OK, I am a tech geek. And, last night I was glad to be a tech geek.
One of our core missions at NuroKor is helping veterans deal with pain. It was a big day for that yesterday. I had the pleasure of filling a guest slot on Drew Berquist's OpsLens broadcast. We got to talk about bioelectronics, and specifically, how these technologies are poised to help as the push to cut opioids forces vets to look at other options for managing pain.
After we did the segment, my second experience with a veteran was even more special. Ewalt Shoesmith is part of the flickering flame. The last members of the greatest generation are fading away. My uncle Walt is one of them.
A veteran of both WWII and the Korean wars, Ewalt's journey is winding down. His wife of over 60 years has left us already. Uncle Walt is headed to join her soon. So, I spent a couple of hours with my favorite old sailor.
We talked a little, but the small strokes have taken their toll. He repeats a lot of questions. Conversation is now a challenge. So, I decided to play with my phone. I turned out to be an absolutely brilliant idea.
What I played with on the phone was my Spotify subscription. Turns out they have more than Imagine Dragon, podcasts, and classic rock. I teed up some of his old favorites like Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, Bennie Goodman, and Tommy Dorsey and layed the phone near his pillow so he could hear
He smiled and said, "Now, that's music." The fact that he said it four more times did not bother me at all. His legs are old, and no longer capable of carrying him. But, I could see him tapping his feet under that hospital blanket like he was dancing the Jitterbug.
That was going so well I found the folder in the cloud where I had scanned 1,100 old family photos from slides and prints to share with my kids. They didn't seem that interested, but the joy I was able to bring to that old vet last night with those pictures was worth the 4.5 days of work.
"Oh John, those pictures are worth a million bucks." I think he only repeated that three times. He didn't recognize all the people. I had to fill some blanks pointing out sisters and kids. Partly the memory; partly the fact that the eyes which had deftly read currents on the beach while delivering soldiers to battle in amphibious vehicles were now also weary.
What I could see in his eye's though was the gratitude he felt. He did thank me. At least twice. Maybe three times. But, what I was thankful for last night was the ability to use that damned mobile device to make that amazing man smile awhile. Don't throw your phones out yet. There's hope for us.
Godspeed uncle Walt. Thank you for your service, sir.