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    Sunday, July 31, 2005

    A "Traumatic" Week

    Well, it's Sunday and I've just gotten some time to tell of my latest "rite of passage". As I've stated previously, the Army has a way of taking really cool things and bringing out it's Mr. Hyde to make average Joe hate it. Some examples thus far have included parachuting, and initiating IV therapy on one another until we have no accesible veins. Seriously, if something happened to me I don't think a paramedic could get a viable vein on me right now unless he went for my neck. Every single spot on my arms, feet, hands, and legs have been hit several times. I am a walking hematoma.

    Well, this past week we learned how to perform Nasogastric intubation. That is when you take a very thick tube and stick it up your nose, down your throat, and into your stomach so someone can retrieve gastric contents. Yes, we had to do it on one another like little guinea pigs as usual. we've had to do far more embarassing things up to this point that I haven't mentioned, but this was by far the most painful of all.

    To my utter misfortune, my partner could not get the tube down my first nostril. That's not a big deal normally, but he seemed to think that if he just banged it harder it would somehow go in. The problem was that he was aiming too high and was just ramming the back of my nasal cavity. Yeah, blood was everywhere. Now, after the instructor finally told him to try the other side, I had to stop the guy to make sure he understood what he did wrong. This (I thought) would avoid both nostrils becoming useless, and having to go to plan B- right down my throat (this stimulates the gag reflex more easily). So, GI Joe starts on my right nostril, and sure enough can't get it. So, what does he do? You got it- banging away, nosebleed #2. Well, now that both of my nostrils are pouring out blood, I am not about to puke all over the place due to having to swallow that tube all the way down, so I grab Joe's hand and guide it in myself. It's in! Well, all that's left to do is put it all the way down to my stomach, listen for sounds when he blows air with a syringe and aspirate the syringe to get some gastric contents. My buddy forgot to listen with his stethoscope, and my instructor gave him a lecture on procedure for like three minutes. Three minutes may not seem like a long time, but when you've got a huge pipe down your nose and throat with a double nose bleed, it can be a little uncomfortable.

    Finally, old boy, remembers to use his stethoscope, gets gastric contents, and slowly pulls out the tube. I puked everywhere once it got out, not from the tube but from all the blood which was now irritating my stomach.

    The instructor went around and made sure everyone got their turn, and eventually we all recovered, some better than others. I took a total of 50 seconds on my partner to get it in, listen, get gastric contents, and get it out. I wanted so badly to torture him, but I couldn't bring myself to do it, the taste of iron was still too fresh on my tongue.

    The class ended with "Welcome to Trauma gentelmen" by our instructor.

    Tuesday, July 26, 2005

    The Army's Socialist Dental Care

    So, it's been about 10 months since my last checkup for my choppers and I decide I need to take some action. I've been in the field for extended periods of time during training over the last year without brushing or flossing for days which means, I definitely have some nice tartar build up, and maybe even the beginnings of a couple cavities (unfortunately).

    So, I've never had to setup an appointment before here on post, but I figure I can just call and ask for a routine checkup and cleaning just like I used to do when I was a civilian. Here begins the Commie mayhem. First, there are like 6 dental clinics on post assigned to different groups of soldiers. Because I am a student in the Q Course, I don't really have a "group" I belong to. This results in the receptionist getting really confused as to which clinic to send me to. Now remember, this receptionist doesn't receive payment for customer service, nor does must she worry about clientele numbers and generqting income for her boss, the dentist. So, of course she blows me off and tells me to call anothe clinic and ask them. So, I begin calling other clinics and after about the fourth reeptionist that tries to pass the buck to another clinic, I am finally told that the correct clinic is indeed the first one I called (Joel Clinic) HOW IRONIC. I proceed to speak once again with the original receptionist who then tells me that I can't setup an appointment over the phone, I have to come in person and show my ID and verify my unit.

    The next day... Now, it's my lunch break, and I go in to setup an appointment for a cleaning and a routine checkup, easy right? Wrong. The receptionist asks, "what seems to be the nature of your problem. I reply, "nothing really I just need a cleaning and check up". She says, "well we don't set up appointments for that, you must come as a walk-in in the afternoon, and you will only be able to do an exam because we don't do cleanings with exams on the same day." I couldn't believe it, but I have become a very patient man so I say, "okay what days and times?" she answers, "Monday thru Friday from 12:00-2:00." Now, I only get an hour lunch break and I can't just take a day off to go to the dentist here in the Army, so how is this supposed to work? I will have to wait in a long line for depending on how many other people need to be seen, and by the time I get in I'll have to leave for work again. Well, I have become quite the patient man in dealing with bureaucracy since being in the Army, and living in socialist Italy for two years so I decide to give it a shot the next day. Guess what happened? I waited in line for an hour and had to leave bc my lunch break was over. I wasn't suprised, it was what I expected. So, I go back to the receptionist, and explain my situation, and ask how is it possible that I can't simply setup an appointment time like I would do at a normal clinic, and she replied "this is the Army son, get in line." I could not help but laugh while leaving. As I was leaving, to my great fortune, a nice, young, and very pretty I might add, hygienist who was watching the drama unfold, pulled me to the side and explained to me a way around the system... Ha Ha!

