The VA, Again

Wednesday 22nd January 2020 20.29 Published by

So, about three weeks ago, I mentioned that I’d probably be doing this on a daily basis. And then that’s not what happened. No real reason; I just got caught up in various other things, and haven’t really been back here to add anything lately.

Something to work on, I suppose….

Meanwhile, and unrelated to much of anything else, I had to take Hunter to the VA today. Sorta. Meaning that, the VA being too incompetent to treat people directly, they’d outsourced her to a semigovernmental clinic roughly within shooting distance of the Century Sixteen Cinema.

Which is either in Australia, or just in proximity to the incompetence of the Aurora Police Department

That, if you’re curious, may be what actually happens when the VA are too overbooked and understaffed to handle anything veteranadministrative and let disabled vets go to marginally private clinics after bleeding to death for the first month of abandonment. And we’d just been there a week ago, having scheduled a quick appointment, several months after scheduling the one for today, to get bloodwork done in advance of the one for today.

If that’s confusing, then you’re correct. It looks like this, in sequence:

  1. Set appointment for the Twenty-second, months ago
  2. Get a call, a week ago, mentioning that there’s no point coming in on the Twenty-second because blood is a mystery
  3. Set an appointment for the next day, a week ago
  4. Go in to have blood drawn, a week ago
  5. Go back today to talk about blood

Which, on its own, doesn’t sound all that absurd. Like, reasonably, you could expect any given governmental worker with an IQ hovering up there near average to set an appointment like the computer says to do, then later notice that the appointment is to discuss things not yet in evidence. I mean: I wouldn’t trust these people with too sharp a spork; but it sounds good enough for governmental work.

Which brings us to today. Nearly. Unless we wanna talk about yesterday first.

Yesterday wasn’t all that thrilling; but I woke up at about noon, realising that I had to be somewhere the next day—today—at one thirty. And that’s always fun. Because I can’t just go to sleep within twenty-four hours of waking up; but, also, driving through Murderville to the outsourced clinic after being awake for twenty-six hours sounds unpleasant. So, to try to make that work, I just didn’t have any caffeine yesterday. Finally managed to fall asleep around sunrise; woke up at eleven; here we are.

Sat here not getting involved in anything too heavy for a couple hours, so I wouldn’t be locked into anything more interesting than driving into a part of town composed entirely of dust and scowls; then we left the house at about one, and got there at about one fifteen.

Unreleated funny bit: we left our neighbourhood alongside one of those Tesla Chargeycars. The cars that come out to recharge your electric vehicle after you forget how outlets work. Hunter noted that it was probably the worst job in the world: to hafta show up and recharge a car for someone who wants moral currency for buying a Tesla, and who can’t imagine whose fault it is that the thing doesn’t operate on perpetual motion.

Got to the clinic. Early. But okay. Inside; up in the lift; into the lobby of the VA’s little subdepartment.

Now we talk to a guy who looked like he’d have greeted us with Hey, VSauce—Michael here, if those weren’t big words.

Hey, Mysauce—Veekel h—damnit I almost got it that time!

Then there’s a bit of blathering, during which I give up and wander off to the chairs to sit down for the rest of time.

Eventually, someone screeches for Hunter from a door somewhere, so she gets up and wanders back; I’m still out here in the lobby, where there’s a television displaying a practical joke called Chain Reaction—ostensibly a gameshow designed to convince other nations that Americans are idiots.

You can see that they’re having a laugh with the inclusion of cocksure

And then time passes. And then it does it again. And, soon enough, passing is a habit that time has just picked up in recent years. So I go out to the car for a while.

Then I send Hunter a message, letting her know that I’ve gone out to the car:

You now know precisely what I know.

So, this seems like an unpackable moment….

If there’s a backstory to this, and there barely is, it’s probably this:

Hunter the Crazychick is—and brace yourselves for this—crazy. Like, she’s got papers. The Kennel Club confirm that she’s nuts. Not really in a bad way—at least, not for anyone else. But she’s got whatever Major Depressive Mumblemutter Syndrome Thing, which is both diagnosed by the VA and also why she would get to go to the VA for healthcare if they weren’t incompetent enough to outsource her instead to Mysauce here.

Largely unrelated to that established fact, she’s a foot shorter than I am. Which is to say that, when I make food—which is approximately always, since I’m the one who’s good at it—I make enough at a time for about a dozen normal people. Which works because, being abnormal and requiring three thousand kilocalories a day just to avoid losing weight while playing Minecraft, I tend to eat most of all that.

Then she eats a bit. Where a bit is something of a variable. Or two.

In cases, she eats a bit more than normal people would, because I’ve made a lot; in others, she’s stopped doing that because she was gaining a lot of weight.

