A Labrats Journey

This is basically the story of a 27 year old Navy Corpsman as she starts her journey to Iraq, leaving her son and husband 7000 miles away! Disclaimer: The thoughts, views, pictures, comments expressed in no way represent the Views of US Navy, Marines, Department of Defense,or anyone other than myself!(unless otherwise stated) I am not here to offend anyone. If you visit please leave a comment, BUT please respect my job and don't fill up my comments section with nonsense.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Elections...

Couldn't even watch much of the news last night. My thoughts were, "Oh! Now the press wants to show how thankful the Iraqi's are that we are there." I don't know how you all felt but that is how I felt. I still think they didn't get a fair election. Some places the voting staff didn't even show up, but at least they took place with minimal problems thus far. I don't see this removing troops from Iraq. The news talks about how many troops are coming home, ironically they never mention how many are deploying again, it is turnover time again, duh!! Okay okay enough of that. Things are normal here, as normal as can be expected. The corpsman rating and the dental rating are merging together on Wednesday. Coda got over his food poisoining from Tokayo Den in CC TX, so don't eat there!! Now poor thing has a nasty cold. It is rainy and cool here. Not very nice weather at all. Nwojo called this am early and spoke about his recent deployment from the lab onto a ship. He is thankful to not be in the sand, but sad that he is deployed. Still struggling after Tony got layed off to get back on our feet. Almost there. Used all of my "war Savings" to pay necessary bills, got a few "extra" things but nothing too extravigant. Still going to school almost done, one more semester and I will have a masters in healthcare administration and a masters in business administration.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Healing Well!

Let me start by saying that I apologize on not writing. It has been crazy getting settled in again. Surgery went well, I can walk without pain and I am about 80% better. Looking forward to HM1 G coming back and praying for HM3 Nwojo as he just departed this month. "Doc in the Box," the blogger who taught me this is heading back to the sand box again!! Who knows what the future holds for me. They are scubbing another list for the end of FEB as we speak. It will be almost one hundred people from here AGAIN! So obviously they will be dipping into those who just came back and sending them for a second or third tour. Tony is well, he was layed off from his job the Monday after christmas. There wasn't enough work and he wasn't given any notice. That made for a bumby start here. He has since found another job and been working there one week. It is service work (he is a plumber) and he likes it. He works long days til 8 at night or so, sometimes earlier. The next paycheck won't be for another week though, so we are draining my savings from Iraq quite rapidly :( . We got moved into a condo on the island. It is a little piece of paradise. Cost me less than if I would live on base, and Dacoda doesn't have to deal with the mold. It is one year old so there isn't much respiratory issues there. Speaking of Dacoda he is a gem. Talking a mile a minute. His cousin is pregnant and when you ask him where the baby is he runs and touches her belly and says BABY! Jes (the cousin) is getting induced tonight!! So we will spend most of the weekend at the hospital with her. I am going to help her breast feed that baby! They have no lactation nurses here, crazy. Work here is very busy and I fell back into the swing of things just fine. I still jump when people clap or something falls. For all those who sent packages most of them were opened by the people still there, I don't know if they write to you or not. I got five boxes back and the contents of those I put in a box to send off to HM1 G. I am mailing it this weekend. Christmas was good here - small this year money wise, thank god because then Tony got layed off! He bought me a diamond bracelet and I bought him a hand painted Chess set with good vs evil from Germany. Coda was the true christmas. He got a tricycle and a bus that sings the people on the bus go round and round. A couple other things, cars, a race track, etc. Well I will promise to keep you posted better now that things are straightened out and back into the swing of things.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

So Happy to be home for a holiday!! Just an update. I finally made it back to Corpus and I am scheduled for surgery on Monday. I have a torn menisucs both medial and lateral and a torn LCL. I have a cyst behind my knee as well. Worried about those in Iraq, I still communicate with them and they are well as can be. I am hanging in there. Coda and Tony are estatic to be with me. Thanksgiving Dinner is held at Aunt Deener's house and we are all invited. I have a lot this year to be thankful for. I will let everyone know how I am shortly after my surgery. For those who mailed boxes, several have came back to me and are being sorted and resent to those who I was with. If anyone needs names of my friends over there please don't hesitate to ask. You all kept my spirits high! I enjoyed my boxes and emails from everyone. Thanks to Shar for all those long nights she chatted with me keeping me awake. Happy Thanksgiving and don't forget to be thankful this year as there are those way worse off then us on Thansgiving. Remeber their (Iraq) Thanksgiving starts shortly today for us.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

