VA Long Beach Healthcare System
An continued to take my calls and showed interest in my dad's well-being even after her job was done.
I have wanted to write this letter for some time, and I like to think that my late father would be happy I finally did. I'm not sure how long my dad was sick. I took him into the VA Emergency Room in his hometown of Long Beach, and we spent most of the night there. After many tests, and being admitted, we received a diagnosis. He was riddled with cancer; metastasized into his bones, organs, brain, and so on. A doctor came in and wanted to begin taking more tests, samples, and remove pieces of his organs. My dad decided almost immediately that he wanted to let cancer take him naturally, and no longer be poked and prodded. This is when we met the Palliative Care team. Dr. W and An Dihn showed up at my dad's bedside, and we began to discuss his next steps. They left with a promise to check in with us once I had him back at home, and I was approached by an overwhelming number of doctors and social workers. My head was spinning, and I had no idea how I would be able to be a primary caregiver to my dying father on my own. It turns out that everything moved so quickly, I'm still not sure how I managed. My dad was released shortly after, and back at home, we had a virtual video call with Dr. W and An. They were nothing short of amazing from the start. I eventually had to go back to work, and An helped me fill out the paperwork needed for my employer to allow me shorter hours while caring for my dad. Anytime I was at a loss or didn't know what to do, I would email or leave An a voicemail, and she would get back to me almost immediately. When I decided to look into home care, she spent extensive time on the phone with me explaining his medications, what companies I should look into, and information about hospice. I often think that a lot of what she did was outside of the realm of her job, but I was so naive and lost to this new experience I had been given, she was a true angel on my side. I eventually had to call an ambulance to take my dad to a different hospital, and during his stay, An was working on finding him home because I could no longer care for him on my own. During this hospital stay, we found that he had kidney failure and would not be alive much longer. I was incredibly stressed, and I still regret a time that I took my frustrations out on An. Despite this, she set up a bed for him at a local home and had transportation come to take him. While he was at the home, I spoke to her a few times about immunizations and ongoing care for him. An continued to take my calls and showed interest in my dad's well-being even after her job was done. It has now been over a year, and I am remiss that I have not yet written this letter to show my deep appreciation for the VA system, and most importantly the one-on-one care I received from An. I was thrown into an impossible situation, with no idea what to do, and she took me step-by-step. I can honestly say I would not have had the information to get what I needed doing without her. The VA system went above and beyond honoring my father by giving him the best care, even when he and I were unable to afford it. I hope that An receives the appreciation she deserves, and I know in my heart that I'm not the only one she has positively affected.