A Tale of Two Stress Tests

A couple of years ago I had my annual physical on a Monday morning. On the following day we were scheduled to fly out of New York to the west coast.

In the doctor’s office following the examination, she went through the usual post exam debrief with me but placed the EKG results off to the side to be discussed later. Finally she picked up the EKG results and told me that they showed something she didn’t understand or like and said she would schedule me for a stress test to further diagnose what was going on with my heart.

I said … “fine, we are going to San Diego tomorrow and I can do the stress test when I return in a few weeks.”

At this point the doctor became quite animated and got in my face saying “don’t you get on that airplane tomorrow! Something is out of the ordinary here and we need to find out what’s going on … I will schedule a stress test for tomorrow … it may be a minor problem … or it might be something more serious, but I don’t want you to get on that plane until we know what’s going on! … Don’t get on that airplane and don’t be late for the test!”

True to her word, she was able to schedule the test for the following day and we showed up early at the clinic. However, an administrative snafu ensued and after waiting over an hour past the appointed time we were told that I would not be having the test that day.

At this point my wife was furious and was undergoing her own sort of stress test and was calling the doctor’s office to find out what was going on.

We stopped by the doctor’s office on the way home, and when the doctor saw me in the waiting room she was very animated … again … and ordered me to “sit right here and don’t go anywhere … I will be right back!”

She came back in about 5 minutes and told me she was able to schedule another appointment at a different clinic later that afternoon.

We made that appointment … I had the stress test and the examining doctor concluded that there was nothing major going on and cleared me for the trip, now rescheduled for the next day, to San Diego.

Two days … a routine yearly examination … and two appointments! Two days, with an administrative snafu … and yet in two days the task was done. Two days!

* * * *

My friend Joe, an Army veteran, is enrolled in the VA and a bit overweight. A few weeks back Joe was at home and felt “a little weird.” The weirdness persisted and so Joe drove to the VA hospital near his home and was admitted for observation. He remained there for a day of two and was finally sent home.

At the VA hospital, Joe was told he needed a stress test … so they scheduled the test – for mid-June! Roughly two months in the future.

* * * *

The VA is responsible for a very small percentage of the citizens of the United States, but provides an illuminating picture of what may be in store for the rest of us. The future of healthcare under Obamacare will inevitably drive the system to a “single payer” system in ways similar to the VA.

Are we sure that central control is the best approach to health care for a nation such as ours? Are we willing to place our trust in a socialistic form of government that has massively failed in each and every instance it has been attempted in nations around the world?

We are witnessing an accelerated rise in scandals at the federal government level, and such scandals are now costing lives … lives of those veterans who have stepped up and have put their lives on the line in defense against enemy forces. Are they now to be sacrificed on the altar of a progressive/liberal social experiment?

* * * *

I am a Navy veteran from the 1960s, and in recent months have been attempting to enroll in the VA health care system. Just the attempts at enrollment alone have taken months of waiting for answers from the VA.

* * * * I’m not sure I should be going down this path. * * * *

Don Johnson – May 2014




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