Stuck Out

Last week Dave noticed something weird happening with his eyes. He said he saw flashes of light in his periphery, and then a bunch of floaters. Both of us see floaters on occasion, and we know it’s one of the many joys of getting older, but this was above and beyond what he considered normal. It just took a quick Google search to find out that one of the causes could be a detached retina, or a tear. He decided to call the VA hospital and talk to someone there.

He was scheduled for a liver ultrasound on March 9th, so when the VA nurse said he should be seen by a doctor, he asked if it could be scheduled for the same day. The hospital is in Fort Wayne, Indiana which is more than two hours south (by car) from us, so it’s a fairly big deal to make a trip there. They had to talk to the doctor first; when they called back, they said the doctor wanted Dave to come in the next day. Okay, so this was urgent.

After he hung up, I suggested he call the liver clinic and see if they could reschedule the ultrasound for the next day as well. He really seemed skeptical; the VA we went to in Chicago (Hines) was really not flexible as far as changing appointments and getting you in quickly, so he expected the same thing for Fort Wayne. But he called – all they could do was say no, right?

Well, they said it was no problem and scheduled him for an 11 am ultrasound. We were both kind of flabbergasted that it was so easy. The eye clinic visit was not for any specific time; they knew we were coming from far away and told him to just get there as early as he could and they’d get him in.

We left a little after 8 am the next morning, and figured he would do the ultrasound first and then we’d pop over to the eye clinic. As we were driving, I read over the appointment card they’d mailed for his original ultrasound date.

“Hey hon? Um … did you know this card says your ultrasound is being done at the Marion facility? It’s not in Fort Wayne.”

Dave pulled over and looked at the card. “Do you want to call and make sure this is being done in Fort Wayne?” I asked. We weren’t far from home; we could drive back and call with the captioned phone, or he could take a chance with the cell phone and call right from the car.

“What? This is crazy. The appointment says Fort Wayne online!” he protested. He was sure it was just a glitch and they’d used the wrong facility information. We talked some more and decided that if nothing else, the eye appointment was more important, and he knew for sure that was in Fort Wayne.

We got to Fort Wayne around 10:45 am and went to check in. Sure enough, the ultrasound was scheduled for that day in Marion, Indiana … an hour away from Fort Wayne.

In the end, he had the x-ray department cancel the Marion appointment and he just went to the eye clinic. They said everything looked fine and it was just one of those things that happen when you get older. He’s still got to go back later this month for a check to make sure nothing bad has developed in that time frame.

When we got home, he discovered that not only was the ultrasound canceled, but also the video conference appointment with the liver doctor that was being done in South Bend. (This is all part of getting him started on the new Hepatitis C drug either this or next month.) As of right now, he has the video conference rescheduled for a week from today, but they still haven’t called to say whether he has to have the ultrasound done first. We were under the impression the doctor needed the ultrasound results before we had the video conference. (The doctor is in Fort Wayne, but South Bend is only 30 minutes from us so we have video conferences from there whenever possible.)

We had no idea there was even a hospital in Marion; I guess it’s a good thing we found out the way we did and Dave still needed to be in Fort Wayne anyway for the eye appointment. If we’d driven there solely for the ultrasound and then found out we were in the wrong place, after four hours round-trip of driving, we would have been rather irked to say the least.

All of this craziness has gotten us thinking about possibly moving closer to Ann Arbor, which is where the best VA hospital in this area is located – as well as a great place for getting my CIs mapped. (Right now I would have to drive back to Illinois because there is no place around here that does mappings; my old clinic in Illinois is closer than anything in Indiana or Michigan.)

We do love this area, and when we drive to Illinois it’s just a straightforward two hour drive. It’s also super, super affordable (the main reason we chose this part of Michigan). On the other hand, sometimes it doesn’t even feel like we live in Michigan. We can be in Indiana within 20 minutes of driving in the right direction; all the television stations are out of South Bend, and even our weather forecast area is Northern Indiana (they throw far southwest Michigan in there as an afterthought). We want to live in Michigan, though, not Indiana.

So I think we’re going to make a weekend trip to the Ann Arbor area this spring, just to check it out. We don’t think we can really afford to live there (not in Ann Arbor proper for sure, but maybe in a smaller town that’s 30 to 45 minutes away). It will still be fun to see, though.

In the meantime, they’re supposed to be building a VA hospital in South Bend to service all the people like us who are completely stuck out – we have to drive two hours either to Michigan (Battle Creek) or Indiana (Fort Wayne) or Illinois (Hines) to get care for Dave at a proper VA hospital. He does go to a clinic in South Bend for minor things, but anything major (including his Hep C treatment) has to be done at a hospital. The South Bend hospital was originally supposed to be done this year but I believe they still have not even chosen a site for it yet, so we aren’t holding our breath.


About wendiwendy

I'm a real-life bionic woman.

Posted on March 2, 2015, in Medical Visits, Not Related to Hearing Loss and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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