Saturday, April 21, 2012

Kandahar Kronicles- The Konclusion!

I am done!  Finished.  HOME!  It is so good to be home.  Driving up to our house and just taking a shower in our bathroom and sleeping in our own bed made me realize just how fortunate we are in our lives and to be living in the United States of America.  This experience has made me so much more appreciative of the blessings in my life.  I will not take them for granted.  I am glad I got the opportunity to serve our country while taking care of our wounded warriors.  Thank God for such brave men and women.  Thanks to my family for "holding down the homefront" during my absence as well.  It is wonderful to be with them again.  And thanks to everyone who helped them make during my deployment.  God bless America!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Begining the Journey Home

My time in Afghanistan is finally up. I feel I have contributed to the care of our wounded warriors, and hope I have, though my teaching and leadership, increased that capability for when I am gone. I am grateful for the opportunity to have served, and have the utmost respect for those outside the wire that put their lives on the line every day.
I am on my long journey home, which is certainly not direct. I retired my running shoes (after 6 months) as well as my spin shoes (after 5 YEARS). They definitely served me well! My barracks looked rather spartan after I packed all my gear up. The first plane flight was, as is typical, not exactly "luxurious." It was nice finally turning in my weapon and "battle rattle." I was expecting nice hot, sunny weather in Kuwait, but it has actually been kind of dreary and rainy here. We did have a nice sunrise, though, over our tents that we were staying in. They also have a nice gym, a movie theater, and even a pool here at the base in Kuwait! Despite the dreary weather, I am trying to get at least a little "color" before I return to the t-shirts and shorts and flip flops of Phoenix.
I look forward to returning to "normalcy," while at the same time realizing that there are thousands of our service men and women still over in Afghanistan doing what they do every day. I look forward to the day when everyone returns home, as I am doing now.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

HAPPY EASTER!

Happy Easter weekend. It has been a good one for me. Good Friday started off with my awards ceremony and our last trauma team pictures. I had to put two in as a couple of the people were missing from the first.
I had my last P90X workouts and took my final "after" pictures. Over 2 years of P90X has made a big difference in my fitness. Doing "3 a days" has not hurt, either.
Thanks to Paul and the Flatley 5 for sending me my annual "It's Friday" MP3. It still brings tears to my eyes and is a great way to start Easter weekend.
Sunday finished up with my delicious breakfast of Reece's Peanut Butter Cups and a chocolate bar dipped in Nutella! I had given up beer (easy here) and candy for Lent (harder but healthier:). I went to Mass, and got to see the re-make of "Footloose." Most in the audience were probably in diapers when the original came out.
I capped the day off with my third workout, with my friends the Easter "Spin" Bunnies! They made me wear the "Queen Bunny" ears during the 90 minute class. Needless to say, I was exhausted after the class and slept well.
I look forward to returning to my family and "civilian" life in the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My 3 "Home's Away from Home"

Between the hospital, the barracks, and the NATO Gym, I spent more than 90% of my time on KAF or Kandahar Airfield during my deployment (and my time was split almost equally between them;)! As you can see in the one picture, the NATO GYM was not exactly too far from my barracks (about 10 yards). The remainder of my time was spent at the DFAC (dining facility), MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation), and Boardwalk, or walking between all of them. This all took place in less than a square mile. Kind of strange to spend over 6 months in a one square mile radius. It will be nice to get back home into the wide open spaces of Arizona and life/freedom in the US in general. We really take those kind of things for granted back home. Hopefully, I will no longer do so...

Friday, March 30, 2012

My Last ER/Trauma Dept Meeting

I am really becoming a short-timer now. I had my last ER/Trauma Dept meeting this week. My awesome crew gave me a cake and a present. The present, of course, was a workout shirt. Imagine that. Even though they have been here only a month, they obviously know me too well:)!
I thought I was done with clinical medicine already, however, fate had other plans for me. As multiple casualties were coming in, all the primary trauma teams as well as the "ad hoc" trauma teams that I led came in to take care of the wounded. It reminded us all why we are really here. An important but somber mission to be certain.
On a lighter note, one of the docs received a "tennis court/set" in a box from an unknown source. So, the trauma team du jour set it up and proceeded to play a couple of sets. American ingenuity never ceases to amaze me!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Where's the Justice? aka "Life's Not Fair"

Although I was very honored and excited to meet Admiral Debbink (the highest ranking Navy Reservist) during his visit, I must admit I was a little jealous of my brother Ben's newest acquaintance! With all due respect to the Admiral, I think even he would admit that my brother and his dental school classmate, Dimitri, got the better deal!

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Shout Out To My Nephews- Colin & Cameron!

I hope you never have to lifeguard at a pool such as this! Since it has been warming up and the wind has been blowing, the "sweet smell of poo pond in the morning" has been wafting to my nostrils. So, I figured I would finally brave the trek to go check out the infamous Kandahar "POO POND" and take some pictures. The closer I got, the more intense the stench, until it became almost overpowering as I reached the edge. I had to get upwind to take some pictures, then quickly return (can you say "speed walk") back to the barracks!