Posts Tagged ‘Veterans Administration’

As The Veterans Administration Or ANYTHING Goes The Way Of Liberalism, It Goes Down The Toilet

March 12, 2015

I am a service-connected disabled veteran and use the Veterans Administration as my primary source of health care.

For the most part, the VA has done me well.  I have mostly had excellent physicians and health care professionals attending to me.  And I have been grateful to the VA for the care I have received.

But I have also been watching my level of care deteriorate.

And it is deteriorating because of liberalism.

This week is a marvelous example.

As a service-connected veteran with injuries to both knees and both shoulders, I have a significant level of pain to deal with.  I am prescribed oxycodone for my pain.  And of course that is a Schedule II drug that requires extra-level monitoring.

I have never ONCE been convicted for any kind of substance abuse.  I have never ONCE been arrested for any kind of substance abuse.  I have never ONCE ever even been ACCUSED of any kind of substance abuse.

But, you know, some people have abused their oxycodone.

So let’s treat EVERYONE like a drug abuser.

I got a phone call this week and was commanded to submit a urine sample for a drug test within two weeks of receiving the call.  I’m going in today and I am pissed off about it.

Oh, if I were a welfare-sucking parasite, I wouldn’t have to submit to a drug test.  I mean, they tried to do that in one state and the unholy rabid frothing-at-the-mouth fury on the part of liberals squashed that pretty fast.  I mean, how DARE you insinuate that people might not be getting jobs because they’re abusing drugs, you RACIST!

But it’s perfectly okay to accuse us veterans who fought for your right to be a depraved jackass of being a drug abuser, isn’t it, Democrat?

Thanks to Führer Obama, I get to deal with that insinuation about four times a year.   I was tested in November.  The fact that there wasn’t so much as a trace of a contraband cream puff in my system doesn’t absolve me.  Because where Democrats are involved, the last thing that matters is “facts.”

But I’m not done.

I just had shoulder surgery for my left shoulder.  And I’ve been having physical therapy on a schedule of three times a week, followed by two times a week, followed by three times a week, followed by two times a week, etc.  Well, I had a setback when I strained myself.  The physical therapist and the surgeon saw me and told me I needed to miss about a week plus and heal up.

So I just came back, and during that week plus I’d missed, the physical therapy department changed their scheduling policy.  You see, some veterans aren’t showing up for their appointments, and it cost the system money when people don’t show up for their appointments and leave medical professionals twiddling their thumbs when they could be treating patients.

So does the VA go after the patients who aren’t showing up for their appointments?  Of course not.  That would make as much sense as going after the actual MUSLIMS who are doing all the actual TERRORISM.  So instead, they have to treat EVERYONE like a terrorist, or in this case an appointment-abusing no-shower.

It doesn’t matter that I have NEVER missed a VA appointment in my entire life.

Now I have to get ONE appointment per visit.  The therapist has to spend one-fifth of each appointment writing the paperwork so I can get my next appointment.  And now suddenly I can’t GET two or three appointments a week anymore; nope, I’m lucky to get ONE.  And my recovery is going to suffer as a result.

So because Democrats are running the bureaucracies, we ALL get treated like terrorists.  Whether we’re 95 year-old nuns in our walkers slowly making our way through the airport or service-connected veterans who never once missed an appointment (or abused drugs).  We ALL get treated like terrorists who did something wrong by these power-grabbing dictators.

What is liberalism?  Liberalism is the belief that everybody is “good” while society is “evil” and must be reformed and then “fundamentally transformed,” and so on the one hand they refuse to hold perpetrators responsible for their crimes or their behavior because it’s SOCIETY that is to blame, right?  So we ALL get treated like farm animals while your Hillary Clintons are running around exempting themselves from the laws and regulations and policies that they impose on everybody else.

It would make sense to single out the abusers – whether the drug abusers or the appointment abusers – but Democrats are vile, wicked, depraved people who won’t be held accountable and won’t allow anyone else to be held accountable.  And add to that that Democrats are fascists who want to have total dictatorial control of every system of government.  And you get the perfect storm of me having my health care ruined because the system won’t hold the people who are screwing up accountable for being the ones who are actually screwing up.

Especially if they’re welfare-sucking parasites, for the record.

