15 October 2012

I'm standing outside a SNF in town and a worker comes out who must have been old enough to have taught Noah first aid.

Well, he tells me that he started working there when his wife got diagnosed with dementia so he could be with her, about 10 years ago. Doctors told him she wouldn't regain her short term memory.

He starts telling me about a time years ago. He heard on the news about his home being bombed so he signs up for the Army.

He fought hard but one day, his platoon came under heavy fire. He watched as his friends fell to the ground. He and two others survived and were taken to a POW camp. There he was beaten and starved. He dreamt of going home but feared he would never make it.

Several weeks later, he woke in a French military hospital, unsure of how he had come to be there. A nurse sat with him everyday after her shift and would explain again and again that he had suffered a severe head injury but he would probably never regain his ability to make short term memories.
One day, the nurse returned and he called her by name. Slowly he made progress and was eventually shipped to New York. He kept correspondence with his nurse when he discovered she was engaged.

The old man stopped his story there and smiled ruefully.

"I made a sorry nuisance of myself." He said as he described the first few weeks his nurse came home. "I brought flowers everyday. I called to her house almost as often."

Then he looked back at the building, "My nurse died 3 years ago. But I keep working. The day before she died, she looked me in the eye and she called me by name. Told me she was married and to remember her"

As this guy walked away, he saluted my ambulance and I asked him why "Miss, before my head injury, I was a POW and I never thought I'd see my flag again. I got my flag back, just like I had my wige back. I never pass either one without showing  proper respect."

Then he hugged me and walked away. ...

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