I am happy — indeed, delighted — to report that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical care system is still tops in my estimation.
Now I will explain why.
I had an appointment at 10 a.m. today way down yonder at the VA’s Medical Center in south Dallas. Why mention that? Because I live about 40 miles north of the medical center in Collin County.
That meant I had to leave my house in Princeton at 8 a.m. to get there in time to check in and prepare for a medical examination I had scheduled. The VA told me to get there 30 minutes before my appointed time, which meant I had to leave extra-early.
Hmm. Eight in the morning driving along the Central Expressway through Dallas is dicey, yes? You bet it is! I got caught in morning rush-hour traffic. It became obvious to me around 9:15 that I wouldn’t get there 30 minutes early. I took a moment while stopped on the highway to call the office. I informed the voice mail machine that I would be late, that I was stuck in traffic; I’ll get there when I get there.
Right around the LBJ Freeway, the traffic jam broke up and we sailed along the Expressway, then on to Interstate 45 toward the exit I needed to take.
I pulled into the VA parking lot at 10:10, parked the car and rushed to the clinic where I was to be examined. I checked in. Then I waited for about, oh, 15 minutes before a young resident doc called my name.
We went to the exam room. He asked me a few questions. Then he got started. The exam took all of about 50 minutes. Then he said his “boss,” the attending physician would come in to go over the results of the exam.
She did. We chatted. I got a reasonably clean bill of health and was on my way.
I walked out of the VA medical center at noon.
They could have pushed to the back of a long line. They didn’t. They could have asked me to reschedule, given that I didn’t get there 30 minutes beforehand. They didn’t.
I waited just a few minutes, which has been my experience dealing with my pre-paid medical plan.
I have been blessed since enrolling with the VA medical plan with good health. I have suffered no medical emergencies. My visits in Amarillo, where I enrolled initially and in Bonham, where I go now for my routine checkups have been routine. In and out just like that.
Today, though, presented a situation that could have turned out differently. It turned out just fine.
And the young resident, as so many of his colleagues have done whenever I have been examined, thanked me for my service to the country.