Here I sit, in the company of heroes. My father had cataract surgery yesterday at our local VA hospital. The surgery seems to have gone well and he had a FU appointment today at 0845. Typically, (though I must admit yesterday went like clockwork) it is now after 1000 and we are waiting for a recheck and I sit among young men in flannel shirts, baggy pants, and baseball caps. There are sonorous old men in wheel chairs, men who appear to be paralyzed on one side, old men with old women pushing their chairs. There are middle aged men in crew cuts. Men that are a little frightening, men who have seen or done things of which we do not wish to know, men on the edge. Men sporting clothing that identifies them as warriors who spent time in Korea, Vietnam, and the middle east. Black. White, men & women, in uniform and out: all here in this chaotic place with an illness or disability after serving our country.
Men and women whose patriotism may be in line with mine, some maybe more nominal, some probably more fanatical.
This place is busy and people are a name AND a number. People throng the hallways. Lines form for each part of the process, something my civilian mind rejects. The enlightening thing is that my father has always bitterly resented waiting in lines and I never understood this. Now after shuffling from check in to waiting room, from waiting room to patient room, to another waiting room to another patient room, to the travel line to the cashier, to the line to get a number, to the waiting room to wait for the number to be called to go to the desk, back to the waiting room to look for our name on a board for the pharmacy line so we can get onto another line to wait for someone to come to a window to put the prescription in a door for my father to pick up.
I get it. I get it well after only two days. But amid all the lines, chaos and waiting I sit in the company of heroes, yes heroes!