21 OCT Gone appetit
I've realized that I haven't discussed food much . That must seem odd for those of you who know me well. Honestly, I just feel busier here this time than I did last time, and haven't had time to think about it often. Maybe I'm just lazier!
Today was an easy as apple pie day, so it is a good opportunity to talk about food. I was on call last night, but didn't operate after evening. A few individuals arrived at the hospital, some of them patients, some of them doctors. We traded two surgeons with the Army and got two fresh new faces for the roster in return: M. and T. ! While they are here, Surgeons J. and S. are going to hang out in a hospital to the south. We demonstrated what scoundrels we are by putting M. on call today, just three hours after he arrived. Welcome to the party, M. ! They are great guys and their visit is going to be a good interchange of ideas. Our hospitals often treat the same patients, largely because our base is the point of departure for patients evacuated from the country. (Here are two great reviews of how our trauma system works: 1)trauma symposium at Balad, 2)development of the Iraq trauma network)
The patients were some US forces, some Iraqis, some with medical problems, some shot or blown up. For the most part they did well and did not require a lot of intervention. Since it is Sunday, we start a little later. I charted my patients at 0400 and then slept in until the crew arrived. After that, I had the day to myself. I've neglected my physical well-being through a run of busy days, so I tried to make up for it today. I did my fencing stretches, gained a few push ups closer to my 10,000 push ups tee-shirt, lifted at old man gym, ran, biked and swam. The water was actually cold, which felt great after five miles in the sun and breathing clouds of dust thrown at me by HMMWV's and Pathfinders. I had a chance to conduct "Dermatology Clinic" at the pool with B., S., and J. as we watched many killer tats pass this way and that.
Then, off we went in the czar-car pickup truck to our evening family dinner together at DFAC 3. It was a disappointment. Wasn't seafood night, wasn't Mongolian BBQ night, wasn't Indian night, wasn't even Stir Fry night. It was just plain old meatloaf night. Still, meat is meat, man's gotta eat! After about a week, you've seen just about every meal KBR has to offer. Seafood night is a bit of thrill as they toss out the giant crab legs. It's fun to use the nifty plastic claw pluck to free the meat. Extracting a leg muscle whole is a little victory. As I took this picture of Surgeon J. triumphantly holding up his prize, he said between his teeth, "Hurry up and take the picture, I want to eat it." This week, since surgeon S. is visiting the other hospital, I think KBR is going to have to reduce the amount of food they put out. S. is a bodybuilder who can train like a freak and he packs away a good amount of protein with each meal. He is kind of like Chuck Norris: when he does a push up, his body doesn't move up, the whole base moves down.
Understandably, we sometimes like to whet the appetite with a little variety. A good alternative to the hearty KBR fare is to have the air evacuation crews bring us back some brats from Germany. Surgeon S. has stocked a real "Grill Sergeant's" rig with BBQ, tools, and fixin's. All we need is to find the meat and we are ready to go. Adding near-beers to the marinade and the meal almost makes it taste like a summer evening at home.
One other way we step off the beaten path of meals is to share our care packages from home. My brother D. sent some tasty treats from his home in Thailand. Every package was a surprise as the illustrations aren't always clear. Oh yeah, I don't read Thai. The package with the smiling little boy on the box was a mystery, but I'm pretty sure that the contents were cookie-flavored bread sticks. Fortunately the package of dried shredded cuttlefish came with a translation because I'm not sure I would have tasted it without some warning. Who am I kidding, being the Italian boy I am, if someone puts it in front of me, I'll eat it!
Well, I'm not going to scoff at a chance to sleep tonight. As long as this lull lasts I'll eat well, sleep well and hope that people remain safe from harm. It would be nice if the casualties were over, but we're ready to help if they aren't.