Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Colonel ; Happier Times

I have spoken so much about the bad and dark side of the colonel I thought it only fitting I share some of his more positive attributes and give you how I dealt with the colonel, the man. I met the colonel when I was 19 years old and he was in his seventies. Those first days of his admission were mostly getting to know each other and, most importantly, getting to know his disease. The reason for going into medicine had a little to do with the fact that I had a gregarious and extroverted personality. I enjoyed to meet people and the colonel and I hit it off immediately. Bunny, his wife, and the colonel had no children and their closest friends were from Kansas. Their last names, coincidentally, and my last name were the same. I had the good fortune to meet them on three occasions while the colonel spent his final days in the hospital. The colonel, full bird, retired, enjoyed the respect I gave him by addressing him as The Colonel and sir, the general military respect that was given to officers at that rank. He was also a fighter pilot and a good one in his day. I met quite a few pilots and they are an A personality type. I enjoyed letting the colonel talk about his fighter squadron and some of the combat missions he was a part of. He was also an avid golfer and as I, would tell him of my most recent outing. He wanted all the details, too. He would ask me why I chose a certain club for a specific shot. I better have a good reason for that 7-iron on a 180 yard par-3. He was a lot of fun to be around. Even when he was going through the chemo and radiation he tried to get strong and not let me see it affect him. He was a tough son- of -a bitch. Long and lean, which is unusual for a fighter pilot. His mind was sharp, at first. It was painful to see him when he could not remember a word or forget what he was talking about. We developed a very close personal friendship. I was repeatedly warned by my supervisors that I was getting too emotionally attached to him. They, too were my friends who did not want to see me hurt when the colonel finally dies. Guess I fooled them, huh? I really appreciated it. They were looking out for me. The colonel was a very intelligent man. I guess you would have to be to operate a $40 million dollar fighter. I spent a lot of my spare time with the colonel. We talked a little about death. Very little, he did not want to go there. It was painful to watch a 6' 170 lb. man shrivel up to almost skin with bones. His wife, Bunny, was a wonderful human being, too. They loved each other very much. It had to be hard on her trying to learn to live without your soul mate of 50 years. I just wanted you to know a little about the colonel before he changed and made The Decision. I had no idea that I would become an integral part of that decision and the results of it would haunt me for the rest of my life. It is hard for me to remember when he was a great man. What he decided to do for himself only created a monster for me to deal with. I am still fighting him, today. I wish the other colonel crossed that plane of consciousness. Things may be a different world, today. I will never know, unfortunately.      theblogmeister

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