Broken Down

Filed under: — lana @ 9:36 am

At last check, the only fully functional body part between my esteemed husband and myself was a right arm. That means that, in five years of military service, both of us have managed to keep that arm out of trouble.

That’s it.

My right ankle and both feet. His left ankle. His knees and hips. My tailbone. His spine. My left shoulder. His left arm. My head. His head. The results come back Monday for his neck. We can’t wait.

Join the Army. Explore new places and occupy them. Meet exciting foreign people and shoot at them (and get shot at by them). Learn things about yourself, like the tensile strength of the human bone.

He is starting to make his transition to prepare to re-enter the civilian world after more than five years, sparking a hint of jealousy from his ever-supportive-but-still-a-little-cranky wife. His post-deployment medical assessment was a learning experience for the doctors and for him, and I have to remind him that when his doctor says that he shouldn’t even be walking too far pending further evaluation he should probably talk to his command about jumping out of a plane at low altitudes in the coming weeks. But what do I know… He points out that I’m the one who had headaches, memory problems, and strange vision issues after a little impact shoved some foreign matter in my brain around an artery and it took two and a half years for someone to shove a vacuum up my nose to clean out some of the scrambled mess.

People ask if we intend to make the military a career. Lucky for them it takes us too long to get up and get moving these days to make chasing after people who ask that a very effective threat.


Who What Where?

Filed under: — lana @ 2:42 pm

As suspected, the Army seems to be having a little trouble with the tracking chip put into my neck sometime during basic training. That thing must malfunction an awful lot, because as soon as I leave a unit for a little while everything goes a bit haywire. I really ought get the batteries checked.

After a conversation with my First Sergeant, who is well aware of where I am and what is going on and even provides fun suggestions for hotspots in Fayetteville though really I’m not sure I want to or should be attending some of those clubs, it was finally decided that I find a finance office down here and try to straighten out at least some of this travel fiasco. My trip was supposed to be straightforward: Head from Germany to the States, take a class, head back, deal with Xenu later. Instead it turned into head from Germany to the States, get shuffled around, get on different orders to Walter Reed which were supposed to actually send me back to the class after six days even though I was still in the hospital on the day those orders ran out, try to fix those orders which still hasn’t happened, stick around Walter Reed for longer than expected because the pickling solution in my brain was off, head out on unpaid convalescent leave, and I still have yet to head back to Walter Reed and then, eventually, to Germany, to return to finish the class at a time still undetermined but hopefully in November when we can have all this fun again.

What makes it more confusing, as always, is automation. Part of the travel is accounted for on an automated, new, improved, and thoroughly useless travel system. The Walter Reed portion will be accounted for with the old paper system. The leave isn’t accounted for much of anywhere. The flights, which have to be rescheduled, are on the automated part. My government card is out of money and somehow I need to fix that.

So my first sergeant said to head to finance. They got confused and sent me to their headquarters. Their headquarters got confused and told me to go see people in inprocessing. Inprocessing said I don’t belong there and sent me to the main area for the automated system in the hopes that at least I can clear up a little piece of this, which is really all I wanted to do in the first place.

An hour and a half of sitting with the poor lady, who was all by herself today as her collegues were all in training, of course, finally got it to where it “should” be fixed to where I “should” get a partial payment.

“Should” is probably one of the scariest words in the Army. At least if someone is shooting at you, you know what to do, where to be, and which end of the metal boomstick is dangerous. With “Should,” particularly in the context of anything dealing with Army finance, it probably means more along the lines of “I don’t know, but you are probably going to end up worse off then when you came in here.” It means no one knows anything, where they are, where you are, where you are supposed to be, and they certainly have no idea which end of anything is dangerous.

So I let my first sergeant know that at least it “should” be fixed in the hopes that he can work some sort of crazy magic and make something appear on my govermnent card so I don’t have to sleep on the street when I head back to Walter Reed. Goodness knows I can’t walk back in that poor lady’s office or she might try to bludgeon me with the random pieces of pottery and wooden sculpture sitting on her windowsill. I think she considered it once or twice while I was trying to explain to her that all I needed was payment for a rental car and a hotel out in Arizona and I would leave her alone and work out the rest when I got back to Germany, while she was trying to figure out how I ended up at Fort Bragg. I tried to explain that seems to happen a lot recently, but she was busy muttering something and clicking on a lot of little dots trying to make sure I got paid for something somewhere so I didn’t want to interrupt much.

But in all likelihood, my command can figure out something. They should, anyway…


Back Again

Filed under: , — lana @ 8:42 pm

Is there no way to escape this place?

Fort Bragg. Nothing changes. I was here two years ago. I was here last fall. I think one of the restaurants closed and there are probably seven new barber shops along the main roads leading from post replacing the sew shops because with so little sewing to be done and desert boots with the new uniforms there isn’t enough business to keep eight million sewing/boot polishing places open. A tragedy, really.

