I brought Smokey home from the hospital today. He has a different painkiller and an anti-nausea drug, and they seem to be working. But we had a bucket and a towel in the car just in case...
The dogs were ecstatic to see him again. Right now he and both of them and probably both cats are all snuggled up in the bed sleeping. He has his laptop next to him with an internet phone; he can call our house line when he needs me. (I suggested that I give him a bucket of rocks, and he could throw them one by one at the bedroom door when he wanted me. For some reason he thought the phone was a better idea. Go figger.)
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I would like to say a few words in appreciation of the VA hospital. I was there three times for a total of maybe six hours at most. I met three nurses, a chaplain, and a few behind-a-desk types, plus saw a lot of patients, all of them men. Although I didn't put it all together until I was walking to Smokey's room today to get him, the totality of the place is excellent. There is no arrogance, no prissy professionalism, no fake smiles, no gushiness, no flashiness -- just genuine caring and basic good manners. Underlying it all I felt a foundation of love.
Contrast that with a typical hospital, particularly one with a bottom-line-focused administrator. (I feel I know whereof I speak, having been hospitalized [counts on fingers and toes] eight or nine times in my long life in seven different hospitals, none of them for-profit institutions.) Other hospitals, in fits of consultant-induced fervor, survey their patients incessantly to Get Feedback. Their staff are cheery beyond belief. Everyone is so professional, i.e., impersonal, that the patient is just another body.
The contrast was particularly striking among the non-medical staff -- the cashier, the clerk in the pharmacy, the person in the family help office, even the guy behind the counter in the cafeteria. Everyone took the time to look me/us in the eye and actually listen to whatever we said. Nobody's eyes were glued to their computer screen or their paperwork during an interaction.
Smokey was pleased that I picked up on this. "Now you can understand why I prefer to go to the VA than [our local medical facility]." He also said that there is a deep feeling at the VA of gratitude and appreciation for what the veterans have given. (It also doesn't hurt that there does not seem to be a single *special little snowflake* among the patients.)
This was the Minneapolis VA hospital, but it also holds true for the satellite clinics he has been to here in n.w. Wisconsin. We cannot speak for other VA facilities around the country, but I suspect there are similarities.
Thank you, Veterans Administration hospital of Minneapolis.