Saturday, May 28, 2005

The Home Stretch

We are back on our "home" camp from our mission, that was a booming success, and it actually feels great to be back. We got to unwind for a few days and now we are right back in the swing of things. The new LT that we got has created a "super team" out of my team and Bunk's team. They should be really well prepared for what ever comes their way after I leave. A couple of my guys are not thrilled about having to stay, but they are happy about the extra money.

I didn't realize how much work it is actually going to take to get out of here. I kind of miss the days when I was more of a pee on and wasn't really responsible for anything. This time I have to sign over responsibility for two different transmission systems, a data package and all the peripheral equipment as well as write to Non-Commissioned Officer Evaluation Reports for the two NCOs from my team that are staying. I will actually enjoy writing these up as I have enjoyed working with these two.

I need to get all of my guys a current PT test and a weapons qualification before I can get anybody out of here so my projected fly date may be falling backwards, but I gotta take care of these guys first. As I get closer and closer to being home it becomes harder and harder to think of anything else, but I know I have to stay focused on the now and just look forward to the later. In any case I am down to weeks and not months anymore, so I am excited!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Owww....Quit it!

For the last couple of days I have known that I have at least one hernia again. I get a burning sensation really low on my abdominal wall, and every so often I move just right and I get a really sharp stabbing pain that causes me to immediately discontinue what ever action I was doing. Like a knuckle head, I have not discontinued my Gym attendance. I have been making good progress and just don't want to stop. Got to be a looker for the wife when I get home you know. Besides, I am like 90 percent sure I had the injury before I began my gym workout any way so what is it really gonna hurt, right?

This morning I decided it was time to verify my injury, so I was off to the TMC (Troop Medical Clinic). When I got there I checked in and then sat in the waiting room for over an hour before my name was called. I had to sit there and watch person after person come and go. After nearly an hour and a half I walked up to the counter to see what was going on. The Triage nurse told me that they had my file and it should be any minute. Then a couple of minutes later some one came out and called my name. As I got up and walked over she told me that they had lost my slip and needed all of my information again. Now I got to have a seat for a while again. After about twenty more minutes I got called back and placed in a room, where my vitals were taken and then I was told that a doctor would be in to see me in a few more minutes.

After about fifteen minutes a doctor walked in and apologized for the wait and then took all of my information, to include my vitals... again. Now I am starting to get scared. These people lost my records twice in one visit and I hadn't even been seen yet.

The female Navy commander (O-5) that was attending to me was quite....Different and had a "great personality". She questioned me about my medical history and the hernia repair I had in Germany. After the small talk was over it was down to the nitty gritty. She actually said "Ok, stand up and drop 'em". I did and she began her exam. Poking and prodding. She found a hernia on both sides. As she painfully prodded me she asked "does this hurt?"...Ummmm YES! I have been poked and prodded in that area several times since my repair and it has always hurt.

Anyway, after she had finished her exam she confirmed what I was already pretty sure of. I have a double inguinal hernia. One for each side...Yes!!! What's more, if it wasn't hurting too bad before it sure is now. It is more uncomfortable now than it has been since the last time I had it checked out for pain. That's a different story all together.

The Commander then said "Ok, let's go up front and schedule your consultation." When I asked how soon that would be, she told me it wouldn't be before next Wednesday. That's not soon enough as I won't even be in this country anymore. So she told me to wait until I get where I am going. Even then I am almost at my return date so I will probably go when I get out of here, but I will put the surgery off until I am back in the good old U.S. so my loving wife can baby me. I know she will be looking forward to that. Sorry Dear.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Running Sucks

I hate running. I have for as long as I can remember. Maybe it's because I have a knee that hurts when I work it out, maybe it's because of the wonderful botched hernia repair I got from the Army or maybe it's because I weigh nearly two hundred pounds and my poor legs just don't like to carry me around at any rate of speed over a walk. I knew I was gonna have to start running sooner or later however. I couldn't simply keep going to the gym and throwing up weight because as I continue to get bigger (heavier) it's only going to get harder and harder to run. So I ran.

