Friday, October 05, 2007

The People in My Neighborhood


War brings together some interesting folks. I'm beginning to think M*A*S*H was a lot closer to the truth, at least when it comes to Health Care Professionals in combat. Let me introduce you to:

The Dietician – My breakfast companion. I had gotten used to her minor complaints about Life, the Universe and Everything, when she hit me with this doozy. She casually mentions that in two more years, she won't have to take a PT test. Huh? I've never heard of such a regulation. Yup, she replies. When you hit 60, the Army no longer requires a physical training evaluation. What?! That's right, folks. She's an Active Duty Lieutenant Colonel at 58 years old. Shit – she's old enough to be my mother, and she's earned the right to bitch a little.

The Internist – He's a great guy who acknowledges he's out of his element. You see, he's a Rheumatologist, but on the "Big List of Army Doctors," that's pretty much kinda like an Internist. So, guess what? Welcome to combat! Here are your really sick patients. Good luck. Still, he's turning out to be a good caring doc, and that's more than our detainee population could ask for.

The Surgeon – The guy he replaced said to him, "Look. I'll be around for a couple of days while you are getting settled. If you get a really complicated case in the OR… good luck. Don't fuckin' call me, 'cause I'm going home." It was said tongue in cheek (I think), but he's now "the man" when it comes to any General Surgery needs. I asked him if he felt prepared for the carnage he's seen over the last month, and he quickly said, "Absolutely not." Still, I've seen his work, and I'd let him do my appendectomy. I can't say that about a lot of surgeons I've met.

The Psychiatrist – She must have the toughest job in theater (aside from our young heroes who have to do all the shooting). She has to minister to the mental health needs of a detainee population that DON'T SPEAK THE SAME LANGUAGE. I can't imagine how difficult that must be. On top of that, the soldier suicide rate is up and her boss is a workaholic social worker who insists that she just sit around waiting long into the evening for patients that have never shown up. Not once. How she manages to maintain a smile is beyond me.

The Deputy Commander – This is my boss, and you couldn't ask for someone better. He won't read this so you don't have to worry that I'm sucking-up. He really cares about his docs and will go to bat for us in a heartbeat. I really like his honesty, too. All the doctors meet once a week so he can put out information. He admitted to us that he was a little down in the dumps. You see, I am here as a six-month rotator. He's here for the full 15 months. He was okay with it, but the 1st six-month rotators just left, and it forced him to realize that he still has 9 more months to go. During that time, he'll have to say goodbye to the NEXT group of six-month rotators (my group).

The Commander – Interesting guy. Kind of a Renaissance Man. I mentioned to you all that I took 2nd place in the Tuesday night chess tournament. He took first. Kicked my ass all over the chessboard. Turns out that at one time he was rated at 1900. That puts him right about Grand Master territory. I'm just above average and never stood a chance. Of course, right after that, he kicked my ass at ping pong, too. Well, I'm younger and better looking, dammit (well, at least I'm younger)!

We are a motley group, but a damn good one if I do say so myself. I wonder what they'd have to say about me if they were so blog-inclined.


2 comments:

The Wife said...

They'd probably say "good radiologist, but wonder why some hot CPA married that dude".

:)

The Wife

Ken P said...

She must have liked his 1040.

No not that one ... that other one.