Walking The Halls Of A VA Hospital


I have been wanting to write this entry for a few weeks now, but today I’m sitting down to actually do it. Its going to be allot food for thought, my personal observations, and about something that was said to me that I really did not appreciate one damn bit. It may seem as though I am ranting, which it is a little, but more venting than anything else. Before this year my dealings with the Veterans Administration (VA) has been very limited because other than receiving a check every month and my initial VA home loan I haven’t had a real need. Regulars here over the years know I am a retired disabled Air Force veteran who participated in Desert Storm and The Liberation of Kuwait back in the 90s. I am disabled with a 100% rating yet I have worked full time ever since the day I left the Air Force. Hell, the first time I visited the VA Medical Center here in Houston for my own personal needs was in February of this year (2014). There is but only one way to get into the VA medical system and that is to visit a medical center and take a fucking number.

Since that little adventure I have returned a handful of times and also to the VA clinic in Conroe where my PCP is located. My reasons were simple for beginning this journey so many years after my departure from the Air Force. First because my service related injury to continue care and because of needing diabetes medication. Both became an instant need once I was laid off in February this year. Never underestimate the need of private insurance and the amount of the financial burden it actually covers. I still had the needs I had beforehand, just now without insurance. So, I made a choice, and that choice was to start using my VA privileges for the first time. The inside of a VA hospital is a disheartening sight because inside a VA hospital is where one can see the cost of freedom just by witnessing the people visiting the hospital that day for their needs and services. I wondered the first time, just looking around, why in the fuck I am here. But, now I am a part of the “system”, I wait in line, I take a number, and I try to be patient while waiting for my turn. My point is simple really, the men and women, active or veteran, who are seen within the walls of a VA hospital are there because they have paid in one way, form, or fashion, that many of us have no way of understanding, whether it is mental or physical or a combination of both, because unless we are in that person’s shoes we can never know.

Everyday I grow a little more impatient with people who, in my opinion, are very self centered. Why? Let’s use a very recent example which happened to me back in April. My wife and I had pulled into a very crowded parking lot of a local supermarket on a Sunday around the time the local churches have been letting out. We maneuver around the parking lot in my Hummer H1 looking for a spot. My wife sees a handicap space has opened up and has told me where to go. As I signal that I am turning in to the vehicles around me a woman in a brand new Cadillac Escalade comes down the row against traffic, meaning she was coming down the one way lane the wrong way, and attempts to cut me off and take the spot. So, I approached her Escalade rather aggressively to see if she would back off. To my surprise, a 20ish woman jumps out of the driver’s door yelling and screaming at me to get the fuck out of her parking space. Pause a moment. Upon review of her vehicle I see she still has dealer paper plates a a red handicap tag (in Texas a red tag is very temporary) hanging from her mirror. For ten minutes she yelled at me, cursed at me, and scolded me. Then, then she showed her ass by asking why in the fuck I was even trying to park there since I don’t even have handicap plates or a placard. It is true, everything she said, except the fact that I have DV (disabled veteran handicap logoed) license plates. She had no idea what they are and proceeds to lecture me (the person with visible scarring on both knees, one being from a knee replacement) on the purpose and design of a handicap parking space. Since I was in the space, since I was done talking, I locked up the H1, and proceeded to go inside to go shopping. Meanwhile, she calls the police so they can have my vehicle towed (which never happened). When we came out about 25 minutes later she had moved her vehicle out of the drive so others could pass. Except now she was in the backseat of the police cruiser screaming at the officer. The verdict? She was in possession of an expired tag (new date was written over the old), her drivers license was already suspended, and the temporary dealer tags were also expired by two months. She was arrested and her Escalade was towed. That’s the end of what I know or want to know about her.

Is there a moral to this story? Who really knows. I do know that before she tried to be a fraud, a cheat, and a liar, that should actually know what in the fuck she is yelling about. I have no time for people like her. If she would have just asked me to let her have the spot politely it would have been all hers, no explanation needed because I wasn’t in such a great hurry and my doctor says a little walking on occasion won’t kill me. I’m easy like that. Blow up in my face and I make it hard because I will just walk away from the bullshit. I love people, especially the clueless ones because they make the world go round. I wondered, after the fact, why she had so many things going wrong for her and all I came up with is, to me and in my own opinion, that she had a poor and negative attitude. Personally, I doubt she will ever get her shit together and be a functional adult in society, but that is just my opinion based on one brief encounter with her. How can I really now anyways.


Posted From Scorpion Sting’s Motorola Droid Maxx!

Being A Number On A List


I write quite a bit about the United States Air Force, the AMMO careerfield, the places in the world I have traveled, and the people I have met because my time in the Air Force consumed just shy of 15 years of my life. I write quite a bit about being a United States Air Force Disabled Veteran as well since this “status” was given to me and has been a part of my life for the last 13 years. In a way, my “status” is no more than being a number in a system and a monthly disbursement of funds. Fortunately for me, I did not have the struggles that we hear over time about how people get denied benefits. I was fortunate to receive a 100% disabled rating from the start. One of the “benefits”, if it can be considered a benefit, is that my vehicles bear Texas DV permanent license plates. I’m one of those people you will see out in the actual parking lot and not in the designated handicap parking spaces. Why? Good question. Perhaps because I intend on confusing people who notice. It really matters not to me where I park, most days, as I get older, being closer to the entrance is nice, but not required. I can get there from anywhere, might take me a little longer, but I will get there eventually.

