Friday, October 29, 2010


The hardest times for people here are the second month after you get here, the first few days after coming back off of R&R in the middle of the long deployment, and the month right before you go home.

My friend left yesterday. Its sad, it has really taken the wind out of my sails. Its not like she was a daily dinner friend that I saw all the time, but there was something nice about knowing a friend here who was not associated with here.

I find myself not wanting to be friends with people here. I know that there is so much talk about how you form these amazing bonds of brotherhood with those you go through combat with, but I don’t. I am not really in “combat”. I sit here at the base camp and just see the aftermath of that combat. I don’t enjoy the company of those I work with. I don’t know if I am in part just not letting myself, or if I am just not under the same stressors that create that bond.

I feel unused, underemployed, lazy. The hospital across the road accepts the injured in from the field. I don’t work there. I work across the street at the aid station. I see the sick call, cough, cold, ankle sprains, foot fungus, the unglamorous side of medicine. My friend worked in the ICU at the hospital and worked her arse off. I feel so weak in what I do here in comparison to what they do.

Sure part of me wants the ego boost of saying that I saved lives and that’s a good thing, but its more than that, I want to feel like I am making a difference in the lives of our boys. I track my specific patients so I get the hourly updates as far as who is in there and when new patients arrive.

I think of the old MASH episodes, Radar would get on the loud speaker and announce that incoming wounded and to get to the OR. Now, you just get email blasted out to you, it lets you know who is inbound, and you get the play by play update on what is happening to them.

Its harder to just watch the text scroll across the screen. I am absolutely helpless to do anything. I just sit here and watch the names and numbers roll across my computer screen and know that I cant do shit to help them.

I was struck heavily yesterday by one of the wounded passing through the hospital. He was a guy the same age and same rank. He lost most of his left leg, half his right and destroyed about everything below the belt buckle. I cant imagine what his life will look like when he returns home. Is he married? Was he planning on having kids? How much your life can change in the instant hot flash.

I hurt for him. I don’t know him, but I cried for him.

It makes me so very mad. I immediately want to rush out into the heat of where he came from and throw my weight into keeping more hurt from happening. But I cant, I am here, safe and sound inside my tent here at base camp. I feel useless.