I have been hard on the VA in the past, usually not my local hospital, but the institution as a whole. I hate to see veterans treated badly, and some providers at some facilities were not fit to work there based on the news, and personal accounts from friends who use the system.
Things have taken a great turn for the better in the last two years: you can thank Donald Trump for that change. He’s made it clear that “business as usual” wasn’t going to cut it, and that we, veterans, needed to be treated well, with dignity and respect, and great medical care.
Unfortunately, I recently had occasion to use the VAMC for an emergency. I’ve mentioned it before, but if you missed it you should know I have hearing loss and tinnitus that were a result of my military service. High noise environments that were beyond dispute.
So, when my sense of balance vanished on Saturday night, and the tinnitus was the loudest I’ve ever heard, I put two and two together and had my beloved spouse drag me to the VAMC emergency room.
From the minute I checked in until the minute I checked out 30 hours later, I was treated as though I’d worn four stars on my collar instead of two upside-down chevrons.
Every technician, clerical person, doctor, nurse, and food service worker, did their very best to make me comfortable. The meals were excellent in quality, the blankets warm, the explanations of what was being done thorough, and a genuine sense of concern pervaded each transaction.
I was blessed because it wasn’t a stroke. It was an inner-ear issue that they trained me on, so that should it come back (and it’s likely) I can readjust the rocks in my head myself.
I also want to give kudos to my wife, who handled the whole thing brilliantly and calmly.
So, VAMC, you should be proud of your people and the care they gave me when I came in unable to walk in a straight line.
Thank you all for serving our veterans.