The restaurant that closed, unfortunately, was a pretty good one. Micro-brewery. A shame. Not like I am supposed to drink, but as usual I assume that means “to excess,” and really, that is quite subjective.

But no one, at least not yet, has stuck a needle in my arm since Monday, which is a lovely change of pace as my track marks start to heal so I can help my husband look for a place to live without getting nasty looks from landlords wondering if I intend to perpetuate my apparent habit while staying on their property. Two of them pointed out the “no illegal activity” clause in the leases specifically while eyeing me rather pointedly.

While I sit here, I have time to figure out things such as how to begin clearing the atrocious amount of money racked up on my government travel card for the sojourns in Arizona and Washington, which caused a little bit of a stink as I was trying to leave the premesis in Washington and was told I couldn’t go anywhere while the front desk tried for an hour to reach the bank in order to authorize my transaction just to check out. I wondered, actually, what they would do if the bank had said no, I couldn’t check out, because they wouldn’t pay yet. Would they then have to let me stay in the room because I was not allowed to leave?

Moving along, I also have time to ponder my remaining years in the Army, which have suffered a slight setback with this little tumor problem. The original plan was simple: go to a course. Graduate. Deploy. Come back. Be a platoon sergeant. Get out. The step missing, the graduation, interfered a tiny bit and now I find myself bound to head back to Germany for about a week and a half before some already-signed-off-on leave, then come back, then maybe a month, then maybe come back to go graduate, then back to Germany, then possibly another trip out for a mandatory school I won’t be able to avoid forever though I will certainly try, then back to Germany, then fingers crossed deploy, then maybe be a platoon sergeant? But what to do in between all of this? I reenlisted for the course and the deployment, so the stink will be large should they attempt to shuffle that around too much. It was not really my fault that five doctors, at last count and probably an underestimate, chatted with each other and avoided chatting with me and yanked me from a class to have a tube shoved into my head. Not so much my choice, but certainly threw a wrench in things.

But then, I know all too well that decisions such as those are made at echelons higher than myself, and sooner or later someone in the Army will let me know what is happening with my future and where I need to be, when I need to be there, and in what uniform. The Army tends to be fairly easy in that way.

Now if I could just find a decent microbrewery left in this state, we might be in business. At least for now.



Filed under: — lana @ 4:45 pm

Ear-tag in place, I am free to move about the country. To a limited extent, anyway.

My sodium levels are right smack on the upper limit of “acceptable,” putting me back in the borderline diabetic category, which is superb for the bottled water industry but really not so nice for me as I feel like a 75-year old getting up several times during the night to either drink water or get rid of water. I do, I point out, prefer the diabetic side of the fence as the other side had me gain ten pounds in a week and then lose it in two days in various not-so-pleasant fashions. But since it is right on the border, the doctor grudgingly allowed me to go since I will be taking thirty days of leave right outside a major military base and therefore can get medical care without a seriously large amount of paperwork should I do things like pass out, have a seizure, or anything else one might notice as being a little off.

Speaking of seriously large amounts of paperwork, the past several weeks have not, unsurprisingly, resulted in a general fixing of my orders. There may actually be several people in the Army wondering what country I am in at the moment and, once determined I am stateside, exactly which state I am in and why. I am sticking with the state of plausible denial at the moment, though I might move to one of general apathy given long enough. The problem is really who will end up paying for what, and with the controllers of my government card already looking for several thousand dollars attached to my name, it might be something nice for someone to figure out. Important people, such as my first sergeant back in Germany and that general command, know where I am and why, but I have a nasty feeling someone in Arizona might be calling my name to an empty waiting room somewhere and the lab technicians in Washington are going to wonder on my whereabouts because they undoubtedly have a needle or three with my name on it ready for the sticking.

But other than the headaches, the general dizziness when I stand up, nausea when I don’t eat for a few hours, odd-colored liquids piddling out of my face from time to time, and the occasional accidental (or so he says) headbutt from my husband to a still painful nose, things are improving day to day. The doctors, unhappy with my admittance to regular attempts at physical activity particularly when I discovered the aforementioned ten pounds or so though it turned out that was all water and chemicals, put me on a profile in which they actually found the few things I was still allowed to do with my almond feet and promptly cancelled those out for the next few months. I am still taking somewhere upwards of ten pills a day with no relief until my return in a month. Then two more weeks of monitoring, scans, and general poking and prodding before they can remove any tracking devices they may have implanted and send me on my way back to Germany, from which I will promptly turn around and take some regular leave.

Good times had by all, if not most, and namely probably not so much by me.

But I should be a gold frequent flyer in no time.

My evaluation report for this year should be entertaining for whomever has to write it.

With all this drama and attention and overall hooplah, one would think I just had brain surgery or something.

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