Adventures with TriCARE and Predator N.

For information about getting enrolled and acquainted with TriCARE, read this.

For information about the Navy overseas screening process for moving abroad, read this.

TriCARE and I are frenemies. We generally live side-by-side, quietly tolerating each other. TriCARE Standard provides me PPO service, which I love, and I pay a little more per month for this service. In exchange, I stay the heck out of the base health clinics, where I would surely give management a piece of my mind on a regular basis. Because I went to nursing school, I KNOW how health care should work at a basic level. I don’t expect concierge service, this IS the Navy after all, but I do expect competent physicians to help me make sound health care decisions, and I don’t think that is too much to ask.

I had to go to the base clinic for my final Overseas Screening appointment today. Given that they’re paying for my move overseas, I made a pact with myself that I would be on my best behavior while there. Fair.

I arrived 10 minutes early for my appointment. My record was lost. I spent the next 15minutes trying to locate it, going from specialty area to specialty area. It turned out to be at the first place I checked. Par for the course.

When I arrived at the receptionist’s desk for my appointment, I was called back immediately. A very, very nice tech completed the pre-appointment (basic vitals and history) with me. He was great. He brought me to an exam room and said that the doctor would be in immediately. Things were going great, but not for looong!

Over the next 50 minutes, 3 random civilians and 2 techs accidentally walked into the exam room (thank god I didn’t have to undress for this appointment!), but the doctor did not come in. Thankfully in all my free time while waiting, I had the presence of mind to read my health record cover-to-cover. By the time the doctor finally came into the room, I knew exactly what was in my record.

The doctor asked me to come to his office. I handed him my record. He walked out of the room with my record. When he came back in, he didn’t have it. Then he had to find it. When he came back in, he put my record down on a side table. Then he forgot he put it there and asked me AGAIN where it was. Finally, I sorted out his madness confusion.

The appointment started out on a great foot: he panicked when he saw that I have a heart problem and made motions like he might not approve my going to Japan. As I was pointing him in the direction of a letter that my electrophysiologist wrote saying that I was clear for any and all activities, including overseas travel, he got distracted by a letter from my OBGYN. Apparently Navy doctors are unfamiliar with the term “GYN” and didn’t understand the abbreviation (it means gynecologist you idiot masquerading as a doctor, it’s a standard medical abbreviation). He read the gynecologist’s letter and was confused as to why it wasn’t about my heart and I was facepalming SO HARD. I showed him the letter from my heart doctor. He was confused. Oh dear lord almighty, get me the F out of this “health clinic”.

The appointment got worse before it got better. And by “got better”, I mean that I was eventually able to leave with his approval for moving overseas.

Phew. Now that THAT’S over …

Here’s a little comedy for the day: I found the below photo today on good, old Facebook. Look closely. Do any of the predators remind you of a certain corgi?: (if you click on the photo, I believe that it will enlarge)

Predators

I believe that my little house predator, Normasaurus Rex, is a cross between #8 (Predator X) and #14 (T-Rex). Perhaps I should start referring to Norma as Predator N?!

Here are a few photos that I took just now. Note the back sleeping positions.

88

87

85

83

It looks like Michael MIGHT come home tonight. My fingers and toes are crossed, and Predator N doesn’t know it, but her little toes are crossed, too. She has been SO GOOD the entire time that Michael has been gone – I am SO pleased.

We are so lucky with her. She doesn’t usually chew things around the house, other then her toys and wood things, as well as my coat sleeves from time to time – so odd. She still has an obnoxiously high pitched bark, which reminds me of a shrieking 4yo girl, but she has let out a few REALLY QUALITY “BAROOOOO”s  recently. She is also “talking” more, rather then barking, by making low pitched grumbling noises. She’s calming down quite a bit, and part of that is that she and I are getting used to each other and a lot more comfortable together. She knows that I’m mom, and she is extremely attached (especially after this separation with Michael). On the other hand, when she chooses to be bad, she is a demon hellyun.

Hopefully things go to plan, and Michael comes home tonight!

 

6 comments

  1. Oh the adventures! We (mostly the husband) had an adventure today with the Navy “docs.” Long story short he went in to sick call, they told him he had “an upper respiratory infection” and that he “looks and sounds fine.” Basically he can’t breathe, coughed up blood which they said was normal, and overall feels like crap and they didn’t really believe him. He had flu symptoms yesterday too. I just wish a real doctor saw him and I’m about ready to drag his butt to the ER since he keeps complaining about not being able to breathe. 😦

    1. He’s coughing up blood?! Oh no 😦 The nursing student in me says that I would take Michael to the ER/watch him very closely if he was bringing up blood with a cough. I don’t believe 99% of what Michael’s “doctors” tell him (I used to date a military doctor, so this isn’t just my perception as a Navy wife! I know the inside story!). Did they give your husband any meds?

      Case and point: last summer, I spotted a weird looking patch on Michael’s face. The patch was located in a weird place that he couldn’t see very well, so he didn’t know how odd it looked. I encouraged him to talk to his flight doc about it. She said that it was “nothing”. I was a nursing student at the time and, with my very limited knowledge, I KNEW that it was something, so I encouraged him to ask for a referral. She gave him one. He went to the dermatologist and it turned out to be cancer. CANCER. And, it was OBVIOUSLY cancer because it was behaving like cancer. There was no mistaking it. Yet, somehow, it wasn’t obviously cancer to her – a “doctor”.

      My theory is that Navy doctors can’t be fired for incompetence, so it’s an easy place for the bad ones to hide and “practice medicine”. I’ve met lots of Navy doctors (like the dermatologist) who are FANTASTIC, but I think that the bad doctors make the good doctors look bad, you know? And, it seems like the docs who are stuck with sick call (aka the new guys at the bottom of the totem pole) are unreliable.

      1. Andrew said it was only twice and it wasn’t much but that’s when he knew he’d have to go in. I knew someone with some REAL nursing experience would think differently about what they told him! He was sent home with Mucinex. I was going to take him to the ER this afternoon, his dad and mom agreed with me but he wouldn’t go. It is hard to make someone go when they are bigger than you! So we made a deal, the next time he can’t breathe he HAS to let me take him. His dad worked on him this afternoon, telling him if he doesn’t go back he could get pneumonia and get medically restricted and some other thing that would set him back too.
        At the moment, he is looking and sounding better. We’ll see how it goes when he goes to sleep…

  2. Oh, Navy medicine. Awful, isn’t it? I don’t use Tricare specifically so that I can avoid any possible interaction with a doctor who is employed and/or trained through the uniformed services. I had horrible, terrible, jaw-dropping, mediocre medical care while on active duty. Honestly, I received better care from my enlisted Corpsman friends than Navy doctors who went to medical school. That said, I use Veteran Affair’s medical services (it’s free, medicine co-pays aside!) where there are nice doctors who actually care and don’t use WebMD to diagnose me…or send me home with a jumbo pack of Motrin (ie: the Navy’s “miracle” drug).

    1. The husband is sick with what I suspect is the early phase of pneumonia, and guess what … the Navy doc told him that he has a cold and sent him home with Motrin/”Vitamin M”! I hope that it’s just a cold and that I’m wrong, but I had a laugh (grimly, of course) when he came home from sick call today. So predictable!!

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