For Veterans a Veteran’s Hospital whether Federally or State funded should be a place of safety, comfort, respect, dignity, and hope. It almost never is. This is especially true for the elderly.
I have personally seen a VA Hospital with huge chunks of paint peeling off every wall. The floors so dirty that your shoes would stick to them in places. Patients with mental health issues left to wander the halls aimlessly, some touching themselves or nude, others saying words I had never heard before and didn’t know the meaning of me. The one word I heard repeatedly was “HELP”. It was being cried out of most rooms in various stages of pain and hopelessness.
I could always smell urine, feces, and vomit on every visit. On quite a few occasions I had a chance to see all three. My mother took the brunt of most of it. But I was the good one who stayed by her side when her 6 other brothers and sisters did not.
My Grandfather was at the VA Hospital with Bone Cancer. My mother, father and I fed, bathed, and changed his diaper. I never saw a single staff member except the one time we arrived to find him sitting in his own vomit and shit for an undetermined amount of time.
No one messed with the people my mother loved. I have never seen anyone so afraid in my life. The nurse she grabbed and held against the wall as she asked how long her father had been left to stew in his own waste. I could see her holding back her pain and anger but it wouldn’t be long before she broke.
The doctors at the VA decided to remove a bone in his neck and he had to wear a Halo that was drilled into his skull. When he passed away one night the hospital told my mother she would have to wait to see him and prepare him for burial because the doctor who did the Halo procedure was on Vacation for the next week.
We were all stunned that not one doctor could unscrew a screw to take that contraption off his head. Not even 24 hours went by when my mother went there with a toolbox and took the Halo off of her father herself. The hospital did try to stop her. But like I said it was only a matter of time. My mother was fierce with her love. It’s why I still grieve for her today.
My Grandfather (Papa) deserved so much better than that. So did the Veteran at the Talihina Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs Center. Not one single person on this earth should die with a maggot infested wound. This isn’t 1930, 1940, or 1950. We should Goddamn know better by now and this should be a chargeable offense. This isn’t something you just “resign” over. I am tired of the treatment given to Veterans, the Mentally Ill and people with Addictions.
You know what? I would be better off on an island by myself than with human beings who find it acceptable to tell a person with a mental health issue to kill themselves, to enable an addict to their death so they can continue to make money, and let a Veteran rot away slowly in the corner of a dirty hospital because it costs too much to do otherwise.