Within a few weeks of entering hospice care at our local VA hospital, Ronnie became increasingly difficult for him. He began to rely on his wheelchair more and more. When I came to visit, we went outside so he could smoke, and I pushed him part of the way. As he gained more weight from the lymphedema, pushing him became more difficult.
I’m not sure who made the arrangements, whether it was his social worker, a doctor, or a nurse, but before long Ronnie had a motorized wheelchair. It was such a blessing.
Yes. There were many good things that were part of Ronnie’s last months.
There is no shortage of news reports about the care our veterans receive when they are patients in VA facilities. Most of the media coverage is negative and well deserved. Ronnie’s stay at our local VA hospital had its share of negative aspects, and I plan to devote a post to that topic.
However, for this post I want to write about some of the positive aspects of Ronnie’s care, most of which are centered around the people who were part of his daily world for the almost eight months of his care.
People are not perfect, and what I found at the VA was not even close to perfection, but most of the doctors, nurses, and aides were caring and competent. They made sure that Ronnie was as emotionally and physically comfortable as possible.
The doctors were attentive to his needs and my unending questions. They kept up with his changing medical needs and quickly adapted his medication to meet those needs. Because I wanted to be closely involved in Ronnie’s care, I researched every decision the doctors made, and almost every medication they prescribed. I’m sure I drove them nuts, but they never made me feel that way. Instead they treated me as an essential part of Ronnie’s treatment team.
To be continued.