Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Last post

Thanks to everyone for reading my COT blog. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed posting. Stepping back and writing about the craziness gave me a chance to laugh at the ridiculosity  (In the blogosphere  world ridiculosity is actually a word). I'm sure cupping my hands and marching in formations will help me be successful in medical school. COT-out and med school HARCH! OODA LOOP OODA LOOP

observe, orient, decide, act - something they drilled into us at COT

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Bethesda HARCH

Before I fill you in on the next leg of my journey, I feel compelled to revisit some great COT moments.

1. When my flight instructor was teaching us the lesson on sexual harassment, he shared an instance of sexual harassment he experienced. Apparently after he became a new officer, he walked into a break room and a higher ranking female officer commented to another women to look at the hot, new, young officer. We asked him what he did and he replied,"What kind of man would I be if I didn't respect a woman who recognized true youth and beauty". My commander rarely smiled and rarely expressed anything so this was awesome. Another time someone asked him how he got to be a major. He replied, "By shooting people and blowing things up".

2. NOT a waste of time: Whenever we entered DFAC to eat, we had assigned seating with assigned roles. Each table had position 1-4. The position 1 chair faced the serving area, position 2 was to the left of position 1, position 3 was across from position 2, and position 4 was across from position 1. Each person had to put their tray down at their respective positions and wait until position 4 arrived and announced "Be Seated" before all 4 people would be allowed to seat. After all are seated, position 2 and 3 pass napkins to the person on their right, position 1 and 4, respectively. After the napkins are passed, everyone waits for people to pray. There is no talking allowed, no elbows on table, and sit up. It is mandatory to drink 3 glasses of fluid at each meal. No one is allowed to leave the table until everyone has finished eating. Once everyone is finished eating, position 2 and 3 pass their tray contents to position 1 and 4, respectively. After the contents are passed to the right, the now-empty tray is placed under the trays with all the contents. Position1 leaves with the 2 trays. Position 2 takes napkins and wipes the table while position 3 holds up the napkin dispenser. Position 4 waits to take the dirty napkin with the 2 trays. Then everyone walks to the back of the room to walk along the wall to the tray disposal area. DEF not a waste of time.

3. Opus-Dei: In Da Vinci Code (the book, not sure if in the movie) book mentions how people whip themselves to remind themselves of Jesus's pain. In a similar vein, I have this lovely ABU cap that gives me pain to remind me that I am in the Air Force. I wear it with my ABU's. It has a pin in it that shows my rank as 2nd Lt. It is the type of pin with the covers/backings on the inside to cover the sharp pin point.When I put my hat on the backing digs into my forehead. Whenever I put on my cover it digs in and I have 2 matching marks on my forehead. I think this is the Air Force's way of reminding us that we are in the Air Force. The pain keeps it real.

Last night I spent a luxurious night in Embassy Suites with my parents and Bingo. Pillow top mattresses, Showtime on TV, chocolate chip cookies at the check-in counter, yummy big breakfast. We had a ton of stuff plus the baby so it worked out well having a whole suite to ourselves. A couple of my flight members were staying in Embassy with me so I drove them to the hotel with me. They came over for yummy Korean dinner. My mom cooked and brought up Korean dishes. Currently I am staying at Comfort Inn with my mom. We have 6 hours left until we get to Bethesda. Even thought COT is over I may have a few residual entries left in me before I close out. Bethesda HARCH!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Freedom Eve

11:30PM and freedom awaits me in less than 12 hours. Too tired to go into details but in my upcoming last post I will go over things I have forgotten to mention: dining rules, dorm inspection rules, award ceremony, etc etc. Tomorrow will be my last day waking up at 4:30am. FREEDOM HARCH!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Recovery Mode

So I spent the day confined to quarters per my doctor's orders. After seeing the doctor and grabbing breakfast I slept most of the day. It felt nice to relax but was difficult to wake up for our dine-in at 4. I've been watching NCIS throughout the day bc one of my flight mates had a season on DVD. It is pretty cheezy and I don't even really like it but when you have no other options it is pretty appealing. It's bc of my COT goggles.....everything looks better when you're at COT. Some of the ladies and myself were judging the COT men and deciding if they were hot or if they were COT-hot. COT-hot means that we were judging with our COT goggles on. It's bad to be superficial but it's worse to pretend you're not. I admit I'm superficial.

I think part of why I wanted to go to the dine-in was just to wear make-up. I never really loved make-up but not having it is a little weird. I feel like a guy....well an extremely short, weak guy. The AF really strips us of our femininity. I always thought of myself as a little bit of a tomboy. But the AF has made me realize how much of my girliness makes up my identity.

