Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Pre-Deployment Shots

Nothing quite as stimulating as having the wonderful opportunity to stand in line for three hours at the TMC(Troop Medical Clinic) and receive the yearly shots that the Army feels will make me immune to every Known disease on the planet. The first station is the hearing test, where you enter a supposedly sound proof booth, put on a pair of enormous headphones, grab a joystick like device with a button, and begin listening for certain tones. Each time you hear a tone, you are to push the button on your joystick. I felt like some poor contestant on Jeopardy, that seemingly knows all the answers but can't quite push that button fast enough. I apparently have pretty good hearing, so all is well. I don't know how they came to that conclusion, since all I seemed to have heard was my own breathing and heartbeat, not to mention that guy that kept clearing his throat. The next station was a eyesight test. You all have done it before. You stand at a line, cover an eye, and read a line of letters off the chart at the far end of the hall. I have good eyesight, 20/15, but even if I didn't, I had plenty of time to memorize all of the letters the medic was having everyone read. I had a couple of guys tell me they did this, which makes no sense to me. If you fail, they try and fit you with some glasses that will help you see better. Maybe it's vanity, since Army glasses are quit possibly the ugliest ever made.
I then began my three hour wait for shots in a TMC that, having had plenty of time to look around, made me think I had entered a third-world hospital. I was fortunate in that I only had to get three shots, one of which was a flu vaccination. I hate getting flu shots because they inevitably give me the flu. I didn't have to get an anthraz shot, which feels similar to having peanut butter injected into your arm. Apparently the Army, in it's infinite medical wisdom, decided to discontinue anthraz shots. I also didn't have to get a smallpox vaccination, unlike the the guys that weren't over in Iraq with us last time. I can't remember what the other two shots were for. I also had some blood drawn for two different tests, one of which is for HIV. The medics tasked with this job are usually Privates, with no apparent experience with this duty. The veins in my arms are defined and easy to see, but they somehow seem to dodge the medic's syringe, resulting in more attempts and an arm that looks like a heroine junkie's. So how does this all take three hours to accomplish? I have no idea, except that maybe they were also testing my patience.


Blogger ss20man said...

I just got back for a tour of Iraq. When i shipped out, i had been out of the servie for 10 years, so i had no ideal were my shot record were, so I got them all... like 10 in all.

2:27 PM  
Blogger Epador said...

no no no

They were testing your PATIENTS.

Apparently you passed, since you aren't one.

Excellent description of the Army "hurry up and wait" approach to preventive health care.

I always wondered if the phrase meant it was attempting to prevent health care, or prevent you from caring about yor health.

9:35 PM  

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