Saturday, October 11, 2014


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The drive to the Verterans Hospital in Palo Alto during traffic hours is horrendous. Thankfully they have an on base hostel called the Defenders Lodge for out of town people to stay. The drive home this second trip wasn’t so bad because we left at mid day and traffic was easy.
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Jim had to report two hours early for surgery. They gave him a cute dress and a pair of booties to wear. He has never experienced surgery before, and he was fascinated by the process.
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I waited around for an hour and a half. They came in with series of eye drops to keep his eye dilated. You can see the right iris his huge compared to the left eye. What amazed me is the IV, the pre-op prep, and the absolute professionalism of hospital personnel in every unit and every person we met who works there. It is an amazing and very modern place. I’m  impressed with their caring and efficiency.  For this procedure,  I had a comparison. My husband had double cataract surgery, probably 25 years ago. He was told to wear no creams or lotions, to shower and wash his hair and report to the clinic. I watched the surgery though a glass window.  They gave him a medication to relax him before he went in. They put stuff in his eyes, clamped the eye open. He could talk to them. They did the surgery and he wore an eye patch for a day and several nights and that was it. The difference in how it is handled is like night and day. Pretty undramatic. Jim was treated like he was going for major surgery.
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After we ate dinner, which they supplied him; I bought mine in the canteen and we were able to eat together. We went to bed. Oh, oh!  Jim forgot to tell me that the instructions were to bring your own bedding. Well, thanks to my survival kit, I have pillows and blankets in my car. We would have been pretty miserable with out it and I’m once again, grateful for my survival kit. All they have on the beds is a bottom sheet, a light weight spread and some red throw pillows. We met a number of vets in various stages of the trek from pre-exam, prep, recovery, and the next day, post-op exam to know he is among those lucky people who, though he was in the Bay of Pigs debacle, was never physically endangered or fired upon during his service.
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Dr. Pershing is his surgeon and she scheduled him for the next eye very soon. He is glad he can get it over quickly and have his vision back. It was scary to learn how impaired his vision was while driving home. It changed so quickly. But, his long distance glasses saved him, and having me available to drive, as an option, was also comforting-for him.
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The hospital put him through all of his tests ordered by his regular doctor in Sonora.  I didn’t get her name, but she was wonderful. How nice is that? They actually communicate with each other. Repeat, I’m impressed by the Veterans Medical Care here in California. Far better than what I can expect in my community, though I’m not complaining.  They are just more organized and efficient. I can’t say enough about the system.

Now I have to add this little extra filip. We all know about networking, but at dinner in the defenders lodge we met a vet named Bobby Brown. Jim had been about to go to Jackson to get his muffler replaced after being quoted prices of $600 down to $400. Bobby Brown handed him a card and said:  “I guarantee you’ll get a better price from this guy and if you don’t I’ll pay your bill.”  Jim called, I believe it was Allied Muffler in Modesto, (he left before I could get the name of the place from him), the price?  $200 from Bobby Brown’s grandson.  He told us not to mention his name. Isn’t that a hoot?

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