Dinner at the dine-in was amazing. I don't really even like filet mignon but if I didn't drag my butt to the officer's club it would be MRE/DFAC. In case you don't know, MRE is meal-ready-to-eat and DFAC is our dining facility. Neither is desirable. TRIED TO MAKE ME GO TO DFAC...I SAID NO! NO! NO! (think Rehab and Amy Winehouse but we call our version Detox. I'd post the lyrics but they're a little too awesome to share.) I don't remember if the closed parentheses goes after the period or before. Luckily this is a blog so you probably care less than I do. Anyways a lot of random people have been asking me how I am. I appreciate the sentiment but I now realize just how many people saw me in my terrible state. I think I have some pictures from the hospital so I think I'll have to post them on facebook soon. You guys can meet Buddy. He's an overweight baby whose picture was on a portion of my EKG machine. We spent some time together. Fat babies are cute and all but aren't love handles overboard???

We have class one privileges which means we no longer have to march, except for parade practice. I believe we can talk in the hallways and bathrooms now too. You'd never think you want to talk to someone in the bathroom until you no longer have that freedom.  Graduation is this Friday. 3 DAYS LEFT HARCH!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Hospitalization :(

So if you read my previous post you recall that I was hoping that I would be able to avoid Blue Thunder which is a 2 night, 3 day camping experience complete with a large scale ropes course. Well we dodged the first night due to lightning but we had to roll out early this morning with the intention to stay out there until tomorrow afternoon. Luckily it was a scorching 102 degrees with heat index making it at least 110. My flight was last in line for the ropes course and my partner and I were last in our flight to go up. It was a lot more physically challenging than I thought it would be. I started to get really scared on the last leg. I had to Tarzan across from a ledge into a net and then climb up so that I could zipline down. The problem was climbing off of the net. I had absolutely no more energy left and I could not pull myself up. There were two instructors at the top but I couldn't get my body high enough for them to pull me up so another instructor climbed up the net after my repeated attempts failed. He boosted me far enough up so they could pull me up to the top. I ziplined down but I had already spent a long time up in the air at this point. It is a ropes course with an assembly line so it is stop and go traffic. We make it through one ropes obstacle and then we wait for a ledge to be free then we move again so it is a lot of waiting in heat while very high up.

After I got down I was exhausted and drenched with sweat. This time my left hand had a cut so I got water and some band-aids. I did not feel so great but I assumed everyone felt that way in the heat so I brushed it off. No one wants to be the whiner when everyone else is going through the same thing. Unfortunately I was unable to walk in a straight line. I kept drinking from my camel pack (in case I haven't mentioned it before, my camel pack is a little black pouch that I wear like a backpack. It is filled with water and we have to wear it almost everywhere). My wingman kept asking me if I was ok and helping me but I kept claiming that I was ok. We stopped at the bathroom and I sat on the floor for a bit before we went to our tent to get our MRE's. My walking was getting more and more difficult and I was steadily losing energy. I sat down under the pavillion with the rest of my flight and the rest of the students who were finishing up their lunches. I had no energy to eat and my speech was slurred and slow. I was dizzy and kept looking around very disoriented. I tried to eat some trail mix but I couldn't lift the food up to my booth so I dropped my head onto my chest to decrease the distance from hand to mouth. That helped a little but it raised the suspicion of everyone around me even higher. As my ability to talk continued to deteriorate they called someone over and they took me into an airconditioned warehouse and laid me down on a couch.

I didn't know this but apparently my body was extremely hot and was not cooling down in the air conditioning. One person squirted water on me, a couple of people started putting ice packs all over my body, and two people started fanning me. The doctor put an IV in me and they called an ambulance. They asked me my name, where I was, and what day it was and I could barely answer. The day of the week question is when I started to panic. Realizing that I did not know the answer was pretty scary. After about 5 minutes I was able to say that it was Monday but only after I said I thought it was Wednesday. I figured I could guess something and hopefully get it right, there were only 7 options.

A guy in my flight went with me to the hospital. Luckily he's a doctor already so I felt a little bit better about him being my wingman (some more AF lingo for ya). The IV was helping me to get my bearing a bit. Our base doesn't have a hospital so I went to the city hospital. Once there they took my stats, some blood tests, urine sample. I don't know the exact names of tests (I'll learn that in a few years :) but a test measuring heat illness showed that I was on the border of being in serious danger and if I had been out there any longer I would have had to be admitted overnight.