As a result of the first instance, a couple years ago, she’d managed to get up to about a hundred and sixty-five pounds while being five and a half feet tall and female. This is what we scientists call pudgey.

So she stopped that.

Then, having stopped that, she started losing weight. Because that’s how food works.

Then, having lost weight, she went to Almost the VA and ended up sending me the messages centred above.

Not all at once, of course. As you may have divined, I went back inside to see what the hell was going on after I didn’t get a response for ten minutes. Partly because something like this happened once before, and an imbecile committed her to psychiatric observation for a weekend.

So, now I’m back inside. Veekel from Mysauce is busy turning slowly into selfloathing soy and doesn’t want to talk about big words like hostage and situation. So, and somewhat ironically, I’m beckoned over by what I’d describe as a wellmeaning hamwhale.

This is instantly awkward. Because I’m here to negotiate for the release of someone shunted off to mental health for being not a hamwhale. Ever had to talk to someone about someone else dropping down from the kurbweight of the first someone’s portside thigh? Because I have. Today.

I mention whose ride I am, and why I’m still in the zipcode and without a passenger. She looks in the computer, and we learn that the computer trusts her no more and no less with the following information: Hunter is still in the building.

It doesn’t mention whether she’s alive in the building. Or in one piece. Or allowed to ameliorate her way the hell out of the building. It’s just telling Hamwhale—and by extension me—that the molecules possessed by Hunter when we arrived remain in the area.

So, that’s a clump of words.

What the computer won’t tell Hamwhale is whether Hunter’s allowed to stop being in the building; or how long she’ll be in the building if she’s allowed to leave; or why she can’t message me back after ten—fifteen minutes, at this point. All the computer can tell Hamwhale is that she should keep assuring me that Hunter never teleported anywhere else after going through the door and into the back, where she very much still is.

It sounds like I’m joking. Like I’m exaggerating. I’m not. Hamwhale was seriously invested in explaining to me how much Hunter was still in the building. Whatever things were happening, however bad and stupid, however against Hunter’s will, the incompetence was, I was being assured, locally sourced.

So I go back and sit down for a long time; and then I go outside and mention that I got tired of having upwards of one 4G Bar on my phone; and you can probably work out the rest.

Hunter comes out, and we get in the car and leave; we head off to Starbucks, because why not.

And now I get the rest of the story. If we can call it that.

‘Everything in my bloodwork was fine,’ Hunter says, ‘So they couldn’t figure out what’s wrong with me, if anything.’

‘Right,’ I say.

‘And they wanted to do a colonoscopy to look for cystic fibrosis,’ she says.

‘Okay,’ I say.

‘And I don’t want that,’ she says, ‘so they compromise with a catscan.’

‘Ah,’ I say.

‘And then they sent me to Mental Health to talk about why I don’t want a colonoscopy,’ she says.

‘Why, that’s insane,’ I say, ‘To not want a colonoscopy. To fail to display a deep desire of colonoscopies.’

‘And then they scolded me for being unfat,’ she says, ‘Because, apparently, losing sixty pounds in two years is impossible.’

‘No it’s not,’ I say.

‘They say it is,’ she says.

‘It’s a pound every twelve days,’ I say, ‘It’d be an ounce a day, if you were made of metal.’

‘The doctor said that, if it were possible to just lose sixty pounds in two years by eating less and walking around more, she’d have done that.’

‘Like, she had an MD?’ I ask.

Hunter shrugs.

So I drive on, trying to imagine what in hell could be wrong with people that would allow…this level…of medical incompetence…even at Almost the VA…red light; look to the side:

You think they’ve got a medical school there?

I’m probably not supposed to phonecam things while parked at a red light. But that’s okay, because I don’t give a damn.

Anyway: we get to Starbucks. Meaning actually the Starbucks in Safeway. So now Hunter’s eating a chocolate doughnut with a glass of wholemilk chai. You know: about a thousand kilocalories. As a snack. Because she’s clearly anorexic, according to Your Social Justice Doctor.

And then we get home, where I do tomorrow’s webcomic:

Just in case I somehow don’t get back in here to write another one of these tomorrow.

And that’s what I’ve got. That’s roughly everything I know of the reasons behind Almost the VA keeping Hunter in the back for an extra hour while promising her that a Social Justice Medical Doctorate precludes the common sense that anyone could lose a couple pounds a month by eating less than three thousand kilocalories a day.

That’s the VA. Basically PelosiCare, minus the taxburden, outsourcing their incompetence to a clinic that’s better enough than the VA that they’re able to set appointments a few months in advance and tell you that losing a couple pounds a month only works for corpses.

Have today’s webcomic:

More later….

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