Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Want to REALLY support our troops!?

If you are a wounded veteran returning from the Middle East, recovering in a VA hospital - you're supposed to bring your own "kit"- toothbrush, toothpaste, shaving cream, deodorant, etc.
Because there is no budget for them, poor veteran patients or those incapable of buying a "kit" must rely on receiving DONATED BASIC HYGIENE ITEMS.

Basic hygiene items are not provided for vets by VA hospitals unless they are donated.

Thanks to Congress and President Bush (who *insists* he "supports the troops,") VA hospitals cannot afford to supply basic hygiene items like tooth brushes, shaving cream, toothpaste, and deodorant.

They refer to basic hygiene products euphamistically as "comfort items."

The people who put their lives on the line for us - you and me - every day; who come home without limbs and faces - who too often sacrifice their minds and families as well, are not even provided with basic health care items we take for granted by VA hospitals unless they are donated.

When donations run out?

Apparently that's just tough.

Being a veteran myself, I was treated at a VA hospital. Although I wasn't expected to stay overnight, I did. The following morning, I asked for a toothbrush, and they told me they were "out." That toothbrushes are donated; they didn't have any more.

Patients treated at civilian hospitals -- paying full price or indigent, even prisoners in jail are given a toothbrush and basic hygiene items as a matter of course. It not only contributes to the patient feeling better psychologically but helps prevent the spread of disease.

But veterans who serve their country?

I don't know about you, but I consider this an outrage. Our veterans have done enough for us. They deserve, at the very least, primary hygiene items without wondering if their VA hospital will "run out."

Let's start a national drive to provide these basic hygiene items for our vets.

They can't accept anything that is not direct from the vendor, or it needs to be in sealed factory wrapping. Items must be alcohol free. And they also accept funds to buy these items.

Everything has to be donated through the Voluntary Section at VA hospitals. Volunteers deal with the donations, distributing them to the veterans who need or request them.

This department is run by few paid staff members -- so you can rest assured your tax dollars are not being wasted on pampering our troops!

Here's what they define as basic "comfort" items for our hospitalized veterans:

Hair combs
Denture Adhesive
Denture Cleaner
Denture Cup
Disposable Safety Razors
Emery Board
Hair Brushes
Hand/Body Lotion
Nail Clippers
Shaving Cream
Toothbrush Cover/Cap
Foot Powder
Toe Nail Clippers

For more information you can contact the Seattle VA Hospital Voluntary Section/HRMS at (206) 764-2195. They can help put you in touch with where to send your donations as well as how to contact the VA Hospital in your area.

Please let our veterans know we actually care about them in a most fundamental way.

I mean, if (thanks to a president who ignores our election results) we are powerless to save their lives, perhaps we can save their teeth!

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  • At 4:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What an outRAGE! Who among us (the tax paying, or non tax paying American public) has any idea this goes on?!

    How can VA patients retain their dignity, let alone their grace when dealing with an illness?

    I want to find a way to help. Public Service Announcement?


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