He was just another patient, or so we thought. We see so many walk though our doors. Different faces, different sets of circumstances. Everyone has a story. Some patients stay awhile, some will stay in your heart and mind forever.
He was just another patient. Yet, he was so much more. He was a soldier. This patient, who was so much more, was a disabled U.S. Soldier. He came to our town, not to enjoy the champagne powder of our gilded slopes but to give of himself. He wanted to volunteer for a ski event for disabled people.
He was just another patient. He stayed with us for awhile. He touched many people with his presence. He spoke of the great tragedy of how he became disabled, and more so, about the men under his command who saved his life that day in Iraq.
He was just another patient. When he was ready to be discharged from our zip code, I stated to other co-workers, “when you see someone like that, giving of themselves, it just puts things into perspective...”. Someone, almost 20 years younger than me piped up under her breath...”all for the price of oil...”. When this utterance of sheer stupidity and ignorance was spoken, all I could say was...”go ahead and tell him that...I am sure he'd be happy to know why he is disabled...” Of course, someone who can utter such a statement doesn't know the first thing about sacrifice. Someone who makes such a statement hides behind their free speech; never considering at what cost they are given the gift of speech.
He was just another patient. We see so many come through our doors. But he was so much more. He came back to us, later that same evening. Another seizure. His injuries were obvious to the human eye. But what about those injuries deep in his heart and soul? Those are the injuries we never see. His wife called...”Can someone from the VFW come and sit with her husband so he will not be alone tonight?”. Of course.
He was just another patient. Yet, after only one hour, here came a perfect stranger – a representative from the local VFW. A soldier, coming to the side of another soldier. Never before had these men met. Yet, they knew each other. They were two men, who thought of everyone but themselves. They knew what it meant to give of themselves, without concern for their own well being. That stranger from the VFW sat with this injured soldier for the remainder of the night – each knowing what was in the others heart.
He was just another patient – but for me-he was a hero.