Blood and Prisms

A few days ago I gave blood. I was working on a project and the operations officer yelled out that the field hospital needed two units of O Positive. Me and another officer volunteered and away we went. I am a regular donor at the Red Cross back home. I am so regular that the Red Cross calls me at work and at home pestering me that my fifty six days have elapsed and I need to come in and donate. I eventually get around to it and I donate, drink some water and juice, grab some free cookies for my sons, and away I go.

The Army doesn't mess around when you donate for them. My colleague and I walk in to the aid station and immediately were told to sit, take off our blouses, and stick out our donating arm. No paperwork where you have to tell about all the drugs you shot up and the prostitutes you paid for or about the trips to Africa you made before 1977. No worrys about mad cow or being exposed to someone with hepatitus. One medic missed on the first try and after rooting around gave up (the arm I typically donate with). Another medic tried on the other arm and got it on the first hit. A couple of minutes later, my blood went right to the OR and I got a box of orange juice. Plus I can donate again in FOURTEEN days, not fifty six!

While I was donating, many soldiers showed up ready to donate. After they stuck two more after me the rest had to be turned away because they had enough donors. The man fighting for his life on the operating table was a local national that had an accident with a shotgun. The word got out that it was a local national and it didn't matter. Soldiers kept on showing up because the word didn't get out that they had enough blood. The aid station was on the FOB (Foward Operating Base) next to us so we had Australian and US soldiers stopping by. He survived and was airlifted to a hospital that can keep him in intensive care.

Today I attended a meeting of local provincial officials. The meeting was about projects that we are proposing to do in the next few months. The meeting reminded me of a city council meeting back home where you have consitiuents talking about storm water drainage, zoning, and rights of way. That was the first prism I looked at the meeting through. When I thought about all the crap these guys have been through with the Soviets and the Taliban the prism changed. These guys have either been appointed by an elected official or are elected officials in their own right. All they are doing is reflecting what their constituents are expressing. I think it is truly amazing that the meeting occured at all and that it was conducted in a civil manner, despite the passion that was obvious. To me, having a frank discussion about what we expect from each other is way better then drawing guns and blasting. Trust me, these guys are not too far from having done that in the past. Progress is definitely being made here.

CPT NightHawk


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