Moving right along, I have made good my escape from Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Quite frankly, it was not the happiest place on the planet. By and large, the general population of patients seemed to be grouped into amputees, the very elderly, and the crazy. I have all of my limbs and do not consider myself in the elderly category, leaving only one thing for me to become should I remain much longer. I opted instead to convince them to let me go.
It took some doing, as do most things in the Army. They had to straighten out my orders, which was only complicated because apparently everyone was just waiting around for me to fix them myself on the new automated payment system. That would have been fine if 1) someone had mentioned that was what needed to be done and 2) if I had any access to the system aside from begging people off their computers. In the end, I found someone willing to let me onto the system and fix what needed to be fixed, and a week later it had wended its way through the system for the 108 digital signatures it needed for processing. Then it was a not-so-simple matter of switching my flight to something in the same time zone as my intended location, packing up my strewn belongings, and convincing the doctor that it really was time for me to go instead of running a few more tests to make sure my brain was still tucked away inside my skull somewhere.
So now I am on leave, my unit having the sense to recognize that flying back to Germany for what amounted to two working days and a four-day weekend was not really practical, back in the comfort of New Jersey. Yes, some people do find New Jersey comforting. Once you leave the area immediately surrounding the airport, it actually is a lovely state. We designed it that way to keep undesireables out, so once they land at the airport they think there is nothing to see and will just keep moving along while we can live in general peace.
Meanwhile, I wait for word on what the Army has in store. Deployments, classes, Soldiers, medical appointments, all are options on the table. There is a bit of a conflict as to what I want to do as opposed to what I really should do, so I left the general decision-making up to those in higher echelons somewhere in Eastern Germany while I mill about and watch Animal Cops on Animal Planet and enjoy pizza that can only be found better in Italy.
I know that soon enough the Big Green Machine will call me back with some description of where I need to be, when, and in what uniform. Until then, I have every intention of taking advantage of having nowhere to be, at no particular time, and with my uniforms tucked safely away in the bottom of my suitcase.
Two years, eight months, and counting.