Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It’s Like Déjà vu All Over Again

Sorry I haven’t blogged in some time, I’ve been lacking inspiration. Every day seems to bleed (no pun intended) into the next. We haven’t had a mass casualty situation since the Osprey crash and probably had more than most year-long deployments with the two that we worked through so far. We continue to receive casualties, mostly Afghans, one and two at a time and they all seem to have the same types of injuries and even look the same with their faces covered with blood. I can’t post the pictures I’ve taken (they are for educating medical personnel when I return to the states), but I was going through them last week and had to start putting special captions on them because I was having trouble distinguishing one casualty from another. It’s getting to be like Groundhog Day, without all the laughs from Bill Murray.

One thing that broke up the monotony last week was a visit from a Navy Psychiatrist. He travels around Afghanistan to assess Navy deployer’s psychological well-being. He’s been researching care for the caregiver for several years and has a lot of experience in this arena. He spent three days at FOB Lagman just walking around the FST engaging folks in casual conversation. Then he provided a short presentation on caregiver stress and had the FST complete a survey. It was eerily similar to Dr Sidney Friedman’s visits on the TV show MASH. His visit didn’t do much for me, I kinda knew what he was up to, but I do think he was helpful for some of our other team members. The biggest thing I took home from his presentation was that, in his experience, medical personnel from small teams like ours will "destroy" each other long before the “bad guys” ever will; and it usually starts to occur around the half-way point of the deployment which is right around the corner for us. I can sort of see it starting, but I think we are too good of a team to let it happen. I know I’ll do my best to not let it happen. One of our goals from the beginning was that everyone, EVERYONE, will cross the finish line together.

Also one of our Surgeons, Dr. Henry “Hank” Zielinski (a proud Pole Judeburger), celebrated his 60th birthday on 29 April. That’s not a misprint, he turned 60! The guy is amazing. Followers of this blog might remember me writing about the days of training we went through at Fort Jackson - much of it wearing that damn IBA, and me complaining about it along with many other things. Well I don’t remember Doc Z, as he’s commonly referred, complaining once…about anything…ever! And he’s freakin’ 60 years old! Oh yeah, and he volunteered for this mission. He really has been an inspiration to everyone on the team. In a show of rebellion against his aging Doc Z decided he was going to shave his head so he could look more like his “hero” John Eckenrode – his words, not mine. When I presented him his birthday card at morning muster that day I, of course, used a Steelers reference. A couple of years ago, it may have been at Media Day for Super Bowl XLIII, I can’t remember exactly, Coach Tomlin was talking about the Steelers’ tight end Heath Miller, #83. A reporter asked him if Miller was the most low-maintenance player on the Steelers team and Coach Tomlin, without missing a beat, replied, “Low-maintenance? He’s no-maintenance.” And that’s Doc Z, no-maintenance. An interesting final note about Doc Z is that he is actually a Knight. He was dubbed Sir Henry Zielinski by The Order of Malta. Here is a link about the order if you are interested:


Not that he didn’t look great with hair, but how cool does Sir Henry look bald?!?!?!

I got another care package from Judi with some things I needed and, of course, a few surprises. This time she sent a 43 T-shirt and magnet. Below is a pic of me in the shirt. Gotta love her!!! And thanks to Barbie for the Wasabi Soy almonds – love ‘em!

Some of you may not be aware that poor Cowher doggie had some swelling in one of his paws that was causing him to limp. Judi took him to the vet who said he just had some shoulder arthritis and prescribed an anti-inflammatory medicine. He’s much better now.

I want to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all the mom’s out there, especially Judi and my mother, Ginger. It a Mother’s Day tradition that my family takes Ging to one of her favorite restaurants – Luigi’s in Clymer, PA. Sorry I can’t make it this year, maybe when I get back in September.

Take care,



  1. John, I can't believe that you had to go all the way to afghanistan to get yourself an admirer! Tell Doc Z I don't know what he looked like before the haircut, but the bald look looks great.
    We miss you. Planning the beach trip is not as much fun without you in it. Kenz keeps saying Uncle goober has to come to the beach.
    You know we will all miss you. but we will plan a weekend trip when you come home. So put aside some time.
    I have some magazines to mail out, hopefully this week so you all will have some reading to do. Did you hear that Kenz now is the proud owner of kitty named sunshine. so now I have a cat in the house also. fun fun
    take care and god bless

  2. hey nance! i did hear about the kitty. judi told me a hilarious story about kenzie in the driveway in her diaper with the kitty on a leash. wish i could have seen her. i can't thank you enough for helping judi with the move!!! those magazines are like crack over here.

  3. Would you ever want to feel better on your own, especially in a stressful situation? Heal yourself in a minute: www.Know-Reason-Love.com


    Dan Noel