Well, for those of you who don't know I was MEDEVAC'd last Friday for my knee. First I went to Baghdad an army hospital. I got to see the President of Iraq there. Other than that they were pretty bad. They took my vitals and stuck me in a chair, didn't help me with my bags and left me there for 18 hours. There were other marines with me too! Most of them worse off than me. The one LCPL needed pain meds for a bad polynidial cyst, I had Mortin the good corpsman I am and some percocet to relieve his pain just a little. I ended up nurturing this LCPL all the way til yesterday! Then from Baghdad I flew on a Blackhawk (pretty neat) to Balad. Baghdad was bad, but quiet. Balad was the air force, they took really good care of us. I was given a litter on the ward, they helped me shower with my bum knee and fed me well. There was incomin rounds there too. The staff there was pretty new to Iraq and the sound of incoming scared them all to death. That is when I realized how immune I was. I just layed there watching forest gump with my new friend the LCPL. He and I giggled at them running around with flaks and Kev's on. They wanted us to get under our litter, we didn't comply, but they were to busy to notice. In Balad it was tents. In Baghdad it was a nice very nice hospital in the green zone. That night (Sun) I left Balad for a MEDEVAC flight on a C141 to Germany. We loaded up, I on a litter and the LCPL I recently adopted. It only took 45 mins for the red lights of darkness to turn to white. I feeling of relief went over us all, some even clapped at the fact that we were in the safe zone. I landed in Germany that Monday AM early. It was a long day of hospital check in and I saw another ortho doc. He agreed with my Ortho doc in Fallujah, the one in Baghdad, and the one in Balad. I have to have surgery for a lateral/medial miniscal tear. So Monday I leave for the states. First to Bethesda, then to Illinois, then to California. Yes stupid California. My CO in Corpus fought for me not to have to go there, but he called me and said he lost. So the marines want to see my face one more time, and I have to see ANOTHER ortho doc there. Geez after all these visits they better be right about my knee. I watch the news here in Germany and thank God I am not in Fallujah. I think about HM1 G everyday!! I wish I could have brought him with me. I sent him a box on my MEDEVAC, I wonder if he ever got it?? I hope so. It has been a long journey and still more to come. Eventually I will make it back though, more fortunate than others. They treat you like a hero here in Germany. They give you sweats and t-shirts. The Marines met me and that LCPL on the C141 and have helped us ever since. Unlike the other branches, coming here as really taught me about the corps and the brotherhood invloved in it. They gave me $250 and took me shopping. I got to go out once to eat too!! It is nice here. There is green grass, mountains, and changing leaves are so beautiful. The metal silverwear, unlike the plastic in Iraq was hard to get used to again. You can taste the metal. The sounds of doors slamming makes us all jump. The tornado alarm went off here giving us all a heartattack. Sounded just like the bomb alarm in Iraq. There is alot to get used to again. Crowds and loud noises are not welcome amongst any of us. The injured keep coming by the bus loads. Everyday there has been 50 or 60 patients arrive. Some are okay, but most go to the ICU and can't breathe on their own. Desert cammies separtes the heros from the zeros. That is what they say here. To all those who wrote me and sent boxes. I signed a memo to the commanding officer before I left. If the box was labeled Keystone, BFS, SOldier angels, ETC. Then it could be opened by the chaplain and passed out amongst the troops at mass. Thanks to everyone for caring about me. Leaving my compadres in Fallujah was the hardest thing I have ever done. I felt like a loser, like I let them down. It helps to be here in Germany, they remind us daily that we are somebody.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY

