Saturday, August 08, 2009

I beg your pardon?

SPC C and I got back from LANDNAV on Thursday and I took him to one of the small eateries on post to get lunch. It took an hour to get our food, even though there weren't that many people in the place. The food wasn't even all that good.

About an hour later, the floodgates of my G.I. tract opened, and I was constantly on the move.

Besides being uncomfortable, and really annoying (especially having to leave class several times), that condition concerned me because of the fact that we were supposed to do IVs in Combat Lifesaver (CLS) class Thursday night. I didn't want to have collapsed veins to begin with, which would make it more difficult for a classmate to start an IV in my arm.

After having exerted myself significantly on the LANDNAV course that morning (it was pretty warm, we had lots of hills and valleys to traverse while wearing full battle-rattle, and so I perspired a lot), the added dehydration wasn't going to help the conditions of my veins. So I went to the Battalion Aid Station (BAS) to see if they'd stick me with an IV in my hand (more painful than in the arm, but wouldn't preclude a bag in the arm later).

They were sympathetic, but told me I really needed some loperamide (Imodium, I think) to stopper thing up first. Otherwise, the infusion of liquids really wouldn't help. They gave me a slip which would get me into the Troop Medical Clinic (TMC) on post.

I showed up at the TMC at 1550 (3:50 p.m.), and was welcomed by the NCO at the front who called out, "Hey! Who forgot to lock the front door? Oh, it's a Captain." The other three people there laughed.

I showed them my slip from the BAS and indicated I was concerned about dehydration, and asked if they'd give me some loperamide and stick me. At that point the O-5 (LTC nurse practitioner appeared) and explained that there were various foods I should be eating which would help.

"With all due respect, Ma'am, we're *here*, and the chances of me getting most of what you've mentioned are slim-to-none."

"Well, tell them up at the DFAC that the Nurse Practitioner from the TMC says you have to have a couple of bananas and some dry toast. Besides, we're not going to stick you because then someone would have to stay past closing time, which is right now."

No exam of any kind; no blood pressure or pulse rate measured; no loperamide, even.

The guy in the pharmacy offered me some Pepto-Bismol, which I gratefully accepted, and then I left because I needed to go again.

I was speechless, which doesn't happen often. Our unit had a difficult time out at the ranges with people suffering from dehydration, so one might have thought the TMC folks would be tuned into those kinds of concerns....

Oh well.

I had two Soldiers stick me during class that night (once in each arm; everybody was a first-time "GO" in our class), so I did get some fluids (which did help me to feel better).

Oh, and the DFAC was out of bananas that night.

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ

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Unknown said...

Now you have more evidence of why so many jokes are told of the way the military operates when it comes to human need. Machines they apparently do well with..maybe! People?? Aren't they made of lead, and moved around on game boards??? You did survive, and get hydrated. Thank you, God, for the seemingly bad, and thank you, God, for the seemingly good!" Blessings!

Mary Coady said...

Tim, send me your current address ASAP.

I'll buy greenish bananas tomorrow and ship them Fed Ex which means they should be ok to eat when they arrive. How many would you like? Also dry Swedish crackers will come your way as long as I have an address. They're not exactly warm toast and butter, but they're dry carbs and have helped me through stomach flus in the past. Please send the address through private email (you know it). Do you have access to something that will heat food? I can send you boxed chicken stock also.


Anonymous said...

Father Tim:

This is one of the most egregious examples of unprofessional behavior I have ever heard of. However, the solution set should be quite obvious, especially since you were dealing with a more senior officer.

Smile graciously, look her straight in the eye, and say, "Ma'am, I will be happy to leave the MFT as soon as you provide me a signed note that you are refusing to examine or treat me. I need something to turn back in to my Battalion chain of command to explain my absence and my medical condition."

I suspect her attitude would have changed rapidly. If not, you have written evidence. If she refused to sign and demanded you leave, I would offer to leave under escort of the MPs. They would then be able to verify your treatment (or lack thereof) to your chain of command and to the Post Commander.

This MTF's response to your situation is reprehensible and I sincerely hope that you filed a formal complaint through your chain of command. Without it, it is unlikely to be fixed, and this 'officer and leader' (I use the phrase quite derisively) is unlikely to receive the negative attention her actions fully justify. Further, I am horrified at the lack of professionalism exhibited by the NCOs on duty at the time. There were plenty of opportunities to do the right thing, and every individual present failed to do it. If you have not reported it, you have an obligation to do so with alacrity so no other Soldier will be treated with such obvious disdain.

Kanani said...

I'm sorry. But here's where the surgeon's wife and clinical manager in me just gets really pissed off.

Doesn't matter to me if she's military or not, what she was PROFESSIONALLY OFF THE MARK.

Had she done this in private practice, she'd of been subject to the scorn of people like me who say: dehydration is a life threatening situation. If you can stick and stabilize the patient within 2 hours he or she will be fine.

Sorry O-5 NP if you're reading this. But you know damned well what you did was wrong, and if this were my practice your hairy ass would be leaving the nursing profession altogether. Come apply at any hospital I'm near when you get out, and believe me, I'll be there to shred your CV.

seg said...

Gotta love that government health care dontcha?

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