Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The local V.A. Hospital


For the past fifteen years I've been living in close proximity to a V.A. Hospital, though I've not really paid much attention to it. I've occasionally been over there at night, to meet up with a friend who was going there on a regular basis to an A.A. meeting held in one of the locked wards there.

Other than that, though, I've never spent any time there, or really even wanted to.

The main hospital was badly damaged in the '89 earthquake, and sat unused for years. Eventually, a new hospital was constructed on the grounds of the original, and then the old building was razed.

I went to the V.A. yesterday to get registered, now that I'm a combat veteran.

It felt weird saying that to myself then.

It still feels surreal, I must say.

The staff were helpful, if a bit frazzled. A friend who's an Army physician tells me that this V.A. facility has the reputation of being among the three best V.A. hospitals in the country. Who knew?

After I registered, I spoke with a number of the Veterans who were milling about the place. It was a spectacular California summer day, so lots and lots of patients in wheelchairs were outside in the sun.

As I walked among them and chatted with them, I was amazed and humbled by their stories and the wounds which some of them have borne since WWII, Korea, Vietnam, or Desert Storm.

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ

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1 comment:

MaryShields said...

Fr. Tim, may you always be able to visit the V.A. Hospital's patients, and walk away after an hour or two! Blessings surround them for they have done their sworn duty for the U.S.A. and theirs is the price we pay for wars. Thanks for your blog, Tim, and many blessings surround you, too.

 
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