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June, 2012

  1. Lethal Warriors: When the New Band of Brothers Came Home (A review, and then some.)

    June 28, 2012 by Danielle

    I just began working as a nurse on the inpatient psych unit at the Naval Hospital 2 weeks ago, and decided to check a few books out to familiarize myself with the psych world. This one caught my eye, especially because as I thumbed through the pages I saw that it was written in a chronological, “storyline” manner but with important statistics and scientific explanations sprinkled throughout. Perfect for me because I almost always get bored with non-fiction once the “I’m smart, I read facts” mantra wears off.

    The book was written by a reporter for the Colorado Springs Gazette, and it follows the story of a handful of soldiers from the  506th Infantry  Regiment, AKA “Band of Brothers,” whose lives followed a similar path during and after deployments, eventually ending with drugs, murder, and/or suicide. Phillips works to connect deployments (especially multiple), disparities within the military’s mental health care screening, diagnosis and treating processess, and skewed social perspectives with the prevalence of PTSD – which can often spiral into the “symptoms” of major depression, crime and subtance abuse. The reason this specific group was focused on was because the soldiers of this Regiment were proud descendants of the original “Band of Brothers” during WWII, a group which was considered to be especially efficient and lethal due to their special methods of training. These modern-day Brothers saw multiple deployments; from Korea directly to Iraq (making for a 2-year continuous deployment), almost immediately followed by another Iraq tour less than a year later.

    My review is basically that this book was awesome; it gripped my attention and I finished it in just over a weekend. It reads like a crime novel but is educational and insightful. It is incredibly painful and emotionally draining to read at times; in fact, more than once I had to put it down and sort of reflect. The gore of war was somewhat shocking and “gross,” but what really got me was watching the “characters” spiral downward, obviously in excruciating mental anguish and carrying on without anyone to help them.

    However, the reason I love this book so much is that, as I read on, I learned more and more about myself and why I do what I do. Over the years I have been gradually formulating my reasons for becoming a nurse (“I am able to act as the pivoting point and an advocate between the complicated medical world and the rest of the population”), why I joined the Navy (“a good nurse goes where he or she is needed most without question or bias”) and most recently….why I want to be a psych nurse. This book brought my first two reasonings together and sealed the deal for me. The more and more I read, the more I saw myself as the person who could’ve/should’ve/would’ve been there. This book and all the soldiers/marines/sailors affected by combat and war are the reason why I do what I do. I exist to tell them that what they are experiencing is normal and very real, that it will be hard but that there is help and hope.

    This book was the exclamation point that my new “career” needed, and it made me more excited than ever to be putting my skills to great use. In the near future, the scope of military medicine will be shifting to critical and psychiatric care due to the “end” of the war, and I couldn’t think of a better time for me to be right where I am, doing just what I need to do.


  2. Father’s Day: A day to appreciate my instilled doubt of everything.

    June 17, 2012 by Danielle

    My dad is awesome. One of my absolute favorite things about him is his hilarious skepticism of EVERYTHING. He is the reason I have some whacked-out beliefs of my own, such as that butter knives are a scam (can’t do anything a spoon can’t). Naturally, along with his skepticism come some weird fears; these were especially evident in my childhood as we would be forced to heed his warnings or face certain death. I will now share with you a few of my favorite that still resonate with me to this day:

    Michael Baldino’s list of “it’s not a matter of IF, but WHEN-”

    1. ….you WILL choke on spaghetti if you don’t cut it into tiny bite-sized pieces. Although abstinence is the only 100% effective method, if you MUST have pasta always go with a tubular or spherical shape; these will atleast allow for passage of air WHEN you inhale them. People who swirl their spaghetti with a fork & spoon? Only God can save them now.

     

    2.  …a shark WILL attack you in under 3 feet of water. Never, under any circumstances, should you enter the ocean to a level past your belly button. Even if you sister is being eaten by a shark – better to be a coward and live to tell the story. Plus your sister should’ve listened – last time I checked she knew where her god damn belly button was.

    3. …you WILL get mad cow disease if you eat a rare burger. I have eaten many a re-heated and/or microwaved burgers at The Ground Round and Friendly’s over the years and – if that won’t turn you vegan, I don’t know what will.

     

     

    4. …you WILL get struck by a maniacal driver if you cross the main road. Ever. For any reason. Same goes for walking or biking on any street, at any time, really – sidewalk or not. It’s just asking for trouble. You want exercise? Rake the yard.

     

    5. …you WILL lose your extremity if you leave it hanging out the car window as you drive – whether it be an arm, a foot, leg, head. It will snap off and the paramedics will never  be able to salvage it. However – this is not to say that you should drive with the windows completely closed. To the contrary, Michael is notorious for driving with the window down only to the height where it creates an obnoxious noise and the wind bypasses him, effectively freezing everyone else to death.

    6. …you WILL become decapitated when your convertible flips, so don’t get one. To this day I am “not allowed” to own a car which, at any given time, may have less than 65% of a roof present. Keep your limbs tucked in all you want, no amount of precaution can save you when that Volkswagen Beetle or Jeep Wrangler rolls and snaps your head off.

    All kidding aside I love my dad. I once asked him when I would be allowed to ride my bike on the road with all my friends, and he said “when you’re older.” I persisted, “but when is that?” to which he replied “When you’re married.” Ever since then I’ve always envisioned myself flying down my parents’ street, white gown and veil trailing behind me, biggest smile on my face. Well I am happy to report that I will be married in October, and Brian is fixing up a special bike for the occasion. It is, of course, a tandem – better safe than sorry.