I officially have not only a bulging disk, but an already deteriorated spine; another words, I may be thirty one, but my back thinks I'm sixty. I heard this from the on post clinic doctor and my heart sank. This is the first time I've ever had a serious health condition; it was very sobering. I have an appointment with a back specialist to evaluate me for surgery.
The clinic itself was an interesting experience. It was rather like an airport lobby. I held my ticket with my number and waited in the rows of seats to hear the number called. It was a very efficient system, numbers were always being called up, to the Laboratory or to Radiology or to the Nurse's station. I sat anxiously, my purse in my lap, listening and watching.
Keith's father was still visiting and Keith had taken him back out before he got too impatient, which was a good thing because it was a long time before I heard "Now serving number thirty six at the Nurse's station..."
When I emerged, I found Keith sitting forward, his elbows on his knees, deep in thought. He saw me from the corner of his eye and lifted his head; his face broke out into a sweet, delighted smile.
"There you are, woman! What took so long?"
I explained as best I could.
"So what do we do now?" he asked, anxiety making his voice sharp.
"We wait for the next appointment and go from there," I said.
He scowled; waiting is not one of his areas of expertise. But he took my hand and led me back to the truck, where his father was waiting. I climbed gingerly into the truck and we headed off for some shopping.
When we got to the store parking lot, Keith came around to my door and stood still so I could slide my arm around his shoulders; he lifted me gently out of the truck and onto my feet so I wouldn't have to struggle trying to reach the ground.
Keith's father bought us both presents; he got Keith truck parts and for me, he bought a charcoal grey Kitchen aid mixer. We went to three different stores to be sure we were getting the best price on that appliance and to make sure we were getting exactly the right model.
I trailed after the two determined men, assuring them that I didn't really need the kitchen aid, but they were on a mission. Boxes were opened and examined, prices were compared, questions were asked of clerks and finally the purchase was made. Keith carried it out of the store hefted up on his shoulder.
Keith's father is almost exactly like him. They both look the same, with the same cleft chin and heavy, masculine facial features, and they are both stubborn, hardworking men who have not always gotten along but have achieved a mutual respect for one another.
We just finished watching "Lions for Lambs." Holy crap. It's a good movie, but I don't recommend watching it if anyone you love is serving in the Middle East. Keith and I have been in hibernation mode today; I left the house only to return library books long overdue.
It is strange and yet liberating to not care where my phone is, or to hear it ring and then look over and see Keith beside me. This is the first time he has not gone home to Indiana on his leave and he is happy just to lie low during these days. I know I am.
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