Sam Bauman: Reno VA continues record of excellent service



I see lots of seniors at the VA medical center in Reno. I’ve been using the facility for at least a decade for everything from blood tests to back surgery. Service has always been fast and courteous despite what one hears about the rest of the VA health centers. This one is excellent in ever respect.

On Friday I was there for a routine blood draw, and while I was there I stopped at the primary care check-in counter. I wanted to see about getting an appointment with the audio department for a check of my hearing aids (furnished and maintained by the VA).

The lady agent checked my records and said I was due for a meeting with my primary care doctor. That doctor then would have to set up an appointment with the audio people. It took perhaps five minutes for an appointment to be made with my doctor for June 20, both for a lab analysis and doctor time.

Three weeks wait for a nonemergency problem seems reasonable to me, and it was all set up in less than 10 minutes. Yes, there was a crowd of veterans on hand and parking was tight, but all in all it was a satisfying day. Too bad I have to drive to Reno for VA matters; there’s a small facility in Minden but they don’t want me there. But I can always tie the Reno VA drive via I-580 to the Summit complex.

Read carefully before signing up

Like most of us, I try to get the best deals for things such as Internet, TV and phone access. Recently I have been receiving mail offers for those three services for what I thought was $29.99 a month for all three. That sounded pretty good to me and a lot cheaper than my current services,

So I canceled my current services and called the number of the mail offer. All went well, the agent answered questions and then he explained that for the three services plus some add-ons my bill would be $108 a month.

Wait, I said, I thought $29.99 covered it all. Look at the asterisk under the price, he said. I did and saw in tiny print, “$29.99/mo. each for 12 months when bundled.” It was quite clear if I had looked more carefully, as I always advise readers to do.

I have no quarrel with the offer. It’s clearly stated and, yes, it would have been better if the qualifier type had been more prominent. But it was right out there for me to see and I was just seeing only what I wanted to see. Actually, depending on your current provider even $29.99 each might be an improvement. Fortunately, my current service canceled my cancellation and put me back on line.

Off on a reading odyssey

I recently completed a marathon reading experience, plowing through the four novels that make up “The Alexandria Quartet,” by Briton Lawrence Durrell. The books are “Justine,” “Balthazar,” “Mountolive” and “Clea.” Each book is largely told from the points of view of the title character, except that a British would-be writer named Darby is the chief narrator. And of course the city of Alexandria figures in everything.

The first two books are heavy slogging as Durrell skips from one narrator to another without warning, but the last two are much easier going. Time period is just before and during World War II, when Alexandria was a mostly quiet oasis from the fighting, while the British largely ran Egypt.

Justine is a Jewish divorcee whose child was stolen from her and she slips through relationships with Darby among others before fleeing to the unborn state of Palestine. Balthazar is a philosopher/author who clarifies relationships. Mountolive is a Briton who becomes an ambassador to Egypt. Clea is a painter who sums up all of the others in the book and furnishes a sort of happy ending for Darby, who has taken over the protection of Melisa’s child on a faraway island.

Not a very good summary, and I doubt if there are many out there who would spend their time with this largely forgotten author; the Carson Library has none of his many books (the soft cover books I had were printed in 1961).

Durrell is not popular fiction in these days of rattle-bang novels. But if you’re a senior and ready for demanding reading, he may be your best bet.

Sam Bauman writes about senior issues for the Nevada Appeal.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment