When it starts, I'm headed out to a small town somewhere (in Wisconsin, I think), to a VA hospital or clinic or something. The drive there, nothing happens that I remember, but when I get there I see someone in an office that I should recognize, because he waves and I wave back through the window. From there I arrive at a checkin counter. Busy place, lots of people moving around, and more people waiting in chairs. I get paperwork, sign stuff, and from there I'm headed to a motel nearby.
I get checked in, and it appears I have a roommate in a wheelchair. We talk, bullshit, etc. There's no one else in the room; but somehow from there it ends up that we're at another checkin counter, getting bags of meds that look a lot like Dippin' Dots. but more colorful. I'm confused on what I'm supposed to take and when. I think I get an answer, maybe not.
My roommate, another Veteran, and I go for a walk, looking around the town. There's something not quite right; there's a bus with a grill sticking out the side, selling hamburgers and bratwurst. Also there's normal town stuff, the kind of stuff you see near an interstate exit. We pass two little kids sitting outside a drive-in, and I remark that it was probably once an A&W. The kids look at us funny. My roommate's no longer in a wheelchair.
Things get blurry, and then we're on a road out in some forest; it looks like a logging area, sort of. More stuff happens that I don't remember, I'm walking on a really muddy road, and my roommate and the other Vet aren't there, but they're close. I find something like a Bobcat, maybe it's a pickup truck (although there's no roof), and I put the pedal down and pull down on the wheel. Rooster tails of mud, yee haw, doughnuts in the mud. I worry, just for a minute, that I'm seriously effing up some
farmers field or somebody's acre of future lumber.
I stop driving in circles and somehow I'm with the other guys again; they got busted for my rooster tails, but they're not going to jail or anything. We head back into town, my roommate visibly limping, and stop at a convenience store. I buy something, but I don't know what. We get back to the motel, and the motel room and the waiting room from the hospital have merged-- the waiting room is now
in my motel room.
The town has a surreal feel, like it's economically depressed. It's not normal. Doesn't feel especially right.
At the motel/waiting room, there are other Vets there now, no beds or normal motel stuff in the room, but it's still a motel room. The lady at the desk says we've missed our appointments, the ones we were there for, and she has to reschedule it. I ask again about the bag of meds (200+ pills), and I get an answer but I still don't understand. We're going to be there a second night, although I don't remember the first night passing. There's discussion of beer, going out maybe?
Then I wake up, and it's 1550, and I have to be to work at 1600.
Oh crap. Grab clothes, get dressed, hands shaking, going in circles. Grab this, grab that, toss in backpack. Clean up. It's 1600. Call work, let them know I'm on the way. Kick stuff for no apparent reason, other than it's there. Feel like I'm choking when I put my shirt on, my jacket on, and when I pull my backpack on. Grab my normal pocket stuff, do the pocket dance. Crap, need my meds,
too. Grab them, take the ones I was supposed to take an hour ago. Ok. Push myself out the door.
Can't make my fingers work to get the track I want to play, but finally it gets there.
Charlie Daniels. Still in Saigon. (Best. Song. Ever. Reminds me I'm not the only one.)
Get to work, grab work stuff, grab two Excedrin, get a bottle of soda. Take several calls. Too many. Finally get everything set.
Two hours later, finally calmed down a little, headache mostly gone. Nightmare over. I think.