    So, this morning I filled out a "sick call" slip which is what we would use to see a doctor when we are ill. But on the sick call slip I wrote, "toothache" which means I would see the dentist instead. The dentist did a routine examination, and took some xrays, and proceeded to inform me that I have two small cavities, and could use a cleaning. He also says that if the pain doesn't go away soon to come in to sick call again, at which I point I confessed my little white lie to which he laughed and said "Yeah, welcome to Socialist Medical Care".

    All of this to say, this Commie medical may be a guarantee, but the service is horrible. My Dentist (for today) was a decent fellow, but what motivates him? He doesn't get paid any more if he does a good job or bad job. He doesn't have to worry about his reputation. I more than likely will be seen by another dentist on the day of my filling and cleaning. Is this the kind of Health Care that the Democrats want? Yes. Is this the kind of health care that U.S. citizens want? I hope not. I know there is a health care crisis in our country, but surely socializing it is not the best solution.

    By the way, when I went to set up my follow up appointment, I can only do the cleaning or the filling in one day, and then I have to return for the other. I didn't even bother to ask why. It would make too much sense for the Army Socialist Health System to do them both in the same day.

    Wednesday, July 20, 2005

    Supreme Court nominee is a Conservative... Why is the Left surprised?

    So, GW picked a conservative Supreme Court Nominee, why is everyone surprised? Hmm, a conservative President picks a conservative judge. If Bill Clinton were to pick a liberal judge would you be surprised? No, but if Slick Willy had picked a conservative, now that would have been a head turner? Why is it so "controversial" that a President picks a nominee who has the same political values? The Libs say they worry of "judicial activism". They worry so much that they are willing to make a fiasco of the advise and consent process of the President's elected right to appoint Justices to the Supreme Court. I don't think it can get any clearer in the Constitution, nor in our history or tradition.

    I am of the opinion that the Libs are just being poor losers. As much as I wish that the Conservatives will hold office forever, I know that sooner or later the Dems will indeed win the White House again one day. When that happens, the dutiful conservatives will certainly not prefer to see a liberal appointee, but they will surely advise and consent, as they have in the past. It's the way it's supposed to work- like the Yin and the Yang.

    Can anyone name one conservative Supreme Court Justice who displayed "judicial activism" on a decision? No, it's virtually impossible (unless you consider Sandra Day O'Connor a conservative). You see, in the past 50 years the only "judicial activism" that has taken place, has been done so by liberal Supreme Court Justices. Do you really want me to name all the cases? It is a fact. The liberals have had a bad habit of legislating from the bench rather than allowing elected legislators to do their job. It is amazing that we as a representative government actually allowed this to take place.

    The fact is, the Supreme Court is the only place Liberals have managed to get their agenda accomplished, and now it's the only bastion of hope for them remaining. The conservative agenda has been a vision that more (most) Americans want to see take place. If that were not true, then explain to me how both Houses of Congress, and the Administrative branch have had so much success. Please save the "Because he lied!" comments- really.

    More later...

    Monday, July 18, 2005

    The Liberals Blaming everyone but the Suicide Bombers AGAIN!

    It was only a few days ago that I posted my thoughts on the London bombings and how the media coverage can be so insane. In that post, I predicted that eventually the Liberal media (especially in London) would blame someone other than the fanatical, Islamo-Fascist, Suicide Civilian Murderers. Well, is anyone else surprised by the title of this article?

    "Blair fights talk Iraq made London terror target"

    Basically, the bombings are Blair's fault for taking on the war in Iraq, because it "...boosted recruitment and fund-raising for al Qaeda". How does responsibility shift from the murderers to Blair? The article also goes on to explain that because Britain is allied with the United States, London has in turn become a terror target, well that's a little obvious, we are at War you know. Gee, what are the British to do? "Say, Mr. Islamo-Fascists do you think if we stopped fighting the War on your ideal of taking over Western Civilization maybe you'd leave us alone, and just kill Americans and Jews? Oh, and in the meantime, you can live in our country, enjoy our freedom and prosperity, and at the same time, preach about how evil the West is, and teach your young sons and daughters that if ever the British take a stand against us "Righteous Muslims", to retaliate by blowing yourself up with C4 on a bus, train, or plane. Oh, and make sure you get as many women and children as possible; that would make you extra special to Allah."

