Re: Word from Iraq
Tried to keep my big mouth shut, but couldn't.
I'm retired Army, Cavalry(no horse jokes please).
I had the misfortune to be stationed near an Air Force hospital facility,
thus started out as a second class citizen. My personal care, whether or
not I had an appointment, was after the Air Force officers, dependents of
officers, enlisted, dependents of enlisted, retired Air Force, Air Force
civilian employees, then me. I have spent many hours in waiting rooms,
often to be told to come back tomorrow, as the work day was over. If you
haven't noticed, those experiences have left a somewhat bitter taste in my
mouth. After marriage and the birth of a daughter(at a civlian facility,
thank God) we enrolled in family care at the Air Force fcility. What a
joke. Fortunately we were healthy for the most part. My former wife had
some very bad experiences with the health care personnel, especially when I
was assigned "hard ship tours", those tours where you couldn't take your
The picture has brightened, now that I'm retired and can access the VA
Hospital in Omaha NE. I was very pleasently suprised at the care,
attention, and friendliness of the personnell there. I have made
appointments, and have actually seen the appropriate doctors at the time
they said. So-oo, all's well that ends well. Rich in Z-5 where there is
24" of snow on the ground and another 6-8" expected in the next couple of
----- Original Message -----
From: "cathy carpenter" <email@example.com>
Sent: Tuesday, February 03, 2004 3:25 PM
Subject: Re: [CHAT] Word from Iraq
> Well, I guess I ought to begin with a disclaimer: I am retired from the
> Army Nurse Corps, and spent my childhood as a military dependent. Had
> my wisdom teeth out at Ft Devens, MA (now closed) - not fun, but then,
> those years ago, I'm willing to bet dentistry was no fun anywhere. The
> quality of care in any facility, military or civilian, is directly
> related to the people employed there and the quality of their
> leadership. (My parents, in the 50s, thought I would get better care
> from a civilian pediatrician...what I got was neck irradiation for my
> tonsils, and so a lifetime of monitoring my thyroid for cancer).
> Quality can be a problem everywhere.
> Caregivers in the military do/did have the joy of being able to do what
> they felt was best for their patients without having to agonize over
> whether the insurance would pay for it. The downside is that a system
> you don't have to pay out of pocket for can be abused. Our ERs were
> overrun with "unnecessary visits", despite extended primary care clinic
> hours, which could probably have been reduced by charging $5.00 to be
> seen, but that would have been illegal
> My daughter is married to an Air Force person, but before that spent
> time in the "civilian world" after she lost eligibility for care. She
> loves the peace of mind that comes with not having to worry about
> paying out of pocket medical expenses (of course she lives near a
> military hospital).
> I do not live near such, and have been blessed with good health so far.
> I know that when I do require it, I cannot expect the freedom from cost
> I experienced on active duty - military hospitals are missioned to
> provide health care for the troops - all else is "space A".
> As you say, when you join the military, there are no guarantees, mainly
> because what the government gives, the government can take away.
> On Tuesday, February 3, 2004, at 02:35 AM, Marge Talt wrote:
> > Well, I think things must have changed a bit in the military since
> > WWII and my childhood as an army brat.
> > During WWII, field soldiers were lucky to get K-rations (pretty gross
> > stuff). I think they might have had coffee sometimes, but no
> > guarantee and as far as toiletries in the field, showers or even beds
> > don't think they were offered to the front line who were lucky to get
> > a tent or a foxhole.
> > I spent my first 18+ years using military medical facilities.
> > Thought they rather stank in spades. You could sit in the waiting
> > room in high fever for hours, medical personnel were brusque and of
> > extremely varying quality; you had absolutely no options but took
> > what you were given or nothing at all. Had my wisdom teeth out at
> > Fort Hood, TX as a young adult...not an experience I'd ever recommend
> > to anybody unless they like 6 hour sessions with only Novocain and
> > dental technicians who obviously were in learning mode.
> > My parents used the hospital at the post where they retired until it
> > was closed (the base) a few years ago but when they really needed
> > care, they went to the private sector. My father is a retired
> > regular army Col., so rank didn't really do much for them. Since the
> > base closed, all the retired personnel in the area (a great number)
> > are on their own. Of course, one of the major reasons they all
> > retired there was because of having a base close by. Tough beans as
> > far as the government is concerned.
> > I am sure that care varies with location, like anything else, and it
> > also varies with whether you're army, navy, air force or what. We
> > always figured the navy went top cabin and the army on it's belly:-)
> > Now, my personal contact with the military ended 40 years ago, so I
> > am sure things have changed - at least I sure hope so. But, I
> > seriously doubt that they have managed to eliminate the tendency for
> > Catch 22 situations.
> > I also think that people either forget or don't realize that when you
> > sign on with the military you agree to do it their way, which is
> > quite different in very many respects from civilian life.
> > Marge Talt, zone 7 Maryland
> > firstname.lastname@example.org
> > Editor: Gardening in Shade
> > -----------------------------------------------
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