A new adventure. Thanks, VA!

Mike got his new prescriptions in the mail today (VA). I am SO not happy with the supposed ‘care’ the VA gives. Or at least through this particular office.

He was put on Metformin last year with absolutely no instructions on anything having to do with diabetes. No diet info, no blood sugar level info, nothing. He called several times and even went back in to ask about a monitor and test strips, since we were thinking it was probably a good idea to test if he was taking meds to lower his blood sugar. The doc kept telling him there was no need and so he never got a monitor.

Since we had no way to test to make sure his levels weren’t getting too low (and his levels at the doc’s were only just barely high), he just quit taking the Metformin.

He had another checkup last week and I went with him this time. This time he did get a script for testing supplies along with the Metformin, cholesterol med, nitroglycerin, and inhaler. Still no information on managing the diabetes, though. He also got put on a waiting list for a sleep study so we can get something done about his horrible sleep apnea (granted it’s a years wait, but at least it’s in the works…).

Anyway. His meds came in the mail today. He now has an Accu-Chek glucometer, lancets, test strips, and something else that goes with it that says to use 1 dose a day to calibrate the glucometer. The problem is there was NO information or instructions on how to use the thing. So, we have all these new tools for managing his diabetes, but not a clue on how to use any of them. Lovely.

It’s a good thing he married into the family that he did. I have an aunt who is a diabetes nurse. Her whole job is teaching newly diagnosed diabetics what they need to know to be able to manage their condition. I’m hoping we can get her to meet us at my grandparents sometime soon and give us a crash course.

It makes me wonder about all those veterans who DON’T have access to that, though. How many other veterans has this doc put on blood sugar meds with absolutely no instructions on what to do to take care of themselves? How many of those are capable of figuring it out on their own? I mean some of the older veterans may have difficulties with memory or may even be Alzheimer patients. Does this doc prescribe meds to them the same way? That is– he enters the meds into the computer (says nothing about the meds in the office) and then a couple of weeks later they just show up in the mail.

Add to that the fact that they didn’t want me going into the exam room with him (I insisted) which tells me that 99% of the time no one is “allowed” in with the vets…

It makes me sick to think of how many veterans are getting such sub-standard care just out of this one office. =(

*update* Mike just got back from asking the pharmacist at Walmart for some help. Turns out the lancets the VA sent will not fit in the pen-thingy. Also, there still is no actual machine to READ the test strips. This thing that came in today is just for pricking the finger. >=(


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