There is something quite special about military docs. They go into harm’s way to perform miracles on our deployed troops. They work under terrible conditions to save human life and preserve, to the best of their ability, limbs and organs of injured service members. And they can also be goofy and non-military-ish. All the bravery stuff I mentioned first, forget ’bout that, I’d like a share a story or two on the latter.
I was at Medical two years ago for my yearly check-up and a Lieutenant Commander bobbed into the room. Very apprehensive, he had all of one ribbon. The National Defense, the yellow-and-red one. And he carried his cover, a garrison cap. Except his piss-cutter still had Lieutenant bars on it. I (honestly) tried to bring it up several times, to chide him gently. But every time I started, a corpsman came in or he started launching into one of those speeches on “self-inspection.” (Guys know what I am talking about. Ladies, we are not talking about a uniform inspection. Well, perhaps a uniform inspection- in that they should be uniform. ‘Nuff said.) And then he left the room, mismatched headgear and all. I completed the rest of my check-up, then roamed the halls searching for our Doc. No luck. Hopefully, he has upgraded his cover by now.
Second story, very brief. Someone (very close, one generation elder to me) in my family was a Navy doc. And he told me he liked to walk around outside without his cover on. Because I don’t like being saluted! No joke.
The last tale came from my deployment to the beautiful oasis known as Al Udeid Air Base. The doctor was a female Major, an orthopedic surgeon. For some reason, my knee was swelling up. I had played soccer and gotten hit by a soocerball. And the swelling would not go down. She asked what I did physically. I told her both that I liked to run and then how much I ran in miles per week. (I am moderate in my ambulatoriness, I certainly don’t jog marathons.) And she started pyscho-analyzing me! Why do you feel the need to do all this running? Well gee Major, I am in the military. What is compelling you to run? Yes, um, the Navy thing? I was not as blunt as I should have been. Mostly because she was almost accusing me some of malfeasance. And I was flat-footed over her approach. Docs. . .