I’m a 73-year-old disabled veteran from Charlotte, and I’ve been going to the (William Jennings Bryan) Dorn VA hospital in Columbia for many years. On Jan. 4, I had surgery for bladder cancer, and I returned on Jan. 24 for a follow-up visit with my surgeon.
I did something really stupid. Usually I leave early so I can find a place to park. But on this day, for whatever reason, I did not. There were absolutely no parking places available. I had to park a long, long way from the hospital, and I ended up in a place that was all dirt. Because it had been raining, it was muddy. I usually use a walker, but I was afraid I’d get mired up, so I just used my cane. I was absolutely wiped out when I finally got to the hospital.
The nurses found out about what I had done, and one of them said, “You won’t have to walk back.” I went in to see my doctor – urologist Chad Cheuk. He had heard about it also. After he gave me a chemotherapy treatment, he said, “Wait here.” He came back in just a couple moments with a wheelchair. And I said, “Oh, that’s good.” I was expecting for him to call an aide to push me out. Instead, he pushed me all the way to my car by himself.
I can guarantee you no civilian doctor would have done that. I asked him if I could I shake his hand, and I did. He said, “Thank you for your service.” It was something I certainly never, ever expected. Many people tell horror stories about the VA. There are always going to be disgruntled people, especially among veterans. But I’ve always been treated with the utmost kindness and respect.
As told to Karen Garloch