07 January 2008

7 JAN 2007 Eager for my American duty

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.


lainy said...

I bet that little guy starts to doing well soon. Kids are like that, they bounce back pretty good.

I'll just bet your M. will be happy to have you home, a little extra weight and all.:)

Have a great day!

HollyB said...

I, being the cantankerous sort, will argue almost any point with almost any one, just to stay in practice.
The one point I will not argue with a member of our armed forces who has been there, to any of the middle Asian countries, is the rightness or wrongness of this war. In that situation, I have an opinion. They, on the other hand, have been there, they have seen, have experienced the local conditions. They have so much more authority than I will ever know.

Whatever your personal opinions are, Chris, you have my respect and admiration for the job you do, day in and day out.

Take care of yourself while you're taking care of our "soldiers" and the civilians.

Jen said...

Funny...for a change it's actually warmer here than there! It was almost up to 60 for a while yesterday- needless to say it's now rainy and muddy here. Odd for January.

I can imagine some pretty passionate discussions happen over there- regardless of which "side" you take, at least you have some perspective that those of us who just watch the news and read don't have.

I'm glad that you're almost home...and thanks for the update on the little guy. We've been thinking about him.

Bag Blog said...

I'm in Scotland and it is cold here. The cleaning ladies who came to my hotel room this morning gave me their opinion on our choices for president - they don't like Hillary.

Hang in there. It is probably all that exercise making you grumpy.

ChefSara said...

So, are you far enough away that you don't get primary coverage overload. By Christmas, I was already tired of hearing about it. I'm actually finding it very difficult to decide who I will vote for...of the three front runners (guess I just gave away what party), I'm finding very equal pros and cons to all. I think it would be easier for me if I was *only* voting on who I personally thing is the best candidate, but when you try to factor in things like electability, or which issues hold more weight, it becomes a very difficult equation. I'm looking forward to seeing how New Hampshire plays out...

Anonymous said...

I have very mixed feelings about the election this year. It is definitely exciting to have had so many candidates in the running. However, I think the outcome of this particular election will have some huge consequences for the direction our country takes, which scares me a little.

How much longer is your tour? Zete is turning 21 this year, which is pretty incredible. Be safe, and take care.


David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 01/08/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

Chris said...


Happy all round, to be sure!


Argue away, my friend! I say time and time again that my right to have an opinion was earned for me and all Americans by the men and women ahead of us who strived to give us our country intact. I had the right to choose to serve, but coming here doesn't give my voice any greater importance than others. Even those silly enough to disagree with me!!


We do discuss it often, and the discussions do energize us because I think we are living history over here. Any disagreements just make the fact that this hospital runs so smoothly even more of a marvel.


Scotland, wow! How smart they must be! :)


It thrills me more than sports!


Yes, it does seem important, but little by little as I gain different perspectives of age and geography, I grow stronger in my belief that our country is so strong that it can survive any strife, meddling by leaders, or volitile issues as long as we don't let any one tamper with the brillian rights that have been handed down to us. I would love to be one of the old men hanging around Patriot's court if I can make it up there! Perhaps a well timed interview at RI hospital....


Thanks as always for the referral!

Be well, all,