December 11, 2008
Letter from Hubby
Dearest Friend. I hope this email finds you well rested and happy. I hope you had a good morning with the kids. As I write this it is about 2am on the 11th of December (your time). It has been 2 months today since I left you and the children standing on the walk, watching me go. It seems like much, much longer than that. I've included a picture of that event from my (Little Boy's) camera that Dave took. I don't know if you've been following any of the email on my AKO (army) account thats been coming through but the commander here has approved my tour curtailment (recall that my orders say I'll be here for 1 year.) Walter Reed sent them a memo officially stating that they were sending Dr. H to replace me. That's really good news. I don't think he has his orders yet, so I don't know yet when I expect to leave here. Hopefully that's something I'll find out in the coming weeks though it may be a bit longer.
I'm doing OK. I have to fight to keep myself from feeling completely marginalized by the Army. I've been here at COP Z for about 1 week and I've seen all of 4 patients. These were for basic things like diarrhea, runny nose, etc. One of the locals brought in an 18 month-old after she drank motor oil. There was nothing I could do except reassure them and tell them to go to the local hospital. She'll probably be fine except for some indigestion. The day they came in was Ede (?sp) which is one of the holiest days of the year for muslims. They claimed that no hospitals in all of Iraq were open. I found this highly suspect and said so. I suggested a few hospitals in the area to which they said they would not go because the father was Sunni and feared for his security. They took the baby and left. There was nothing I could do in my little aid station.
So how do I spend my spare time you ask? Well, you'll be glad to know that each morning I start by making my bed. And I think of you each time I do. It really gives me a sense of pride and well-being. After that, I get dressed. I usually then lace up my boots (which I quite look forward to). You may be asking yourself if lacing of the boots is not part of getting dressed. Well, some may consider it so but I take so much satisfaction in the lacing of my boots (for what else have I to do?) that it's much of like the dessert of getting dressed. I usually then take a breakfast of cold cereal (raisin bran crunch mostly - eaten with soy milk as there is no cow milk available). Next I start reading. Usually I start with the Book of Mormon, then Jesus the Christ or another churchy book. I may listen to my ipod for a while after that. I then try to do some professional reading (neuro-ophth textbook). By this time, lunch has rolled around. For lunch I have an MRE or some other pre-made delicacy. After lunch I may try to read for pleasure but often find myself in need of a nap due the vigorous schedule of the morning. In the afternoon I may run on the treadmill or do some more reading. I also usually shower in the mid-afternoon because by then it's warm enough outside to counter the physiologic effects of an ice-cold shower. Sometime throughout the day I try to check the internet for email, news, etc. I do more reading until dinner at 6pm. By around 7pm, I start checking the phones to find one available. If there's not one available, I may wait until very late to call you. By about 9pm, I'm starting to think about turning in and write a few lines in my journal. I usually watch 1 or 2 episodes of the West Wing before turning in for the night. I try not to watch TV/Movies during the day because I have a tendency to go overboard - as evidenced the other day when I watched most of the 7 parts of the John Adams series in 1 day (it was uplifting though - very good). There are, of course, exceptions to this rule and sometimes I indulge in 3 or 4 consecutive episodes of the West Wing.
I'm struggling to find purpose and meaning for my being here. At the same time, I'm glad the combat tempo is slow enough that the soldiers are not getting hurt (for the most part). I feel strongly that the Lord is aware of me and I hope to be of service in some way. I keep telling myself that it's by the small and simple things that great things are brought to pass.
Well, my dear. I love thee. I truly hope you are doing well. I miss you more than words can say. I can't wait to hold you in my arms, kiss your beautiful lips, hear your cheerful laugh, and see your bright smiling face. I can't wait to be reunited with the children as well. The words "I'm tumming mommy" often run through my mind. I'm sure I will hardly recognize the baby. But I get ahead of myself. I still have 2/3 of the deployment ahead of me. One can hope, though right?
Take care sweet heart. Tell the kids I love them.