Usually, most of my class lectures are conducted by SF Med Sergeants and Former SF Civilian PA's in a matter-of-fact, bottom-line, how-to guide on saving your buddy, while not getting shot, and still shooting the enemy- type of way . So- when an actual Doctor of Medicine (in my case a Colonel) comes to lecture us, I prepare myself with a huge thermos of coffee so I can maintain my concentration when the M.D. gives his abstract and theoretical explanations for what happens to us when we incur trauma, illness, what have you.
Usually, after a long lecture someone will try to mess with the Colonel by asking him crazy, off-the-wall questions that everyone wants to know, but really have no need to know. Things like: Why can't we keep our eyes open when we sneeze? Why do we puke when we run too much? or Why do we fart? Don't misunderstand me- we love learning, we love medicine and we take it very seriously, but we just like messing with the Colonel as its rare that an enlisted guy can do this to an Officer in the Army, especially a Colonel.
Anyhow, someone in the class asked a serious question for a change. "Why do so many people wait so long to go see a doctor when they are sick or hurt? Like the people with obvious advanced tumors, or gangrene, etc etc." The Doc quickly pointed out that 90% of us (SF guys) are guilty of this insanity as well, only when we get injured. Immediately, I knew what he was talking about as two images immediately popped into my head from SFAS
(special forces assessment and selection). During our final land navigation exercise, I saw one fellow candidate with a blister so bad on his heel that I swear one could see bone, but instead of going to the medic and being med-dropped from the course, he just the cut off the heel of his boots in order to keep walking. Another guy broke his foot on a bad fall, and literally hopped, limped, and crawled his way back only to finish too late (he later tried out again in the next class and was selected). These are minor, but there are notorious stories out there of soldiers who literally injure themselves right out of the army and into disability. Well, the Colonel gave his answer and it was basically- "Denial. Denial. Denial." Why denial? The Doc didn't have the answer for that, but this brings me to my final observation.
The deaf guy...
Lately, my friends have pointed out a couple of things to me, which I have utterly denied until recently. Some typical conversations went something like these:
Comrade #1: "Rick - did you hear about the (mumble, mumble, mumble)"
Me: Huh! What?
Comrade #1: "Dude that's like the third time I've had to repeat myself"
Me: "Well, quit mumbling."
Comrade #1: "I'm not mumbling, you're just freaking deaf man."
Me: "What did you call me?"
(cell phone rings)
Comrade on phone: "yada yada yada... etc. etc."
Me: "What's up? yada yada"
Comrade sitting next to me: "Man, do you always yell when you talk on the phone?"
Me: "Hold on a sec, Joe is asking me something- huh?"
Comrade sitting next to me: "And why do you have the volume so loud, I can hear everything he's saying even over you yelling."
Me: "Did I miss something?"
(in my room watching TV)
Roommate walks in... "Damn man, what are you deaf? I could hear that TV down the hall"
Me: "Man, I was actually thinking about getting a sound system with it bc I thought the volume was weak (I always put the volume on max). Wanna go in on it with me?
Roommate: "No man, I don't need more sound, but I think I will invest in some ear plugs."
These are just a few examples, and I didn't even include my everyday "blast my friends away with my stereo upon starting my truck" example. What really got me out of denial was my log. That's right, I started marking on a 3x5 index card how many times in a day I had to ask someone to repeat something, or said "huh?" when spoken to. My little index card was heartbreaking by the end of the day, (and no longer white) thus I came out of denial, and into realization...
The Army has caused me hearing loss. I am going deaf. I would suspect it was the 240B machine gun in Phase II
. See below...