7 JAN 2007 Eager for my American duty
Whoa, is it cold here! It is supposed to get as low as 21 degrees tonight. It is cold enough that some are using the Goretex jacket and heavy gloves. Perhaps because I grew up in Connecticut, I'm getting by with shorts during the day, when the sun really warms up the base, and wearing a long johns top under my uniform and a watch cap at night. Incidentally, I'm wearing the green watch cap, because that is what is available in uniform sales. It matches the new ABU
(Airman Battle Uniform) which I do not have, but not the DCU (Desert Camouflage Uniform) which I do have. Since we are in a convoluted transition from one uniform to another, It seems like there is a disorganized hodge podge of versions out there. And remember, it is against base rules to have your hands in your pocket! No pocket hockey will take place, at least not sanctioned pocket hockey, on Balad Airbase. Cold? Too bad! If you are cold wear your gloves!
I just got back from a nice dinner of fried jalapeno poppers and fried mozzarella sticks. They were delightfully paired with some marinara sauce (tomato soup) for dipping. The meal was accompanied by a non-alcoholic Coors, brewed with love but not ferment. I've gotten my physical fitness T-shirts for 2500 sit-ups and push-ups, but now I want my T-shirt for 2500 fried items consumed at Balad! That, I would wear with pride. I haven't gained 17 pounds over here for nothing! Just so M. doesn't run in horror before I come home, I will mention that maybe a pound or two of that is muscle, because I have been working out. Today I swam a mile in the indoor pool. Exercise is just another way to fill an hour to get me one click closer to home. To quote Bunny from "Casualties of War": "I love it over here! We get to do what we want; no one f's with us; I hope this war never ends"
Perhaps because the end of the tour approaches, I have been a little touchy of late. Today as Laparoscopic Surgeon S. and I were sawing off the last four inches of a man's femur, we got into a heated debate about the justifications for this war with Anesthesiologist C. and the crew in the room. It is hard not to argue it personally, because it has affected us and our families in a very personal way. It has become a matter of conscience to speak of the many civilians including children I have seen suffer in this war. That's just my own personal viewpoint, but I find it hard to come up with any other when faced with a child missing eyes, limbs, or worse.
It is very interesting to watch the primaries develop back home. Obama's surge in the past few days is exciting. It is very good to see young people stirred up by an inspirational leader. Our country really needs someone who can bring people together and inspire them to root for America as a whole, rather than one party beating another. I welcome these upcoming elections and I'm sure I'm not alone in my enthusiasm to help choose a new president. Voting is a duty that far too many Americans neglect. Our government is supposed to be for us, so we should at least value it enough to take the only guaranteed action that we individuals have to influence it. The individual American citizen usually has their voice drowned out by the power of the lobbies, PAC's, and wealthy contributors, but during elections we can speak as a whole much louder than they can.
Today in the OR was more of the same. Wash shards of bone, suture tattered busted skin, and wash exposed intestine. The boy whose face is burned breathed on his own for a few hours, but then he tired out. He started gasping for air and needed the breathing machine again. His face is swollen up like a hopping toad so I expect he will need a few days longer with the tube in his throat. The nurses washed his burns and changed his dressing and all looked healthy without infection. It seems he just needs time and the nurses' gentle care for now.
That's all I need, that's all the country needs. Time.