There's a story I wish I were better prepared to tell but, prepared or not, I'm compelled to at least make note of this splendid ritual I see at the Veteran's Hospital.
The ritual is easily visible in the most non-descript part of the Veteran's Hospital: The Waiting Area...
E.g.: When I visited the Veteran's Hospital in Newington, CT, yesterday, I saw the usual Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, and one or two World War II Veterans.
But, what's so beautiful about being a witness in that non-descript waiting area is seeing the number of *AUTHORITATIVE* women accompanying some of the men not only to the Waiting Area but, matter-of-factly, accompanying them into the Exam Room!! :-)
While in the Waiting Area, yesterday, a woman sat down next to me. (I wondered why she sat so close when there were so many other places to sit.) A few minutes later, her husband, wearing a cast on his forearm, came and sat down to her right-hand side.
They were awaiting results from their doctor to see if they could be seen down in West Haven, Connecticut where there are more specialists.
While waiting, I overheard part of their conversation in which the wife of 38 years, in a contralto/mezzo-soprano voice, said: "You're GOING to eat something!"
She wasn't playing around.
And, he, the husband, sulking around like a 17-year-old teenager said he doesn't want anything to eat.
She *PERSISTED* (wink, wink :-) ): "You are GOING TO EAT SOMETHING!"
I loved that part of their conversation so much that I spontaneously gave her a "thumbs-up" which he, too, could see!
They both laughed out loud!
She said most people would like that kind of attention but, he doesn't.
Jokingly, I said: "Give him 2 more decades. He'll get used to you!"
She said: "2 decades? We've been married for 38 years!'
I said: "Yep, that's about right. Give him 2 more decades and he'll settle down!!!" (I then said: 'If you go to Europe for 4 weeks or so and leave him here, as soon as you get back, no one will hug you in tighter appreciation than your husband!")
They both smiled.
They got called into the doctor's exam room immediately after that.
The last I saw them, they were heading out the Waiting Area walking side-by-side, stride-in-stride...
SEEING that type of support is also *medicine*... for our souls...
(In addition, I also saw mature males and females pushing their fathers to their appointments in wheelchairs. too...)