It’s the same thing with guns, and that’s going on right now, too.  Obama just tried to do one of his innumerable end-runs around the Constitution by banning ammunition for certain types of guns he doesn’t like.  It doesn’t matter if we have a right to those guns because Obama is a fascist and we have the rights Obama says we have and we’re racist if we think we have the rights the Constitution says we have.  In California and other states, Democrats are releasing criminals from prison at a record rate much the way Obama has released terrorists from Gitmo at a record rate (because the fact that I should be treated like a terrorist in any airport in America doesn’t apparently mean that actual TERRORISTS should be treated like terrorist, right?).  And this goes back decades, when during the 1960s Democrats declared that it was wrong to commit crazy people against their will and that the nutjobs who voted Democrat had RIGHTS, dammit.  And so Democrats made it impossible to deal with mentally ill people in America.

And now they demand that we ALL be treated like criminals and nutjobs as a result, and that we ALL have our right to keep and bear arms stripped away from us.

“Democrat” stands for “DEpraved deMOnic bureauCRAT.”  And they have “fundamentally transformed the United States of America” into something truly pathetic and truly despicable.

Now, excuse me.  I’ve got to go pee in a cup.  I’d have a Democrat take the test for me, but you know I’d fail my drug test given the fact that these same hypocrite liberals who are making me take this damn drug test are trying to get the very drugs that I’m being tested for legalized in state after state.

Especially if they’re welfare sucking parasites.

Advertisements

‘Death Panels’ Are REAL. They Are Simply Part of ANY Socialized Medicine Scheme (VA Now Your ObamaCare Next)

May 21, 2014

Remember when liberal economist Paul Krugman heralded the VA as the “triumph of socialized medicine“?  Maybe not so much to those who don’t inhale the contents of spray paint.

Let’s just face facts: Sarah Palin was wrong when she famously said:

The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.”

She was wrong only in this: you don’t GET to “stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ and face the bureaucrats who decide whether you live or die.  That’s a privilege you don’t deserve in a socialized health care system.  Rather, you are just left twisting in the wind wondering where the hell your health care is while you die of medical neglect.

In other words, Sarah Palin’s description of reality under Obama – as terrifying as it was – wasn’t anywhere NEAR terrifying enough.

When you’ve got a Hitler or a Stalin or a Mao – or a true socialist ideologue dictator like Obama – running your country, the truth is almost always more terrifying than the fiction.

The Veterans Administration debacle where veterans across the country are DYING while waiting in vain with their neglect covered up by secret lists is proof that death panels are all-too real.  And that no, you don’t get to “stand” in front of them.  Because even THAT is too much work for these bureaucrats.

You’ve got to stop and think about what the Obama administration’s excuses are.  Do they say something on the order of, “You can’t possibly blame me for this given the sheer size of government.  Now please excuse me while I make the government that is clearly already too big and too out-of-control even BIGGER and even MORE out-of-control.”

Or maybe Obama wants to say something like, “The death panels that you see are not my ObamaCare death panels, but VA death panels.  Now excuse me while I go make your ObamaCare more like the socialized VA system.”

You need to understand that: the classic Democrat talking point is that the VA disaster is one that has been going on for years, so it’s nobody’s fault.  Except that Democrats – and Barack Obama in particular – have been trying to make EVERYBODY’S health care more like the VA system.  And so how is it not their fault?

If the VA is a bad system that is too socialized, too big, too bureaucratic and too bloated, then why the hell are these Democrats (i.e., “DEMOn possessed bureauCRATS) trying to make the REST of health care just like the system they say is broken and can’t be made to work?

There are at least two reasons why socialized medicine invariably becomes a death panel from at least two different directions.  The first is because the government can force private medical practices to jump through all kinds of hoops and impose all kinds of burdensome regulations and costs.  But when they take over health care delivery, suddenly they discover that, hell, this is EXPENSIVE, and then they begin to reduce treatment to save money.  And the second is more insidious but pervasive throughout the system: once health care is socialized, there is simply no incentive for doctors to provide the sort of care they are forced to provide in private practice.  As an example of this, it was discovered in the Albuquerque VA facility that eight cardiologists were doing the work of ONE private practice cardiologist:

There are eight physicians in the cardiology department. But at any given time, only three are working in the clinic, where they see fewer than two patients per day, so on average there are only 36 veterans seen per week. That means the entire eight-person department sees as many patients in a week as a single private practice cardiologist sees in two days, according to the doctor.

