Recovery of a Hero Ch. 03byRoadbug©
This story is a work of fiction only. Any chance resemblance to actual people or events is purely accidental.
Chapter 3: Released From Durance Vile
The day that George got home was special to me. He was my oldest sisters husband, but he was also the closest I had to a big brother. When he left, I told him he had to come back because I just couldn't loose my only brother.
I never thought about Janny (I have always called Janice Janny since I was little), my sister, and his wife.
When we were told that he had been wounded in action, they didn't tell us much else.
Operational Security the letter said. They did say, however, that he would be coming home when he got released from the hospital because of the damage to his legs would prevent him from being a Marine anymore.
I didn't care about that as long as he was coming home again. A few weeks after the official notification, he called and said he was at Camp Pendleton being treated for his wounds, and would be home in a month or so.
Erica and Janny and I were ecstatic about this and were planning a big party. We were going to welcome him home and we weren't going to let him go ever again.
Then he called again, and told us about the guy who saved him in Iraq.
He told us how he had been covering the other 3 marines and the civilian that was with them when they were ambushed, and that the civilian had risked his life and been seriously wounded coming back to drag him to cover.
He gave Janny the mans name, which was Eldarin DeShade, and asked her to look into where he was sent to after being returned from Iraq.
Janny spent the next day on the phone and finally found out that this man had been sent to the Seattle Veterans hospital for treatment after he got back.
This was good news for Janny, and she told Erika and me that we would be able to stop and see him after we picked George up at the hospital.
I decided right then that I would do whatever I could to help the man who saved my big brother. It was important to George and it was important to me too. He saved my only brother.
When the day finally came that George was coming home, we left early in his old 4 door pickup to go get him. We drove to Sea-Tac Airport and parked in the big garage.
After leaving the truck and going into the terminal building, Janny got directions to the USO lounge from the military desk. She just walked up and showed the guy there her military I.D. and said that her husband was coming home today, and would meet us at the USO lounge.
We stopped on the way there to get snacks, and went to the lounge to wait for him. They had a T.V. and some bunks and stuff for soldiers to sleep on while waiting for flights and rides. I even got to help in the kitchen getting coffee and drinks for the soldiers there.
About an hour after we got there, George came in. I ran up to him and hugged him and told him how happy I was that my big brother was finally home. He said, "I'm glad to be home twerp. I'm really glad to be home."
I hate it when he calls me twerp, but decided to forgive him this once.
Janny and Erika ran up to him just then and hugged him too. I just love group hugs like that. We had our man back and we wanted him to know it.
Janny told George that she had found that Mr. DeShade was at the V.A. hospital in Seattle, and that if he wanted, we could stop and see him on the way home.
George said, "Thank you love." "That means a lot to me." "He got shot twice pulling me to safety, and I owe him my life."
"We owe him too, don't we girls?" Janny said. Erika and I both agreed. If the man who saved our brother needed something, we'd make sure he got it.
George said, "Then lets go. "I never got a chance to thank him because they sent him back home before I was allowed out of bed." "I want to do that now if possible."
With that, we went back to the truck. George put his bags into the canopy and climbed in on the passenger side in front. He said "I really don't feel up to driving yet as my legs still cramp up sometimes, so you drive, Janice."
On leaving the airport, Janny got onto the highway that went to the freeway. From there we went north to the exit to the V.A. hospital and turned off. It took about 20 minutes to get there, then we parked in the visitors lot.
We walked up to the entrance and went to the information desk, and George asked about getting the room number for Eldarin DeShade.
The woman looked up the name and told us where it was, but said I couldn't go up as I was to young. I said, "George, if I can't go up, you have to bring him down so I can meet him."
"I'll try, Sally," said George. "But it will depend on whether he's allowed to come down or not. He might be restricted to his bed or something like that. He got hurt pretty bad in Iraq, so don't get your hopes up."
"If he can't come down, I'll sneak up. What would they do about it? Send me home?" I said.
"I don't know, but they might not allow us to visit him anymore if you do something like that." said George.
I said, "Spoil sport." Then I asked Janny if I could get a snack while I had to wait. She gave me some money, and told me to stay in the room with the vending machines until they came back down.
