Fading Away?

wounded

 

(Photo from woundedtimes.blogspot.com)

 © Jeanne E Webster. All rights reserved and observed

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“It’s time for your shower, Mr. Tilden.”

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He rolled over, slowly realizing another day had arrived; the nightmares were over, for a while.

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“Hurry up, Mr. Tilden, there’s others waiting for their shower.”

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Mumbling, he hunched himself up and scooted over to his bedside chest of drawers. Pulling clean shorts and tee-shirt out of the middle one, he flicked them onto his bed. “Man, they look ragg’dy,” he mused. “When I get some money by, gotta git me some new ones.”

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The aroma of coffee and grease wafting in from the kitchen told him he’d soon be eating the same old breakfast fare he’d had for the last three years: scrambled eggs, sausage gravy, toast and coffee. “What I’d give for a ham omelet with the works or a heap pile of flat cakes with lots’ o’ butter and syrup and real sausages ‘n hash browns,” he reminisced. “Yep, that’d be one fine day. Yeah.”

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Throwing that thought into the trash bin, he pulled, pushed, dragged, and yanked his pajamas off and slapped his threadbare bathrobe over his shoulders and back. The aide would help him get it under his body so he’d be decent enough to go shower. Waiting for her return, he dismally looked at the photos of his kids sitting atop the chest of drawers.

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Thoughts came ripping out of his spirit.  “Man, I sure miss you guys! Can’t ya stop by and see the old man once in a while? I get so lonesome to see y’all. You could at least write once in a while.”

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“Well, good morning, Mr. Tilden, how are you today?” The aide had rushed in to get him “decent” for his shower. Disgruntled, he accepted the assistance then down the hallway they flew, the aide steering his wheelchair in the direction of the shower room.

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Since he had lost his legs in ‘Nam, he’d had one heck of a time getting used to needing help from anyone. His pride broke down eventually as he resigned himself to the truth of the matter. But it still gnawed on him and he hated feeling useless and unwanted. His health was failing him more and more every day.

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First it was his leg amputations, and then diabetes, eye infections, and just last week the doc put him on medication for his heart. He knew in his heart that his kids loved him but they were too busy with their own lives to visit as much as he’d like. If he could just get out of this nursing home and get back on his own, he would feel better in no time.

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“Nah, it ain’t in the cards. I’m jes’ worn out.”

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Memories carried him away to days when times were carefree and life was happy. He lived in his “thought world” to escape the reality that faced him as he awoke each morning. He dreaded the nights; they brought ghastly visions. The days were no better, only bringing the realization that he was ever so slowly dying, apart from family and friends.

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“I jes’ wanna go home. That’s all.”

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Dear sisters and brothers, this story is to remind you of our veterans this Veteran’s Day. How about honoring them with a sacrifice of our own? Remember those who have gone on ahead by honoring those veterans who still abide among us. Invest some time in a visit, a card, a phone call, maybe even a trip “outside” for them? They sacrificed their lives and livelihood so we could remain safe and free; now it’s our time to “report for duty.”


Let’s see to it our veterans are safe and living in healthy and well run facilities. Too many obstacles are facing them today: mold infested rooms, shoddy treatments, despicable and dangerous medical care and a horrendous lack of respect for the honor that is too long overdue. Check on the facilities in your area. Let your senators and representatives know that you are concerned about the care our veterans receive. We owe them that…and more. Our veterans need to know they are not alone and we shall never let them “just fade away.”

Never!

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2 comments on “Fading Away?

  1. GP Cox says:

    Amen!! Excellent post.

    • A huge salute to you, GP, for the tons of press you offer to our history. It is so much from the heart . . .to the very soul of our country! Keep on, keeping on!

      May God bless you all your days.

      Amen!
      Jeanne

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