A Walking Anachronism: thoughts on Approaching my 59th Birthday

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

In two days I celebrate my 59th birthday amid a lot of physical issues regarding and concerns for the future of the country I am reminded that in today’s military I am an anachronism. I’m old, broken, and pretty much useless. I have so many medical and physical therapy appointments that my deputy and other staff pretty much handle everything, and I sign a few things, give them advice and support them.

In the mean time I try to collect the multitude of medical records from the different branches that hold them, and since I am still being treated every so often I have to request the latest bunch. I am sure that I have over 2000 pages of them. Today I organized them. I bought a bunch of those brown accordion file binders, the big ones, hold up to 5 1/2 inches of documents each. I have them dived up into the old handwritten records, the new records in a system called ALTA, which I have no idea what it stands for; of which there are so many that it requires two binders to hold them all; my mental health records, all of which have been occurred since I returned from Iraq in 2008, I have a full binder of those and am waiting on the records from the civilian psychiatrist the Navy sent me to at Camp LeJeune to complete that set as well as the records I continue to compile. I also have a binder of dental records in which I have also placed the CDs of my radiology studies. The whole collection must weigh 25 or 30 pounds, and I have a big bag to carry them around in, it was actually a bag sent back with Judy from the hospital after her first knee replacement surgery.

Last night was tough. I had a bunch of stuff going in my mind about the future of the country under Trump. I couldn’t be in the moment and Judy called me on it. I went to bed early but woke up with my left hip in screaming pain. Of course it was about 4 AM and the dogs decided that they needed to go outside. In agony I hobbled down the stairs and let them out, and after rewarding them I dragged myself up to bed. It still hurts like the devil so I have an early appointment to get it looked at, afterward I get to do physical therapy. The only good thing about it was that it made me forget the pain in my right and left knees and right hip. I am beginning to wonder with all the physical injuries piling up and needing treatment if I will have to have my official retirement date pushed back. Next week I go to the sports medicine doctor who has been working on my right knee, I presume that the next step is sending me to the bone and joint center. Since arthroscopic surgery has already been ruled out the next step will likely be be knee replacement, after which they might get around to my hips and shoulder.

I am a broken down anachronism. Of course once I get repaired I won’t be broken down, but I’ll still be an anachronism. In season five of the series The Blacklist, Raymond Reddington is asked a question by Agent Elizabeth Keane who has been revealed as his daughter:

Liz: How does it feel to be a walking anachronism?

Red: Righteous.

In a way it does, especially when someone asks you out of the blue to tell you your story because it was included in an article that was required reading for a class on Moral Injury at Yale Divinity School. At my point in life there is nothing to embellish, nothing to try to make me look heroic, just tell the truth, warts and all. It is as Reddington described, righteous.

So this anachronism will continue to live, do all I can to get my injuries fixed, and look forward to a future that has been as good or better than my past. Judy helped get that into my head this afternoon when confronting me on my attitude.

In spite of everything I can say I’ve had a great life, a wonderful wife, and over the course of our marriage 6 dogs, three of which live with us and are the light of our lives, and two of the others who make ghost appearances from time to time. The last is obviously too happy in heaven getting her belly rubbed with an infinite supply of puppy cookies.

So until tomorrow,


Padre Steve+


Filed under faith, life, Loose thoughts and musings, mental health, Military

10 responses to “A Walking Anachronism: thoughts on Approaching my 59th Birthday

  1. Pinky Lew

    ✿ •*¨`*•. ✿ .•*¨`*•. ✿♥✿ .•*¨`*•. ✿ .•*¨`*•. ✿. .
    ✿Wishing You the HAPPIEST Of Birthdays!
    ✿ •*¨`*•. ✿ .•*¨`*•. ✿♥✿ .•*¨`*•. ✿ .•*¨`*•. ✿.

  2. James Eckert

    J here. It’s 0200 and my chronic pain and insomnia have me looking to FB for some diversion… We met over a beer in VA Beach in Feb when I was TAD to NFLK. Your blog post today (yesterday?) on the Feast of the Annunciation made me say (to myself), “I resemble those remarks!”—in a near identical parallel. Except I’ll be 59 in two weeks. And my haunting forward deployment was to AFG in ‘13-‘14. I am, also, broken physically, mentally, and spiritually and will undergo my second “service related” and likely permanently disabling spine surgery (and third related hospitalization in a year) at Cleveland Clinic near my HOR in 3 weeks. I’m expecting (hoping?) to recover with 6 weeks of convalescence leave. Soon after which the Navy will show me the proverbial “hatch”—but not before likely requiring me to PCS to NFLK from Groton by way of Cleveland on Med Hold orders by age 60 if not sooner. Like you my current day to day work is attending to medical (both Navy Medicine and civilian) appointments, compiling a massive medical record (and making sure it’s in ALTA, cuz if it ain’t in there it didn’t happen, I’m constantly being reminded) and replying to email, signing off on a few items as CREDO “Director” (and inputs to the CRP AT of f**king course!) while my deputy and civ contract facilitator are executing the mission, as we all anticipate shutting off the lights as this Det is shut down with only my DEF RECALL orders standing in the way, by the way. Not sure if there’s any point to this rambling “comment,” except this, you’ve once again spoken to me as I most certainly identify with you and your circumstances! And now I’ll take another Ambien so I might sleep a couple hours before reporting for duty as usual by 0730. All while our Republic and it’s institutions are going to hell “led” by a diabolical, demented, delusional, degenerate dotard I utterly despise (too much alliteration?) abetted by fascistic sycophants in Congress and a propaganda campaign at Farce News. Just had to vent…no one cares to listen to a “middle aged” liberal white guy…
    Anyway, peace be with you, friend! Maybe we can meet up for another beer sometime, someday, somewhere, somehow…

    • padresteve

      Thank you. I cane in to see the doctor about the hip and she had called in sick. So I see my regular PCM tomorrow. Maybe when you come to Norfolk we’ll have those beers more frequently. I think I’m going to be Med hold as well, I see no way they will get everything taken care of my retirement date. Anyway, peace and prayers (for what good they do). All the best on the back surgery.

  3. Ian Stewart

    Gute Besserung und alles Gute zum Geburtstag

  4. David W. Harris

    Best wishes for a happy birthday youngster !

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