Heart surgery


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Well the dumb insurance just aproved my heart surgery, its going to be on the 30th of Sept. at 11 am in Fresno, They said if they don't have to put anymore sternts in, I'll be home the same day, if they do I'll be spending the night in the hospital. At least I'll be read for the cool weather that coming, and I'm always good for a few months after, I have lot more energy after they ream me out. So I hope all goes well with it. Grubstake

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How long did it take for the insurance and all to get approved for this surgery?

Curious because I am in the VA system as a non-service connected patient. Cancer got my bladder and prostate, they were removed August 2007 at the Tucson, AZ VA Hospital. Had my annual appointment down there the first week of this month and a couple of days later my Doc/Surgeon called me and said I now have urethra cancer in the part of the urethra that he left inside me when he took the bladder and prostate out. He has to remove the entire urethra, inside and out. I figure that's a good enough description for y'all to figure out what's getting chopped off outside of me. That's the bad news. The worse news is I am not scheduled for surgery until January 2010 unless there is a surgery cancellation. Probably meaning somebody on the list a head of me died waiting or their cancer has spread to beyond a surgical fix. I would like to think the poor guy won the Power Ball then went to the Cancer Treatment and lived happily ever after, but I highly doubt it. Had a CT-Scan the first of this week at the Prescott VA to compare it to one done a month after my first surgery and there aren't any gross changes between them so nothing has spread yet. So it's just a waiting game hoping that the cancer doesn't get serious and spread out of my urethra. I'm wondering if I would have been better off under a different program than the VA and if the waiting time is shorter or about the same.

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It took 39 days for it to be aproved, I could go to the VA too. But the one in Fresno is famous for letting people die, and the bad treat they give, last time I was in a VA hospital was abot twenty years ago, and I swore I'd never go back because of the treatment I got from them. I'm on the medicaid system now, and although they take there sweet time too, I have one of the best heart surgons in the country, and St. Agnes hospital is top notch, they give you excellent care and atleast treat you like your a human being. I've been through this 10 times now, I had a massive heart attach a year ago last June and coded twice on the table and once in intencive care. But I'm still here. Last time I was at the Va hospital, I had kiddney stones, and they really treated me like I was a second class person. In 1971 I had a Agent Orange PHYS. at the one in Fresno, and it showed I had lots of Diaoxens in my blood, I get the agent Orange watch list bullitin every six months or so. tell what was added to the list, Prostrate problems for one, and so I get a PSA test ever six months. Just had one and still waiting for results from that. Sorry to hear what your going through, you may be better off trying to get medicaid. Grubstake

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Just another note frogmick, I had my first heart attack, while I was driving longhaul truck, I had insurance through my company, Arrow Trucking out of Tulsa Oklahoma, When they found out I had to have heart sugery, I was under a load going to Canada, and I had my heart attack in Tenn. As soon as they found out it was going to cost $85,000.00 for me to have heart sugery, they canceled my insurance, That I had been paying for out of my wages, I payed half and Arrow paid half. But the insurance company was owned by Arrow trucking also. So they left me flat. Nothing I could do. Now I could have spent years in court and tryed to sue, but I quit them and went to work for another company, a year later I had another heart attack, The Good Us Gov. pulled my Class A lic. and my Hazmat. and said you can't drive anymore. We can't have someone driving a 20 ton rig that might have another heart attack. So here I am. on SSI. Its the shits I tell you. Grubstake

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Good luck, take it easy on the nurses........ Sounds like they are going to put you in the cath lab for some reaming out.

Since I left Nam with awarded disabilities, all my health care has been with the VA. 30+ years ago it sucked, but today it is absolute top notch care. They have kept me alive and kickin' through many traumas.............

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Hey Grubstake, If they take you and fix you up, you will be a force to be reckoned with for sure! I hope you can get the treatment you need, and put you on the fast track to better health.

Talking about dioxins, and their effect on a person, when I was in the air force one of my jobs was to build, and install on jets, heavy aluminum honeycombed dart/wedge shaped tow targets, about 16 feet on length, and probably a couple of hundred pounds in weight. In any case the darts were towed behind a jet, in the air, of course, so other jets could do gunnery practice with their machine guns, then the dart would be jettisoned into a designated drop zone, which just so happened to be a frigging swamp on MacDill air force base, in Tampa, Florida. So part of my job was to watch the dart drop at the appointed time, and hope we could find the thing, so we could first score how many hits were made, by each plane as it strafed this tow target. Each pilot was assigned a color, which was a wax type stuff applied to the bullets carried in the ammo can on the plane. So when we counted the colored hits, we knew who could shoot straight and who couldn't...