    I suppose the media and Europeans thinks that our way of life comes without a cost. I don't understand Europeans, they of all should know what passivityand appeasement does- nothing! Do they really believe if we do nothing, and try to negotiate reasonably that it will stop Islamo Fascist terrorism? Was it not the media and the rest of the passive European leaders that figured Germany wasn't really going to try and take over Europe, and they weren't really systematically killing off the Jewish race. Even, our very own FDR stood by, and did nothing (until Pearl Harbor) while Churchill begged him to join in the cause to liberate Europe. I wonder what FDR's not so far off relative Teddy would have done? We know very well what he would have done.

    The point of the article is that involvement in Iraq caused the London bombings. I whole-heartedly disagree. I love how Blair's representative responds- "

    "The terrorists have struck across the world, in countries allied with the United States, backing the war in Iraq, and in countries which had nothing whatever to do with the war in Iraq," he told reporters in Brussels. "It is the responsibility of people in the civilised world to stand up to that terrorism and not provide them with any excuse whatsoever."

    To top it all off, here is some more proof of how biased the media is...

    "The arguments add to a handful of similar comments from minor political figures including maverick ex-Labour politician George Galloway and Charles Kennedy, leader of the country's third biggest party, the Liberal Democrats, who opposed the war."

    Wow, so if- a) you are a leader in the minority party b) a liberal and c) oppose the war- you are a "MAVERICK". I could have sworn the definition of a maverick was one who went on his own, away from the view of his party. Like my favorite maverick, John McCain.

    Hmmm, maybe we should be wary of the distinguished Senator from Arizona who is so often called a "Maverick". Is it because he is a maverick or that he is willing to toe closer to the liberal line of the issue? I've never heard Zell Miller called a Maverick, surely the former Democratic Senator from Georgia would fall easily into this category, but how many times has he been called a "Maverick"? Or how about Mr. Blair? He went against his party's wishes, but I've never heard him called a Maverick.

    Isn't it funnny how the media portrays Mr. Blair and Mr. Bush as the evil twins of the West, yet the PEOPLE keep re-electing them. Hmmm, something is just not right, maybe more people really do think this war is worth fighting, and that doing nothing will only allow these Islamo Fascists to instill fear without consequence, and without end.

    Thank you Mr. Blair for sticking to what's best for the sake of Western Civilization, and not for your polls and media opinion.

    Friday, July 15, 2005

    Christina at work...

    This reminds me of one of the reasons I do not miss the civilian world, although the pay would be very nice. Christina- you really should go home early, it is Friday.

    I thought this was funny...

    Thursday, July 14, 2005

    One Liberal has a Crush on Mohammed

    ***** The Link to the cover story photo, and article on Huffington's blog is no longer available. I could not find it in the search bar on her site either, and even tried to get the photo from the London paper that published it. However, there is a subscription fee for archive privileges so I passed. If any of you find it or one similar to the phot0 let me know so I can repost it. Thanks, Rick (Edited July 16th)****

    On Arianna Huffington's blog today, one heading for the London Bomber story reads...

    "London Suspects Were Charming, Athletic, Educated…"

    What am I supposed to try to relate to them? Hey I've been known as "Charming, Athletic, and Educated", does that make me like them?

    I don't get it! How can liberals always try to make terrorists out to be some kind of "really nice guys who just had a bad day".

    The London media in the article of this magazine cover attempts to portray these guys as normal and even likeable young men. Yes, they have personalities, yes, they have friends, but yes- they were evil murderers, yes I used the word evil. I mean these guys bombed innocent civilians which means men, women, and children, indiscriminately. Then they go on to ask what led these sweet, innocent, and regular young men to commit such atrocities. HELLO!!!!

    I bet later this week they'll eventually blame the British govt or their favorite, GW Bush and their aggressive posture towards terrorism. Yes, I predict it now- liberals always acknowledge that what terrorists do is wrong, but later (when the emotional smoke clears) say "but it wasn't their fault- it was our policies, or our society's lack of tolerance", or some bunch of crap like that.

    Bottom line- there is no being nice to these people, SO STOP! They are not Westerners in their views of Warfare. They are not Westerners in their beliefs about God. These men are fighting an Islamic Jihad, a holy war. We don't understand this because, we have no reference point other than the Crusades hundreds of years ago. We, on the other hand, are fighting a "political" and "ideological" war. And in fighting these wars it doesn't help when the media tries to make the average Joe sitting on his couch playing Xbox or watching TV sympathetic to our enemies.