For perspective, 60% of cardiologists reported seeing between 50 and 124 patients per week, according to a 2013 survey of medical professionals’ compensation conducted by Medscape. On the low end, the average single private practice cardiologist who participated in the study saw more patients in a week than the Albuquerque VA’s entire eight-person cardiology department.

In some cases, a long wait to see a doctor is just another routine inconvenience of the sort people expect in a large bureaucracy, but other times it can be a matter of life and death.

The problem is NOT money.  The problem is a stifling bureaucracy that simply ABSORBS money like a  giant sponge and the problem is the disincentivization of salaried doctors who simply do not have the incentives to work harder and see more patients the way that private practice doctors have.

It is simply a FACT that money is not the problem, contrary to socialist progressive liberal lies to the contrary:

The backlog of claims and unnecessary delays in veterans’ care has broadened despite a 235 percent increase in the budget of the Department of Veterans Affairs between 2001 and 2013.

That finding has prompted veterans’ advocates to contend that it is a lack of accountability, not funding, that is at the root of the systemic crisis.

Budget increases at the VA have come as the total number of veterans is decreasing due primarily to the deaths of aging World War II participants.

According to figures from the Office of Management and Budget, funding for medical care, which composes 40 percent of the VA’s annual budget, increased 193 percent from 2001 to 2013.

During the same period, the overall veterans’ population declined by 4.3 million, Investor’s Business Daily reported.

As of June 2011, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reported that an average of 1,100 veterans die every single day.  I recently heard the figure of 1,800 WWII vets dying per day – and you would expect that as the years go by and these veterans get older, the survivors would die at an increasingly faster rate.  There is simply no way that the relatively small number of younger veterans who are entering the system compared to the large number of older veterans who are dying off are overwhelming the system.  The fact is the opposite of what Democrats are saying: we have more money per veteran than EVER.  And yet we have more problems (under Obama) than we have EVER had.

Here is the bottom line: socialized or “single payer” medical systems are doomed to inefficiency.  The result is you keep paying more and more to keep getting less and less.  That is simply a fact.

ObamaCare is one giant ‘death panel’ in the making.  And with the above-mentioned caveat, Sarah Palin NAILED its essence in her “death panel” warning five years ago.

We now know that Obama – who has said in this scandal just as he has said in every other freaking damn scandal that he had no idea that it was happening and it can’t be his fault because everything is still Bush’s fault blah-blah-blah – is just a bystander-in-chief who is discovering the failures of his government by reading the damn newspaper.

At best, this turd is such a failure as a leader it is unreal.

Do you know that Obama hasn’t bothered to have a one-on-one meeting with Shinseki – where real problems could be discussed – in two damn years???  That’s a complete failure to lead.  Period.

But we also know that NOTHING about Obama is “at best.”  We know that this worthless disgrace is always THE WORST.  And so we also now know that Obama is a serial LIAR without any shame, any honor, any decency, any integrity, or any virtue.  The FACTS scream that Obama is a liar and yeah, HE DID KNOW this was going on for the six years he was doing NOTHING:

From the Washington Times, May 18, 2014:

The Obama administration received clear notice more than five years ago that VA medical facilities were reporting inaccurate waiting times and experiencing scheduling failures that threatened to deny veterans timely health care — problems that have turned into a growing scandal.

Veterans Affairs officials warned the Obama-Biden transition team in the weeks after the 2008 presidential election that the department shouldn’t trust the wait times that its facilities were reporting.

“This is not only a data integrity issue in which [Veterans Health Administration] reports unreliable performance data; it affects quality of care by delaying — and potentially denying — deserving veterans timely care,” the officials wrote.

And from the Washington Post, May 20, 2014:

Robert Petzel resigned last week as the top health official for the Department of Veterans Affairs, just one day after testifying before a Senate committee that he knew VA health clinics were using inappropriate scheduling practices as early as 2010.

Whistleblowers claim the schemes continued until this year, leading to a recent wave of outrage that sent the VA and White House scrambling to correct the alleged problems and restore confidence in the department.

