Friday, May 25, 2007

sad things

Handicap parking sign

I visited the Veterans Administration Hospital in Long Beach today. I have visited a few times over the last two years. VA hospitals are not happy places. I do not like visiting them. But some obligations cannot be avoided, like today's trip -  a post op visit with my stepfather. We are not close. The visits are always awkward.

While trying to find a parking place, I was struck by how far visitor parking was from the hospital. My guess is that it is at least 600 to 800 feet from where I parked to the hospital's front door. As I walked past the old vets limping along toward the entrance, I realized that the parking would not seem as far away if the front half of it were not reserved for handicapped drivers. I am not exaggerating - the front half of the parking lot is off limits to able drivers. Each spot was taken.

I figured the enormous handicapped parking lot was for the older vets, many of whom were ambling around outside. I was wrong. Once inside, I passed dozens of amputees, most were in their early 20s. I was witnessing the aftermath of war. Specifically, the aftermath of our folly in Iraq. I spoke with an amputee in the elevator. I asked how he had lost his leg. He replied "In a fucking war".

I was braced for sad news today. I found myself melancholy before I even visited my stepfather. My sadness grew as I left - what a waste.

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vjack said...

I would like to see everyone in Congress who just voted for Bush's latest war funding bill to visit their nearest VA hospital. They should see exactly what their refusal to end this war is doing.

Anonymous said...

You are right on that one. We shouldn't be over there.