Why do I bring all of this up? I had an interesting interaction with a young lady at our local Big Box supercenter, insert the name you know belongs, who afterwords really got my son to thinking and asking questions he had never asked before. First, she asked to take a picture of my H1 Alpha where the license plate is visible to help her in her project she is putting together showing disabled parking placard fraud. When I asked why she responded with an interesting observation she made while watching me and others. She pointed out that each entrance to the Big Box supercenter has 21 handicap parking spaces yet there are 40+ vehicles out in general parking that have disabled plates. She continued to explain that there are only two vehicles with actual disabled plates using handicap parking spaces, the rest are using disabled placards of different varieties. He points out that half of them are expired, some of them have had the dates obscured some way, and a small percentage actually look proper. I still don’t see my place in this conversation yet. She continued by saying that the two vehicles that had actual disabled plates had people in them which were using the assistance of motorized chair, where all the placarded vehicles moved under self locomotion. Okay, so what is the issue or problem with me. She says she has noticed before as she has been doing her “study” for a few months that there are times I park is handicap parking when it is available. I was waiting for her to ask me why, but it never happened.


I soon walked off because I actually was there for a reason beyond looking who is parking where. As I walked off I made a call to a friend of my in the county sheriffs office and asked if what she was doing was legal. He said he would roll out there and see if he could talk with her. Why did I call? I called for 2 reasons, first of all her stalking people in the parking lot enough to recognize people who frequent this store (which is mega-creepy) and secondly because she was taking pictures of people, vehicles, and license plates. Is she doing anything illegal? We’ll talk about that here in a bit. This whole thing prompted my son to start asking a few questions of his own. We will talk about a few of them. First he asked why the police don’t tow, boot, or ticket vehicle in disabled parking with expired credentials. I actually know this answer, it is because disabled parking violations on private property is not exactly a high priority with the police department. Now this same problem in a public setting or at government facilities is swiftly handled. Why? My guess is money, logistics, and manning. Second he asked what were the requirements for getting a disabled plate or placard. Personally I don’t know what others needed to do, I had to fill out forms and be examined before being given my prescription to take to the DMV. I would only expect that this would be the same process for everyone. But, I don’t often assume things, so I leave this one as unknown.

Thirdly he asked don’t I wish that I could closer to the entrance all the time. Sure, it would be nice, but I don’t mind the longer walk. Last, he asked me a question which he shouldn’t be worrying about which was are most of the people who have handicap parking privileges frauds. Good question. People have their reasons for doing everything. Most people who know they are doing something wrong have already weighed the odds of getting caught and are willing to accept the consequences. Sure, I see people getting in the car and out their car and wonder to myself what the reason for their disabled plate/placard is. But then I would imagine that people ask the same about me. What they see is a man in his mid-40s who gets out or gets in his vehicles a little slower than others. They see a man who walks a little bit slower than most. Other than a modest limp, nobody would think nothing to be any different about me. I don’t where my medical history on my shirt for the world to read nor is it available at your request to review. I personally don’t know other people are doing or why they are doing it. In the end if I ever get to the point where my mobility is really shitty I can always have my wife do the annoying thing I see allot, which is to stop right in front of the front doors and drop me off.

Now, getting back to the young lady in the parking lot. She claims to be a college student here locally and a while back handicap parking fraud caught her attention and through some research she found it was a large problem that is mostly ignored. So, she has become an “advocate” for the disabled driver, she uses her website to get out her word and findings, I guess like an investigative reporter of sorts. She also does petitions and writes lawmakers in Austin to try to get the laws changed so the fraud will disappear. As well, she feels she is at least a little bit partially responsible for the fines increasing in Texas for violators. I look like at it like this, karma truly is a bitch. Everything has a way of catching up with you in one way or another. I know that I’m not the one who is a fraud, I’m not the one doing something illegal, I’m not the one who needs a lesson in morality, and I’m not the person who will get shot confronting someone over a parking space. Life is too short to let the little things ruin your day. It may seem that I don’t actually care, which is isn’t altogether true, I do care, I care that I have myself in-line, what someone else does with their life is their choice. Too many assholes have frauded the disabled parking system that Joe Public looks at all of us with scrutiny and in-turn sees no harm in the handicap space being mis-used. Not everyone is a thief and a liar, not everyone is a fraud, not everyone is lazy, and not everyone who has disabled plates needs to be in disabled parking. It would be nice however, if people did follow the law and that the laws are enforced. In a perfect world maybe, but not in the world I live in.


Overall I guess the actual point of this post is to show people that not everyone feels “privileged” with what they believe to be their undisputable right to park in a handicap spot. And yes, I am a person who could go either way. Most days my body decides to be cooperative with me living my life, other days not so much, but life must still carry forward. I think the only problem I have with people, in general, is the ones that admit they borrow a vehicle or a placard so they can park closer, because that is just lazy, and lazy isn’t a handicap, it’s a choice people make everyday.