Like "The Chinese Restaurant"

If you are a “Seinfeld” fan you will surely remember “The Chinese Restaurant” episode. For those of you not familiar with the program it was an episode that takes place while the principals of the show waited for a table in a Chinese restaurant. Jerry and the gang ultimately give up on getting a table. After they leave, the restaurant’s host looks up and announces: “Seinfeld … Party of four?” Well, you had to be there or at least you had to watch the episode.

I was reminded of that episode today while waiting to hear back from our local Department of Veterans Affairs clinic. Twice today I called inquiring about seeing my doctor because my neck feels like it has a spear stuck through it and twice I was told I would be called back. As the end of the clinic’s workday approached, I took it upon myself to call the clinic’s patient representative. All of the VA’s hospitals and clinics have these reps, or so I suppose. They act as ombudsman for patients who often have to struggle through an overburdened and bureaucratic system. I explained my problem, told her I didn’t figure I would get to see the doctor today but would have appreciated having my phone call returned. Without another word the patient rep made me an appointment for in the morning.

About 10 minutes after having my appointment made, my doctor’s nurse called and asked what they could do for me. Seinfeld … Party of four?

Such timing is not exactly a rarity for the VA. During my last, lengthy medical episode in 2001 I had sought a consultation with a neurosurgeon over whether I should have surgery. I was told the wait for an appointment would be six months. I had already gone through about a year’s worth of agony. Finally I relented and went to see a civilian neurosurgeon. I saw the doctor. He set the date for my surgery and a few days later, guess who should call? That’s right, the VA, saying they could get me an appointment with a neurosurgeon on Aug. 8. That happened to be the date my surgery was scheduled. Seinfeld … Party of four?

Well, I am happy just to have an appointment for tomorrow although I don’t know what the doctor will do. It seems the M.O. is just to keep giving you drugs and sending you away. That might not be all that bad if the drugs would work for more than an hour. Unfortunately, the Vicodin just hasn’t been doing the trick. It makes my nose and eyes itch. It kind of impairs my brain a bit. But it doesn’t take the pain to task for very long.

Oh well, enough about my pain. How about those Longhorns? How about Doug Flutie’s drop kick the other day? Hey, that really was something, talk about your throwback days. What’s next, the Flying Wedge? Leather helmets?

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