Dang, this is a long time getting to the point...anyhow, we would ride into the swampy area in a big truck as far as we safely could, then hoof it through the mud, and heavy swamp grasss, then using machetes, we would cut out way into where we felt the target had fallen. The point of all this is, there was LOTS of shrubbery, because this was a swamp.

One of several days, we had c-130's, c123's, flying over us, and spraying some stuff while we were out in this swamp. A short time passed, and then we went back out to what had been the swamp, and ALL the foliage that had been in the swamp was pretty much dead, the more stocky plants had only the stalks left, all the leaves were missing, as if they had been stripped somehow... So, we never heard more of it, in any discussions, but we think it was a test drop of these defoliants before it became common in Viet Nam, and they did a damn good job of defoliating. Not sure if i have any residual effects, but the military denies any use of defoliants at that base at that time... And you know, you can really believe they are telling the truth, right? Same goes for hand filling napalm cannisters already loaded on the jets, with this powdery substance, and pumping gasoline into the tanks, then inserting a long tube drilled full of holes, through which air was pumped, thus mixing the gasoline and what turned out to be a napalm powder base (white phosporus) until it gelled. Then we installed the nose and tail fuses, ready for a drop. (ON CUBA,) which never happened. In this case, there were no real instructions as to do this other than get er done, and breathe all that nasty phosporus dust you want, cause there were no dust masks anyway. Hey, back then there was no time to get tired, just hump it and do it again the next day!

Anyway, I hope you get what you need!

~LARGO~

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It took 39 days for it to be aproved, I could go to the VA too. But the one in Fresno is famous for letting people die, and the bad treat they give, last time I was in a VA hospital was abot twenty years ago, and I swore I'd never go back because of the treatment I got from them. I'm on the medicaid system now, and although they take there sweet time too, I have one of the best heart surgons in the country, and St. Agnes hospital is top notch, they give you excellent care and atleast treat you like your a human being. I've been through this 10 times now, I had a massive heart attach a year ago last June and coded twice on the table and once in intencive care. But I'm still here. Last time I was at the Va hospital, I had kiddney stones, and they really treated me like I was a second class person. In 1971 I had a Agent Orange PHYS. at the one in Fresno, and it showed I had lots of Diaoxens in my blood, I get the agent Orange watch list bullitin every six months or so. tell what was added to the list, Prostrate problems for one, and so I get a PSA test ever six months. Just had one and still waiting for results from that. Sorry to hear what your going through, you may be better off trying to get medicaid. Grubstake

Gubstake,

I wasn't going to chime in on this post, but you mentioned Agent Orange and that they put prostate problems on the watch list. I was in Vietnam 65-68, had prostate cancer and had it removed in 2005. I'm glad I retired as I've head horror stories about VA and it's care, or should I say lack of care, and what FrogMick says about the delays he is encountering about the delay in getting surgery scheduled. TriCare isn't the best health care on the block, but at least I'm eligible to get treatment at military hospitals and if they can't see or help me, they refer me to a civilian doctor.

Long story short, have you, or anyone you know put in paperwork to the VA claiming an Agent Orange related sickness and whether or not they received any monetary award or whether the VA said they couldn't help them? It seems since I had my prostate removed, other related issues have began to crop up. Hopefully I won't have heart issues as you have mentioned in some of your posts.

Anyone reading this post who is retired or prior military, served in Vietnam, and has had or know someone who has had dealings with the VA concerning Agent Orange send me a message on this forum.

Thanks.

h20prospector

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Well you know that is the very same stuff{agent Orage} they used on Cotton fields here in the valley for years, before it was used in Nam. the stuff in Nam was more consentrated. But basicly the same, they also used that crap in electric transformers as a coolant, mixed with oil. Not sure there any of the transformers left with that crap in them today, but I'll bet you there is some. Grubstake The piont is, they rely don't know even today what the long lasting effects are, its only guess work, and its your great GOV. doing the guessing. Grubstake

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Maybe you could ask to have some innovative stents installed- you know, the ones that are remote activated to blow a new passage when the old passage clogs up. Of course, that may require you to be careful around the CB or ham radio. get that little decisive jolt and keep going, and not a jolt you get from coffee.

