It Wasn’t All Good

Because nothing is perfect this side of heaven, and because everyone is human and makes mistakes, there were things about Ronnie’s stay at the VA that could have and should have been better. There were questions I should not have had to ask, and things he should not have had to endure.

When Ronnie’s lymphedema became so severe that the swelling in his feet broke into wounds, he contracted MRSA, which is a difficult to treat infection that is highly contagious and easily transmitted. Once he was infected, he had to endure excruciatingly painful treatments several times a day. He then couldn’t leave his room, and saw only medical staff when they came to care for him. I had to wear a mask, gloves, shoe covers, and gown when I came for a visit. It was difficult, and it never went away. Ronnie kept the MRSA infection till the day he died.

The thing I began to notice was that there were  isolation signs on several doors up and down the hall.  A new patient would come and a couple of weeks or a month later, a sign would be on his door as well.

I believe that MRSA is embedded on that floor. I know the staff took precautions. I saw them. I don’t think the cleaning staff did as good a job as they could have. That is just my opinion. All I know for sure is that Ronnie did not have MRSA when he arrived on that floor, and a few months later he did.


Ronnie’s VA Care: the Good

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.