A Grand Dame

By Mick Holien

I can sure understand the dismay from folks who get caught in that digital abyss where telephone instructions do nothing but place one on a circle carousel with surely no quick end in sight.

Much to my chagrin I decided last week to enter into the Veterans Administration register by mail sequence.

But let’s start at the beginning: Ten days ago I went to the Polson Senior Center to, for the first time register for VA medical benefits. After only being able to complete part of the form for lack of information, I returned on the representative’s next day with the completed form.

The following week I received a letter not telling me that I am eligible but rather that I should contact the nearest VA office for a medical evaluation which happens to be in Kalispell.

Now on to the abyss, said the brave scribe.

I called the first number and was remotely advised I was number 27 so I patiently waited about 40 minutes until they got to me.

While the nice woman had my name misspelled she started taking info until we were abruptly disconnected. Since she had not told me her name or extension and she didn’t call me back, I was left to start anew.

Upon redialing this time I received four choices, none of which did exactly what I needed.

So I just used common sense to by starting with one and dialing to the last number of four to no avail.

Since I also was provided the Helena number I did the same thing with them. Nope.

Frustrated I decided I would wait through the weekend in the hopes someone would return my call.

The following bright and early morning I started the process over again and after three misfires actually contacted an operator who established the appointment some 45 days away in Kalispell.

I then asked whether this letter is an indication I am eligible for benefits and to my surprise he told me no that was another process.

Well since I don’t figure they would do a medical eval if I was not covered, I am going to the March appointment and just see what happens.

And for that kind readers and listeners, let’s just say I’ll let ya know…just sayin’


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