If you have the means to see a civilian doctor, and stay with that dr thru treatment, by all means see one. But if you'd have to switch back to the VA dr anyway, I'd say wait and see them in the first place. I say that because rheumies have different methods of treatment, and I don't know that it'd be helpful in the long run to see someone for a few weeks then switch.
I will say the member we have who uses the military hospitals as a spouse/dependent of an enlisted man --- well, I'm not always sure she gets the best treatment.
Meanwhile, I would suggest liberal use of Ibuprofen (helps the best with joint/muscle pain), also helps with the fevers causing the night sweats, warm epsom salt baths, an eye lubricant (makes sure it says lubricant on the label, GenTeal and Tears Naturale II are recommended names), and try to eat a balanced meal. Some people say they find that reducing bread and other white carbs helps.
Hope you feel better soon,
Lynnwood, Lupus & Sjogren's ModeratorDIAGNOSING-LUPUS & LUPUS-RESOURCES
"Life is far too important to be taken seriously" - Oscar Wilde