"But war, in a good cause, is not the greatest evil which a nation can suffer. War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice – a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice – is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other."

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Today's word: stones

Make that Word of the Week. Amidst all the public debate over health care, my dear wife has had ample time to experience both the private and government-run options over the last several days thanks to the kidney stone that just wouldn't die. She went in for surgery last Wednesday to have it sliced apart, and supposedly it was, until it wasn't. She was told to come back on Monday to have her stent removed and that was to be the end of it; unfortunately, when Friday came around not only did her stabbing pain return but other complications arose, and she called the urology clinic at Camp Pendleton asking to talk to her doctor and see if she needed to come in. "Were you aware that we're conducting walk-in prostate exams today?" was the first reply from the haughty receptionist on the other end of the line. Not, "describe your symptoms" or "go to the ER" or some other question that actually addressed the problem. No, unfortunately we were not aware of the freebie exams, though in my mind a patient having complications from recent surgery would take priority over a voluntary walk-in. Too bad, she was told, the docs have their hands (ahem) full and can't see you today, go to the ER; and then the receptionist hung up. Rarely does my blood boil to the point where I decide to use my rank to bludgeon someone into submission, and when Bree told me about this conversation it seemed such bludgeoning would be appropriate; much to my disappointment, the receptionist was a civilian and therefore impervious to bludgeonment, and her superiors, I was reminded, had their hands full. So instead of driving 30 miles to deal with Navy medicine, we jaunted down the road to a private hospital, where - after telling Bree she still had a kidney stone, which was a miraculous diagnosis considering she hadn't been wheeled away for her scheduled CT scan yet - she was shot full of painkillers and then sent home. Saturday was a joyous occasion, with me trying to amuse Aaron and telling him mommy had an owie, while mommy spent the day screaming into a pillow. Sunday was equally fun, since I had to stand duty down at the squadron all day, and Bree had to enlist some of our incredibly supportive friends to take her to ER for yet another visit. Finally Monday rolled around and we gave Navy medicine another try, and her doc prescribed some more painkillers and said well gee, looks like we didn't get the whole stone out but dope yourself up and in a couple more days this last piece should pass. Today is the first non-pillow-screaming day she's had, so we're cautiously optimistic that the stone has worked its way out and the small pharmacy Bree's accumulated can be put in storage until next time. What to make of all this? Well, first a big thank-you to Navy medicine for telling a surgery patient with complications to go pound sand. As for the Palomar Pomerado Hospital: it doesn't really boost the confidence of your patients when you tell them their CT scan shows a kidney stone, and they haven't been scanned yet. But at least we showed up there unannounced and you treated her.

That's about the most excitement we've had around here. Most of my time's been spent at the squadron, putting everything back together in anticipation of our main body's return. This has proven to be something of a chore, as we're moving into a different hangar than the one we vacated (all part of a massive relocation project accommodating the arrival of the Ospreys) and the squadron we were taking over from didn't really finish their packing until the day they deployed (no joke, they still have junk all over the place, and apparently word didn't reach all of them that they weren't coming back to that hangar, so some of that junk they'll be kissing good-bye. No way we're giving back their excellent set of cordless phones). And thanks to some small paperwork problems from our turnover of the aircraft, we now have only one pilot out of twelve who's current to fly. Oops. Seems to me like a good time to take a vacation, which I will finally get to do next week. Middle brother is getting married and I need to squeeze into my blues for the occasion. I just need to make sure I bring enough Thomas the Tank Engine DVDs to last the plane ride . . .

1 comment:

Bree said...

Is "impervious to bludgeonment" like "navigating a treacherous precipice"?