When 71-year-old Army Veteran Bill Haglund went to the VA medical center in Des Moines for a simple surgical procedure, he wasn’t sure what to expect.
“Admittedly, I was somewhat apprehensive given all the negativity surrounding the VA, or at least some of the reports we’ve heard,” he explained. “But those feelings of apprehension didn’t last long. From the time I walked into the center right up until the time I walked out, I was treated with the utmost of care and respect.”
His wife Judy agreed. “All the nurses were so willing to answer all our questions,” she said. “They were all so wonderful, each in their own way. There was Marsha and Cathy and Florence; JJ, Susan, Jenny, Wendy and Amanda… I hope I’m not forgetting anyone. They really made us feel like part of their family.”
She continued: “Cori Peterson, the nurse practitioner in the urology department, was so patient with us and explained everything. She took so much extra time with us. And Joy, the nurse in pre-op, was tremendous. She just made Bill feel so comfortable. He’s big and brave in many ways, but he’s squeamish when it comes to needles. But Joy got those IVs so quick and easy.”
“The entire staff was not only kind and caring toward me, but the staff also treated my wife in the same caring manner.”
“I was very impressed,” Bill Haglund said. “The nurses made certain I understood exactly the procedure I was to have. Afterward, the nurses who cared for me in post-op seemed to dote on me. They made me feel completely at ease. And my overnight nurse, Susan, took extremely good care of me.”
He added: “One of the interns there is finishing up her last semester at Grand View University. Her name is Amanda. I asked her what she was going to do after graduating, and she told me she wants to be a nurse right here at the Des Moines VA. I think that’s pretty neat.”
The Army Veteran said the great care he received, however, was not the thing that impressed him most about his overnight stay at the Des Moines VA.
“I was mostly impressed by how they took care of my wife so well,” he said. “That’s what put my mind at ease more than anything. The nurses were so kind to her; they found a place for her to sleep so she could stay with me overnight. I was very happy about that. It always makes me feel good to have her there with me. It wasn’t like a stay at the Holiday Inn or anything, but they found her a nice recliner to sleep in.”
But as we all know, nothing in life is ever perfect.
“The only bad thing that happened to me during my whole stay was when my surgeon told me I couldn’t drink coffee anymore,” Bill said. “I’ve been drinking coffee since I was 10.”