I was discharged about 4:00 pm and advised to stay in areas where temps below 80 degrees which meant I had to stay indoors. Unfortunately since we just came from the course, we had nothing on us. No cell phones, cash, phone #'s to call etc. We have to keep our pockets empty on ropes course. Luckily we had our camel backs which had our ID's in them and my wingman had his debit card which we needed to pay for the taxi back to base. We were expecting that nobody would be at the dorms since they would be camping out but we were surprised to see everyone on base. After I went to the emergency room, 9 more people had to be rushed to the emergency room with heat illness so they cancelled the rest of the day and sent everyone back to dorms. That is the chocolate ice cream part. The vanilla ice cream part (the bad part) is that we have to go back out tomorrow to finish up the rest of the outdoor scheduled activities. I have to report to the base dr tomorrow for a check up to see if I will be going out to Blue Thunder but I'm hoping that I can stay in. I feel like I felt right after my flu ended. Just extremely weak, recovering....

There is lots more to tell yall but I need to rest so I might be writing a lot tomorrow while I stay hunkered down in my bed. Fingers crossed. Good luck to me HARCH!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

God smiled on me

Today we were supposed to leave for Blue Thunder which is a two night camping experience. Supposedly it simulates a deployed environment in which we sit around and do nothing. I've heard that in the middle of the night we are "attacked" and we have to deal with the "attack". I believe attack = firecrackers. Before even going I've been thinking of just not doing anything during the attack and laying there. After all it is "just COT". In this case I think it would be awesome to be the fake dead person. You can just lay there. THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID! But I don't feel like having a commander yelling in my face. Then again, no commander is as short as me and I'd imagine that it would be hard to bend over and consistently yell into my face so maybe that will deter some of the misplaced rage.

Moving onto the good news.....drumroll......due to a lightning warning, we did not leave for the Blue Thunder campsite today and instead were able to enjoy some more 2nd class privileges and eat off base. This is why I am able to write to you. An additional plus is that we only have to deal with 3 MRE's. MRE's are as heavy as they are delicious.....wait no that's not right. I mean that MRE's are not delicious and they ARE heavy. I don't have any pictures but think of the giant Army green duffel bag filled to the brim. Then imagine that bag on my back. I can't even really see me with it on but the image makes me laugh so I know you're smiling now. Unfortunately I just found out that I can't upload pictures here so check out my facebook page for all corresponding pictures.

Tomorrow the first buses leave at 5am. I do not plan to be on the first bus. I overheard some people talking about how they wanted to make sure they were first on the bus. These overachievers don't realize that it's "just COT". Like I always say "Aim Low, end up average". First thing we have when we get there is a ropes course. Supposedly it is really intense and takes about an hour. Since I am such an athletic person....PAIN HARCH!!!! I'm hoping that I will make it through ok. Supposedly there is a point where you can stop right after you ascend and you can get down if you freak out. Since we have a harness I think I will be ok but we will see. I'm hoping I will not be paralyzed by fear again.

Just to backtrack a little, yesterday a bunch of us volunteered with Habitat for Humanity. We went with our sister flight. Myself and two others from my flight went and had a blast. It was kind of like our leadership obstacle course stuff but not getting graded therefore automatically made it more awesome.

My morale was low on Thursday after I failed my leadership test, then on Friday I got a lil tipsy at the officer club orientation and my morale went up. Then I got paid on Friday and my morale went up little more...but then I realized that I was still here at COT and my morale came full circle to low again. To sum up, morale is back into the red. 4.5 days left HARCH!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Unknown fear

So I never thought I was afraid of heights but it is a different story (no pun intended) when there are no barriers to keep you from falling. I can't go into the details completely since these obstacles are "top-secret" but I had to be on a high wall and cross water. That was yesterday. Today I ended up on a high wall again and was again gripped with fear. No way to know until you try I guess. Luckily I think the worst has passed. We have a ropes course coming up but I don't have a problem if something is supporting me, such as a harness. I think part of the problem was that I had too much time to look down and fixate on how ez it was for me to fall.

Today I hit the MRE (meals ready to eat) jackpot. I got m&m's and pretzels. Yesterday I got patriotic cookies. That's right folks, cookies in the shapes of Lady Liberty, the American flag, and other American symbols. It felt a little treasonous biting the flag but they were decent. It's like eating deer....you might feel bad at first but Bambi tastes good.

Now that all of my assignments have been turned in and COT is coming to an end, my printer works now. I don't really need a printer anymore so that worked out really well.

Currently smokin hot outside and I am getting ready to head out into it again for parade practice. We got lucky yesterday and had a good breeze. Today we are not so lucky. This is a very glass half empty entry. Hmmmm happy thoughts......