After getting my snack, I sat down and waited for about 20 minutes. I spent the time talking to some other kids who were waiting to see someone.
Since I was watching the elevators where the others went upstairs, I saw them get off one with an older man in a wheel chair.
I don't know how old he was, but he had a real long beard and it had a lot of gray in it. I thought, he must be real old to have that much gray, but I didn't care because he'd saved George.
I ran up and hugged him and said, "Thank you for saving my big brothers life."
He got a strange look in his eyes and said, "Do I know you? I don't remember so good sometimes."
I looked at George and asked, "What's wrong with him?"
George told the others to take him over to a table and get him a cup of espresso, then took me to a different table.
Sitting down, he told me, "He had a bad reaction to some medication they gave him. He has lapses where he talks like a little child for awhile, and he can't use his right arm much. He also falls asleep suddenly, so he has to have that belt around his chest while he's in a wheelchair."
I thought about that for a moment, and said, "Then that means I'll just have to watch him real close, won't I?"
"Yes dear, it does," said George.
With that, we went back over to the others and sat and chatted while Mr. DeShade drank his espresso. He sure looked like he was enjoying it. When he finished, George said, "Lets go outside for a bit."
I jumped up and started pushing the chair to the door. "My job now," I told George. I saw Janny smile at him when I said this.
She might have thought it was funny, but I meant it. I'd push that chair up a mountain if Mr. DeShade wanted to see the top. Even if he acted and talked like a little kid sometimes.
This looked like a situation where I'd be making a lot of adjustments in thinking. I remembered a teacher in middle school using that term, and thought how well it fit here.
Adjusting to a man who looked older than my father was the last time I saw him. Adjusting to that man acting like a little child sometimes.
After going out the doors, we headed toward a bench where some patients were sitting and smoking, as it was against the rules to smoke within 50 feet of the door. There were signs all over that said that.
When we got to the bench, George took a pack of cigarettes out of Mr. DeShade's bathrobe pocket.
I took a good look at the ratty looking thing and decided that the first thing we needed to do was get him a decent looking bathrobe. That blue and white striped thing was really ugly and worn out looking.
I also noticed that the slippers he was wearing were cheap foam disposable things that didn't look comfortable. I whispered to Janny, "We need to get Mr. DeShade a better bathrobe and some decent slippers. Those look like cast offs from the Mission."
Janny looked at them too, and whispered back, "Good idea. When we get ready to go, I'll tell George. I think we should also get him a decent pad for that chair. That one looks worn out and uncomfortable."
"While we're at it, we should get George some new clothes too," I said.
Erica leaned over and whispered, "And maybe some for us?" We all chuckled quietly at that.
After that, I sat there listening to the others talk for awhile.
I listened as the man who lit Mr. DeShade's cigarette explained about him being recalled to the military so they could give him some medals for what he did for George. I liked that idea. Give him lots of medals for saving my big brother.
After a bit, George said, "Watch Sally and her new boyfriend closely, Erika. We don't want them getting into trouble. Janice and I have to go inside and I have to register for medical services."
I stuck my tongue out at him for the boyfriend comment, and watched as he and Janny went inside.
Erica was talking to a couple of the nurses standing out there, so I decided to talk to Mr. DeShade for awhile and get to know him.
"Why were you in Iraq with my brother, Mr. DeShade?" I asked him.
He looked at me and said, "I'm not a mister. My dad and grand dad were misters, and they're gone now. I'm Eldarin, or Dar to my friends. If you want to be my friend, you have ta call me Dar."
I thought about that for a moment, and said, "Ok, Dar, why were you in Iraq with my brother?"
He smiled, and said "I was fixing computers and stuff. I can't talk about it much cause I don't remember right now. I don't think I wuz supposed ta talk bout it anyway. I wish I could remember better." He quit smiling when he said that.
"It's all right, Dar. You don't have to worry about not remembering right now. My brother said that you would get better and would remember. I'll help you all I can because you saved my brother."
"Your brother? George is your brother? I don't remember him talking about a little sister, just his wife and her sisters. I wonder why he didn't talk about that?"
