Houston VA: MEDVAMC H1N1 AFT; Plus: Time for 'Horns HC Muschamp?

A memorandum dated Jan. 4  from Adam C. Walmus, director of the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center (MEDVAMC)  in Houston, and e-mailed Jan. 8 by MEDVAMC spokeswoman  Bobbi Gruner announces vaccinations are now available for the 2009 H1N1 flu virus.

All I can say to this is reflected in one of the acronyms used in the headline above, AFT. The acronym, pronounced in the phonetic alphabet we used in the military, is pronounced “Alfa Foxtrot Tango.” I don’t know if that is a widely-used acronym but it’s one I chose to use of the ilk popularized in the Stephen Coonts book and later movie “Flight of the Intruder.” That acronym was “Alfa Mike Foxtrot,” for “adios mother f***er.” I use the acronym “AFT” to mean “Alfa Foxtrot Tango,” to stand for “about f***ing time.”

I am sure there is an explanation why just now, in January 2010, the H1N1 shots are now finally available. The VA has known about the so-called “Swine Flu” for quite some time. A Houston VA press release from October noted:

“The H1N1 Flu is of concern to experts in the medical community because it is so new that very few people have any protection or “immunity” which means the virus may easily find vulnerable people to infect. As a result, it may spread rapidly to large numbers of people. Therefore, health care facilities may find it difficult to care for large numbers of patients with severe illness.”

The October release went on to say the hospital had received 300 doses of the vaccine and listed the priority of those who should get the vaccine. What they didn’t say was did the patients in those priority groups actually receive the shots? What do you want to bet that if I asked the Houston VA who, in fact, received the 300 initial doses I would be told that information cannot be released due to privacy laws?

I said there was probably an explanation why it’s taken so long to get the H1N1 shots to the general patient population within the MEDVAMC kingdom which includes outpatient clinics in Beaumont, Lufkin, Conroe and Galveston. I didn’t say it was a good explanation.

Fortunately, no large outbreaks of the Swine Flu have occured among veterans in this portion of Texas, at least no large outbreaks that come to mind. But the H1N1 is still a pandemic so it’s fortunate there aren’t more dead, especially older or our youngest, veterans.

When the pandemic is over, I hope the VA as a whole will do a thorough after-action review of their reaction to the outbreaks. I’m sure they will, but hopefully it will be honest and not just the same old glazed over horse s**t one seems to see coming from one VA report after another. The whole VA pharmaceutical system needs a careful going-over as well.  I can’t help but think — with such vast differences in medication given from one VA hospital system to another — that the acquisition of medications might be ripe for some kind of corruption. I’m not saying that’s the case, but it’s a suspicion.

Nevertheless, it’s AFT that the Swine Flu shots are available and unless I get the flu first or the VA runs out, I plan to get my vaccine during my next regular appointment in two weeks.

Something’s rotten in Austin

Only a few thoughts to follow up on last night’s “Pasadena Massacre.” I am talking about the Citi BCS National Championship in which Texas QB Colt McCoy was knocked out of the game the first rattle out of the box. I think The Regents should just pay Mack Brown all those millions and move defensive coordinator and heir-apparent Will Muschamp up to head coach.

Man, the game just turned to Bevo poo after freshman Garrett Gilbert was sent in to replace McCoy. I don’t fault Gilbert. I think he showed some flashes of not-badness. It just seemed the game had been choreographed like a Broadway production starring McCoy and the stand-in hadn’t been properly trained to know where the other cast members were supposed to stand.

Gilbert made a few bad passes. He was supposed to, he is a freshman. He also threw some passes that should have been caught. It was if the hearts and souls of the remaining offensive players flew off to the locker room when McCoy departed with his injured shoulder.

Although the score, 37-21 Alabama, doesn’t really reflect it, the Texas defense looked pretty awesome. Alabama QB Greg McElroy was sacked a season-high five times. That is why I think the loss falls mainly on Mack Brown. It was like he never thought of the possibility his star quarterback and field marshal would get hurt. And since the defense was the bright  spot for Texas and that Brown has made defensive guru Muschamp his replacement, Brown should have himself replaced, at head coach at least. They could keep Brown in recruiting and PR. He seems to really excel there.

After watching the game, I believe that Texas could have won if McCoy had not been knocked out of the game. But that’s not a given. Running back Mark Ingram brought back visions of “The Earl of Texas,” that being Earl Campbell. Both were backs which reminded me of Hurricane Rita blasting her way through the Pineywoods. There wasn’t anyone able to stop her. The same goes for Earl and the Tide’s Ingram. As I heard one caller to a sports talk show say this afternoon, the game was one “played by boys against men.” In a way, the caller was right.

Still, you have to wonder what would have been had McCoy not been injured. And you wonder what round McCoy will go in the NFL draft who picks him. Also, I heard it said that Alabama’s McElroy had never lost a football  game since the eighth grade. How do  you think he will feel when he gets to the NFL and finally loses that first game?