View Full Version : NIGHT WATCH (A Keeper)!

March 14, 2006, 10:33

A nurse took the tired, anxious serviceman to the bedside. "Your son is here," she said to the old man. She had to repeat the words several times before the patient's eyes opened. Heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack, he dimly saw the young uniformed Marine standing outside the oxygen tent. He reached out his hand.

The Marine wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man's limp ones, squeezing a message of love and encouragement. The nurse brought a chair so that the Marine could sit beside the bed.

All through the night the young Marine sat there in the poorly lighted ward, holding the old man's hand and offering him words of love and strength.

Occasionally, the nurse suggested that the Marine move away and rest awhile. He refused. Whenever the nurse came into the ward, the Marine was oblivious of her and of the night noises of the hospital - the clanking of the oxygen tank, the laughter of the night staff members exchanging greetings, the cries and moans of the other patients. Now and then she heard him say a few gentle words. The dying man said nothing, only held <>tightly to his son all through the night.

Along towards dawn, the old man died. The Marine released the now lifeless hand he had been holding and went to tell the nurse. While she did what she had to do, he waited. Finally, she returned. She started to offer words of sympathy, but the Marine interrupted her. "Who was that man?" he asked. The nurse was startled, "He was your father" she answered.

"No, he wasn't," the Marine replied. "I never saw him before in my life."

"Then why didn't you say something when I took you to him?"

"I knew right away there had been a mistake, but I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn't here. When I realized that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, knowing how much he needed me. I stayed."

The next time someone needs you...be there. Stay. You'll be glad you did.

"For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, 'Fear not, I will help you.' " - Isaiah 41:13

Honor and Country

David J.

Mad Dog 7.62
March 16, 2006, 02:48
My sister spent many years working in nursing homes, and my wife is a nurse for the VA. She works in the extended care unit, which is kind of a combination of nursing home/rehab/hospice. She has been doing this many years and is used to losing patients, but one thing that does bother her is when they have someone close to passing who has no family and they can't keep someone in there with them because they have too many other patients to take care of. They do try to be in there as much as they can but sometimes if its a busy night and they are short handed they can't be in there much. I remember once when the same kind of situation happened where my sister worked, and she said bitterly "No one should have to die alone". One thing I do not approve of Bush doing is cutting the VA's budget. They still have WWII vets they are caring for, there are a LOT of Vietnam vets that get care, and they are starting to get ones from Iraq and Afghanistan.

At the entrance to the VA is a big rock with an inscription on it that says "The Price of Freedom is Evident Here."


March 16, 2006, 09:21

March 16, 2006, 09:33
Originally posted by Mad Dog 7.62
One thing I do not approve of Bush doing is cutting the VA's budget.

You know my ex has worked for the VA for nearly 27 years, so I've seen the VA through several Presidencies. It's not just the Bush administration, it's been all of them. That doesn't set well with me but what really jerks my chain is all the free medical the VA gives out to non-veterans, such as the native Americans. Plus, the VA has become a research facility which eats up millions every year.
Make the VA for vets only and they would have more money.

Nice story. Hard to read without getting a tear in your eye. I sent this on to several people I know.....thanks.

March 16, 2006, 09:59
I saw that one coming. Good story though. I like softy stories like this.

This one is my favorite, from a speach given by Robert A. Heinlein:

About fifty years ago when I was a small child a thing happened in my home town which made a permanent impression on me. My family lived in Kansas City then; there is a large park in the south of town, Swope Park. Almost every Sunday in good weather we would ride the street car out there and enjoy the park. Through the park runs--or did run, then--a railroad track, the Katy line. There were a half a dozen places where one could cross the track on foot.

A man and his wife were walking in Swope Park one Sunday, started across those tracks, and she stepped on a switching juncture, got her foot caught in it--stuck tight.

Nothing to panic about, there were no trains in sight and that line carried only a couple of trains a day.

But she found that she could not pull it out even with her husbandís help--and there was no one else around.

They both worked away at it for several minutes when a stranger came along, a man, and now all three of them strained and pulled.

No luck--and now they heard a train coming.

Too late to flag it down--too late to do anything--save continue trying to get her foot out of there.

Of course both the husband--and the stranger who had happened along--could have saved themselves easily.

But they didnít. Neither gave up, both men kept trying and were still trying as the train hit them.

The wife and the stranger were killed at once; the husband lasted just long enough to tell what happened and died before he could be moved.

The woman had no choice. The husband had a choice but acted as a husband should.

But what of the stranger?

No one would have blamed him if he had jumped clear at the last moment at which he could have saved himself. After all, in sober fact, the woman could not be saved--it was too late. She was not his wife, not his responsibility--she was a total stranger; we donít know that he ever learned her name.

But he didnít jump back. He was leaning over, pulling at this strangerís leg with all his strength when the locomotive hit him. He used the last golden moments of his life, the last efforts his muscles would ever make, still trying to save her.

I donít know anything about him. I didnít see it happen and when the crowd gathered--amazing how fast a crowd can gather even in a lonely spot once an accident happens. My parents got me quickly away from there to keep me from seeing the mangled bodies. So all I really know about it is what I can recall from hearing my father read aloud the account in the Kansas City Star.

I donít even know the strangerís name. The newspaper described him as about twenty-eight, I think it was, and a "laborer." Probably means "hobo" as he was walking along the tracks. It is possible that this married couple who died with him would never, under other circumstances, have met him formally, might not have been willing to sit down and eat with him.

I donít know. Iíll never know anything about him--except how he chose to spend the last five minutes of his short life . . . and how he elected to die.

But that is really quite a lot and Iíve thought about it many times since. Why did he do what he did? What did he think about in those last few rushing minutes when the train bore down on them? Or did he think about anything save the great effort he was making? Was he afraid? If he was, what inner resources did he draw on to offset that fear with ultimate courage?

We canít know. All we know is that, with no flags flying, no bands playing, no time to prepare his soul for the ordeal--he did it.

And the only conclusion I have ever been able to reach is this: This is how a man lives. And this is how a man dies .

Jim :fal: FALunga

March 16, 2006, 18:41
"ibsubgun posted: That doesn't set well with me but what really jerks my chain is all the free medical the VA gives out to non-veterans, such as the native Americans."

Where in the world did you get this info? Native Americans only get medical care at the VA if they are veterans. I am both Native American and a Veteran and can either use the VA or the Cherokee Indian Hospital (they actually can farm you out to private hospitals if needed, but they still pick up the bill). Both are seperately funded with the Cherokees using both gaming revenue and funding from a settlement with the Federal Government to to run the hospitals. The settlement was a result of one of those pesky treaties that was signed by the Great White Father. BTW, I don't use either as I have private health insurance.

March 16, 2006, 21:43
These kind of stories real or not probably won't happen anymore because of HIPPA.

Sad but true....good story though!

March 19, 2006, 01:14
Semper Fi ... with tears.