Some things have happened.
We sort of got settled into our new home about as far away from Santa Cruz as you can get. So far in fact that they moved North so that it is to my left, looking out to sea. We bought a car (newly used) for the first time since 1999 (Toyotas last, man). And we are reacquainting ourselves to eating boiled, spiced, shrimp at Snack Jacks in Flagler Beach.
I came to use some space to PRAISE the VA. The Veterans Administration. I finally got down to registering mainly to get a card that would get me 10% off at certain places and a free lunch occasionally. From start to finish it took about five weeks. (to get the card). I have NOTHING bad to say about the experience at all. From the first time I showed up at the Daytona Beach FL offices, to receiving the card in the mail (photo embossed thereon), there were no mistakes, only a few minutes of waiting and courtesy, courtesy, courtesy. Oh, and a desire to know my "last four". The process of scheduling my various appointments (which I didn't know I needed) was almost automatic. All they asked was for a suggested time and date. Then they said "OK". I got a real letter reminding me of each appointment a day before (no emails, they get lost, you know).
I had a thorough medical history taken (about an hour's time), a thorough poking, jabbing and mashing encounter with an MD (yes, he looked like he could be my grandson). We spoke of agent orange. Now I'm scheduled for a hearing exam to prove I flew jets.
Here's the thing. I almost felt embarrassed in the waiting room. Now I'm older, certainly gray and somewhat scuzzy looking. I have never figured out how guys now a days with the five o'clock shadow seem to attract those good looking girls. On me, it looks like I should be on the streets. No offense meant. I am in good health, not shape.
But anyway, what I was going to say was how heartbreaking to see so many of our finest youngsters missing so many extremities. Most with legs missing (yes, plural) a few with an arm gone. Most smiling, being treated well as they walked about, chatting to others while waiting, and getting in and out of their vehicles in the parking lot as if nothing were wrong. Don't get me wrong. I am not dismissing the pain they are in, nor the trauma they've gone through. It is horrible. My point is, that, in their docker cargo shorts and tee shirts, they have regained a remarkable degree of mobility, some normality. They seem to be able to deal with what's going on in their lives. I was very impressed with these brave young people. I am mostly infuriated at these several past administrations for causing them so much pain and suffering.
I will not go into my political mode here because this post is to honor the VA and those who have served and been hurt so profoundly. If you're reading this, you probably know that I hate being at the service of our elected leadership.
One scary note to leave. In the giant waiting room (servicing many different areas of care, seating maybe fifty), there was a sign which said in big bold letters,
"If you have an appointment, we know you are here.
You do not need to sign in. Please sit down and wait."
That was the scariest thing I've read since I mustered out.