Patient Stories and History

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope your week has treated you well.  If it hasn’t at least it’s the weekend right?  I have a super exciting weekend planned.  It involves a bottle of vino and about 600 flashcards.  Reaaaal exciting stuff there. 

Anywho. lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the patients we see everyday and about their stories. I live in a city with over 5 military installations and about one degree of separation from people who are related to, are in, or are retired from the military.  I also just so happen to be learning my new job in a very large military hospital.  The majority of the people I see on a daily basis are retirees or basic trainees and I have to say, they make for very interesting patients. 

The basic trainees are usually fresh from high school.  They’ve never been anywhere but home.  They haven’t held a job other than a part-time one.  They’re eager kids ready to live big and I love the newness that they see military life with.  Of course, I’m not seeing them because they’re healthy which can be depressing if they’re being sent home but if they’re not being sent home, it’s exciting hearing from them what they think their little niche in the Air Force is going to be.  However, my favorite patients are the 75+ year old retirees because those guys and gals have seen it all. 

The Air Force is the youngest service in the United States. 

  • U.S. Army was formed on 14 July 1775
  • U.S. Navy: 13 October 1775
  • U.S. Marine Corps:  10 November 1775
  • U.S. Coast Guard:  4 August 1790
  • U.S. Air Force 18 September 1947

That’s an average of 170 years of separation between us and the other branches.  Talk about an overbearing big sister when she’s 172 yrs older right?  Anyway, my point is that when I get patients who are retired Air Force members born in the 30s, I get excited.  These people are the pioneers of my world. 

During the tests I perform on my patients there can be anywhere between 4-15 mins of waiting which is a lot of awkward silence if I’m not conversational.  So I’ve discovered my two favorite questions are rather simple ones:

Where was your favorite duty station? <- You’d be surprised how much people light up with that one

What did you do in the Air Force?

Last week, I asked a patient what he did in the military and he responded with, “Do you have an hour?”  Open-mouthed smile  Hah! It turns out he was a runner for General Curtis Lemay

general lemay

  • The fifth Chief of Staff of the Air Force
  • He flew the first mass flight of B-17 Flying Fortresses to South America in 1938
  • He developed formation procedures and bombing techniques that were used by B-17 bomber units during WWII
  • Organized operations for the Berlin Air Lift
  • Practically founded the Strategic Air Command

That’s some serious history folks and my reaction?  On the outside I played it cool as a cucumber but on the inside I was thinking

AHHHHHHH!  I have to learn about that guy just to get promoted!!!!  That’s amazing!

Anyway, I’ve had a lot of patients with very cool stories and I’m so excited to meet more.

Before anyone decides to leave any negative comments I’d just like to say that regardless of your beliefs on the necessity of the military, the wars our country fought/fights, and war in general, these people fought for what they believed was worth it.  We have a lot to learn from them and I for one respect the sacrifices they made and continue to make.  I would appreciate your respect here as well. 

Do you know anyone who has served in the military?  Have you got their story yet?

Have a great weekend!


2 thoughts on “Patient Stories and History

  1. So cool! There have been lots of “Happy Birthday, Air Force” commercials and Air Force related movies on AFN here. I was actually at the doctor on post yesterday (for a check-up), and the doctor asked me my favorite duty station. I felt kind of lame since this is our first, so I don’t have a very interesting answer. But when we eventually find ourselves elsewhere, it’ll be cool to be able to say we lived in Germany!

    Do you normally get negative/anti-military comments on your blog? If so, that’s lame. Soldiers are just doing what they are ordered to do, and they serve our country. I have nothing but respect for military members of all branches!*

    • Oh I remember AFN commercials. There were lots of silly safety ones too. Don’t feel lame about this being your first assignment because I love telling people that my first one was in Italy. The rest of them just sort of pile on.

      I don’t normally get them on my blog but I have heard/seen them in real life. I’ve never put anything on the blog that out right supports the military so I just wanted to make sure I stood my ground before anyone decided to write something dumb. Thank you though! 🙂

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