Last night was the first time I have run further than from my barracks to the bus I was about to miss in almost six months, and I was none to excited about it. I ran with the NCO who is here to replace me and one of the cable guys attached to my team. I will call the NCO Bunk and the cable dawg C.S. We set the time for 1900L, shortly after sunset. There is no way you are gonna run here when the sun is up. None of us are trying to die from a heat stroke. We set the course. We were going to run around perimeter of the camp roughly 3.1 miles. We set the uniform. Anything we wanted plus a reflective belt. I used the free one the Air Force gave me that made me "car proof", and we were off.

Bunk set the pace because he is a big dude so we all naturally assumed he would be the slowest, and we set out at slow jaunt. The kind of run that soldiers always complain about. "My knees hurt, We are running too slow!" I liked it, but I guess I was starting to step it out a little too much. I was starting to "feel it" and really picking up the pace. Bunk yells out like a little girl, "Slow down man! You keep speeding up." "Was I? I didn't notice...." I said with a wolfish grin. Bunk held tight with C.S. and I for a little more than half of the 3+ mile stint, and then he had to start taking breathers, which I didn't mind... at all.

As we rounded the last turn and started the last half mile back to the start point I was itchin' to go, but I stayed back with these two guys. Bunk was really breathing hard and C.S. was gettin' there two so I waited. We got inside that last 1/8th of a mile or so and I bolted. Man it felt good. The wind mixed with the sweat all over me felt great in the heat and I was amazed at how good my legs felt. They just kept pumping harder and faster and I came across the start point at a full sprint (which for me isn't that impressive) and I was done!

Today my hip-flexors hurt worse than they have in a year and my knee is screaming, but I was proud of myself. Today I get to do it again. Great.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Careful is the Key

Dark had fallen and a dust storm was rising. I knew visibility was going to deteriorate quickly so I began to get nervous. I was alone, and I felt it. The rocks under my feet made a crunching sound that pierced the night and gave my position away with every step as I made my way through the small lighted buildings. As the dust storm intensified the light from the buildings and pale moon became less and less effective.

After two maybe three minutes of walking throughout the rocks I was at the corner of the last building. I had nearly made it to my destination with out encountering any hostiles. As I peaked out around the corner it looked clear, but how could I be sure with the limited visibility? I couldn't just stand there speculating as to the safety of the situation. I just had to go.

I made my move around the corner and was on my way. So far so good. The rocks began to crunch a little louder as my feet began to shuffle more quickly with my rising anticipation level. Right as I got to the steps of the building I had to get to, the lights of one of the hostiles began to loom from down the street, but it was too late I had already made it.

Once inside I knew exactly where I had left it. I reached down inside my duffel and pulled out my reflective belt. As I strapped it around my waist I knew my trip back to the recreation area would be safe. Certainly no car could hit me with this thing on.

Sound stupid? Ya, I thought so to. We are a couple of days into our current mission and this portion is on an Air Force base. The Commander here makes everyone wear reflective belts after the hours of darkness. The apparent reason is too many airmen have been hit by cars out here. Come on now. I am sure these people were either wearing headphones while running (which is not authorized) or doing something else stupid. It sucks that someone got hit by a car, but it really was probably from their own negligence. Do they really think these shiney belts are gonna help?

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Hot Situation in a Hot Country

My guys and I are out on our mission now and set up in system, again. Things have not gone all that well again either. It seems we have been set up for failure since day one. Each time we have managed to over come all of the bad situations they have managed to put us in, but we are still faced with all of the bad publicity that seems to come with the bad situations.

Before we came out here we had to break down our last site, wash all of our trucks, recover all of our equipment and load back up in trucks in one day. Then they split our equipment into two sections that were supposed to arrive in the operational area on separate days. Well when we got here, because we had to pack so much equipment in such haste (no one else had such a tight time line) we found that there were some critical pieces of equipment in some of the trucks that were not arriving for several more days!

Of course all of the equipment that we got out here without that we needed came down on us, and some of the blame is ours, but what they have to realize is that when I am not afforded the time to even check my guys loads once that there are very likely going to be mistakes. I am a fairly competent NCO but when you tie anyone's hands behind their backs it becomes very difficult for them to perform miracles.

We have managed to duct tape and bubble gum a lot of things. We always seem to make the best of what ever situation we are put in, but it would be nice to just have things go well for once. Keeping our fingers crossed.

We have managed to keep our spirits high in spite of the circumstances. A little less than two months left as long as things don't change, again.