From the VA Hospital: Maybe there’s no free lunch. But breakfast?

Today was a long day at the DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston. I had a five-hour wait to see the doctor. There was nothing that could have been done with that for various personal circumstances.

My 45-minute or so visit with the neurologist went probably better than any visit in a great while. The doctor has agreed to take me off the side-effect-ridden Cymbalta and put me back on another drug I once took for the same conditions. What was even better was I got the neurologist to put me in a consultation with a neurosurgeon because of my back pain. This would be after undergoing another MRI on my back and an EMG. Now I had an EMG earlier this year or later last year. I can’t remember. That was to determine problems with my hands and fingers, which was then diagnosed as carpal tunnel. I was given two gigantic black braces for each hand, both bearing the U.S. Flag. When I don them both, I look like someone gearing up for bomb disposal, such as in the movie, “The Hurt Locker.” The braces aren’t very practical for my work as I disarm or detonate very few, if any, bombs in my daily comings and goings.

However long it takes after all the tests I will consult with the neurosurgeon as to whether I need back surgery and, if so, whether I will ask for it. I see that as a long way down the line. I have decided that I need to try and access a better physical shape and improve my health. Along with that, I also should start thinking long and hard about how to medically retire from my paying job and determine how to live on however meager the pittance might be. Time to be a vagabond, perhaps?

As ridiculously long as the day has left me, I did come away with one of those head-spinning acts of humanity.

I got some bacon and eggs, a sausage, and a biscuit along with a cup of coffee this morning at the Patriot Cafe. The cafe is the dining hall inside the huge DeBakey hospital. They have about four cashiers who have customers paying on either side of them. I went to one of those tellers and only a single customer was on the other side.

I hardly noticed the other customer on the other side except to note that she looked as if she was a VA employee and that she had a small item, a coffee perhaps. I thought I heard the cashier ask the young woman if she was paying for mine too. I was somewhat stunned but figured what I heard must have been in error. The other customer paid and walked off.

The cashier turned to me as I held my plastic in my hand. “She paid for yours,” she said. I was then truly dumb-founded. I quickly turned around and saw the generous woman as she was walking out the door. “Thank you very much,” I told her, though not very loudly as I was still wondering took place.

“Did you know her?” the cashier asked me, about the woman. “No,” I told her.

Thus ended a long day that left me wearisome and tired. The mysterious VA worker’s generosity might have been misplaced or mistaken. Or maybe she saw the tiredness in my eyes. Or maybe she was just messing with my head. Be it far from me to look good fortune in the mouth. Or anywhere else. Including in my local VA hospital

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