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As we get older, so do our parents (no duh right?).  As an only child, I have recently begun to get a small view into the future of caring for my dad who is needing more from me as his only daughter.

I have always voted.  I have always exercised my right as a citizen of this country and felt proud to live here in the United States.  In saying all of that, I wouldn’t consider myself to be a die hard patriot.  I know that I could do more to be involved in my part of this democracy, the legislature, and this country, yet I haven’t.

Yesterday, I received a call from my dad needing me to take him to the Emergency Room at the Veterans Administration Hospital ( he is ok, bad back problems…) and my eyes were opened.  Big Time.

Veterans Flag

Veterans Flag (Photo credit: Daniel mty)

I was so upset with what I saw ALL DAY, that the moment I got home, I sat down and wrote a letter to the President that I then sent via the white house website…

*As a disclaimer to the statements that I make below, I am coming from an honest place of not really knowing and being aware of the issues that make this system what it is.  I am assuming there are not enough doctors, nurses, and resources.

Simply from my heart, here is what I wrote:

” Dear Mr. President,

I am the 36 year old daughter of a Vietnam Veteran.  Today, for the first time, I witnessed the VA hospital.  Today, for the first time, I was ashamed of my country. 

  I had to take my dad to the VA Emergency Room today.  I hope to god that he never has to go there with a life threatening emergency, I fear he would die.  We were at the hospital all day from 9am to 3pm and the majority of the time was spent in the waiting room waiting to be called upon. 

  I was overwhelmed by how sad it was to see the condition of our “honored veterans” and the level of care was horrifying.  Is this how we honor those who risk their lives for our country and our freedom?  Wow. 

  All day, all I could feel was like these amazing people were not being honored, not at all, they weren’t even being respected as human beings.  The systems, the level of care, the way they were treated and spoken to, it was so sad.

  Although my dad appears to be a functioning member of this society, I guarantee to you that the trauma he suffered serving his country has had a lasting negative impact on him, and our family.  At the very least, I would expect that our country that so often pats itself on the back for the benefits and services that it provides to our veterans, could treat him like a human being. 

  My heart broke today.  There are so many veterans that are suffering, in need of care, and most likely just would like to be treated as if they matter.

  There has got to be a way to take care of all of the men and women that have sacrificed their entire lives, not just the time they served, for our country. 

  I am not sure if the staff is overworked, the system is overused, or what the reasons are for what I witnessed and experienced today, but I couldn’t help but speak up.

  Sincerely,

   Deborah Nichols” 

What is truly happening with our veterans and our system?  Can you help me understand what I experienced yesterday?

signature Debbie

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