13 May 2011

Facing fears

I have about 10 minutes to write today's blog post, and I have at least a hundred minutes worth of things to tell you...but here's the fast summary: the best thing about being in Combat Skills Training is that these people make me face my fears head on.

You think I'm kidding...I'm not. Yesterday I had to learn how to insert an IV into a live patient (a friend even - and a friend who I really need while I'm here, so I had to make sure to do it well). We weren't allowed to leave the classroom until we successfully put that IV line in...and I did it. Easy. (Helped that I picked the dude with the biggest veins in the class, but nevermind that).

Today we had the end of our 3-day Combat Life Saver Course. And here's another non-surprise for you...I function best when I'm under pressure. The more significant the pressure, the better. So give me the right training and then put me as a "field medic" in a mass casualty situation and I can triage my heart out, and I'll talk the entire time to make sure I stay calm. Easy. I surprised myself on that one, and that was the best surprise yet.

But what I am never prepared for here is how much there is to learn, and now that I know what my job entails in Afghanistan, I know exactly what I need to focus on here. I tell you what, those 14 hours a day of Wing Exec work-a-thons built endurance like no one's business, but they did nothing to mentally prepare me for combat. This is a whole new ballgame. We're probably working an average of 9 hours a day...a few more if you include PT. But every single minute of those 9 hours tends to be filled with information that could literally save my life. 9 hours doesn't seem like much, but if you saw my face at the end of the day, you'd know that this place is no joke for me.

I can't remember the last time I was this healthy. I also can't remember the last time I could absolutely crush a 5 mile run at 4:30 in the morning. Or out push-up lots of the guys (without cheating). Specific Air Force jobs didn't prepare me for this. So what did prepare me to be here? Race training. And the mental endurance that came from being a German medical experiment for about 2 years of my life. And the thought that there are a few people out there...and you know just who you are...who have come through for me in ways I can't begin to explain. Just knowing that someone is out there cheering for me...even if you don't know exactly what you're cheering for...is a great feeling! Go ahead and keep doing that for another 7 months or so, please.

Did I mention that Rob is going to Kandahar this August? Or that I will see him on Memorial Day weekend? Or that I am leaving this base this weekend to go do more girly stuff than you think is possible? Yes, yes, and YES!

11 May 2011

In case you wondered where I went...

I've been consumed by Army training. I have a bunch of great things to talk about, but the problem is that I don't have enough time to write it all down and put it here for you.

Suffice it for now to say that I have been learning more than I ever thought was possible. And I had what I think was the best leadership conversation I've ever had with an Army Major who is here with me. Sometimes it's nice to hear that I do have more of a clue than I thought...after so many years of bosses who were just plain awful, some positive confirmation was nice.

More soon...hopefully by Friday!

08 May 2011

One of the hardest things

Apparently one of the hardest things about being deployed will be that there are always going to be people around, and yet I will still manage to feel lonely.

I have the greatest friends in the world, and I would rather be with them than basically anywhere else. But here eating every meal with the guys, hanging out with the guys in the afternoons, running with one of the guys most mornings, and now watching the guys act like jerks and doing keg stands is just a little too much for me.

I'm ready for girl time. So next weekend I'm headed to Houston. We have two and a half days off, so I will get in a car, drive to Houston, stop at a shopping mall on the way, go to a wine bar, go to hot yoga two mornings in a row, spend a few hours at the spa, and just do girly things.

Phew. This place is exhausting.