Petzel admitted that he knew of the issue after Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) questioned him about the memo below, in which a top VA executive warned the directors of all VA health networks that questionable scheduling practices would “not be tolerated.”

The message summarized at least 17 tactics that VA hospitals were known to have used to hide treatment delays and give the impression they were meeting the department’s goal of seeing patients within 14 to 30 days.

[A PDF of the memo is available here].

Please notice that it was a REPUBLICAN who questioned the Obama administration.

So the White House comes out and says, “Oh, we’re taking measures.  Look, we’re going to fire this turd bureaucrat Petzel.”  When Petzel had ALREADY LONG-SINCE ANNOUNCED HE WAS RETIRING.

To wit: this is like every single other of Obama’s long list of scandals.  Initial professed outrage: “I’m mad as hell,” Obama’s VA turd Shinseki says.  And then not to be outdone, “Obama is madder than hell,” a top Obama aide says of his master.  And then nobody is held responsible, nobody is fired, nobody even loses their damn BONUS.

Obama – as his mouthpiece Jay Carney has been doing – is referring to the VA abominations as “allegations.”  When what has ALREADY been documented is criminal and evil.

On the “problems,” Obama said, “We have been working really hard to address them.”  He said, “Taking care of our veterans and their families has been one of the causes of my presidency.”  Which begs the question just what the hell he HAS been doing when I documented above that Obama KNEW about these “problems” for SIX YEARS and has done NOTHING to keep the crisis from growing FAR WORSE.

Obama also said that he’s not going to let this “become a political football.”  And thus as dictator and Fuehrer seized all power to investigate this so that no one can possibly hold him accountable in any way, shape or form as he deals with this scandal “the Chicago way.”

This is exactly what happened with the Fast and Furious scandal in which Obama and Eric Holder put guns into the hands of Mexican drug cartels and then let them murder a Border Patrol agent.  And did NOTHING beyond their cover-up.

This is exactly what happened with the Benghazi scandal in which Obama and Hillary Clinton sent a United States Ambassador to a Libyan hellhole, refused to provide him with security he was begging for even as every other civilized power was pulling their people out of the violence-ridden region, left him to be raped, tortured and murdered while issuing stand down orders to those who pleaded to be allowed to help him and then covered-up their fiasco by dishonestly blaming the attack on a Youtube video that had absolutely NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with the pre-planned terrorist attack they should have seen coming.  To date, Obama’s disgustingly shameful promises aside, the only person who has EVER been held responsible for this attack is the United States citizen who was slandered as the cause for this al Qaeda-sponsored terrorist attack.

This is exactly what happened with the IRS scandal in which, at the direction of Washington and specifically at the instigation of an Obama appointee, the IRS was used as a political weapon to target and punish Obama’s political opponents.

In every case, Obama relied on the fact that the mainstream media “news coverage” amounts to naked leftist propaganda.  If you want to know how the media would have treated a Republican, just google “Donald Sterling” and see the daily outrage as the media focuses in on their target and then attacks him like red meat on a daily basis until he’s destroyed.  Whereas in Obama’s case, if they even report the story, it’s treated as done and over with.  So move on.

It is the routine script for a despicable ideologue failure.  And he’s playing the same damn game again.

Everything that conservatives said would happen with ObamaCare has either happened or is happening, versus Obama who is now documented to have lied about EVERYTHING from being allowed to keep your doctor, or your health plan, to bending the cost curve down when in fact he’s done otherwise, to there being no taxes on people earning less than $200,000 when there are now all kinds of taxes, etcetera ad nauseam.

And as ObamaCare becomes more and more like the socialized medicine of the VA system, we can look at the countries who have victimized their citizens with appalling care and see what is coming next:

What Liberals Want For Your Child (To Die). As Evidenced By What Is Now Happening In England’s NHS Socialist Health Care System.

Coming Soon To America (Thanks To Obama And Democrats): ‘Production Line’ Government Healthcare

What Lies In Store For Your Parents Under ObamaCare (It Will Be Even WORSE For You!)

Democrats, Please Explain Why You Want To Inflict Americans With This Vile Health Care System?

‘Crazy Claims About Death Panels’ Sadly Not Crazy At All

The only people in America who deserve to die slow, painful deaths of medical neglect are those who voted for Obama.  But unless Republicans take over the Senate and then take the presidency away from Hillary Clinton – who wanted socialized medicine even before Obama did – we’re ALL going to suffer death by socialism.

