A positive turnaround at the VA hospital

 Recovery rooms are very strange places. I recently had the misfortune to be in one after a four-hour surgery turned into a six-hour surgery. The people who work in these places must have some really bizarre tales to tell. My own memory of the experience was a constant and loud litany of, “I’m gonna throw up. I’m gonna throw up. I’m gonna …” That’s all I remember before waking up in the Intensive Care Unit. I don’t know if I actually carried out the deed.

The Reno Veterans Administration Medical Center is a different place these days. Time, age and unsavory habits had created a blockage in my femoral artery. Ya know, the big one in the leg — couldn’t walk very far and when I did walk it was painful. Through every step of this procedure, I was treated with respect and professional care. The first meeting with the surgeon, one Dr. Ryan, lasted almost an hour where he explained in detail what he would try to do to correct the blockage.

Going around the thing was the plan, but there were a couple of options available. The man even made a sketch of how he would go about the bypass. I can promise that the reality was a heck of a lot more painful than the drawing. A day was spent in pre-op taking vitals, advising what to eat the day prior to surgery (nothing) and what time to show up.

One day in Intensive Care and I was placed on a ward. This was my home for the next six days. I had reactions to the pain meds, the hitech bandages didn’t work well, got acid reflux, was constipated and didn’t much care for the food. Maybe I was a little cranky, just maybe.

The nurses and aides were great! They took very good care of me, yelled at me when I needed to be yelled at, pushed me to get up and walk around — not fun. One nurse, Veronica, had the misfortune to be on duty when my constipation suddenly ended without warning. Pretty typical, I guess.

When embarrassed, yell at the nurse. She took it well. A new director, Lisa Howard, has been responsible for the change in attitude and personnel at the hospital. The last couple of articles I have written about the Reno VAMC have been extremely negative. The main change has been the attitude of the staff. Ms. Howard has met with the various teams around the hospital. That would be real people not just department heads. The people I interacted with were enthusiastic about the change, which has allowed them to place patients at the forefront. From past experience I was convinced that the Reno VAMC was broken beyond repair. Director Howard has proved me to be in error.

One thought on “A positive turnaround at the VA hospital

  • Being new to the area and coming from the Sacramento service area of the VA, I was very pleased to see that not only am I treated very well at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Reno, they actually seem to give a damn. That, and a lot more.
    It had been 4 years since I have been to the VA hospital because of the treatment I received at the Mather location, extremely poor quality of service and not just poor attitude but bad. Bad service, inept employees, and staff that have a lack of care, empathy, or compassion. Most of them at the Mather location are there to collect a paycheck, not to take care of the individual.
    I have found at the Reno location that they have pride in the job that they do and they actually care about the individual in need.
    I am finding that the personnel in the Reno location are willing to go the extra step should help the individual in need as opposed to giving up on the difficult individual. I am that difficult individual.
    Thank you for caring, Reno, I think I’ll stick around for a while. You made a difference to me and for me.
    and I appreciate it . . .

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