeka dd not have the advanced equipment there to diagnose and treat him properly.

TJ has been having bad hearing problems in his right ear for about a year or so. He can't hear out of it very well and has an almost constant ringing. He had some problems prior to that while he was still active duty military and they kept telling him his hearing was fine. He spent about 8 years working with very loud weapons and suffered a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) in Iraq from an IUD. he currently works in a loud warehouse. Topeka finally realized something was wrong.

We were not sure what they were going to do in KC so I went along in case he needed me to drive home.

The VA Center is in a questionable neighborhood and huge

We arrived early because we did not know where we were going. We did not have any information except appointment times and clinic names. The Topeka VA sends out at least 2 letters reminding about appointments and specifics on where to go. this was the first thing we did not like about the KC VA.

The second thing was the reception services. We went to the reception desk. After the lady finished helping the person in front of us she started doing other things. There were 4 other people behind the counter and NONE of them offered any help. About 5 minutes later the lady asked what we needed. e needed to know where Audiology and the ENT clinics were. The answer was on the 2nd floor and she pointed out the elevators and gave general directions. Simple as that. TJ mentioned he had never been there and did not know where he was going. The lady said "well, that is what we are here for" SERIOUSLY??????? After 5 minutes of waiting, you mean is what I wanted to say. NOT impressed.

We went up to the Audiology clinic and were an hour early so we went back down to see if TJ could get a VA ID card (he uses his military ID which is fine, but Topeka has suggested he get a VA one as well). for some reason they could not do it there (he can have it done in Topeka, no hurry). They tried but I think their system was having issues. They were helpful other than that, though. Next we went over to travel reimbursement so we could be reimbursed for the drive to and from KC. Again, the service there was poor. A couple people behind behind the counter, one window open and that guy was on the phone forever. After he FINALLY became available and TJ got the reimbursement taken care of we went back to Audiology to check in.

Audiology was awesome. The check in people were nice (and quick) and I was allowed to go back with TJ for his tests. They were conducted by a guy in training (apparently it is a teaching VA hospital) and overseen by a doctor. The hearing tests were looooooong and I almost fell asleep, but they were very thorough and the technology was amazing. After that was done they sent the results to the ENT clinic where e had the next appointment. I got to go with TJ to that one as well.

The ENT clinic was awesome, too. The doctor was really nice. She looked in TJ's ears with a microscope and saw there was a lot of fluid or wax and suctioned it. She also explained to him that he has a cyst in his ear. It is not cancerous, but it is what is causing his hearing problems so he needs to have surgery. The soonest they have an opening is in August, though they said they may be able to get a back up person to do it sooner. They went ahead and scheduled it and also a Pre Op visit in July. They sent him to Pre Op to preregister and that was an adventure as they told us 3rd floor, but half of it was closed off so we had to take some detours. then, of course, the check in person was gone for the day. Someone else took our info and said the guy would call today, but he didn't.

We also went to records to get hard copies of the test results and the service there was crappy, too.

Overall I was not impressed with the VA Center, except the clinics.

*For those of you that did not get the Ted Mosby reference yesterday....Ted Mosby is a character on How I Met Your Mother who is an architect and loves to talk about architecture.

1 comment:

betty said...

Got it with Ted; I haven't really watched that show.

Although it was a frustrating experience with dealing with some of the staff, I'm glad that TJ's ear problem was diagnosed and that help for it is in place, though it does sound like a long wait until August for surgery.