Today we learned about the Qu'ran, the bible for muslims. I don't know why we learned about it, but it was force fed into our little brains. We got to see their praying mats and learn their ritual of holiday routine for ramidan (sp wrong). Some of it was interesting, we learned about the 5 pillars to their religion. Other interesting points was that the marine corps birthday, which is in Nov., is their day that proves to them by God how the rest of the year will be. Interesting. Well, we have had incoming and outgoing, both patients and rounds. Recently we had an incoming rocket attack. Of course I was outside in the most inopportune place. The only way to get quickly into the building was to low crawl under that stupid constantina wire we had to put out only days earlier. I had just got a shower 15 minutes before that, too! Needless to say, my healing knee was far from healed and didn't agree with the crawling at high speed very well. Spoke to the ortho surgeon and he said definetly a torn lateral and medial miniscus. We are going to decide tommorrow when to do surgery, he was giving me time to soak it all in. They can't do the surgery here because the equipment necessary is to heavy to have in Iraq. So, who knows what happens next. I was so shook up from the rocket attack, as I took role, which I have to do every attack, I forgot people's names. It was like the info just jumped out of my head with the bombings. Since my last post we had a mass casualty, for those who know what that means. Yet, another image etched in my soul forever. One of the patients had shrapnel go through his eye, another lost legs, and yet another an arm. Pretty scary stuff. One of the patients brother is also out here and ran into the building, which at this point was not a pretty sight. The sand leading to the building had trails of blood, marines coming all ways, helicopter, tank, AAV, HWMMV, however, even walking left those trails in the dirt. The floors and walls were marked severly with blood from those marines that day. I felt so bad for the brother, it was so busy that by the time I noticed him, he had seen way to much. He was searching frantically throughout the building for his brother. I sat him down in another room and explained to him his brothers injuries and that he was going to have surgery shortly. I then took him to see him. They screamed and yelled, they cried together, they prayed together. While in surgery his brother gave blood for him. It was the most precious thing. The halls, even now that they are quiet, smell of blood and bleach. The smell just hits you each time you open the entrance door. One of my marines was in the bathroom (head) and so was an Iraqi Contracter, while he was leaving the Iraqi jumped him from behind and pushed him to the ground knocking him out just feet away from the clinic. I swear we are sleeping with the enemy. The mail has made its way this week pretty steadily. We received boxes from the USO to share. I also finally received two of my hubby's boxes. MP3 player from home with my home music already downloaded, beautiful pictures of Coda (he is SO big), food, and well needed flashlights! Good job honey! Thanks!

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Have not written.

Honestly just haven't been in the mood. I am very down in the dumps. It has been crazy here. Not with patients, thank God, just with protecting ourselves. Tonight we had mass and a memorial for a marine killed in action. It was harder than even a regular funeral or memorial. His rifle and Kevlar (helmet) laid on the table with a minimal amount of pictures. Each Marine and Sailor one by one went to the table and touched his dog tags. Once again brought the reality of war to each individual's heart. Today we built fighting positions. They cleared the bottoms of all the trees and shrubs removed so no one can hide in them. Texas barriers were put around the building and we filled sand bags to fill in the spaces between, so no light shows. All the windows were taped and covered with plywood. We put constantina wire around everything!! We parked our 7 tons around the building and where we couldn't park them put spare large semi truck tires filled with sandbags....WHY you ask? Well, In light of what is going on out there in the city, the iraqis tried to drive their car through our building....Then they came barging in three days in a row--- we almost shot them....So now we have pulled out all the stops. .......There have been several attempts on a ground attack for the camp-- all were stopped less than a block down from us. So we are prepared to fight back. It was like building to play war when you were a little kid. At night it is like the fourth of July. Explosions and flashes from muzzles are heard and seen in the sky. The prominant sound of a plane always means a house is going down somewhere. Shortly after the plane flys over, the ground vibrates. You rarely hear the sound of the explosion, but the vibration is something that will never be forgotten. There has been a lot more outgoing lately, which seems to slow up the incoming mortars and rockets. Doesn't stop them though. According to the news we haven't gone into Fallujah yet, just the outskirts and we are threatening to. We will see what the future holds. Today we took a group photo, we all spelled out the words BRAVO with our bodies and an aerial shot was taken. They tend to use this for a holiday greeting card, one per family. I don't know why, you can't see our faces. My family wants to see me, not a bunch of cammies that spell BRAVO. Three semi trucks full of mail arrived today. It will be sorted out tomorrow, we will see what it has in store for us. This is the largest amount of mail yet. This may be all the mail for awhile. As things heat up supplies and mail tend to stop. The little pump that could decided it couldn't again. I did laundry today and finished in the nick of time. The pump stopped minutes afterward, my clothes were still wet on the line. The plumber flew the coup, guess he couldn't hack it anymore. So who knows when the little pump will again. Most people won't touch it, since there are leaches everywhere there is water here, even in the shower tiles! The mice population noticed the cooler weather at night and relocated to our hooch. Everyone has seen a mouse or two. Traps have been set. Last night we let a cat in the hall and locked it in there, he ran around like a fool most of the night. I was glad, cause they got a taste of what they sound like during the day when I am trying to sleep. I really thought it had cooled off, I was in sweats and a sweatshirt lastnight, when I looked up at the thermometer and it read 85 degrees!! Crazy, we all felt so cold. We are used to 130 degrees. I finally am caught up on mail, meaning I have written everyone that has written me. I got an envelope the other day with no letter, but One Green Body Armour shirt. It was perfect. I wanted one of those so bad, but they are rather costly. I was very grateful. Coda got his Halloween costume, he is going to be a Dalmation. Tony said it was the only thing that fit at the store, but he looks cute. Sent Coda a Halloween Care package. It was perfect for his age, there wasn't one thing that he couldn't use in it. Also, sent Coda a leapfrog Toad that sings and likes to be hugged. Tony says he loves it. He also said I sucked cause I did so good buying him a gift from so far away :) .

