Tuesday, May 31, 2011

2 Months

We have officially hit the two month mark on this deployment.  While I wish I could say the time has flown by, that would make me a complete and utter liar.  In reality, these have been the longest two months of my life and time has crept so slowly I sometimes think I have entered some sort of alternative calender.  Even so, it is time behind us and that's all that matters. 

These last 60-ish days have been filled with an incredible highs and lows.  I graduated from medical school, learned of my best friend's pregnancy, and just this weekend watched my big brother stand up and marry his perfect match.  My heart beamed as he said his vows to my new beautiful, smart, and sweet sister.  This same weekend I got to spend time with so much of my family including my little cousins, my lovely grandparents, and my 93-year-old great uncle.

At the same time, there have also been days when I felt like I couldn't get out of bed, days when I spent endless hours in my pajamas watching romantic comedies, and days when nothing stopped the tears.   

Overall, I'm getting through it and every day that passes is another day closer to my love coming home to me.

Here are some 2 month mark deployment lessons & thoughts:

  • Staying busy truly is the key to survival.  Perhaps my lack of things to do has contributed to the snails pace of these last two months. While I'm enjoying my extended staycation, I'm looking forward to residency for this very reason.
  • I can rely on my mil spouse blogger friends for support more than many people I know in the non-internet world.
  • Getting a dog and starting a blog were the two best things that I did for my mental health.
  • I should probably start my husband's car more often than once every 2 months, which reminds me that I need to call AAA. 
  • Red wine doesn't necessarily make you feel better and it might just cause you to write an incredibly long and emotional email to your husband about your entire future together.  Prefacing said email with, "I'm finishing off a bottle of red wine" is clearly advisable.
  • It's really difficult to cook for one person, especially when you lack motivation to go to the grocery store in the first place.  I'm still working on this one. 
  • Extra deployment money doesn't go as far as you think it would, especially when you use giant shopping trips to BJs Wholesale and sending enormous care packages as a form of therapy.
    • A good, long walk outside always helps.
    • Tactfully answering peoples' ridiculous questions about deployment is truly a learned art.
    • I have no idea how anyone had the strength to endure a military deployment before the days of Skype, email, facebook, and every other form of social media available today.
    • There's nothing more vital than the love of family and friends. 

    The most important thing I learned today is that Ben & Jerry's now makes Red Velvet Ice Cream. Try it.

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    Sweet Albina

    Little sweet Albina: 

    If I could give you a home, I would.
    If I could I could afford to take you, I would. 
    If things were different, I would bring you here. 

    You deserve a family.  You deserve all the love in the world. 

    Maybe someone else will see this.  Maybe your next mommy & daddy will see this wonderful post and bring you home. 

    Sunday, May 22, 2011

    Officially Dr. Army Wife!

    Well folks, the "Dr" in "Dr. Army Wife" is now official!

    Yesterday I put on a heavy red robe, a goofy hat, and walked into a big arena filled with cheering spectators.  I sat through some long speeches, walked across a big stage with my face plastered on the JumboTron, and accepted a heavy green hood around my neck.  Someone called me "Doctor" for the first time and I gladly received a diploma that was about the size of my entire body.

    Two days ago I was a medical student and today I am a physician.  Granted, I am still far from competent, but hopefully I'll figure out what I'm doing after a few years of grueling residency.

    There was, of course, one important person missing at my graduation -- my husband.  The keynote speaker asked everyone to raise their right hand, grab a memory out of the air, and hold it to our hearts.  He told us to think of the one important person who has supported us - the person who has helped us through the journey. 

    "That person may or may not be here today," he declared. 

    With my hand on my heart, I thought of him.  I am so very lucky to have married a man who loves me, pushes me to pursue my dreams, and supports me through the good times and bad times.  Even though he was across the world, I continued to feel his love and pride.

    To my husband: I could not have done it without you.  Those few small steps across that stage were minuscule compared to the steps we have taken together.  Thank you for everything.  I love you.

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    Blue Star Banner - How Much Is Too Much?

    Do you ever worry that you are advertising to complete strangers that your spouse or significant other is not home?

    I have a blue star flag on my front door and a sticker on my car.  I hesitated at first to put these up because I worried that they would tell people a woman lives here alone.  In the end, I decided that the blue star flag signifies an immediate family member and not necessarily a spouse.  In addition, it doesn't even mean that the Soldier normally lives in that particular residence.  I proudly display my blue star in honor of my husband.

    Today I started to doubt myself.  My doorbell rang at around 10 AM as I was standing in my living room.  I hadn't yet showered, brushed my teeth, or changed out of my sweat pants and sweat shirt.  I looked out the window to see some construction guys standing in my walkway and I quickly contemplated what to do.  I rarely answer a doorbell unless I'm expecting someone or I know who is on the other side.  However, a town Department of Public Works truck pulled up, so I went ahead and answered.  They needed access to my basement to connect a temporary water main that they had been placing on my street. 

    I opened the garage doors and I got a simultaneous "NICE MUSTANG!!!!!" from the four workers.  I chuckled and said "Oh, thanks, it's my husband's car."

    Then one of the men asked me the question.

    "Is your husband overseas?"

    I stared blankly, confused at how he knew that.

    "I saw the blue star banner."

    I looked up and noticed that he was wearing a camouflage baseball hat. 

    He must have some connection the military, I thought.


    "Army? Navy? Marines?"


    He nodded his head.

    They walked around my garage and basement with a flashlight looking in every corner for the water meter. 

    "Where is he?"

    I hesitated. 