At least your heart allows stents. Stents never would work on me, it's a hands on project everytime. Since the last cutout, food tastes good in spurts. I can never tell if the greasy spoon is taking a dive or if it's just me. even the beer is off sometimes.

as foir the nurses, well you never quite know what tricks they'll be playing on you while you're out. even in the limbo state, there isn't much you can do about it anyway. just keep looking on you tube or break.com, maybe your face (or butt) will show up on some thousand hit video.

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H2O, prostrate cancer is deffinely on the list of covered things in the Agent Orage bulltin, I have a couple around here if I ca remember where I put them, I just got one a few months ago. Several other things are also now reconised as having been agent orage related, and just as a side note, you don't have to prove you were exposed, the ruling made by the department of Vetrans affairs says. if you were in country, you were exposed to it. Plain and simple. Grubstake ps. I was smart and had an agent orange physical at the VA hospital in fresno about 5 months after my discharge. So it was on record since 1973. Grubstake several skin problems are also now on it, kiddney problems, colon problems. I can't remember them all. But you might google it. Viet Nam Veratrans agent orange bullitin.

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Agent orange link. http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/benefits/hericide/AOno1.htm grubstake when that padge load up, go to the search box top right hand corner and type in agent orange, that will get you to the padge with all the info. it has alist of whats covered, diabeates, lung cancer prostrate cancer, several other skin aother cancers. Grubstake

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I have been on the agent orange watch list since 1992. I know of two times I was directly sprayed while in country. Anyway Oct 2006 I was diagnosed(by the VA) with the most aggressive form of Prostate cancer. In a very very short time I was on the operating table in a VA Hospital (in 20 days) getting the most advanced prostadectomy via the DaVinci Robotic surgery machine. I have been on a 3 month watch since then as they gave me 50/50 odds of it returning. They explained to me that the agent orange did not cause the cancer, but it caused the cancer to be much more virulent than most other cases. Yes, it was automatically considered a service connected disability and took 6 months to get the award. At first they gave me 100% but after remaining in remission for 1 year they reduced it to 80% and if I make it to the magic 5 year mark, it will be further reduced.

The point is, if you get Prostate cancer and your DD214 indicated you were in Nam, the VA should get on the bandwagon and take care of you. Get a state or county VA advocate to help you because it is complicated. Even if you are not in the VA system and you were in Nam... GET A PSA TEST every year insurance or not!

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Steve, my prostrate had been enlarged for about 6 years now, I get a PSA every 6 months, just had one, won't get the results til I go to my primary DR. in three weeks. I'm on Avidart to reduce it, but its not working for me. Still having trubble going and emptying completely, and some other issues, I'm sure you know what I'm taking about. Its hell getting old. Grubstake

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I'm really hell on the nurse's, my DR. lets me drive myself home after its all over with, and I have everytime. My wife does not drive. Anyway the last time I went in, I was being releast and the nurse said: Do you have anyone to drive you back to Mariposa? I said yep, me. OH you can't do that. I said yes I can my DR. said I can, and I have every time. She said you know you can bleed to death in just a few minutes, if you plug comes out. I said yep, but being trained as medic. I know what to do. anyway it was more of fight to get out of the hospital than to get in. Grubstake

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Thanks Grubstake for the answer on your insurance wait time. The Tucson VA is a fantastic hospital as far as VA hospitals go. My Doc/Surgeon is a retired Army Colonel, Nam Vet and Professor of Clinical Surgery University of Arizona, so I have nothing bad to say about the treatment and care down there it's the best. They are just swamped with patients in just about every department. I do hate the location, 213 miles from Prescott in South Tucson, a barrio/ghetto. It's a very nasty neighborhood, a real hooker and doper central.

