Dearest Readers:

Today is Veterans Day in the USA. A day to give thanks to those who served. Those who gave all. And those who served, fought and came home to America.

My husband is a Veteran of the Vietnam conflict. Notice, I said Conflict, not war. Durng that time, the legislators referred Vietnam as a conflict, not a war. Yes, a play on words. Believe me, Vietnam was a war.

I refuse to get political about a play on words because Vietnam taught America a lot about what a war is and how our Veterans should be respected.

A few weeks ago, I answered the phone, only to discover another robocall; however, this time, it was a robocall about the benefits of veterans. I almost hung up. Much to my surprise, the voice on the end spoke to me, thanking me for my sacrifice as the Wife of a Veteran.

I was shocked. No one has ever said thank you to me for my sacrifice and many times when we get those types of calls, the party on the other line only wants to speak to the Veteran.

So for today, I would like to say thank you to all Veterans, but most especially, to the Veterans of Vietnam. I am so blessed and proud to know many of these Veterans.

May your day as a Veteran be blessed. May your family share their pride and love for all of you. Happy Veterans Day!

Happy Veterans Day

Today is a Veterans Day. A day to be thankful for all that we are blessed to share in the United States of America. A day to give thanks, and a day to remember those who fought the wars and never returned home.

I was blessed to have my husband return home. No, he was not the same man I married. I observed much just by looking in his eyes, and the quick way he looked away from me. I knew there was sadness, and although I tried to get him to communicate his pain, he would not. He was so different. Angry. Suspicious. More quick-tempered than he was just before he left for the fears and devastation of Vietnam. Jealous — more prevalent than ever!

Over the years, I’ve learned what triggers him, and even though I cannot understand it, I am quick to let him know his jealous rages and fears are not directed at me, nor are they acceptable; therefore, I don’t tolerate them. I simply walk away until the storm dissolves.

Today, I hugged him, wishing him a Happy Veterans Day. Today, we have a new generation of Veterans, and I hope our nation will appreciate them and treat them better than the Vietnam Veterans were treated when arriving home. I recall when my husband arrived home, I stood waiting at the airport in Atlanta, GA until his plane arrived at 2:30am. I bounced into his arms, ecstatic that he was home. When we drove to Charleston for him to see his family, the reaction and welcome home was “Oh…it’s you.” No bear hugs. No embraces. No thank you’s…No celebrations…only coldness…Not even a home cooked meal, cookies or his favorite cake…this from his immediate family! I wanted to scream at them so they would welcome him home…

Today, my wish is that when a soldier returns from a tour of duty that his family embraces him or her and makes them feel as if they were missed and appreciated. I suppose we, the families of the Vietnam era, remember how cold and uncaring our Veterans from Vietnam were treated. At airports they were shunned…sometimes spat upon. Let us pray that this never happens again. Only last week on the evening news I heard about a bunch of soldiers returning home via airplanes. People from first-class of the flight actually acted first-class – giving up their first-class service and comfort so the soldiers could fly in first-class. This story made me proud.

Maybe the United States learned something from the Vietnam era. Life is so precious, and when we have life, we must cherish it. For Veterans, I say a simple thank you for your service and welcome home. I hope this Veterans Day 2013 is a joyous day for you and your family. Remember the good times and be thankful that today is a well deserved day of recognition for you. Happy Veterans Day, and Thank you for your service!Image

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!