0741 at the V.A. hospital is a quiet time. I’ve already had the traditional breakfast of S.O.S. (look that one up if you must) and cheesy potatoes. Now I wait.
Kip vanished down the hallway with a very nice nurse about 25 minutes ago headed toward the surgical suites, and I’m situated in what they call the family atrium. It’s a holding tank for the families from throughout the hospital. You can sit up by the desk and listen to the television drone for hours, or you can slip to the back of the joint and catch a nap, work on the computer, or stare into space and listen to the rumble of the laundry and food carts on the bricks below.
Not many people here in this area. I think it will be different in a few years when more of the Vietnam era people are a little bit older, and the Gulf-Afghanistan vets start needing more care. Right now there’s a bit of a lull as the Korean and WWII generation leave our lives and move on to Heaven. We’re all headed somewhere, I hope that’s my destination.
This is the life you lead as you head into middle age: more trips to the hospital, more illness, more time to reflect on things. When you’re 25 things go by in such a blur that you don’t have time to note them properly. When you’re closing in on 55 you pay more attention.
It’s not that you’re so much smarter or worldly: it’s that you have established a game plan for the long-term by this age. Hopefully. Some don’t have a game plan until the day they die. I hope they did it right along the way and got to know God. I hope they left a little something behind as a mark – and not a stain.
The light in this room comes from skylights. Every few minutes it gets a bit brighter around me. People are stirring and talking a bit louder – sleep isn’t as common on the benches. But night will rotate in shortly. It’s inevitable. I hope I’m ready for whatever this night brings. I hope I’m home on the couch listening for sounds that Kip is moving around a little upstairs. I hope I’m not here in this waiting room as the sun sets.
Take a minute and pray for all those in hospital waiting rooms this day. We appreciate it more than you will ever know