Friday, August 5, 2011

Stir Crazy on the FOB

Another uneventful night has past and with it surgical frustration.  My surgical skills are bored and daily routine predictable.  At this rate I fear I’m on the road to journalism over surgical excellence.  What makes this situation difficult is the process that brought me here; the mental, personal and physical preparation.  You prepare for the worse and for me lightly hope for the best.  Time does not quickly pass when your days are filled with watching a clock.  Being locked down on a compound in the middle of sweltering Afghanistan, away from my family and everything else I love in my life is much worse without the distraction of my mission; surgery. Let’s break this rusty cage already.
It was ground hog day again here on the FOB.  Joe J and I went to workout to alleviate pent-up steam at “Steel Gym”; it’s really a tent.  I always heard about the excessive working out on deployment and now I’m experiencing it. In a day filled with mundane events it happens to be the most motivating part. Actually, Joe and I decided on a goal; were going to pick a date toward the end of the deployment for a lift off.  The effort will involve the amount of times a set weight can be benched pressed; oh how we have regressed.  Either way it gave me a glimpse of motivation. 
Non-action packed days do have one advantage; communication with family.  I’ve been able to talk to my wife multiple times a day primarily because there are many outlets to do so.  The United Service Organization (USO) allows free calls and internet access, but usually it’s very congested with soldiers.  There is also the Morale, Welfare and Recreation center (MWR) which offers telephones for your paid AT&T phone cards and free internet, to include Skype capable computers with webcams.  Finally, there are Afghani wireless companies that offer cell phones on our base and many others.  Surprisingly, the coverage and price is decent; which drove me to buy one.  The convenience of calling my family from my shack and knowing my wife can call me in an emergency is priceless; just beware that if your family calls you it’s around $3.00 a minute. Joe J found that out on his last deployment when his wife got a bill from AT&T for $1000.00; ignorance was bliss for AT&T.  It is important to point out that we really are living in the golden ages of deployment.  After eleven plus years in Afghanistan FOB infrastructure is superior to when we first got here.  We are living on the effort and sacrifices of past soldiers, and all realize it.
Today was the first day I ever used Skype with my wife.  The satellite signal was weak, giving a poor video feed, but being able to see my kids and wife for the first time in 3 ½ weeks was relieving. Really just seeing a room in my house gave me a sense of wellbeing.  Now that the satellite wireless in the FST is up and running I plan on using it as much as I can.  It amazes me, I’ve only been gone a month and it feels like I’ve been gone for six; I have a long road ahead of me.
Tonight I have FOB massage number two; quite a deal at $20.00 per hour; and it comes with C-130 sound effects. I’m bringing ear plugs this time.
Goodnight my friends.
P.S.  Honey, you and the kids will be in my dreams tonight.


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