Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Love the one your with.

I am pondering death today. Such a fragile thing. I have never really had the "I am immortal" thoughts. I have been around death for a long time and just understand that people die. I remember when I saw my first dead body. I remember the first time I picked up a dead body. I remember the first time someone died when I was watching them.

A man died today. I did not know him. I know no one who did know him. Its a sad thing to know someone in death. They are already mostly gone. There is really nothing that you can do to change that. Dead is dead. We love to think that we have this all powerful medical power that alters the course of life. The hospital and EMS are just there to make death a little cleaner. Death is a messy process.

Part of me wishes that I could know that man. The other part of me knows that if I did meet him on the street, I would just ignore him as another abuser of the cheeseburger. All I am saying is that you never know when or where. Just love the one your with.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Meat, if not properly digested, becomes poison; But poison, if used rightly, may turn medicinal.

Does going through bad things change you? I suppose they have to. Profound events in our lives are bound to have a profound effect on our lives. The question is what you do with that impact.

I am home. I came home to a wife who still loves me and a dog who may remember me (but I cant tell because he is a little special). I came home with all my bits and pieces in the same place as when I left. I dont have any major defect in me.

That does not mean that I did not see and participate in things that will have an impact on my life for as long as I live. Things have changed. I had a clinical psyc explain it to me like this. Every one who goes here ends up with post traumatic stress, just not every one ends up with the D in PTSD. Is it a disorder.

As much as I ranted and raved about what I saw and did and did not do, I was deeply hit tonight when asked by a friend a simple question. We were at work, it was not a hard question, but the venom that came out of me directed at the people in mountain country was so very bitter. I spewed forth with hate and anger. It would not stop. It was hard for me to realize that those words and hate were pouring out of my mouth, but they were.

I am angry and bitter about what I saw and experienced. I dont like it. I dont like that it seems to have infected me with a level of bitter anger that burns so deeply. The worst part is that I like it. I like the hate. It feels good. So very good. I liked to just let it spew forth and watch the faces of those around me as they recoil in shock. Good, perhaps they will see what I see. Or perhaps they are just looking at a bitter old man who saw something and did not like it. I dont know that it really matters one way or the other.

And I am the lucky one who came back whole.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

I dont know why, but I am seeing weird stuff as of late.

A Marine is out here in the middle of the desert. He is board. He decides that he wants a penis piercing. Clearly there not being any piercing parlors around, he shaves down the handle of his toothbrush and trys to pierce his penis from R to L. Needless to say, he fails. Later that day he comes in with a massivly bleeding penis and has managed to disrupt some fairly important anatomy in the process.

This kids is why if you are going to get anything pierced, have a profesional do it. And dont do it with the handle of a tooth brush that you shaved down to a point.

Monday, February 21, 2011

An Afghan man walks into the tent with abdominal pain for a few days. He is concerned because he was engaging in anal sex and the other man ejaculated in his rectum. The patient is now very very concerned because he thinks that he may be pregnant.

I explain that his anatomy is incapable of becoming pregnant.

He does not believe me.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

“All told, 268 U.S. troops were killed by the improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, in 2010, about as many as in the three previous years combined, according to the figures, obtained by The Washington Post. More than 3,360 troops were injured, an increase of 178 percent over the year before.”

This is a staggering figure. My mind balks at the notion that its true. I have been living it and yet it still seems so wrong. I can not express to you in words what this looks like. The loss of human life is such an ugly thing. I have lived it and I have seen the face of the victim of that loss. I have seen the face of the victim who was not killed. Part of me holds a hatred for myself and for the medical community that allows some of the people to live. Yes, they are “alive” but will never know the joy of running barefoot through a grassy field. I weep at their loss. I cry for them. Some wont cry, they just have a solid face that says “I accept this”. Perhaps I have a harder time accepting it than they do.

On the other hand, I see the people that we are here to help. I see the face of the new Afghanistan. I despise them when they sit in their compound eat food paid for by US citizens and chant about the fall of America. These are the people that my Marines gave their feet for? These men who rape their own comrades? These men who burn the toes off their own children? This is what my Marines gave their legs for?

On the other hand, I see the face of those who have killed Marines. My heart is confused with what to make of these different strings of thought. What is wrong with the world when the bad guy who got shot is more grateful for the medical care than the Afghan man we are here to actually help?