I said, "Janice is my sister, and George is my brother-in-law. I call him my big brother because he's the only brother I have. When my parents died, he and Janice started raising Erica and me. Now I just say he's my big brother."
"Now I understand. Why did you come to see me today? Nobody that I know has been to see me since I got home. Then today, you 4 came to see me."
I looked at his sad expression, and thought how lonely he must be with no one coming to visit him.
I said, "We came to see you because you saved Georges life in Iraq. He was real worried about you because he knew you got hurt bad helping him. I came because I wanted to thank you for doing it, and so did Erica and Janny."
"Janny? Who's that? I don't know anybody named Janny," he asked me.
I said, "That's Janice. I've always called her Janny for as long as I can remember. She's my oldest sister and Georges' wife."
"Oh? The one who went back inside with the sergeant? That's his wife? I think he really loves her from the way he smiled when he showed me her picture. I didn't recognize her cause her hair is different I think."
"She had a perm done last week, when we found out that George was coming home. She wanted to look special for him"
Erica laughed and said, "That's not all she did. She got some new bed clothes too." I felt myself get hot in the face when she said that.
"That's a naughty thing to say."
Erica laughed again, and said, "I was just kidding you sis. What she really got is a new mattress that the Marine doctor recommended for him because of his legs."
"How bad is he really?" I asked.
"He has some nerve damage in both legs, but he'll be able to do every thing he used to do. He'll have a limp and be slower than before, but I bet he'll still be able to out swim you when he gets better."
"I hope so," I said. "I miss how he used to take me swimming when Janny was at the hospital and you were in school. Then we'd go to a park or something. I know how lonely Janny has been since he had to leave cause I've been just as lonely."
"I really missed him, Erica, and I'm so glad he's home and they can't make him leave again."
"So am I , sis. I missed him too," said Erica.
As we were talking, an older woman came up to us.
When Dar saw her he started yelling, "Aunt Dee, Aunt Dee. You came to see me. I'm so happy you came today."
"This is the first day since I was brought here that I've had visitors. I've been so lonely here. Did you bring uncle Jim and Mick and Matt? I haven't seen them in a long time."
"Hello Dar. Jim's here with me but Mick and Matt couldn't come today. Who are your friends here?"
Dar introduced Erica and me. Both Erica and I said hello to her.
"So, why are you 2 here?" asked the lady. "I don't believe I know you."
Erica said, "We came here with our older sister and her husband. Dar here got hurt in Iraq saving our brother."
"He was wounded and couldn't get to cover, so Dar dragged him to safety. He got hit twice doing it. We came to thank him and make sure he was all right, since we live fairly close to here."
"George and Janny went inside to get registered for services here since this is the closest V.A. hospital to where we live," I said. "Since we live so close, I hope we can come to see Dar often. He seems lonely here, so I plan to come every chance I get."
As we were talking, Dar started saying, "I'm so happy to see you Aunty Dee." As he continued talking, I saw George and Janny coming back from the hospital entrance.
Janny walked up to Dar and handed him a cup of coffee and said, "That's from the VFW coffee stand inside, so it should be a pretty good cup of coffee."
George walked over to talk to Dar's aunt, and I went over to the bench and sat beside Dar.
I told him, "If we can, we're going to take you out of here as soon as we can. You won't have to be lonely any more then."
"You'll be staying with us till you get better, and I'll get you anything you need while you're their. I'll help you as much as I can until you get better, because you helped my big brother."
"Really? You'll take me away from this place? I hope it's soon. I don't like it here. I can't go outside when I want, and I can't do anything in my room but watch T.V."
"I hate most of what's on here and there's nothing else to do most of the time. That's why I'm so happy today. You're the first real visitors I've had since I got here, and my Auntie Dee showed up too, and there's Uncle Jim."
I felt sorry for Dar and others like him being alone and stuck in a place like this. Sure, they took care of his medical needs, but with nobody to talk to and no visitors in the 2 weeks or so that he'd been here, he must have been miserable.
Well, if and when we got him out of here, he wouldn't be lonely any more. I'd see to that and so would Erica, Janny and George. We'd make sure he was never lonely again.
