By: Carl Papa Palmer
As Advertised ~ Haibun
Obviously out of uniform, the only soldier not wearing his field jacket is easily spotted in my morning formation to ensure proper fit and wear of the newly issued 1984 Battle Dress Uniform prior to the commander’s inspection this afternoon.
The Army BDU camouflage pattern of green, brown, tan and black replaces the solid colored olive drab green work fatigue uniform worn since 1952.
“Where’s your jacket, Private?”
“I took it out of my wall locker, First Sergeant, laid it on the bunk, looked away for only a minute while putting on my boots and then couldn’t find my jacket anywhere.”
Unable to stop laughing, I dismiss the formation.
No distinguishing characteristics
“Dad, your eyes are so red, what’s the matter?”
The obvious reason as to what’s the matter is I’m in a hospital bed classified as NOP, nothing by mouth, I can’t even have water.
I am diagnosed with Pancreatitis and hooked up with two I.V. bags, one dripping medication to fight the malady and the other dispensing a saline solution to keep me hydrated.
I usually take medicine for hypertension each morning and now being here in this room since last night, my blood pressure is more than too high.
I have a headache so intense it hurts to even open my eyes. NOP means I can’t take my pills.
“I’ve informed the nurses several times of my headache, Kathy, but haven’t had any luck.”
Kathy, my daughter, is in the medical profession with Franciscan Health Services. She immediately leaves the room.
I hear her speaking to the nurse outside my door,
“Where is the doctor in charge of this patient? I want to see him right now.”
A bit later the nurse enters the room, says, “I’ve got something for your headache”.
“Oh good,” I hold out my hand for the pill, however she says with a smile, “You can’t take anything by mouth, Mr. Palmer, this is a rectal suppository.”
Smiling even more, she continues, “Would you like to insert it yourself or shall I?”
“I think you’ll have a better shot at it than me,” I say hesitantly.
After a few seconds my headache is completely gone.
Feeling more like my old self, I say to the nurse, “Does this mean we’re engaged?”