Veterans EARNED their health care.  By SERVING in the armed forces, and by subjecting themselves to conditions and environments that no civilian would EVER willingly experience – and by submitting to conditions in which they cannot sue the government which ordered them to do what they did – they EARNED their health care.

But the VA system – because it IS socialized, because it IS a government bureaucracy, because it IS huge – is broken.

Now Obama and the Democrats demand that every single person in America receive the benefits and care that only those who SERVED ought to receive.  And now Obama and these Democrats are breaking our health care system by letting the same government that clearly is incapable of administering the Veterans Administration run the REST of the far larger health care system into the ground.

 

 

The Lost Washer, The Ruptured Tendon And The LORD Who Is God Over Both. A Story of Thanksgiving Gratitude.

November 28, 2013

This happened last week, but I think that’s close enough to call it “my Thanksgiving miracle.”

It began with my biceps tendon basically standing in front of an ObamaCare-like death panel.  I was told several weeks back that my biceps tendon had ruptured and that it was too late to save it.  Yes, I’d rather frantically called the morning after the injury, but of course given the state-of-affairs of modern medicine and the bureaucracy which owns it, by the time I actually saw the doctor, he told me it was too late.

I am a service-connected veteran with traumatic and cumulative and degenerative injuries to both knees and both shoulders.  So this isn’t a story of “that evil insurance company.”  This is THE GOVERNMENT.

The doctor told me the story of Brett Favre, who had suffered this injury during his career and had not had the reattachment surgery, and that I didn’t really need to have the tendon reattached.

Continuing with the “ObamaCare death panel” theme, the surgeon also pointedly told me that, “In Europe, they don’t even reattach those any more.”

I had tried to reason with the surgeon – who as the attending physician actually runs the ortho department at my VA hospital.  As for the Brett Favre story, I countered with the fact that Hall of Fame defensive back Ronnie Lott famously had a broken finger amputated rather than miss playing time the same way Favre elected to play with a busted tendon rather than miss playing time  – and so should average people have whatever limb on which they happen to suffer a broken bone AMPUTATED?  I hope not.  As for the “Europe” thing, I pointed out the fact that “THIS IS NOT EUROPE!”  And while my dad was too young to fight in WWII, I actually had a three uncles who fought in that war to ensure that America would NOT become Europe.

Apparently, they lost the war sixty years after they thought they’d won it, but that’s another story.

The ortho doctor acknowledged that a few years ago, they would have reattached the tendon no-questions asked (i.e., BEFORE Obama), but that things had changed quite a bit.

Mark Halperin is one of the leading journalists in America today.  He also leans well to the left.  So it was quite an admission when he acknowledged that not only did ObamaCare contain death panels, but that they are a cornerstone of ObamaCare.

Howard Dean, a former Democrat governor, a medical doctor and an expert in health care – albeit a doctrinaire liberal ideologue – has also acknowledged that, yes, the ObamaCare IPAB amounts to a “death panel.”  And so, yes:

Shorter Howard Dean: “So… yeah, Republicans were right about death panels.”

Just as they were dead right about how catastrophically awful this ObamaCare law would be.

I was stunned when the attending orthopedic surgeon said they would not reattach my tendon.  I mean, what do you mean, you don’t need to do this surgery?  I was saying, “I’m busted; FIX ME!”  I had never had anything like this happen before.

ObamaCare is all about rationing.  It is all about Marxist redistribution, acknowledges and actually BOASTS the New York Times.  It is intended to create “winners and losers.”

Milton Friedman observed that if you put the government in charge of the Sahara desert, in five years there would be a shortage of sand.  So what will necessarily happen when you put a bunch of statist bureaucrats in charge of health care?  We already know the answer.

And believe me, NOBODY wants to be a health care “loser.”  Especially because of a law that MAKES you a “loser” when you’ve never been one before out of naked, cynical political calculus.  Especially when you are service-connected by your government for the infamous “pre-existing conditions” that you can’t have taken care of anywhere else.

When I continued to object the “death panel” decision, the chief ortho doctor told me he would leave the decision to the surgeon who would be operating on me, but he didn’t see it happening or even the need for it.

