Saturday, May 9, 2009

Day 28 (Sunday April 26, 2009)

...Aaawww, a day off...

Looking forward to a nice, easy day off, Isabella and I started out with breakfast at a place called The Chef, in downtown Manhattan.  Judging by the line of people waiting outside, we assumed the selection was a good one.  Fortunately, we were right.  Good food!!!  Still taking it easy, Isabella gave in to my movie addiction and let us go to The Fast and Furious movie.  With a good portion of the day to burn, we drove around the Kansas State University campus and then took in an early dinner at a local pseudo-Mexican restaurant.  By then, we were spent and called it a day.

Sorry I don't more now, but tomorrow's another day...(well that was brilliant insight, wasn't it?)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Nothing like a Harry Steak

Day 27  (Saturday  April 25, 2009)

Nuts!  I hated having to work on a Saturday, especially while Isabella was visiting.  Today’s class was “Advanced Med”.  Unfortunately, this day was filled with lectures meant for medics, not docs; meaning it was too basic and by 1500, I was bored out of my skull.  That’s OK though, not all instruction can be gripping. 

Isabella spent the day touring Manhattan, relaxing and patiently waiting for me.  And in her usual spectacular fashion, cheered me up immediately when I saw her as she picked me up.  (She also was able to come pick me up at lunch.  We had pizza and wings...nice break in the day.)  Tonight, we went to Harry’s Steak House.  This is apparently one of the nicer establishments in the downtown area.  I had the filet mignon royale (fancy for steak with crab on top) and Izzy had the Salmon.  The meals were delicious.  Following dinner, we saw Observe and Protect.  This movie probably falls into a Seth Rogen cult classic.  Not necessarily for the faint of heart, it was entertaining.  As both of us were tired from a long day, we retreated to Baskin Robbins and then the Arm Lodge and called it a night. 

Having Isabella here in Kansas has really been a treat and made the time here much more tolerable.  She’s AWESOME!!!

Day 26  (Friday  April 24, 2009)...CLS and a Hefeweizen?

Isabella drove me down to the barracks in the morning and I prepared to tackle another day of Combat Life Saver class.  This was a testing day for us.  Having applied the skills acquired in yesterday’s class, we had stations set up test our skills…nunchuck skills…bow hunting skills…computer hacking skills…Napolean Dynamite reference for those not tracking.  The exam was much like that of a Basic Life Saver coarse or an Advanced Cardiopulmonary Life Saver coarse…though not as strict.  Next, we were given a written test of 40 questions.  Not too tough.  Finally, they taught us how to put in IV’s in one another.  I couldn’t handle all the blood and flunked…just kidding.  I did, however, let our inexperienced team leader put one in me.  And I must say, he did a great job; not a drop of blood.

(The first picture is Mike (radiologist) putting an IV in Josh (family practice doc).  Travis and Jerry are in the background acting interested.  The second picture is me torturing our team leader with an IV...I don't think it hurt that bad.


Awesome!  We were out by 1400.  So, I called up Isabella and we drove into Manhattan and ate at the Little Apple Brewing Company.  The food wasn’t bad but when I asked the waitress for a homegrown microbrew similar to a hefeweizen, all I received was a blank stare.  Not one to dwell on her lack of lager knowledge, I politely asked for the Winter Wheat Ale.  It tasted like a Budweiser…oh well.  Still early in the evening, we were a little bored and ended up at the Manhattan mall.  Sorry, that just sounds funny.  What can I say, though, it’s a small town.  Having walked off dinner, we called it a night and went to our room to watch a movie and relax.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Day 25  (Thursday  April 23, 2009)

Isabella flew into Kansas today and drove from Kansas City International Airport to Fort Riley.  But, before she arrived, we had class…

COMBAT LIFE SAVER (CLS) 1.  Sounds impressive, doesn’t it?  Essentially, this is the life-saving course designed to provide basic and applicable knowledge and skills to every soldier deployed.  The course is tailored to combat situations and what we, as soldiers, can do in the field to sustain life and transport the wounded to an advanced care arena where critical care docs can work their magic.  This was a good class for even the docs to experience; knowing what the priorities are of the medics in the field can only help us do our job better.  I’ve included a few pictures from the day.  Here is one of our Majors volunteering to have a Nasal Pharyngeal Airway put in his nose…awake…yuck.  This airway device is a tube that extends from the tip of the nose to the back of the throat, creating a passage way for air to enter.  This is helpful when unconscious or semi-conscious patients can’t keep their tongue from falling against the back of the throat, inevitably blocking air movement.  Here, we were taught how to use a “litter” to transport a patient.  A litter is a historical military term (as far as I know) for a stretcher used to carry out the wounded.                                                          

Check out the goofy look on the guy looking at the camera instead of paying attention to class.

After the Combat Life Saver class, we had another “Leader Engagement” in which two of our team members practiced using an interpreter to navigate through a meeting.


Anxious to bolt from the last task of the day, I ran back to the barracks, called up Isabella and had her come pick me up.  She found a room at the Army Lodge on base, which made it very convenient to see her once our training exercises were complete.  We took it easy and just relaxed.  It was great to have her there.  I missed her terribly. Yes, as you may have suspected, I didn’t return to my 39 roommates and the guy who snores two bunks down from me.  And, I didn’t miss it a bit.

Day 24  (Wednesday  April 22, 2009)

After such a long day playing with the Hummers, we were able to sleep in and report back to the motor pool for an additional Power Point presentation on tactical HMMWV movement at 1000.  Following lunch, we broke up into groups of 14-15 and prepared for a mission.  Oooo, a mission!  Suspenseful, huh?  The evolution was a test for us, as a group, to move from point A to point B in a “Mobile Combat Patrol”…I think I’m saying that correctly.  All I know is it’s not suppose to be a “Convoy”.  Along this journey, we were likely to (1)encounter an IED (strategically signaled by a large orange cone, because the groups before us were not picking up on the bomb at the side of the road), (2)have one of our three Hummers blown up by the IED, (3)tow the targeted Hummer out of danger and finally, (4)change a flat tire on the Hummer…not a bad day’s work for a bunch of Newbies.  Our Hummer consisted of myself (backseat guy), Andrew, an Internal Med/Critical Care doc as the TC (Truck Commander), Mike, a Radiologist, as the gunner (coolest job), Jerry (Radiology Tech) as the driver and Travis (Pharmacy Tech) as another backseat guy.  We were all stationed in the first Hummer of the patrol.  Great.  I love being the rabbit.  (Yes, that was sarcasm).  Having spotted the IED with the greatest of ease, we were informed that our second of three Hummers was hit by the IED.  Phew, nice not getting blown up…sorry Hummer number 2.  Having towed Hummer number 2 out of danger, I changed the Hummer tire with 3 other guys.  Nascar pitcrews have nothing on us…except for power ratchets, power jacks, organization and experience.  Other than that, we rocked. 

A shorter day in many respects, but a greater appreciation for the “strategery” involved in patrols.  I didn't have any pictures from this day so I put one in from the previous night.  Here you go...that's right, take it in.  Impressive and intimidating.