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July 11, 2016

               Every 3-6 months I have the honor of subjecting myself to the government healthcare system – the infamous VA. Like most things, there are good and bad people working for the VA, but it’s a grossly overburdened and broken system – I digress. What makes my VA appointments interesting is no matter which MD’s or NP’s I see, there’s a common theme. Sure, the general theme of detached indifference is always there, but there’s another steady element to most of my appointments. They seem flabbergasted to see a healthy person.

               The VA hospitals and clinics are full of people who have suffered serious injuries or those who battle debilitating deceases, like any hospital, and I would never make light of those conditions. What seems to baffle the docs I see is my level of health, despite a long history of everything from genetic disorders to the after-effects of being an overzealous idiot (I spent my teens and 20s as the, “Hey y’all, watch this!” amateur daredevil/idiot).  The medical issues in between were from a combo of a lifetime of football followed by employment that involved carrying your food, water, and shelter (oh…and ammo – lots of ammo) everywhere you went while jumping from, on, over, and around various objects.

                The end result is a pretty long list that some of you know; I’ll spare the rest of you the full rundown.  The highlights include knee and shoulder surgeries plus the damaged, arthritic spine of someone who according to more than one MD is “one step away from permanent, full disability.”  That’s loser talk.  The first time I got that prognosis was in my late teens – I’m dang glad I didn’t listen. An MD asked me last year, “How were you able to walk in here?”  I said, “Easy, I put the left in front of the right, switch, then repeat.” As for last week’s visit, the NP said, “Your file includes some pretty serious issues but you’re the healthiest person I’ll see all day.  Your labs are perfect and you seem to be moving around fine.” My response…wait for it…here comes a GIANT gulp of kool-aid….”Ma’am, it’s CrossFit.”

               She responded with a very troubled look and “I thought about trying that, but its too expensive.”  My reply was, “So health professionals shouldn’t be compensated for their time, education, and experience? That’s ironic.”  She got the point then said, “But I’ve heard it’s dangerous.”  I then went through the usual list of answers to squash her ignorance. If ignorance is bliss, she’s a happy gal. So, good for me, right?  Here’s the point – your health is YOUR health. Take control of it instead of letting a (probably well-intentioned) provider do it for you. 

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