Well, I was rather panicky about this.  Aside from the whole “Popeye biceps” deformity (which so far hasn’t seriously manifested itself), there’s a significant loss in strength because a tendon no longer connects your muscle to what you’re trying to lift.  As a weightlifter, it was the loss of strength that I feared more than anything else.  I didn’t want to go through a surgery only to be mediocre.

Weightlifting has been the centerpiece of my highly successful weight loss (76 lbs in 14 months without stomach “Lap-band” surgery).  If preventative care is important, if weight loss is important, just give me the tools I need to maintain that weight loss.  Because what happens to people is that they become frustrated, then they give in to a feeling of futility, and then they give up altogether.

That’s why this biceps tendon deal has been such a critical concern for me.

Well, after my appointment with that surgeon, I was rather frantically trying to figure out my next option.  And a wise Christian medical doctor friend gave me some wise counsel: to see the doctor who would be doing my surgery as quickly as possible and appeal to him (rather than start a war with the bureaucracy through hospital patient advocates, etc.).  I made an appointment.

For two weeks I angsted as I waited to see the surgeon.  Given what I had already heard from his boss, I was very fearful.  And I knew that time was tendon, because the longer you wait the more a ruptured tendon shortens and contracts.  And the story becomes, “Well, sorry, but we waited too long dithering, so now it’s too late for us to fix you.  Too bad, so sad.”

We get a picture how ObamaCare will “save” money.  By rationing and denying care to people who need it, surgeries and treatment that used to happen doesn’t any happen any longer.  And that’s great – unless the rationing axe falls upon you or one of your loved ones.

Anyway, I’m at Tuesday of last week, with the all-important appointment with my surgeon on Thursday morning.  And I’m on my daily walk as usual.

Remember, I said I was messed up in both shoulders and both knees.  To take some of the stress off my awful knees, I use a pair of canes when I go on long walks out in the desert.  Which of course torques my shoulders, doesn’t it?  But I need to walk because that’s been a major part of the 76 pounds of weight that I’ve lost over the last fourteen months.  So I’ve got a Catch-22 thing going, don’t I?

Anyway, near the end of my walk – which that day was over five miles – I noticed that one of my cane tips had ruptured rather like my biceps tendon.  I put large washers in the tip to help the rubber tips last longer, and the washer was gone somewhere out in the vastness of the desert.

Well, I’m usually able to eyeball the cane tip and see that it’s about to wear out and rupture in time to replace it.  But let’s just say that I’d been occupied with other concerns.

I could go to the hardware store and buy some washers, but I’ve always used the few that I had in my garage that matched the diameter of the cane tip.

Well, I wanted to find my washer.  Which was God-only-knew-where.  So as I set out on my walk the next day, I tried to retrace my steps as best I could and said a prayer that I could find it.

As I prayed, it popped into my head to point out to God that I wanted my biceps tendon far more than I wanted that washer (just in case He didn’t know).  But I had that moment of theological clarity strike me that God wasn’t the sort who would only grant me one request.

That Wednesday, I walked along with my nose to the ground like a bloodhound.  A mile passed, then two.  And I was entering an area where there was a lot of soft sand where the tip would have likely become covered up and I’d never see it.  To make it worse, because of the soft sand, I’d meandered through that area – and good luck trying to remember the exact same route.

I kind of gave up finding that washer at that point.

Financially, it was hardly a big deal; I could go to a hardware store and probably find an even better-fitting washer for fifteen or twenty cents at most.  But for whatever reason, I had kind of associated that lost washer with my busted biceps tendon.  So it was kind of sad to let that washer go.

It was within a few feet of giving up on finding that washer that I came upon some 9mm pistol brass.  I reload ammunition in several calibers – 9mm Parabellum being one of them – and my nephew (who would be coming out for Christmas) always loves to go shooting.  So I bent over to pick up the brass.

Somebody had popped of most of a box, so I’m furiously picking up the brass.  And I turned around and walked back up the path I had just come down as I see more brass…

… And yes, there was my washer – which I had already walked by and had not seen, and which I never would have seen had I not been looking for that 9mm brass which hadn’t even BEEN there the day before (or I would have collected it then).  The washer was dull and faded; the brass was new and shiny.  I needed the latter in order to find the former.

