One day, after many years of good and honorable service, A knee woke up and noticed he wasn’t feeling so good. He didn’t have the flexibility, range of motion, strength or freedom from daily pain that he was used to experiencing all his adult life. So, He went to see the doctor. This knee had A++, Gold-Plated, Everything is covered by the very best doctors that government cares to buy health insurance. So, following established procedure, he got permission from his boss to go see a GP. The GP looked him over and said, “looks fine to me”. And “Are you sure you are a knee? With all that whining, you sound like a [insert vulgar common term for lady-parts]”. And then, “well, I am a highly skilled physician[‘s assistant], so take these 800mg Motrins [actually Ibuprofen, since Motrin is a brand name and too expensive for my health plan at the time].
After several days the pain went away…mostly… The knee managed his pain by taking Motrin* and limiting some of the more strenuous physical activity he used to enjoy. Then one day, the Knee traded in his old job of Knee injuring activities for a job that would not require much knee effort at all. On the way out the door, he was required to see a bunch of medical experts and specialists to try to bring him back to full function or, failing that [and they would fail that], compensate him for his loss of ability. The experts took advantage of the latest in diagnostic technology, the X-Ray machine. They even used the most experienced surgeons who were still paying off their student loans by working as military officers. After reviewing the miraculously detailed x-rays and determining that there were no broken bones in the knee and no large metal objects inside the knee, they determined that the pain must be “the new normal” and gave the knee “10% disability”, and the medical advice to buy more Motrin at his own expense, since they didn’t cover over the counter “meds”.
“WOOHOO!” thought the knee. “I’m 10% disabled. I wonder what that gets me.” What it got the knee was a small check from the agency of specialists and doctors. The knee was happy about that until he discovered that the agency first took every dollar of that out of his retirement pension check.
The knee lived for many years after that, with his “disability” check to comfort him for his loss of mobility and his premature needing to walk like a man 20 years older than he really was. The knee grew accustomed to the new normal and expected it to gradually deteriorate for the next 40 years of his life, or until he got hit by a bus while crossing the street, because, being disabled, he couldn’t move fast enough to get out of the way, and WMATA bus drivers don’t stop for pedestrians.
Knee 2 was out living his normal life one day when he managed to piece together some clues. Clue #1: Severe pain. The knee was smart and didn’t need a second clue. He had a second rate medical insurance plan that let him go to any doctor he wanted (limitations apply). So he skipped going to a GP since he already had a good stock of Motrin and he went directly to a reputable Knee specialist with 20 years of experience being an expert in knees. The expert’s office staff sent him to get an X-ray while he was waiting for the DR, and minutes later the DR explained that X-Rays were only used to rule out the obvious. Then he sent the knee to get an MRI. Because MRI’s are common, customary and F*ING MINIMAL COMPETENT MEDICAL CARE FOR SOFT TISSUE INJURIES. The MRI came back a week later and the DR had a followup visit. By this time, the knee had already read his own MRI and compared the images to stuff he saw on the internet for free. He and the DR came to the exact same concluding. The DR told him, “Mr knee, You have a torn meniscus. From the looks of it, a pretty bad one. It will never get better n it’s own and surgery will fix it 99% of the time and let you return to a VERY active lifestyle with no pain at all.” Then the DR, being accustomed to asking his patients’ permission to perform treatment, asked, “would you like to have surgery?”
The knee was very happy to have the surgery. He scheduled it for the next available appointment. (3 weeks wait because the DR was going on vacation). The surgery was conducted in under an hour. The Staff was friendly and attentive. The DR called the next day to check on the knee and his nurse called the day after that. The DR even gave the knee a bottle of
Motrin Percocet to take home (what a nice guy).
For those of you who haven’t figured it out yet. Knee 1 and Knee 2 are the same knee. With the same long term injury. Knee #1 received treatment by Army Doctors, contracted doctors, and VA doctors. Knee #2 received treatment entirely in the civilian marketplace.
The obvious conclusion should be to shut down the entire VA system. They are simply not capable, competent, or willing to provide modern day medical care. This should have been the argument on the lips of EVERYONE during the Obamacare debate. Dear government, you already have a government health care system, and it sucks. Fix that one first, then we might let you play with the rest of it.
Pictures will follow.