Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Good Monring! Something for you to try.

Okay, this is really cool.

First, if you haven't already, maximize your browser window.

Next, (and this is critical) put your drink/cereal/whatever down.

Next, and this is also critical, (trust me--I work for the gummint) you must put your hands under your legs until you finish reading this post.

Now, start reading.

Some of my first memories in the hospital were of an angel at my bedside. Not the winged, harps and choruses kind of angel, but an angel in Human form named Kathleen.

I don't remember what she first said to me. I don't remember much really, but to this day, I still remember the soup.

I don't know how long it'd been since my last sip of water--the last memory I had was begging for water as they put me on the plane to WRAMC from Germany, and cussing out--like I've never cussed out anyone, the medical staff at WRAMC who were trying to assess me during preop.

I wanted to know a) where my wife was, and b) can I please have some goddamn water?

I didn't get the answer I wanted to either one. Carren was not yet in DC, and they couldn't give me water, as I was about to go into surgery. At one point I paused my tirade long enough for some female person to tell me that my "conduct was unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman." I know realize she was trying to reach that disciplined part of my brain that would tell me to behave.

At the time, however, I knew only that I was scared and wanted my wife, and I was really farooking thirsty. I made the effort to demonstrate just exactly how ungentlemanly and unbecoming I can be. I don't remember exactly what I said; I'm sure I invented new swear words, as the current crop don't seem to be able to adequately express the feelings and frustration I felt.

Sometime after that interminable hell, I awoke in my room. There sat Kathleen. I didn't know who she was, where I was, or what the definition of "is" is. I didn't know the extent of my injuries. I didn't know anything, except there was someone in my room, and I was still so goddamn thirsty.

I croaked out "Can I have some water?" (Pleasantries would have to wait for later.)

"How about some ice chips?"

"No... water." I still don't understand why people who go to college for over eight years seem to think that ice chips are a good, or even passable, substitute for liquid water. It's like needing a drink dying of thirst and someone says "Here, this is humid air instead. Take it slow."

So I chewed ice chips. Kathleen patiently shoveled them into my mouth and I hungrily devoured them, taking only enough time to try and suck water from the chips that wouldn't melt fast enough. While I fantasized about the hundreds of gallons of bottled water I had recently rescued from a broken-down tractor trailer near the FOB, Kathleen told me she was from soldiers angels and had followed me from Andrews Air Force base to Walter Reed, and then waited in my room while I was in surgery and post-op, so that when I woke, I would have someone there to talk to, and not be alone.

Soon Kathleen told me there was clear broth to be had, if I didn't have a garden-hose-sized-catheter in my shrapnel damaged pork sword, I think I'd have gotten an erection.

There was just one



I didn't have anyway to feed myself. My hands were bandaged, my shoulders swollen from being dislocated, I had tubes coming out of my arms, which had swollen so much from infection that I now sport scars on both where they had to cut them open to keep them from splitting open on their own--an armpisiotomy, if you will.

I could continue this story, but I won't right now, because if you're reading this, you've failed to follow instructions. You pulled your hand out from under your legs, and either used you mouse or touchpad to scroll down this far.

Being able to use a computer sure is nice, isn't it?


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