Comments on life, the universe and everything from an aging Sixties survivor.

Location: Massachusetts, United States

Ummm, isn't "about me" part of the point of the blog?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Invisiblity cloaks

It's sardonically amusing to see society lurching and staggering toward the realisation that they don't have to swoon exclusively over today's wounded and veterans. Why, my goodness! There are other veterans still alive in the tens of thousands!

One can have a self-righteous swoon over some poor bastard with various visible body parts missing. I have long wondered whether anyone would swoon over those whose wounds were invisible in street clothes.

Like the Corpsman a bed or two away from me in ICU, who spent most of the first night I was there bleeding out faster than they could pump blood into him. Bleeding out because he'd had most of his intestines removed along with the claymore mine bits. Toward dawn the input got ahead of the output and stayed there, and he lived. You wouldn't know about his wound today if you met him on the street.

Mine's a little one by comparison but you won't see it, either. It was merely a mistake by a hurried (charitable) or incompetent (more likely) Navy surgeon. I got opened oblique to a feature of muscle tissue known as lines of cleavage. If I spent eight hours a day in the gym for the rest of my life, I would never have six-pack abs. The surgeon ruined that side of my abdominal muscles, and myofascial tissue, beyond repair.

Not a very grand and glorious war souvenir, is it? Yet there are more of that sort of wound around than most people suspect. There is this idiotic obsession in some quarters with lionising only combat veterans, and beyond that the ones with visible wounds.

OK, fools: if you mean to treat veterans decently, treat all of them decently. Don't parse and qualify and this and that. I can only fall back on a cliche that is probably as old as war itself:

How do you know? You weren't there. How can I make you understand?


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home