Borderline Tolerance

Filed under: — lana @ 10:42 am

A few weeks back my Soldiers and I were doing some physical training. This 0600 adventure consisted of a short run and upon return they did various arm and abdominal exercises. Granted, the arm and abdominal exercises were not exactly conventional nor were they particularly easy, but I have a nasty tendency to take out my boredom on those unfortunate enough to become my Soldiers.

One of my Soldiers likes to think of himself as old. I admit, he looks old. In his late 30’s, he tends to be the epitome of the age-old question “Why the hell did you join the military?” because he looks to be about 50, hates doing anything tactical, is extremely anti-social, and is apparently way closer to death than any of us expected.

I found out that morning as I led them through what is almost a standard physical training session. Run out to one of the further aircraft hangars and back, do push-up drills which are complicated to explain and harder to accomplish, alternate with some abdominal exercises until you finish the drills, then finish with 100 sit-ups. It was actually a pretty easy day, because I was tired.

The Old Guy, as he is known around the base, apparently nearly had a heart attack. He sat down to do his sit-ups (several minutes behind the rest of us) and just sat there. He attempted to do one and got very pale. More out of concern for the clean-up it would necessitate should he get sick, I gave him a sick call slip and sent him off to the health clinic where he could get his breath back standing in line with the (on average) 47 other Soldiers who couldn’t/wouldn’t/didn’t-want-to do training that morning.

That day, he came back with an appointment with a pulminary specialist and a note from the doctor that said he was to do physical training at own tolerance. I asked for some clarification, because this is one I have never seen before. My Soldier then explained that the doctor was concerned that enough blood wasn’t getting to my Soldier’s brain during physical training. I became concerned, because I had previously been under the assumption that my Soldier either didn’t have or didn’t use his brain at all, so this meant I would have to revamp my Standard Operating Procedures and that takes a lot of time that I didn’t have at the moment.

I pointed out to him that I would hate for me to be the cause of death for the final group of steadfast braincells that were keeping him walking and breathing, despite the others having long since abandoned ship, so I sent him off to his appointments. He came back and said his next appointment was in a month. I asked for his new profile, anything in writing, that told me what he could do until then. As usual, he had forgotten to ask for one, so back he went. This time, he came back with every option for any type of military physical activity checked “No” and a further reminder that I should only have him do any and all activities within his tolerance. He then wandered off to have a Snickers bar for lunch and gave a condescending look when I reminded him that he is on the overweight program already and would have to watch his nutrition until his heart problem was sorted. His mind almost boggled when I asked him to find a different cardiologist so he could get a full heart exam done within a month, the apparent trauma resulting in his taking another three hours to write a two-page report that read like a fifth grade German was writing an essay in English on what he did for his summer vacation.

I am considering going to this doctor to ask if I can get a profile for myself of a similar nature. While I can still do physical training, as always within my limitations, I actually want one for my sanity:

Exposure to Soldier Stupidity at patient’s own tolerance.

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