Here are the VA rules as I understand them, although I will never really understand them. In order to visit anyone you must be a relative or a trained volunteer. If you are not a trained volunteer, then you must be escorted and not by just any old Joe Schmoe, mind you. The Director of Volunteer Services prefers to be the escort of choice. The Director, a very friendly man, whom I have spoken to on the phone a few times, is a lovely fellow, I am sure. The problem is, he seems to be in meetings quite often therefore making him less than flexible when it comes to escorting crazed, cookie toting, women on visits.
Trying to get a call back or a time scheduled this last week and a half has left me in quite the state of frustration. When I mentioned this to Bob, his reply was classic.
“You’re dealing with the government. What did you expect?”
What did I expect? What did I expect? I’ll tell you what I expected, buddy boy. I expected when a mother of two military officers calls the VA five freaking times and all she wants to do is deliver a bleeping cookie to a veteran, that the VA would respond in a positive and timely manner. Something like,
“Why, thank you Mrs. Hansen. We would love to have you deliver your bleeping cookies to our veterans. Of course, you do realize we will have to run them through a series of tests to make sure they are safe to eat. Oh, and there is also the strip search in order to make sure you are not hiding any contraband cookies anywhere … uh hum … else.”
The truth is, I spoke with them yesterday and explained the cookies be damned. I just wanted to visit someone that would benefit from a visit, even from a stranger. I asked if there wasn’t some part of the hospital that desperately needed visitors. The response was, yes the Hospice unit. There were eight to nine men there at any given time. Most had little to no family and rarely received visitors.I explained that was a perfect spot for me. I have been involved with Hospice for years. I am on our local Hospice caregiver on-call list. My parents, my mother-in-law and my uncle all died with my arms wrapped around them. I get it and I am not afraid. Holding the hand of someone, especially a veteran who is dying alone, matters to me. Could I just hold a hand this afternoon?
“Sorry, not without volunteer training or the Director escorting.”
Ok, really, when did it become necessary to be trained to hold someone’s hand? I understand if you don’t want visitors. I understand if your family asks that no outside visitors be allowed. I don’t understand when a person has nobody and could use a hand holding, denying that comfort due to “lack of training or escort.” Seriously, USA, I love you and will stand by your side with my last breath and last drop of Red, White and Blue blood. But seriously??
So, maybe I failed. I failed to make an appointment. I failed to play by the rules. I failed to work within the system. I will give them that. Time to move on before I really get my rebel self in a hissy fit tizzy.
To close out this week on The List,
3. Ask your pastor if someone on your church’s sick list would like a visit.
I have spent more time in hospitals with others than I would have ever imagined. That’s how Butts and Ashes began, remember? One of the people I have had the privilege of hospital hanging with is my little sister, Kelly. She has cancer and has had a miserable time of it. I love her very much and am thankful for every moment we have spent together. She has a blog and requested that I keep it updated for her during some of those hospital seasons. We got quite crazy and I blogged it all … much to her dismay, I am sure. Here is the link to one of the posts that proves I have experience dealing with sick people. It also proves I need a shrink. Think good thoughts, say some prayers, chant some chants or whatever it is you do, for my sister. Just no voodoo dolls, please. That’s just creepy!
Oh yeah, about the cookies. Randa and I drove over to the Rescue Mission and made some little kids very happy. All's well that ends well.