My dad is retired Air Force, and he is a veteran of a foreign war, Persian Gulf. He worked with dangerous chemicals and things that go boom. He’s always been a good spirited, funny, strong, healthy, John Wayne kind of guy. He doesn’t get sick. He has God given stamina and endurance. He’s never had surgery or been to the hospital.
Until recently, 7 days before my birthday, he needed to go to the ER because he was having trouble breathing. I couldn’t believe it. He was even trying to grab his stuff for work, because apparently he thought he was gonna be going there after a quick visit to the ER.
They ran dozens of tests (seemed like 1,000’s) and just couldn’t figure out what was wrong. They finally said he was anemic. More like he was a starving vampire. He walked into that place with 3.7 units of blood. The normal level is 4.7 units. Even though it was obvious something serious was wrong he was talking, making jokes, and his skin wasn’t even pale. They finally diagnosed him with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, which we’re pretty sure he got from a weed killer. (Maybe you’ve seen the late night commercial.)
Of course the hospital’s concern was very focused on insurance. That’s when I felt so grateful for his service in the United States Air Force. They had a little trouble finding his info because like I said at the beginning of this post, he doesn’t get sick. So, he never actually completed the paperwork. He figured other people needed that insurance more than he did. Everything got sorted out, and just a little more than 2 months later he’s recovering remarkably well thanks to God, and the strong man he made my dad to be.
I told a lot of people in that hospital about his service and that he’s a veteran. I don’t know the exact number of people, but out of all of them, only 1 person thanked him for his service. Now that Veterans Day is here, I want to thank all of our brave veterans for their service. The way my dad faced these challenges, is the way our troops face their challenges to protect our freedoms.
They’re not just heroes in war but they’re heroes in the everyday. I was reminded of that when my dad went into the hospital. (BTW, 2 months earlier he fell off my roof, and got back on the roof to finish the job.) He was brave and cracking jokes and making everyone else feel comfortable when he couldn’t even hold his head up. Bigger than life. That’s the kind of people that join up.
Right now on the holiday we make an effort, but we can show our appreciation all year long. After all, they do that for us. It really means a lot to them to hear it. I pray that God blesses you and your family like he blessed mine.
Happy Veteran’s Day.