Being a history buff, veterans (especially WW2) are prized patients. I love talking to them and hearing their stories, and it's not uncommon for a guy who served to have to point out to me that's not the reason he came to the doctor.
But one veteran in particular stands out (I've told this story before, but not since 2009).
Bill was a pleasant 90 year-old guy. He was in the first wave at D-Day, and had a shirt full of medals.
By the time I met him, however, he was mildly demented. Macular degeneration and glaucoma had left him blind in one eye with severely impaired vision in the other. His reaction time was terrible.
And, of course, he was still driving. His son brought me pictures of the damage to Bill's car from hitting signs, walls, trees, pedestrians, whatever.
|"My son exaggerates, doc. Nothing a little paint won't fix."|
Bill stubbornly refused to stop, so I ordered a driving evaluation. Which, of course, he failed miserably. Although it pained me to do it, I filled out the paperwork to revoke his license.
About a week later Bill came in for a follow-up appointment (he took the bus). But he wasn't alone. And my office is pretty small.
He was accompanied by his friends from the local VFW chapter. Like, 8-10 of them. All were well over 80, and wearing their VFW hats.
To my horror, Bill was the only one left in the group who (until recently) hadn't lost his driver's license. As a result, he was their driver. And now he'd lost it, too.
|"Give Bill his license back, Dr. Grumpy. You're our only hope"|
All gave me glowing testimonials as to what a wonderful driver Bill is, with comments like:
"He almost never hits things."
"It's not his fault traffic lights are outside his visual field."
"Gus's Bar is pretty close, anyway."
"Everyone knows Bill's car, and watches out when they see him coming."
"It wasn't like the dog had an owner."
And my favorite:
"Doc, Bill drove a tank all over France. He's perfectly safe".
Thank you, veterans!