Flag Upside Down

The waiting room at the Veterans Hospital was crowded. All the seats were taken and many were standing waiting to be called for their appointments. The door opened, my husbands name was called, and he didn’t quite make it to the door before the nurse shut it.  Instantly he was red-faced and spitting as he stared down everyone around him that dared to look at him while he muttered loudly to himself His anger was palpable and not only directed mostly at me but also everyone near him. And no one said a word or challenged him.  When they again called his name, he angrily complained to the nurse.  She gave no  notice of his extreme agitation and apologized and showed us to a room.  As we waited, my husbands anger escalated. The doctor walked in and he hurled the bottle of soda like a bullet across the room with great force where it hit the wall and dropped to the floor. It was a plastic bottle and luckily the lid remained intact.Surprisingly the doctor didn’t even bat an eye or lift his head.  He seated himself and buried his face in the patient notes in his laptop. I was just mystified at the doctors lack of reaction.With my husband glaring holes into me, I left the examination room to wait in the waiting area. I just couldn’t process the doctor not acknowledging my husband’s despicable behavior or offering help. Everywhere we went, there were no consequences no matter how bizarre his behavior.  He would behave in an irrational, loud,  rageful way in public and no one ever confronted him. No one had the balls to say a word to him.  He is extremely intimidating and scary when he is in an episode, but the police were never called.  Society just turns their head.  Had a single person stepped forward and said to me something like “you don’t have to be treated that way by him.”  Had just one person said a few kind words, or called the police…….maybe I would have had the courage and been able to change my life. Maybe I wouldn’t have doubted myself.  I’m not blaming anyone for his behavior, just so many people crossed our path and witnessed his humiliating me, his anger, his rage and yet every one looked away. Neighbors never called the police either.  They too just buried their heads.  One veteran walking past our house one manic day knocked on our door to ask about the flag on  our flag pole that my husband purposely raised upside down. He told the concerned veteran that our country was all “fucked up” and he was disgusted so he put up the symbol for distress. I was embarrassed many times.  So many incidents.The doctors didn’t care, the neighbors didn’t care. No one cared. Except me.  I tried to fix it, to minimize it, to control the chaos. His mental illness was so beyond my understanding. I never had a chance.

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