I went back to Dr. B. yesterday. As I opened the lobby door, it felt like a scene from the movie Cocoon. The place was wall-to-wall ancients of days. One guy sat in a wheelchair, connected to oxygen. A woman in a periwinkle coat inched her way on a wheeled walker to her seat. Ever so slowly, with tiny steps, she turned herself around and sat down.
“You made it!” said another man, thin and well into his 90s, sitting with his knees practically in his chest. His bald head shone under his baseball cap. A shorter, white-haired man checked in ahead of me. I took a deep breath. It felt like a glimpse of my future. A little frightening, to be sure.
I scooted around the lady and sat in the corner to wait. A large man in his 50s came and sat adjacent to me. The baseball-capped man addressed him.
Then a general conversation about the Seahawks ensured.
“Wish they didn’t keep Williams (name changed to protect the guilty because I didn’t catch it). He has too much baggage,” one man harrumphed.
“Well, I am glad they kept him. Even with the baggage,” said large man. So there!
Then a pause.
“What are you reading?” baseball-capped man asked large man.
Large man, also with a baseball cap (try to keep up!) showed him the cover.
The nonagenarian mumbled it to himself.
“So you’re a radio operator?” he asked.
“Yes. I’m going for another certification. Trying to learn more.”
“I was a radio operator in ’41,” said the older man. “I kept at it until ’45.”
“Oh. You were in the great conflict,” said large man, his tone indicating polite interest.
“Yes. I trained on it and then had to take an electronic test. Never learned that system, so it was difficult.”
I must confess this is where I tuned out. Dear reader, I grew up on war stories. I’ve had my fill.
At this point, wheelchair man piped up loudly.
“I want to learn how to do radio. I know there’s a group at Panorama. I live there.”
“Oh, I live there, too,” said the WWII vet. “I just haven’t been able to make it because of all my chapel activities,” he mused.
“Oh, I want to go to chapel, too,” said wheelchair man. “But I don’t know where that is, either. Someone needs to show me.”
“They have people to give tours. I can get someone for you,” said the vet.
“Oh, that would be great!” wheelchair man gushed. “I broke my leg and I’m in here for r-r-rehab.”
“What’s your name?” wheelchair man asked the vet.
“Potter. POTTER. Lester Potter.”
“Oh, my name’s Simon. And this is Holt”, he gestured to the man pushing the wheelchair.
At this point, an assistant came out and directed her attention to Lester.
“Your wife is having a procedure done. She’ll be out in a few minutes.”
“Is it legal?” quipped Lester.
The nurse smiled. “Yes.”
Lester gave the thumbs-up sign.
Finally, they called me. I bolted out of there with all speed. I only have a 1-hour lunch, and almost half of it was gone already.
When the doctor came in, he admired my Mickey Mouse bandage. He told me the reoccurrence of pain was due to the inflammation battling the cortisone shot.
“You’ll probably need one more after this, then the inflammation will be cured.”
Cured? I liked the sound of that, though not the sound of another foot poke. I told him I went to Road Runner Sports in Kent and got new shoes and custom-molded orthotics. He wasn’t impressed.
“Those don’t really work he said,” mentioning that they correct the problem but don’t put your foot in a neutral position like custom orthotics.
“Good luck with that,” he said, rolling his eyes.
This time, the needle went I swear to my bone. I voluntarily looked up at the ceiling light, this time covered with tropical fish. Cool. I could think about scuba diving. He kept up a steady stream of banter as he plunged. I took deep breaths and stayed focused on the conversation.
He bandaged up the site and told me it wouldn’t hurt today, but would start to over the next couple days, just from the shot. I nodded. Familiar territory. Got the bruise to prove it. I did ask if I could get someone to carry me around for awhile.
“Could I get a palanquin?” I asked.
“I’ll write something up.”
Hey, you never know if you don’t ask.
As I left the clinic, I considered the lobby exchange between Lester and the other patients. Maybe I got it all wrong. Lester didn’t glorify his time in the service and he reached out to others. He reminded me of my dad in that way. Despite their obvious pain and failing bodies, Simon and Lester kept good attitudes. It was obvious to me they were both believers. There’s something to be said for keeping your hearts and minds on Jesus all your life. You come through life a victor even as your body disintegrates. After all, our attitude is all we can control in this life.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7