The V.A. Hospital is a Joke

Dear Mr. President & South Dallas V.A. Hospital Director,

The Veterans Affairs Hospital in South Dallas is the most atrocious building, company and hospital I’ve ever had to set foot in. The receptionists you employ to handle the front face of your organization are horrible, rude and miserable human beings. I hope that with this letter, it challenges you to take a closer look into how the people who selflessly fought for this country, are being treated with such a lack of respect, a dog wouldn’t bother its time.

On February 6, my husband and I spent almost six-god-forsaken-hours at your E.R. not counting the two hours it took to drive both ways. He didn’t even get to see a doctor. A total of 10 hours wasted at the hands of your entire staff. Tell me, how would that make you feel? Do you remember what it feels like to be treated like a peon?

The whole fiasco started a week ago, when my husband injured something near his groin area. After two days without a change in the swelling or pain, that Wednesday morning he called his primary doctors office in Denton, another V.A. clinic, to schedule an appointment. That receptionist took down his information and promised a phone call by the end of the day.

No such call came, instead an explanation that appointments could be made after business hours, implying my husband needed to practice patience. So he did, for three more days until on Friday when he left work early to sit in their offices until they had to see him. It’s hard to promise a phone call to someone when they are standing in front of you.

His primary doctor explained that he wasn’t sure what was causing the inflammation but that if it were him, he’d make a trip down to the V.A. hospital in South Dallas. A urology appointment could take at least a month, and with it being so close to the family jewels, it was in his best interests to make sure nothing major was wrong.

So here we are, still waiting, staring at this faux wood walls waiting to hear his name called. So that he can vanish behind the mysterious doors that are so damn hard to get through. Where nobody knows how to get in, but plenty have made it through, just not my husband.

A women at the from desk, rudely waves off my husband at the four hour mark, when he questioned if his name had already been called. “You’re still waiting for a bed.” She couldn’t even remove her eyes from the computer screen to give him the shitty news. Where did these people, if they can even be called that, get their people skills? Didn’t they receive any customer service training?

These same employees were chumming it up with their fellow coworkers while texting and browsing around on their phones. A constant show of how much they didn’t care about the people waiting beyond their plastic patrician. What a bunch of disgusting individuals.

But it’s true, isn’t it? They don’t care, because this hospital gives “free” health care to its guests and if you don’t want to receive the free part, you are more than welcome to visit a regular E.R. I heard that solution come from a few of your employees mouths, as a problem solver for other wannabe patients. Is this how you want to be represented?

Two more hours have passed, and this time it’s my turn to do the questioning, women to women. “Hey, I was just wondering if there is any way you could tell me how much longer it’s going to be, we’ve been here almost six hours.”

Without as so much of  glance my way she told me, “he’s still waiting on a bed.” She never even asked about my last name.

“We’ve been here longer than all the people in this waiting room, you can’t give me any information on how much longer it’s going to be, or where he is on the list?”

“No, we have a priority list and that is how we see our patients.”

I had tears in my eyes because of how frustrating it was, words couldn’t describe the feeling, only the sounds of steam coming from my ears and my teeth grinding gave truth to my emotions, furious.

“Well when will my husband be a priority? How much time do we have to pay before he is allowed a doctor?”

I have few suggestions for how to better operate this lack of professional taste and common courtesy company, and it’s to employ people who have a heart. Administer attitude and personality tests, those in the green are only allowed to deal with the public, the rest of your barbarians can work with behind closed doors.

The amount of disrespect shown in such a small space is sickening. I have dealt with the public since I was 15-years-old and I have always treated people the way that I would want to be treated. Communication is what makes all relationships work, and it’s a crying shame the people in charge of this world don’t know that.

It’s a shame our own country can’t protect the same people who fought to protect them. They fulfilled their contract, now fulfill yours. If small business owners ran their businesses the way the government runs theirs, they would be out of business and maybe that’s the solution to the problem.

Get your act together.

Regrettably,

An angry, taxpaying, higher educated, concerned and frustrated wife.

“Shinseki Obama VA hospital”Jeff Koterba May 22, 2014

**Update** A little over a week later the V.A. called my husband asking if he was okay. The hospital called his name at 5 a.m. the next morning (11 hours after we arrived) and he wasn’t there. They were calling to make sure he was still alive …

Truckin’ Up To Buffalo

Is it safe to say that we, as human beings, have an overwhelming urge to fit in or feel like we belong to something? Set aside the notion of it being corny and think about it. What defines you as a person? Is it your culture, religion and family? Are you apart of a team or nostalgic about where you were raised? What is it?

78a48737096afc9efe56b310147da5b3I was born and semi-raised in Buffalo, New York. My memories of winter being my fondest, building igloos in the feet of snow we were destined to get each year and never knowing what you were for Halloween, because it was too cold to matter, everyone was double layered by the end of October anyways. My husband actually tells people I’m Canadian and that he suspects I married him for the green card.

I always felt like I belonged in Buffalo, maybe it’s because I was still young and didn’t know what it felt like to be the new girl yet again. It was my only home and I didn’t know what it meant to be anywhere else.

When I was in the fourth grade my family moved me closer to New York City. We lived in a small town called Walden. We had a town square, that mostly consisted of a library and elementary school. There were no Walmarts, but instead local grocery stores like ShopRite and Thruway.

