Category Archives: Battling the VA

Devastating News Followed by Much Better News: VA vs. Private Sector

On Dec. 7 Chuck got an absolutely devastating diagnosis from a VA ophthalmologist: Diabetic Macular Edema. He told Chuck he could go blind at any moment and, that to preserve his sight, he would require painful injections into his eyeballs … Continue reading

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The Insanity of Refusing Bleeding Prevention: It’s the VA way

For the second time in a little over 2 weeks, Chuck has had major bleeding into his drain bag as a result of elevated INR (International Normalized Ratio) levels. He takes coumadin because of his artificial heart valve and it … Continue reading

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Medical Bullying: I’m Banned from PD Clinic for Complaining about Mistakes

There’s a new and growing awareness about bullying. You see articles about it in the paper and TV, usually related to kids but there are sometimes instances of adults being called out as bullies.  But what about medical personnel bullying … Continue reading


And Yeah, What About that Foot? — Another Set-back

It’s been about a month since the last time I blogged and it ended with Chuck asking Endo Doc, “what about my foot?”  They blew it off, I guess figuring it was “just” diabetic neuropathy.  I mean, you’re diabetic, your … Continue reading

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“An Acceptable Complication”

The two year anniversary of Chuck’s botched biopsy procedure that accelerated his renal failure is coming up on August 10.  We have been trying to find a lawyer to represent him in a malpractice case against the VA. Because it’s … Continue reading

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PTSD and Sleep

It certainly has been a wild ride the last week or so.  Chuck posted a few days ago about the sleep and PTSD issue. It was actually a very serious event. Somehow, in his half sleep/half hallucination state he got … Continue reading

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The Botched Biopsy

This page describes the botched biopsy, which for all intents and purposes, began this journey to ESRD. It is also a detailed account of an incident that typifies the broken New Mexico VA system.  About two weeks after we met … Continue reading

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Bumbling Toward Normal….whatever that is

Sleep still continues to be the big issue even though the 12 foot extension to Chuck’s 10 foot “tether” means he has more room to pace, and, most importantly that he can get to the toilet. Something troubling that has … Continue reading

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Getting WORSE on CAPD

[Because the VA wouldn’t order a cycler until Chuck was discharged from the hospital] Since Chuck got home from the hospital (again) on March 5 we have been struggling with CAPD.  It’s almost like a full time job and it’s … Continue reading

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When, Oh When, Can We Get On With This?

Today was a rare beautiful day for March. That’s because the four seasons in New Mexico are summer, fall, winter and wind.  To have a warm March day with no wind is such a gift.  I wanted so much to … Continue reading

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Contradictions and Bungling

Chuck’s dialysis continues to go reasonably well, but, because he’s slightly more than two weeks post-surgery they are only doing one five liter fill on him. There was some kind of a glitch on the second night where the machine … Continue reading

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Patient Dignity and Privacy—Please!

Imagine you’re sitting in front of the TV eating your supper, engrossed in a story on the evening news. Suddenly, a group of strangers barge in and gather around you. One of them turns off the TV, another begins asking … Continue reading


What Can We Believe?

Chuck called this morning before I left for the hospital to say that they told him he was getting out today and asked me to bring some clothes. We were both thrilled —although I had some reservations about the Foley … Continue reading

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Venting to the Interns

The surgical team came in for “grand rounds” this morning (or whatever they call it when the Attendings come in followed by four or five interns) .  A few of the students—maybe some are not even MDs yet—seem genuinely embarrassed … Continue reading

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The Fight for Epo and Iron

Where to start to describe the level of what? Neglect? Not the right word because that implies some sort of intent.  Incompetence?  No, that implies lack of skill or education.  Here’s the bottom line:  Since October I have been asking … Continue reading

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VA “Continuity”–NOT!

Last summer a renal  specialist told Chuck that based on his numbers it was time to put him on a “continuity program” where he’d see the same doctor every month so there would be a continuity of care.  Of course … Continue reading

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Prevention Denied

Prevention Might Have Changed the Course  Fact: Supplies for a Continuous Glucose Monitor cost about $5500.00 annually.  Peritoneal dialysis costs about $70,000.00. The really disheartening part of ESRD for us is that it might have been significantly delayed or maybe … Continue reading

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Learning It’s End Stage

Note: This is compiled from my personal journal. All names are anonymized. The intern breezes in, and with only the most cursory greeting sits down at the computer and quietly looks over Chuck’s test results. She  is a very abrupt and … Continue reading

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