    He nodded again.

    That was the extent of the exchange. They found what they were looking for, asked me to check if I still had water (which I did) and went on their merry way up the street to the next house.

    I walked back into my living room and started thinking:

    In an effort to honor my husband, did I just put myself in harm's way?  

    Did I really just tell this complete stranger, who now knows the exact lay-out of my basement and garage, that I was living alone?  

    Does the blue star banner open me up to sensitive conversation?

    In reality, I'm fairly certain this town employee with the camouflage hat was just being nice.  He was likely either in the military, retired military, or a military family member.  But how can one be so sure?  I've had people in my life surprise me and turn out to be completely insane when they seemed quite normal.  I've learned through experiences that you can't trust appearances, so why am I being so trusting?

    Do you display a blue star banner or other indication of your husband's service?  Do you get nervous about the same things?

    Sunday, May 15, 2011

    Unwashed Sweatshirts

    It still smells like you.
    The sweatshirt I didn't wash.
    I inhale your scent.
    Stick my face right in it.
    The tears flow easily.
    They run down my cheeks
    and into the fabric.
    I think about how you would laugh.
    You would tease me.
    Because now I can't smell anything
    through my stuffed up nose.

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011

    never you (follow-up)

    My last post was about how I instinctively think that my husband is texting me whenever my phone alerts.  I understand that his cell phone does not work overseas and it is not possible for him to text message me.  Nonetheless, I always think it's him and my heart sinks when I see that it is not.  I'm not sure if I will ever get used to this.

    Apparently he read my blog entry because today I received a text message from a random number (sent from a computer).  It had his name attached to it and it simply said:

    "Because I love you."

    He's such a good man. 

    Monday, May 9, 2011

    never you

    Every time my cell makes that sound
    The text message noise
    I think it's you.
    Every single time. 
    I expect to see your name
    across the bright screen.
    But it's never you.

    Sunday, May 8, 2011

    The Tale of the Toothless Dog

    *For the purpose of this blog post, Libby will be referred to by her official name, "Liberty."  From across the world, my husband has informed me that I should be using our dog's complete name on my blog.  He does have a point.*

    As soon as Liberty got off the truck from Alabama, I knew something was a little amiss.  Her doggy breath did not smell quite like typical doggy breath.  It was a little more like garbage.  Or a fish tank.  A dirty algae-laden fish tank.

    I attributed the stench to the long transport and figured it would pass.  Unfortunately, it did not.  During our first veterinary visit, he immediately zeroed in on her breath.  He opened her mouth, showed us her rotting teeth, and pulled out a dangling one right there in the office.
    Three days after adopting Ms. Liberty, we were faced with a large vet bill.  She needed her teeth cleaned under anesthesia and any necessary teeth would be extracted.  Sigh. 

    I waited until after the hubby had left to take her in for the procedure.  In typical Murphy's Law of Deployment style, the whole thing turned into a much bigger deal. 

    Liberty's Final Dental Procedure Count
    - 7 pre-existing missing teeth
    - 11 x-rays
    - 19 teeth extracted, all with abscesses
    - Home with pain medication and 2 weeks of antibiotics
    - $$$$ = unmentionable

    Photos of a Post-Operative Toothless Girl:

    One week later, Liberty is back to normal.  Her crusty stick-up hair has been washed and she no longer reeks of surgery.  She has been running around, eating dry food, and giving lots of love, affection, and kisses.

    Best of all, her breath no longer smells like algae.

    Thursday, May 5, 2011

    I'm Not Your Doctor.

    I'm begging you.

    We just met.
    You are not my patient.
    I'm really not interested
    in your 
    high blood pressure
    high cholesterol

    I'm not at work.
    Please don't tell me about

    No, it's not normal
    to have
    blood in your stool
    But seriously
    I'm not your doctor
    I don't even know you  

    I just want to enjoy my haircut
    without hearing about your
    I'm sure your hot flashes are terrible
    I'm glad to know that you are taking

    I don't care that you have a 
    urinary tract infection
    or that the 
    antibiotic didn't work
    or that you
    tried to drink cranberry juice
    Can I please enjoy my martini?

    I'm sorry you broke your arm last year
    or that your appendix burst
    and you needed surgery.
    That is horrible that you had 
    significant hair loss afterwards. 

    I'm sure your
    They always do.
    I'm thrilled it was normal. 

    Your vaginal discharge 
    is none of my business. 
    I like not knowing.

    I bet that hernia is uncomfortable.
    and so are those hemorrhoids you kindly told me about.
    The whole restaurant 
    enjoyed hearing
    about that.

    Your prostate exam?
    Please, stop.

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011


    It occurred to me today.
    I've never had to sacrifice my life
    In any meaningful way.
    Not once.
    Until now.

    I grew up
    with married parents
    who gave me everything
    who love me no matter what.
    An older brother who asked for me.
    A pink baby
    He announced.
    A younger sister to protect.

    Storybook childhood
    Upper middle class
    Two houses
    Private education
    A car
    A pony

    First choice college
    First choice medical school
    First choice residency program

    The man of my dreams.
    A husband who pushes me to pursue my goals.
    Who never once objected to my aspirations.
    A man who loves me for who I am
    and for who I want to be.

    I'm sitting here
    looking out the window.
    Thinking about how fortunate I have been
    How lucky I have been
    How very, very blessed.

    I've never in my life had to sacrifice.
    I've never been told 
    you can't
    you won't
    you shouldn't

    This deployment is a sacrifice.
    I miss him.

    But, I think it's my turn.