I immediately realized what had happened and why it had happened:

God had heard my silly prayer for that silly washer.  And God knew that in my silly heart, I had connected something I clearly didn’t need to find with something far more important to me.  And He was telling me that He had me covered, that He knew what I needed – and that He was Jehovah Jireh (the LORD who provides).

And when you’ve got that kind of a God in control, watching your back, taking care of you, why are you so anxious???

I realized that the decision whether to repair my ruptured biceps tendon wasn’t up to the doctors.  Because if God wanted me to have that tendon, it was going to be restored no matter what the doctor said; and if He didn’t want me to have it, I wasn’t going to get it reattached no matter what the surgeon tried to do.  It wasn’t my surgeon I had to convince; it was my God – the very same God who cared enough about me to allow me to find a silly washer in the middle of a desert just because for whatever silly reason it mattered to me.

It’s one thing to look at the vastness of the sky at night and see the billions of stars; it’s quite another to realize that that very same God actually gives a damn about YOU.

I’ve lost – and FOUND – stuff that was valuable and irreplaceable after desperately praying about it.

It’s an interesting thing: if you are the kind of person who doesn’t believe, the biggest answered prayer in the world won’t matter; if you are the kind of person who believes, the smallest answered prayer can seem huge.

God gives us small things to see how we’ll handle big things.  Maybe He gives us small miracles to see how we’ll handle big ones.

All I know is that I had an audience with God, Creator of heaven and earth and all the stars that fill the sky.  And He heard very little, very insignificant little me about something as tiny and irrelevant as a lost washer because He cares about me more than I will ever be able to comprehend.

When I went to that appointment with that surgeon the next morning, I had no fear, no anxiety.

I had already prepared myself during the previous two weeks with every argument I could think of for why I needed and deserved that tendon reattachment surgery.  I would submit that if a high-priced attorney had been present with me, he wouldn’t have had more arguments to muster than what I had thought up.

And what did the surgeon say when I told him I wanted that surgery?

“Sure.  We’ll try to do that for you.”

Here I was with all my arguments and I didn’t even get to use them.

There are a couple of down sides that the surgeon explained to me: because this tendon is ruptured, they’ll have to do an incision rather than doing it with the arthroscope the way they would have been if it had still been attached.  That means that they won’t be able to repair the torn rotator cuff I also have in that shoulder in the same surgery because when they scope a joint, they fill it with fluid to clear space for their instruments.  And that fluid creates a lot of swelling.  Which means that if they do the rotator cuff first, they’d create too much swelling to be able to find the biceps tendon; but if they do the incision to fix the biceps tendon, the fluid and the corresponding swelling would rupture the sutures.  He also told me that he couldn’t guarantee that the reattachment surgery would be successful because sometimes the tendon is just too damaged.

Here’s the thing: I realized that the condition of my tendon is up to God.  Just as everything else was.

I told that story to a friend who told me his own “mini-miracle” story.  He had been arrested for a DUI (bad thing) and had his little dog in the car with him.  The police had kenneled the dog and towed his car.  His sister came to pick him up, but for whatever reason had refused to take the dog.  He’d have to leave it.

Well, he wouldn’t leave his dog.  He told her he’d rather walk.  So she drove off.  And he had to walk miles across an isolated Texas highway out in the middle of nowhere.  In the heat of the desert.

He came to a point of desperation.  He and the dog were thirsty.

What happened?  In the middle of nowhere he came across a gallon of water and a five dollar bill.  The presence of the bill particularly freaked him out: because there was a wind and the bill should have blown away, but didn’t.  Who had put that there and why?  Only God knew.

But God is Jehovah Jireh.

The water helped him make it to a gas station way, way up the road, where he was able to trade his five dollars for a ride.

I don’t know what will happen, but I have a feeling and an attitude of confidence about the success of the surgery (my pre-op is January 14).

Strangely, had I just been allowed to have the surgery, rather than having to angst about just getting it, I realize that my attitude wouldn’t have been nearly so positive.  I would have been focusing on the surgery and the recovery and bemoaning the fact that the tendon had ruptured and the fact that had the doctors just told me what I’d needed to know before I’d ruptured it I would have at that time requested the reattachment surgery as opposed to waiting until it was nearly too late.  I would have been looking at all the negatives.

