Treatment at Ralph H. Johnson VA Hospital — So Much Improved!

Thursday, March 15, 2013, my husband and I had dinner with friends at a local Mexican restaurant. This has been a tradition of ours since the early 1990’s, perhaps about 1992 or so. After dinner, my husband became extremely quiet. His face was pale, almost ghostly. I asked him if he was all right. His reply, “I feel sick.”

Arriving at another restaurant for a bit of Karaoke, my husband rushed to the men’s room. There, he stayed for such a long time I was searching for someone to see if he was OK. Moments later, he walked over to our table, a bit slumped over. I decided it was time to leave, take him home and give him a bit of TLC.

Since I do not like trash or junk inside my car, I have one of those trash cans in the back floorboard – the type that you can roll up, or toss. My husband grabbed it. Driving home to Mt. Pleasant, sickness overtook Phil again, and again. When we got home, the continuous nausea captured him. “Ok, Phil. You’ve got two choices…One, I drive you to E-R, or I call 911. Which do you choose…it isn’t negotiable.”

We arrived at E-R at Ralph H. Johnson VA Hospital at about 9:30 or 10pm. The time isn’t the issue…what happened and the treatment is something I truly believe I should report on, since previously I have reported about the ‘lack of care and professionalism at VA hospitals.’

We checked in to the triage unit. Directing us to the waiting room, I grabbed my cell phone, placed it on quiet mode, anticipating I would have a significant amount of time to delete e-mails.

“Mr. Cooper…” A nurse arrived.

They escorted Phil back to E-R. Since it happened so quickly, I turned in the wrong direction, losing sight of my husband.

Another nice employee stopped me. He probably noticed the lost look on my face. He did not direct me to E-R, like a Wal Mart of K Mart employee would do. This kind, sympathetic gentleman escorted me to E-R and did not leave me until I found my husband. That kind of excellent service was not to be expected. I should’ve gotten his name, but my focus at the time was my husband. He’s a heart patient, with Diabetes, PTSD and other issues, and when he is sick, believe me, nothing pleases him!

Phil was resting in a bed, or a gurney. Who knows. His face was whiter than the sheets. A nurse was checking his vitals, asking questions and Phil groaned. Another nurse brought him something to throw up in, in the event he had to. Funny…what is it about arriving at a hospital? The nausea escaped him as quickly as it arrived!

Blood work was ordered, additional questions asked. Vitals checked and since he was a heart patient, an EKG was ordered.  I was still amazed at how quickly the entire staff worked on and with my husband. All the questions, discussions. The EKG was fine…nothing interesting to report related to the heart. I sighed as I watched the E-R crew. I was amazed! Everyone was totally professional, appearing to care about the patients — so unlike my last experience! Dressed in scrubs, with bedside mannerisms that I certainly did not anticipate. When the blood tests arrived, my husband was diagnosed with gastroenteritis, or possible food poisoning. He was dehydrated now, so he was treated with IV’s, and other medications to ease the nausea. The IV would take a while so we knew we would be here for a bit.

What a difference a new visit to Ralph H. Johnson VA Hospital, Charleston, SC has made. Never did I hear anything negative. The staff joked with each other, but still did their jobs. Truly customer and patient service at its finest. They appeared to be well trained to know what to do, and when and how to work with the patient. Thank you, to all of the staff at E-R, Ralph H. Johnson VA Hospital. You certainly made a long and exhausting night at E-R more than I expected. Your quality of service, on a scale of 1-10, with 10 the best — I’d give it a 10!

Thank you so much! My husband was discharged about 1:30am. He rested all weekend and is feeling better today — all to the quality of medical service you gave him. I cannot thank you enough!

Published by barbiepc

Barbie Perkins-Cooper is a talented award-winning writer of screenplays, plays, and travel stories and she works full-time as an editorial photojournalist. Barbie has published numerous articles and award-winning photographs for regional, trade, health and beauty, hospitality and travel publications including the Travel Channel, Buick B Magazine, AAA Midwest Traveler, Kentucky Monthly, Southern Hospitality, Blue Ridge Country Magazine, Convention South and Texas Co-op Power and New York Daily News. Her passion for food and hospitality began when she worked as a communications officer, public relations officer at Johnson & Wales University in 1988. Residing in Charleston, South Carolina, Barbie is the author of Career Diary of a Photographer, and Condition of Limbo. She has written seven screenplays, and has a passion for screenwriting, hoping to see her name in the credits of a major motion picture. In September 2007, she was chosen as an approved artist for literary arts with the SC Arts Commission Arts in Education Roster of Approved Artists. Professional organizations include membership with International Food and Wine and Travel Writers Association [IFWTWA]; American Society of Journalists and Authors [ASJA]; Society of Professional Journalists,, and South Carolina Writers Workshop [SCWW]. Visit her web site for further information and writing clips or e-mail her at

3 thoughts on “Treatment at Ralph H. Johnson VA Hospital — So Much Improved!

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