I had made my best friends again, learned what it meant to have best friends and got my cootie shots here. I was still an outsider though. I wasn’t born in this small town and my family wasn’t tied to the local hairdresser, mechanic or family doctor. I said pop instead of soda and talked with an accent.

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When I was in eighth grade we moved again. This time, a lot farther and a little hotter. I started high school in Jacksonville, Florida and thankfully, finished it there too.

Who even knows who they are in high school, or what it means to find yourself. We all thought we knew what was up, swore we had a clue, and couldn’t be told any different. It was never the case and high school was weird.

I moved again when I was 22, with my new husband to Virginia Beach, Virginia. The first time a huge move would be made without my family. I had a new one now that consisted of only one dog at that time and a husband. I was nervous and excited at the same time.

I met two of the greatest people in Virginia, and unfortunately, true to fashion, I had to say goodbye to them a little over a year later. The Hubs wasn’t going to re-enlist and we wanted a change. Virginia smelled of sea water and he had been stuck on a boat long enough.

Ever since that move, a little piece of me never truly recovered, my husband included. He misses the ocean and being on a coast. I miss my friends and feeling like I belonged. I had people I could confide in, ladies need ladies night with plenty of wine. I can’t always lean on the hubby, Zeus knows he needs a break.

We landed in Denton, Texas in 2013. I am currently finishing up my under-grad degree and planning my escape of this flat-tornado filled-hotter than hades- state the sooner the better.

There are days I want to run home and scream, but I don’t know where home is. I listen to people talk about childhood friends, how the neighborhood has changed since they were kids, the gossip that ensues with people who have known each other for entirely too long, and I don’t have that. Will I ever? 

I’ve had an overwhelming feeling that I wouldn’t feel complete unless I moved back to Buffalo and gave it another try. Easier said than done, my husband is from Southern California, that adjust might kill him, Virginia almost did.

How do you deal with emotions that never really get resolved, even after long nights of brainstorming it? Do you push them aside and bottle them up, or rant and rave to yourself late at night, when everyone is asleep? Is it the curse of overthinking or does it mean something deeper? Tell me.

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Lynch’s Mob – #BeastMode

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“The NFL Enigma,” formally known as Beast Mode or by his Twitter handle @MoneyLynch, has had one of his many names in and out of headlines since last season. His performance on the field has given reporters and announcers plenty to talk about, as Marshawn Lynch is one of the top running backs in the league.

Off the field and in front of the cameras, answering press questions is one of Lynch’s favorite past-time gigs. This is where “Thanks for asking” and “I’m only here so I don’t get fined” may jog your memory if you aren’t fresh up on your football politics.

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As I will be soon thrown out into the public relations field upon my graduation, I will probably, more so than likely, run into a client, associate, business partner or whomever, that will be difficult to work with, something Lynch has proved time and time again to us. Though, as a viewer I don’t mind it one bit.

What skills would I use to become Mr. Lynch’s favorite press personal? If you watched yesterday’s press conference, than you saw a female approach Lynch with a bag of Skittles. Buttering up your subject is never frowned upon, especially when you’re trying to close a deal. Skittles capitalized on it, with their own press conference.

I have come up with a few suggestions and ideas, that I would do if I was in the press room with Beast Mode.

  • I would always bring in a bag of Skittles. It’s a good way to establish a recognizable face so he could remember you. How could you be viewed as the intruder if you’re carrying a bag of his favorite candy?
  • “No Harm No Foul.” I wouldn’t prepare questions that focus on the game. “Who was your athletic super hero growing up?” “What’s your favorite color?” “Who is your role model?” He may not answer them, but eventually he might. We know he won’t answer football related questions, so it couldn’t hurt to try. Plus, I’d advise this after a few bags of Skittles.
  • Understand the bigger picture. Lynch isn’t in a battle royale with the media so don’t take it personal. His fight is with the league, a bunch of old white guys who are getting rich off him while they sit in their comfy leather chairs. A little bit of George Orwell 1984 going on there.
  • Think outside the box. Lynch isn’t impressed with crowds of people shoving microphones, lights, cameras and questions in his face. Maybe a one-on-one setting could be arranged. It would fulfill Big Brothers media clause, Lynch wouldn’t get fined, and said reporter could arrange a setting that put Lynch playing offense (which every body knows he’s good at) instead of defense.
  • You should be upfront and honest. Lynch hasn’t had a squeaky clean image in life, but the media sure didn’t help it at all either. Understand why he distrusts the media and go from there.

Players and coaches have nothing but nice things to say about the guy. So what does that tell us? People who tend to distrust outsiders isn’t new and I can sympathize. When you decide to trust someone and assume it’s mutual, it can be a hard pill to swallow when it isn’t returned.

People in “showbiz” seem to forget that social aspect to what they do. Instead they focus on their timeline and what the job is and what needs to be done.

I think Lynch would like me, plus I wouldn’t be in it for a paycheck. I would just want to listen to what he has to say. No trick questions to trip him up and say something the media would like to repeat over and over for the rest of the week. I also won’t fine him for not obeying my rules ….

 If you got the chance to ask Marshawn Lynch a question, what would it be?