No one ever came to war and had the profound realization that it all makes sense now. I guess that for the most part, people see this and ask “Why?”.

I ask why. I don’t have a good answer for myself. It makes no sense.


Friday, January 21, 2011


I had three of the most interesting cases today. Odd because I may go a month without an interesting case crossing my path, and here today, three drop by.

First is the largest Pilonidal cyst that I have ever seen in my life. I am by no means an expert in the area of pilonidal cysts, but I have seen my fair share. They smell SO VERY BAD. One of the worst smells ever in my opinion. They are an abscess or big huge zit that grows out of the ass crack.

This poor Marine had three that had grown together into a long cavity. When I pressed down in the middle of his ass cheek, puss comes squirting out of the openings. The smell was so horrible that I left and covered my lip with an alcohol pad to help block out the smell. That only lasted a minute or two. All told after I opened up the area, 20-30cc of the rankest smelling puss known to man comes pouring out. Some of it even squirts out and sprays against the wall of the exam room. I had learned my lesson long ago and had goggles and a mask on. It smelled so bad I was trying to vomit two different times, but kept it all down. Nauseating.

My second interesting patient of the day shows up with a painless ulcer on his penis. He had a single one, then it went away, now he has five smaller ones. I run a test called an RPR that checks for syphilis. Bummer, he has syphilis. Real, no shit, ugly nasty syphilis. I can’t confirm it for two to four weeks until the formal results come back, but holy dirty dick batman!

Third case of the day. A pregnant woman. Its just not something that I normally see a lot of, especially out here. I got to give good news to a woman who was quite happy about it. Probably not the best time. The odd thing is that because of general rule number 1 that states that you will not have sex out here, the normal course of events is that if you are found to be pregnant, that usually means at least one person is in trouble and probably two people. This was an error on the screeners part and she has been pregnant for a while, and just got here 4 days ago. This is different from the last one of these that was about 2 months prego and has been here for 5. THAT one got into a lot of trouble because of the above rule #1. So, it was good to give good news, and not worry that she was going to get into trouble.

Thus ends my interesting cases for the day.

Monday, January 10, 2011

When do you give up?

I feel that there has to be a time and a point where you have exhausted your available means and you must simply give up. I know that there is a fascination with being the unrelenting hard charger that just never gives up. Hell, I have held out hope for years and been rewarded by the fulfillment of those desires. The wait made it all the more sweet.

I have been working on a work related goal for months now. Its silly and just busy work, but I worked hard at it and have accomplished a great deal. Late last week I found out that I would not be able to finish my project. There are two tasks left out of over 100, but those two tasks have been outlawed here. So policy prevents me from gaining my device.

I have been fighting for the last month or so because there were obstacles in the way to my goal. It seems now that two obstacles will stop me. I have accomplished all other tasks that I can. These two remain. I know that I have given up. I was angry for two days. I did not talk to people and I just sat and stewed and listened to angry music as I worked out.

Now, I am just calm. I have given up. I don’t know that this fight is worth fighting. I want it badly, but I just don’t seem to care much at this point. I wonder how often that plays out in my life. How often do I give up before attaining my goal? How often is that goal futile and I SHOULD give up? I am not opposed to hard work. Contrary to that, I quite enjoy it.

One of the tasks I checked off today was to run a Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test (PFT). I passed. I did not blow it away, but I passed and I am proud of that. I remember back when I was 18 and in high school, I was pondering what to do with my life and I did consider joining the USMC. I was so very afraid of it. It’s a scary idea. Those guys are NUTS. Besides, I was fat. Very fat. I started my senior year of high school at 276 lbs. I had a 46 inch waste. I was fat.

I weighed in at 193 when I graduated. I had accomplished a lot. It was a lot of hard work, and I obsessed and I sweated my arse off in the gym every day. But that was a goal and I worked and I achieved. I had lost a lot of weight, but I still saw myself as fat, I pondered joining the MC but was so afraid that I would never make it. I still see myself as a fat man that just hides his fat well with clothes, but I know I can do so much more now than what I had the mental strength to accomplish when I was 18. So today, when I crossed the finish line of that run, it cleaned off the chalk board.

To fight on, or to give in? That is the question of the day. There is no right answer. Or there are several answers depending on when and what the situation is. I don’t have the answer.