My 60-year-old patient Ferrel Cochran has spina bifida and lives with his elderly mom.He depends on me to provide urostomy care and assist him with his gastrointestinal program.
The tiny island of civilian life on the Greyhound bus gave me three hours to stare out the window and think about the past eight weeks, about my life prior to those eight weeks, and how strange it seemed that things I had nothing to do with and had no control over placed me on this bus headed south to some damned place no one seemed to know anything about.
Once in Baltimore, I dragged my jam-packed duffel bag off the bus, and asked a few people where I could catch the bus to Fort Holabird.
He set it down and asked, â€œWhere on the base are you headed? After a few seconds, I asked, â€œWhat will I be doing here? Thatâ€™s when we start the classes.â€ â€˜You mean I can go home for the weekend, if I want? The buses run regularly between Baltimore and Newark.â€ Absolutely stupefied, I said, â€œPlease forgive me. I just checked in here, and I can turn around and go home for the weekend, if I want? Just be back by Monday Morning.â€ â€œDo I need a written pass or anything?
â€ Still in shock, I told him that I had no idea where I was headed. He smiled â€“ he actually smiled â€“ and said, â€œNo problem. â€ He said, â€œItâ€™s really too far for you to walk with that bag. â€œIâ€™m reporting for duty, sergeant.â€ â€œOh, you must be one of the new students. â€ â€œLetâ€™s take a look at your orders, and weâ€™ll see.â€ I handed him my orders, and he said, â€œYou are a 96C. â€ He remained patient, despite my stupidly repeating everything I had just heard. I also see that you speak German.â€ â€œWell, I took the German test. C.â€ â€œYou mean that I can leave the base when I want? â€ He smiled and said, â€œThat depends on where you live.
He knows he can depend on me to help him whenever his mother is sick.