George finished talking to Dar's aunt, and came over to me and said, "It's time to go. I jumped up and started pushing Dar up to the entrance. George asked me, "Need a hand?"
I said "No, my job." I wasn't going to let anybody else do this as long as I could. George just chuckled.
When we got to the elevator, George pushed Dar in and said, "I'll be back in a few minutes, then we can go home."
After George got back down, we walked out to the truck. He told us that he'd talked to Dar's Aunt, who's name was Donna, and she said that she'd come out to our home to look around and would bring Dar with him if she could.
He also said that she would decide then what to do about Dar. She couldn't take him in herself, because one of her sons and his family was staying with them, but she didn't want him staying here or in a nursing home either.
I said, "Then we have to work really hard to make a good impression."
"That we do, Sally, and the first thing we need to do is figure out which room he gets," said George.
"I know, we can use Dad's old den. We don't use it and it's plenty big enough for Dar," I said.
Janny said, "That's a good idea. Since it's on the first floor, he'd have no trouble getting in and out, and it has a full bathroom. It wouldn't take much work to fix up either. All we really need to do is put a bed in there, and I can get a regular electric hospital bed for him."
"I don't know about that," said George.
"Why not?" asked Erica. "I think that's a good idea."
"Well, I really was hoping to put an indoor swimming pool in there," said George.
We all laughed at that because Dads old den was a good sized room.
I don't remember anything else that was said after that because I fell asleep. It had been a long day for me, but it was a good day with George finally home again.
Erica woke me up just as we got home. "Time to wake up, sleepy head," she said.
I groaned a bit because my neck was stiff from leaning against the door, but sat up. We were driving up the drive way and I looked at our house thinking about what to do to help Dar get around there. It was a big house, with 5 bedrooms on 3 floors plus an attic and basement.
The basement was a family rec room and a small gym area. The ground floor had a large kitchen and dining room, and a large T.V. room, and Dads old Den, as he had called it.
It was more like an office and library than anything else, but I don't really know what a Den is supposed to be in a house. I think of a place for bears to hibernate when I think of what a den is.
The second floor has 3 bedrooms. The master bedroom which had been my parents room, a slightly smaller room across the hall, which was Janny and Georges room, and another at the end that Erica used.
On the next floor were 2 rooms, one for me and another that was used as a guest room when we had a visitor.
Big house, but Dad had made lots of money from the electronic security business he had owned. Now that business was ours, but we had a professional manger running it for us right now. Janny and George didn't want to and Erica was still in school.
I didn't know what I was going to do when I went to college, but, I thought,since I trust Erica, and she's smarter than me so let her do it.
Over the next 3 days, we got the Den ready for Dar and set up the connected bathroom so he'd be able to get in and out of the tub easier. We also put up a fence around the pool so he wouldn't accidentally roll into it. It was a busy 3 days.
On the 5th day after George got home, Dar's aunt called and said she could bring Dar out the next day. I was really excited, cause we would find out if he could stay with us.
His bedroom was ready for him and even had a desk where he could have a computer. I had even set up my old one for him too!
Dar and his aunt arrived at about noon the next day. I was so excited! When they drove up to the house, I ran over to the car and opened Dar's door and hugged him. I said, "Welcome home Dar. I sure hope you like it here."
His aunt got out and walked up to George and Janny, and his uncle got his wheelchair out of the trunk of the car. He and I then helped Dar out of the car and I pushed him up to the house.
I said to his aunt, "I'm going to show Dar around the house a bit. Tell George to use the intercom if you want me."
I took Dar to his room first thing, and told him, "This is your room if you get to stay with us. I really hope you like it."
He looked around and saw the all of my Dads old books, and said, "Wow! Look at all the books. Can I read them?"
"Any time you want, Dar. They're my Dad's collections," I told him.
Then he saw the computer on the desk and asked, "Will I be allowed to use that puter?"
"Yes" I said, "That's my old one and I'm giving it to you. It's all set up and ready to go. We have broadband and it's already connected, and you'll be able to use it any time you want. It's yours now."