Author: Steve Traywick
The Green refers to Fiddler’s Green from A Cavalryman’s Poem. Fiddler’s Green was first
published in the Cavalry Journal in 1923 and its author is unknown. It is believed to have originated in the 1800s. It should be noted that all Troopers assigned or attached to the 1st Cavalry Division are “Cavalry” regardless of their branch of service. The Poem, in its entirety, is reprinted at the end of the story.
It was a hospital like so many others. It smelled of disinfectant and sickness. It was always dim; even on the sunniest of days. For most people, it was simply a place to go to get treatment for whatever was ailing them; an appendix taken out, a knee replaced, back surgery. Patients came and went.
Most patients came and went. For some this would be the last bed they would occupy on Earth. Some old people came to the hospital simply to die, and one elderly man had come here just for that reason. He had lived on his own for as long as he could. He didn’t want to go out from a nursing home. He had finally given up and came here.
The cancer had spread quickly and he had made his arrangements. He had foregone chemo and radiation treatment. He had put a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ order in his records. He was tired and he was ready to go. His children had looked in on regularly and his few local friends had been in to see him. He had told his children how proud he was of them and how much he loved them while he was still lucid. He had been frank with them about how he wanted to go out. They had agreed that they wouldn’t leave him on life support any longer than necessary. But wait, there’s more!