    They are the enemy (not our friend). They want to kill us, not me by the way (the military), but YOU- the average mom, dad, or the little girl holding your hand as you cross a street on your way to a bus station while a "Charming, Athletic, and Educated" young Mohammed Hussein Moussai Al Zar-Qaeda waits in anticipation so he can blow himself up, kill you, and receive his reward of five virgins from Allah once he reaches heaven- because this is the pinnacle of good deeds that he can do while on Earth. (I would think giving up his life to save you from being hit by oncoming traffic would be more appropriate).

    And of course, they want to detroy our way of life (we are perverted infidels- remember?).

    So, American Liberals- you keep fighting for these guys' so called "rights" at Gitmo, while the British fight for the rights of Radical Islamic clerics to preach hell, fire, and "suicide bombing" of innocent civilians. Yeah keep it up, I'm sure it'll help somehow.

    Is there one story out there that portrays these men for what they are?

    Wednesday, July 13, 2005

    Stick it to me

    Yeah- we just began the trauma portion of the course, and part of our training includes how to do IV's. We are averaging about two to three sticks a day right now, and all of these sticks come from someone who has never done IV's before, so one can imagine what my arms look like right now (like a heroin addict).
    We are not allowed to use the antecubital vein (the main one in the joint of the arm). The cadre say we'll start sticking legs, feet, and hands due to the fact that we are running out of good veins to hit. I have a funny feeling that's going to be a little uncomfortable. All this to say- I hate needles! I haven't gotten an IV in someone else successfully yet, but that should all change today or tomorrow, as I'm getting better.

    That's all for now- more on some training later.

    Monday, July 11, 2005

    The Art of Being Single (according to St. Paul)

    Tommy's Sermon

    This link takes you to the sermon I just listened to... WOW. The pastor from Denton Bible Church, Tommy Nelson, takes you through I Corinthians 7:25-35 and really focuses on two things: 1) taking advantage of our time as singles to serve the Lord, and 2) not succumbing to the popular belief that once we are married, service to God must end. Distractions, distractions, I have them, but I can only imagine what it must be like for married couples and families.

    This sermon is great for the bachelor or bachelorette, the newlyweds, and even the all stars who are into their golden years of that sacred covenant.

    Challenging, insightful, thought provoking, and as always... extremely witty. Listen for yourself.

    4th Navy SEAL body found

    Navy SEAL is found...

    In response to this article, I say thank you Lord that we were able to recover the body of the fourth SEAL, and bring closure for the family. My fellow Spec Op Medic classmates (which includes us, SEALS, and Marine Recon guys) and I have been following this story closely. Our greatest concern was if this operator was still evading, and surviving, or if he had indeed been captured. If captured, we were concerned if another barbaric, and cowardly beheading had taken place as was claimed by one of those "Al Qaeda spokesman on the web".

    Have any of you actually seen one of these beheadings? I wouldn't encourage the faint of heart to take a look, but it certainly sheds some new light on who or better- what we are fighting against. We as Westerners would never consider beheading a prisoner. Here is the link to Mike Savage's website which has past beheadings of innocent civilians-

    I wonder what would happen if the Western and Arab media gave half the coverage on how Western prisoners are treated as they gave on Gitmo. Hey Dan Rather, why don't you do a special one hour story on the comparison between A) beheadings, and B) 3 meals a day with a little interrogation, and some free time- I bet it would be quite the interesting story, it might even win you a Pulitzer or better yet, win back some credibility...

    Heck, we might as well make the Gitmo prisoners citizens! We've already given them more privileges than a regular State Pen. prisoner would have.

    A presto ragazzi!- Rick

    Just another day at the office...

    This jump was on July 6th. I can't say I enjoy jumping yet, as Mother Army has a very funny way of turning fun, civilian recreational activities (like parachuting) into something miserable, in this case, "Airborne Operations".

    Saturday, July 09, 2005

    My first trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains

    This is a pic of me at the end of my 3 day trek of the Linville Gorge Wilderness Trail in the Blue Ridge Parkway in Western North Carolina during the 2005 Fourth of July weekend. As you can see, I am soaking wet (I was rained on the entire time) but it was still a blast to be able to get away from Fort Bragg for a few days and spend some time alone to "recharge". The fly fishing was great, and the terrain was strenuous- definitely not for the novice. I walked 10 miles out and 10 miles back in with a full rucksac. I didn't see nor speak to anyone for the first two days on the trail, which was kind of strange... what's the longest you've been without talking to someone?

    bird's eye view of Linville Gorge

    I am a Cubs Fan indeed

    A humble campsite...

    He leads me beside quiet waters... He restores my soul...