A full day in town
I’ve become a pin cushion to a phlebotomist. I’m at the V.A. Facility in Gardnerville. I receive a puncture and hear, “no more is coming out.” My blood pressure must be zero. Next puncture, same thing; eventually, “I have enough.”
While recovering, I mention the disturbing itching I’ve been experiencing on my back. The phlebotomist suggests I return to the receptionist and ask to see the nurse. I follow her advice implicitly and am successful.
While waiting my turn, I over hear a seasoned veteran making a request to the desk attendant. “I want to transfer from the Reno Office to here, and I have very good reasons. I live in Stagecoach and making the drive to Reno is awful. The gentleman is definitely an elder-elder so the receptionist is overly polite and reassures him that it can be arranged. Far from being a maze of bureaucratic gobble-de-goop, the Gardnerville V.A. shines with efficiency.
A conversation between three of us veterans ensues. In 1953 I was stationed on the USS Essex, a fabulous aircraft carrier that cruised up and down the coast of Korea. The most danger I ever experienced was when I watched jets come in for landings, especially night landings.
The “Old Timer,” paints a quite different picture. “I watched Army P-51 Mustangs come around those hills so low you could see the pilots faces, their machine guns blazing and rockets going off everywhere,” he exclaims.
“What did you do?” I ask the younger gentleman in our group.
“I was in the nuclear area, and I also witnessed the most accurate missile ever deployed. By the way, I wasn’t even born in 1953,” he says somewhat truculently. Here we are, three veterans, all from different eras. This is a reminder that new veterans are being born every minute.
“Walker, the nurse will see you now.” I enter the inner sanctum, meet Lori and minutes later she has me standing on a weight scale. Next, down the hall to a consultation room. She checks my record on the computer and sees I am notoriously healthy. After looking at my back, she suggests an over-the-counter product which will suffice until my appointment with my Primary Care Provider next week. Greatly relieved, I race to The Full Belly Deli for clam chowder.
Orllyene and I recently discovered the Full Belly Deli. It’s a family run business. Nancy Rehsfeld is the CEO. She is in her wheelchair in the kitchen, scrubbing glassware and dishes when we meet. Nancy is a sunbeam of joy and spreads friendship wherever goes. I was so impressed that I signed and gave her a copy of my book, The Inside Story. Today my mission is to hear what she thinks of it. I find her scrubbing away in the kitchen. “Hi Nancy, just checking to see if you have read my book yet,” I ask with eager anticipation. “Ron, we have a new person at home, and I’m so busy here, that well, as soon as I start reading, I fall asleep.” Hmm, this is not the answer I was hoping for. But then again, it could become a cure for insomnia.
Ron Walker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.