The brother of a serviceman over in Fallujah right now passes this e-mail from his brother along:
Hello from Camp Fallujah!
I thought I would write to everyone so that the only information you get
isn’t from the Communist News Network. For security reasons, they shut
down the internet for a while and they still have the phone center
closed so I can’t call for awhile. When I get an opportunity, I will
phone some of you and let you know in person that I am OK.
Much of this is excerpted from a letter I wrote to [name deleted] earlier. If you
get a chance, please give her a call. The appliances have been
rebelling as usual. It seems that whenever I deploy a major appliance
decides to act up. I am not sure why. I don’t think that the
appliances were abused or had any sort of developmental problems. But
for some reason, they get together, draw lots and one decides to have a
major meltdown. I think we will have to be like Woody Allen and have a
meeting of all the appliances to lay down the law. Anyway, the dryer
decided to overheat and without [name deleted] noticing that something smelled
funny we might have had a major fire.
As you can imagine we have been quite busy. If you look at the news it
is generally pretty accurate about casualties from what I can tell. The
ER docs and surgeons have been extremely busy in the last 2 days. I
have been helping [name deleted], the ER doc with doing triage and managing
pt flow as I don’t have that many patients. I did see several in the
last couple of days and business is starting to pick up, but I
anticipate that my real busy time will be after all this latest battle
is over. I did see an interesting pt with multiple concussions today
and have admitted him to the ward to observe so I am contributing to the
As you can imagine, life here is quite intense recently. There is a lot
of outgoing artillery fire and the fight is moving closer to us as it
progresses. You shouldn’t worry though because we are well protected
and there are multiple perimeters around us.
I don’t know whether I have told you this before, but there are a lot of
former interns who rotated with me here. They are both physician
assistant students and battalion surgeons. It is kind of fun to see
them and rewarding to work again as a team.
Today, I took a shower, changed underwear, socks and uniform and feel
like a new man. As I was walking from the shower trailers today, I had
a little laugh to myself about the pervasiveness of Disney in our lives.
I was humming the song from Beauty and the Beast, “I’ll be human again.
I’ll be human again.”
Casualty flow has been pretty steady today. Not like yesterday, but
still some significant stuff to deal with. My two roommates are the two
general surgeons and they are really nice guys. I feel kind of bad that
they are up most of the night sometimes while I get to sleep through the
night and have regular hours. Even so, in a short time my time will
come and they will be goofing off so we will see how that goes.
I have two psychologists working here. [Name deleted] is from San Diego
and he is fairly newly licensed. [Name deleted] is from Okinawa and she
is still doing post-doc hours. They are very good and I enjoy working
with them. I have been trying to get out and be more integrated with
the medical staff and I think this will pay off later on. We have three
psych techs. They are each characters in their own right. All of them
have a ready supply of quotes from movies to fit the occasion. I feel
my age when I have no clue what they are referring to. This is a pretty
good crew and when we get time, I hope to impart a little of my
experience to them. It will be interesting to see what happens when
this recent push is over.
Today, we had a rather touching moment. November 10th is the Marine
Corps Birthday. Around mid-morning there was the sound of bagpipes in
the triage area. A Marine in cammies, flak and kevlar played amazing
grace and the Marines hymn. It wasn’t the best bagpipe playing I’ve
heard, but it was fitting. We all stood at attention. When he was
finished we applauded and then went back to work. The corpsmen painted
a large piece of plywood red and then lettered in gold, “Happy 229th
Birthday Marines.” It is a great bunch of folks here.
I have to say that on a day like today, the Marine Corps Birthday, I
have never been more proud to be a Navy Medical Officer. We are doing
the most important thing that we can do, which is to provide the best
possible treatment for our Marines, soldiers and sailors who have been
wounded in battle. It is pretty amazing that anyone who makes it to us
alive has survived. Anyway, I just want you all to realize that our
guys are doing a great job.
I am hoping the demolition will be complete soon and they can get
started on building the new Fallujah Walmart.
Semper Fi guys,