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Out Patients

By Mary E. Adair

Broken body, Weary mind,
Shuffling steps that slowly wind
Thru the corridors of the wing
Of the VA Hospital where they bring
Theirselves for treatment of various types,
And long to believe the latest hypes
Of the advertised touts of Medical Labs
Seeking to enrich their research 'habs'
And never thinking of the hope they raise
That curries thoughts that would amaze
The staunchest researcher if he heard
How they eagerly repeat each hopeful word.
Then some are helped...others, not,
And the mortality rate is the Nation's blot
These Vets who served their best for all
When they answered the Nation's call...
Now await their turn in as lengthy a line
As the chow or supply lines that used to twine
Down the halls of some Military Camp...
Standing, waiting, in heat or damp ...
No personal choice, no rights at all,
As now they listen for the nurse's call
For they yet give their blood today,
Though now it's done in a measured way...
And they occasionally hope with eyes that gleam,
That they will be allowed to live their dream
That they fought for in battles so long ago...
Of which kids today, neither care nor know...
So I wish them each a chance to prolong
The ability to laugh or share a song,
The right to dignity and a gentle life...
When they go home today from the medical strife.
Yet, who else would help, if not reimbursed?
Though slowly accomplished, the care's not the worst...
And sometimes the lucky breaks come their way,
And the new medicine works...just like they say.

(March, 2000, dedicated to the Veterans)  

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