As it is, I am very grateful and very thankful.  I am thankful to the Veterans Administration for taking care of me.  But more importantly I am even more thankful to my God who saw me floundering around and provided for me.

Thanksgiving is about being grateful.

Gratitude is the very best and the very happiest attitude that a human being can have.  It is the attitude we should all be walking around with all the time.  But for most of us (like me) we need reminders.

I wish you all a happy and a grateful Thanksgiving Day.  I pray that you have a sense of Jehovah Jireh specially looking out for you today.

Update, February 5, 2014: Well, I had my surgery.  And a couple more divine lessons.

I now realize that my “washer” story was my audience with God.  He gave me a divine appointment because He wanted me to know a few things.

On that day, that God told me that 1) He truly does care (cf. 1 Peter 5:7); that 2) if He cares even about my stupid washer, it is obvious that He will care about something I truly care about, such as my biceps tendon surgery; and that 3) whether the surgery is successful or not has nothing to do with the doctors and ultimately everything to do with God.  Because He can do anything and if He wants me to have that tendon, I WILL HAVE THAT TENDON.

He since let me know how to turn even the result of the surgery over to Him.

On the one hand, I knew that if the surgery was successful, it would be a long recovery.  On the other hand, I learned that if the tendon was too destroyed and contracted to do the surgery, it would be a short recovery and I would be able to get back to my [relatively] normal activities very quickly.  What I didn’t want was to make the short-sighted mistake of not having the surgery because of the short-term hassles, only to then regret later that I didn’t do it.  I was [finally!] able to completely turn it over to the Lord, and give it to HIM and let HIM decide.

So I went into the surgery with the peace of Christ, which surpasses all comprehension.

I woke up and the surgeon gave me the news.  The surgery was a complete success.  Somehow – and I got the sense that this was very surprising to the surgeon – my tendon had in fact ruptured, but had somehow become hung-up on the bone, such that it was EASY to find and such that it didn’t contract the way it otherwise would have.

He did the surgery in less than HALF the time he believed it would take.

Just like the washer, that “hung-up” tendon was GOD at work.

Now all I have to do is heal up and start rehabbing.

Obama’s VA ‘Death Book’ And Your Future Health Care

October 10, 2009

No death panels?

Recently we learned that Barack Obama has re-instituted the “Death Books” that President Bush banned from being used by the Veterans Administration.

On page 21 of the VA book, “Your Life, Your Choices,” you get to answer questions pertaining to the issue: “What makes my life worth living?” And guilt-inducing scenarios to consider such as,“I can no longer contribute to my family’s well being,” and “I am a severe financial burden on my family” to “guide” one to come to the conclusion, life is “not worth living.”

On Sunday’s “Fox News Sunday with Chri Wallace,” Jim Towey – who broke the story to the public in a Wall Street Journal article entitled, “The Death Book for Veterans” – made this statement:

“The 2007 edition said go to Compassion Choices. That’s the Hemlock Society. The 1997 version referred you to an organization that was the American Euthanasia Society. I think the bias of the document’s clear. Why would Americans be given such a poor document, a poor planning tool, on a subject so important?”

What is frankly just as frightening as the Veterans Administration trying to steer veterans toward a renamed version of the Hemlock Society is the fact that they’ve clearly altered the page with gibberish in a clearly last-second attempt to cover-up what they were doing.

Here’s a printscreen of the relevant PDF page (52) that I downloaded on Monday, August 25:

VA-Death-Book_52

I’m no investigative reporter, but when I tried to learn what http://www.choices.org was under the heading, “Advance directives,” I went to the site – and discovered that it was geared toward providing children with education resources so they wouldn’t drop out of school.  It had nothing whatsoever to do with end-of-life decisions.  And when I called 1-800-989-9155, I discovered that it was Loesche America – an engineering and construction firm.

In other words, it was a hastily orchestrated scam perpetuated by government employees to hide the truth from the American people.  That should scare you.

Why did the VA scrub their website? I would argue that they did so because someone had a guilty conscience. Democrats KNOW this stuff is evil; and they KNOW that the American people would reject them if they knew the truth about what Democrats are trying to do.

And what is that truth?  Let me just use the phrase that Sarah Palin was so demonized for using: “death panel.”