October 2015
Community Living Center
Charles George VA Medical Center
United States




Paul Adams writes eloquently of being proud to serve Veterans:
It was recently said to me from a nurse who floated from the hospital that "the Community Living Center is where nurses come to die." I quickly rebuked their statement, but over the following weeks I've thought about that comment often. Yes it is true, there is no one on a ventilator here, and yes the acuity is lower, but it's still nursing. Where in school did I learn about the Mendoza line for nursing? Is there also a clear line in the hospital that states who is and isn't really nursing? I became a nurse because I love caring for people.
Since being here in the CLC I have started IV's, given medications by every route possible, packed wounds, given wound care for severe burns, and changed PICC dressings. These aren't done daily but I am competent and I'm ready! More importantly to all of those skills I listed, I cared for someone in need, listened, prayed, laughed, and have even shed tears with some of them. Can that person who quickly pointed out my career opportunities here say they have experienced something better?
My job here is to create an atmosphere pleasant to the vet every day. This is technically home for them whether sick or healthy or their time to pass into eternity. I have heard hundreds of testimonies of heroism, bravery, and selfless acts all for our country. This makes me so privileged to care for such as these. So, as a nurse I've come to die here? Not hardly.
I've heard old men tell me about being just a boy. Being one of the first on the beach at Normandy telling me what the weather was like that day, what the ocean was like and the strategy that kept him alive to fight. I've sat at bedside with a man that tearfully told me how he would run from foxhole to foxhole to keep warm during the battle of Ardennes and the battle of the bulge "sneaking past tanks manned by Germans who were sleeping even though I see he has lost toes and part of a foot from that day, or talking to a survivor of the Bataan Death March who not only survived, but saw the mushroom cloud of the Atom bomb dropped in Japan. I've heard stories of veterans being prisoners of war jumping from trains, or torture of almost being burned alive, others making daring escapes, or rescuing others behind enemy lines or being parachuted to a Pacific island and being the last allied standing, then killing almost two dozen enemies with only a knife and hand to hand combat telling me how he would hide in the tall grass and ambush them one by one or another who told me what he was doing in France when a B-52 flew over him low to the ground with its Bombay door open yelling the "the war's over, the war's over!" with excitement still on his face from this memory.
Another man who never saw combat, but would serve here stateside putting the fallen soldiers in caskets from the front line. He told me he would look at their faces and injuries and will never forget them. There were some who would just cry from their memories too painful to tell.
I didn't come here to die; I've come to help others live here. Thank you veterans for letting me work here.
Paul Adams, LPN