Monday, October 11, 2004

Keystone's Package

Well the mail truck rolled in this time. Everyone was so happy, there were so many boxes. I am still missing packages from my family and friends. I did however recieve a wonderful package from keystone. I did not see a card in there to write a thank you so I am posting it here. It was a small box filled and placed inside a larger box, covered with roles of toilet paper, YEAH! I became real popular when I opened that box. Luckily for the goodies we were extremely busy today, I didn't even get any sleep. I went to bed at 9 and then some idiot decided last night to steal 200 phone cards out of the gunney's desk. They made us muster at 1 so they could yell us as and make us find the cards. Then again at 3, 4, and 4:30. Finally the cards appeared on a table outside, even then 40 were missing they said. Nothing I hate worse than a thief and a liar, that is great for morale. Our punishment is no Internet usage for the whole company. You see the cards were in the Commanding Officer's office, where there are four computers that the enlisted staff can use at night. Now I have to lock them up and sit on the keys until morning. Makes me feel bad and guilty that I can still email when they can't. There is another place to email but it is a long, long, walk, and at night the girls aren't allowed out after 9 (another unfair rule). They only made the enlisted folks muster, not the officers. I really didn't appreciate that since that was my sleep time. I wouldn't doubt if an officer wasn't the one who took it to begin with, ironically found on a table outside of where the OFFICERS live. Maybe it is lack of sleep talking but that seemed unfair to alot of us. At 430 we had to take a mandatory photo, I am sure to look pretty in that one! Today is Columbus day, while America is off of work and Canada is celebrating their thanksgiving, I am here! So when all was said and done, I snuk the box down to HN Val's room and we rummaged through it happily together. She and her roommate don't have nearly the items most do. We split the box up between the three of us. Everyone was so happy. There are still a few that have not recieved any mail not even a letter, but for the most part everyone was happy. Val and I received 8 letters a piece from BFS and Soldier Angels. She was so excited about the letters. She read each one aloud to me at work, I didn't tell her that some of mine were the same letters, I just let her read. Keystone's box was filled to the max: batteries, phone cardS, toilet paper, gatorade, sanitizer, food, candy, power bars, granola bars, pop tarts, CEREAL, gum, CD, beef jerkey, sunflower seeds, deoderant, chap stick, etc. Some of those items no one has sent yet. Hot items here are hand sanitizer, TP, microwavable food, phone cards, batteries AA, powder gatorade, POP tarts and CEREAL! They did awesome. I shared as usual, but only with the junior guys (shhh don't tell). Tonight she and I are running on E. We are so very tired. Still busy, but right now it is slow, THANK GOD!

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