Believe it or not. I’m not known as one of the best communicators in the world. Most of the time, I simply am happy to keep things to myself. I enjoy a good conversation and hanging out. I’m not completely socially unacceptable. But I don’t tend to have that drive to go out and start up a conversation de novo. So how the heck did I get into this blogging thing? Well, it really just started as a way to communicate with my family back home. But it seems like some other people dig it. So here we are…. Today I couldn’t pick a photo, until just now. And I will give you a bit of a story with it to describe a slice of life for a FaST team and how I got this photo (If this is too long, you can skip to the end).
It starts yesterday. – Morning Time
We got to bed around 1:30 AM after a late night of trauma. That’s not really all that common. Many nights are relatively peaceful for us. But trauma is a fickle bitch, and she has no problem waking you up when she’s mad. Anyhow, sleep was fine, but the morning came and waking up was tough. I didn’t even hear my 6AM alarm. So I woke at 7:30AM to the walkie-talkie radio traffic. Enough time to meet everyone at the morning briefing. Nothing for me to do. The patients were evacuated… so I needed to tend to other business. I stripped my bed for fear of possible bed bugs! Ukk. I dumped my mattress and got a new (used) one with the help of my first sergeant. Then went to the laundry (we have great laundry facilities at Salerno). Next, I went to the finance people. Guess what? I haven’t received any pay due for being in a war zone. Seems that the Army forgot I was here for the past 2 months. To get paid, I needed to give them a copy of my deployment orders, a copy of my temporary change of station and a DD Form 4187 signed by the unit commander that tells them I am actually here. I moved on to complete the edits on a journal article submission (2 months behind schedule). That got me to lunch.
We tend to move as a small gaggle of docs. BBQ burger for me please. Then off on a walk with my orthopod buddy to talk with the MRAP people and see the damage done by IEDs. Here we put together a picture of why some soldiers may have been wounded, while others weren’t. Not CSI by any means. Just a couple of docs trying to get some understanding of what is happening around them. We continued our walk, and the day grew a bit hotter than expected. We passed by the fence line and grave yards of the local people. No one was out to throw rocks at us today. No matter… they find it challenging to get anything through the two rows of fencing and concertina wire. By the time we got back to the hospital, I was hotter than heck and dripping with sweat. Just enough time to cool off and sit down. Then it’s time to receive trauma. No problem. Simple single wound. Quick operation. Patient is fine. But it all takes time.
We are treated with some nice cooling off outside. The sky is filled with clouds, and storms are happening all around the mountains. Helicopter passes go “red” and nothing except dire emergencies will get the birds to fly (if possible). So dinner is relaxing. We see one of our Chinook crew chiefs and I get my favorite meal – chicken fingers. I pick up laundry (did I tell you we have great laundry facilities here), buy a new pillow and begin to make my new, no-longer bug infested, bed. My Air Force surgeon buddy and I decide it’s a good night to shoot things. So obviously, we load up…… the Play Station for a round of Modern Warfare 3. Being that we’re both excellent war fighters, we have a grand time defeating the enemy. Just in time for….
Oops.. it’s not bed time. It’s trauma time. The bitch is back for more. This patient needs some real help. The team descends on him like ants protecting the queen’s eggs. Lot’s of activity, and in quick time we have someone who wasn’t right for this world, back to stability. Lot’s to do still, getting everything checked and re-checked and move to our ICU. The next thing I know, it’s 1:30AM again. How the heck did this happen? But I am ready for bed – NEW clean sheets and pillows and stuff… but what the heck!? There’s something in my bed! Not a snake or spider (someone recently captured a camel spider) thank God. But an LMA under my fitted sheet. Thanks MAJ “K”. Funny stuff. For some reason, I have the worst nightmares ever (hasn’t happened in years). Sleep is horrible (rather no sleep). And then it’s 4:15AM – the mountain passes are green and the MedEvac crew is ready to load patients for evacuation out of here. We bundle them up like burritos for the flight. As I’m moving out to the flight line, I am surprised to see that it’s light outside. Holy cow! It’s 4:40AM and the sun is coming up. I head back to my hooch, brew a quick cup of “Black Tiger”, grab my camera and head to the roof. Shoot, Darn, Dangit (or other colorful language is expelled from my mouth)! My memory card is still in my computer. Running (wearing my OR clogs) down the stairs, over the rocks, back to the hooch, back through the rocks, up the stairs… just in time to see the sun already over the Pakistan mountains to the east. And above is about the only half decent shot I got. I sure wish I had a tripod and some real lessons on how to shoot a good sunrise.