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.”

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Published on Aug. 20, 2015

Estimated reading time is 2.5 min.

Views to date: 71


  1. george allen sutton jr. August 23, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    I’m still having trouble reaching certain clinics.they seem to stay on break or lunch for an extended oeriod

  2. Charles Stewart August 23, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Say what you will about the VA. I’m sure there are many that are better than others but I have to say I’m very grateful for the Syracuse and Buffalo, NY VA’s. I get all my care at the Syracuse VA and if it wasn’t for them I’d have been ashes a long time ago. Agent Orange is kicking my butt with heart disease, Diabetes Type II and Lymphoma. The doctors and nurses here are the most caring of any I have ever come in contact with. All are very professional, friendly and knowledgeable. I for one appreciate each and every one of them.

  3. Robert Garcia August 23, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    That’s all that the PA’s and Nurses can do, cover for the Dr’s that we don’t see until the going get’s tough. RGV Texas clinic’s still need to communicate with each other. How many time’s have we been asked “why are you here?” “You’re not in the system!” Twice for me when I was sent to external resources, vouchers were not sent or given to me. Thank You Nurses and PA’s for that spark of hope.

  4. Vickie Pullen August 23, 2015 at 9:38 am

    you know if I could just get into surgery it would be a plus. I have so many broken promises from ortho surgery it is unreal. I broke my ankle 14 years ago. Was in a wheelchair for 3 years, had 3 bone grafts and total of 8 surgeries over a 6 year span.

    I rebroke the exactly the same area last September absolutely nothing has been done until a few weeks ago when the VA sent me to an outside DE under the pretense he was going to schedule me for surgery. He stuck a needle in my ankle and gave me a shot that made it hurt ten times worse than it did before. Now I am told by the VA it’s been broke too long too many arthritic changes now – surgery won’t help. Yet nothing stronger than 1-2 hydrocodone 5s a day. Are you kidding me?

    Now yesterday I lifted something heavy went to the ER with severe abdominal pain. No not one hernia- three hernias – what did I get a shot of Toradol and a goodbye. Not a schedule with surgery or my PCP even. I’m tired of this bullshit. I’m not the only one in memphis there are at least 2 other veterans that I have heard of in this housing complex has similar complaints. BS BS BS!!!

  5. DannyG August 21, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    I am happy Mr. Haglung, our brother, got the help he needed, & was so pleased! I live in Az, & am extremely pleased with the care I receive at the VETERANS Health Administration facility. I try not to be disrespectful, but am tired of hearing all the complaining, & trying to get the vets to take some kind of peacefol, organized, action!
    YES – we have been done wrong! YES – the fed gov’t has cheated, lied, & broken their promises to us; BUT – we have a brother at the top of the “food chain” who is working his ass off for us & all most of you want to do is cry & complain, & expect someone else to fix it!
    STOP CRYING & DO SOMETHING! STAND UP FOR YOURSELVES! I have posted my email address, something I never thought I would do again, & tried to organize a nation-wide rally; ONE veteran had enough mnahood to email me!
    This is where I would normally say nice things to my brothers & sisters, but I’m gonna sit back, have a cigarette, & let my PTSD have a moment of glory!

  6. Joe August 21, 2015 at 10:56 am

    Also how long did he have to wait for an appointment? I
    Nice way to try and ignore major staff shortages and rushing us through like a house race.

  7. wilma August 20, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    Only one buy, Iowa dose not have that many veterans, the bigger ones in az, Texas chicago.

    • Michael Wright August 23, 2015 at 12:57 pm

      Really, I live in one of the largest concentration of Vets in the US. I can say without a doubt, the VA here in the Bay Area has provided me with outstanding care. Never once have I been put on hold, never once have I had to wait for an appointment more than a day or so. I have been seen at Mare Island, Martinez VA, and the Fairfield clinic, all three have been outstanding in providing top notch care. I haven’t been treated with anything other than respect and dignity all the way from the lowest volunteer to the highest paid doctors and administration staff. As far as your comments about AZ and Chicago, I have vet buddies at both and they have nothing but praise for both. I can tell you one thing, I have Cigna insurance threw my wife, I have TriCare because I am retired military, and I have the VA because I am 100% disabled, hands down the VA has provided the best care out of the three. A year ago had some sort of chest infection thing going on, called David Grant Medical center at Travis AFB for an appointment, earliest appointment I could get was 7 weeks away, called Sutter medical group to use my wives insurance, that was a 14 day wait, called the VA, you know what they asked me? “Could you be in at 1420 today?” not only did they see me the same day and diagnose me with strep, but they also gave me my flu shot and an pneumonia shot, two days later and the doctor called to see how I was feeling and if I was getting better. By the way, when I got to the VA the place was packed full of cranky ass veterans all thinking they should each have a personal physician, could hardly find a place to sit and I was still and out in less than an hour.

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