The VA has dumped tons of money into Tucson VAMC way down at the bottom of AZ 60 miles from Mexico. The Phoenix VAMC is in central Phoenix and more centrally located for the entire state of AZ. The main VA administrative offices for AZ are just a couple blocks away from Phoenix VAMC. It's not in the nicest area, but it's a lot better area than the one Tucson VAMC is in. The Phoenix Indian School, boarding school 1891 to 1990, was adjacent to Phoenix VAMC and the closed school property belonged to the Feds, but they didn't make it VA property for future expansion of Phoenix VAMC. In 1996 the BIA or whatever Fed agency did a land swap with the City of Phoenix. In 2001 the City of Phoenix opened it's new and useless Steele Indian School Park. The park where the two TV news helicopters' wreckage landed in after they did a mid-air collision. If you put the current phoenix VAMC property together with Steele Park it would be about the size of the Tucson VAMC, or maybe even a little bigger. They could have had everything Tucson VAMC has plus a lot more right in the most populated area of the state and nearest to the center. What were you thinking VA?

With all the VA money going south Prescott VAMC is just a shadow of it's former self. It use to be a full service hospital, but now is very limited. The major stuff all goes south to Phoenix or Tucson. I do have a very good primary care doctor now, a retired Air Force Colonel. I use to have one of the worst doctors I have ever seen anywhere. A female from the far away 3rd world toilet country of the sacred cow. She and a big hippie looking PA in Urgent Care damn near let my cancer kill me back in 2007. I put in a change of doctor request and got the Colonel, happy ending. I have several other horror stories about Prescott VAMC and a lot of other Vets I've talked to do too. Others say Prescott VAMC is just fantastic. I guess it depends on what ya got and who ya get to fix it. I finally got a good Doc for general internal medicine, but I have to head for Tucson for my serious illness urinary tract cancer. Best answer is stay healthy and don't get old.

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Frogmick, almost the same thing happened to me, except with Medicaid, they sent me to a Pakastanie heart DR. after I had two heart attacks already, he said, nothing wrong with your heart, of couse he was on Social Security payroll, anyway I was denied the first time, so I got an atterney, we went before the board and the judge look at my medical records, and said, since I couldn't drive longhaul truck, and there was not any jobs that payed as much as I was making, I got my SSI. They ended up paying me $11000.00 in back pay and that was in 95 since I've been medivaced 4 times, with heart attacks, I have 10 stent in me. I thought it was only 9 but the wife says 10. Now I'm going in for more. 2 more years I get my social security, and will be drawing my SSI too, but it will be cut down some. I'm only getting just over $600.00 a month now. when my social security kicks in, I'll be getting close to a $1000.00 a month. big difference. Grubstake My uncle turns 66 the 6th of OCT. he has his social security maxed out and will get almost 2100.00 a month. Not bad his wife is older and gets hers already.

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grubstake, I lost my business in 2005 and got sick in 2006 and it took until 2007 for my cancer to get so bad the VA finally figured it out. I got a lot of anger built up for a bunch of do as little as possible people at Prescott VAMC. But I only got 2 choices now, put up with them or die. Anyway, I didn't turn 62 until Feb. 2008 and that's when I took my S.S.. Now it's at $766 a month and my girlfriend and I can just get by. I watched my girlfriend battle for SSI and it went just about like yours did until she got a lawyer and saw a arthritis specialist. Except new rule when she was getting her's, the first turn down cost her several thousand dollars in back payment. When the lawyers took over it was just like she was starting all over again and a new clock started ticking. Of course with lawyers and a arthritis specialist talking for her it went through in a little over 3 months. Me I just lived on my savings for 3 years until I could get my Social Security and they just made it. By the time I had some proof I was actually disabled after my first surgery it was only 6 months until I was 62.

Speaking of heart attacks I never had one until in the middle of my first surgery in Aug. 2007 and they almost didn't get me back. I am a lot weaker and 30 pounds heavier than I was 2 years ago plus I now have a mildly damaged heart that I didn't have before. So in my head this next surgery is at best 50/50 for going good or really going sideways. The only good thing about having a heart attack during a major radical surgery is your already in happy land and don't know it's happening. A little more morphine drip please.

The heck with it what will be will be. I'll just seriously try to lose as much weight as I can and get stronger before the next surgery on January 5 or if somebody cancels out and I get a sooner date. I wish you the very best for next Wednesday.

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Thanks DOC, no big deal, after having stents ten times now,its just a big pain. But atleast it makes feel better for awhile, getting more blood flowing, Been having bad trouble with my legs, DR. said it was because I'm not getting enough blood to them, then there my prostrate problems on top of that. But atleast its cooling off, I can't wait to get back out finding gold again. Grubstake

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