General Commentary (May be military related) email: Kudzuacres1@juno.com

Friday, September 12, 2003
Here is a true story that is worthy of the BBQ Emporium boys.

Sixteen years ago, I was stationed at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama and was also rapidly approaching what seemed then to be the ripe old age of 40. Okay, so I am a lot riper now, but still big and fast enough to take most young whippersnappers in a game of checkers, so watch the comments.

In those days, I was a dedicated soldier, one of the lean, mean green machine’s finest. Everyday, I did some serious physical training, usually a brisk four-mile run or 25 miles on my bike. One of my female co-workers took great pleasure in telling me that men fell completely apart at 40, with the most important systems shutting down only moments after the birthday party. I was determined to remain one of the few, the proud…sorry that is the Marines. I was being all that I could be. Anyway, I would run my four miles or bike once around the Arsenal and then cough for several hours. Since I was exercising after work, the coughing was going on while my wife was trying to sleep. Needless to say, times were not real pleasant around the Anderson house.

One Monday, I rode my twenty-five miles, came home, walked in the house and immediately started coughing. It went on for about six hours. Around midnight, my wife told me that she expected me to go to the Doctor and get something for the cough or I was going to be sleeping on the carport. Being an obedient, cautious man, I got up the next morning and went to Army sick call. Sick call is something that has to be seen to be believed. Every soldier who is sick, whether suffering a hangnail or pneumonia, goes to sick call and is seen by the Doctors in order of arrival. The typical sick call is a room full of soldiers with varying ills all passing their microbes to other sick people who are sharing their own freely with anyone who may come by. On the wall is a sign that says: “No Sleeping” and usually a TV tuned to the program least attractive to the soldiers who feel well enough to watch or listen.

I got to sick call just as the door opened and was only 24th in line so it looked like a pretty good start to the morning. After about 20 minutes, I got to the medic who was in charge of recording the complaints. “So Major” he asked. “What seems to be the problem this morning”? I told him about the cough and he asked if there were any other symptoms other than the extended cough. I drew my hand across my chest and said that I got pain in my ribcage after a few hours of coughing. “Sir, are you having chest pains?” “Not now, but I was last night when I coughed”. The Medics all stopped what they were doing and the next thing I knew, I had been escorted past the 23 soldiers who were ahead of me, to one of the examining rooms and an actual medical doctor was examining me. I was a little disappointed since the usual physicians assistant seemed to have a good grasp of the normal everyday aches and pains of soldering. The Doctor started asking me about the symptoms of the chest pain I had. I told him I didn’t have chest pains and went over what I had told the Medic. The Doctor listened politely and then told me he was sending me to the Army Hospital lab for some blood tests.

With lab requests in hand , I drove to the hospital and gave a large amount of blood, waited an hour for the results and took them back to the clinic which by then had about 100 soldiers waiting to see the Docs. As soon as I walked in, I was escorted back to the Doc who looked at the results and said that it was just as he feared; I had apparently suffered a heart attack. I asked him why he thought that and he said one of the lab results showed an elevated enzyme level for a muscle breakdown marker and that was an indicator of a heart attack. I reminded him that I had ridden my bike 25 miles the previous afternoon and asked if the enzyme could be from breakdown of leg muscles. He said it could, but I would need another lab test to be certain. Off I go to the lab to donate more blood. The lab said the test would take a while and why didn’t I go back to the clinic and they would call in the results. Several hours and a few very old magazines later, the Doc came out and said that it was time for the clinic to close but that he had arranged for me to wait in the hospital emergency room and one of his fellow Docs would review my lab results when they were available.

I went back to the hospital and reported to the sergeant in charge of the emergency room. He had me go in one of their rooms and a few minutes later, a very new Private came in to put an IV in my arm. I asked him what it was for and he said it was just a precautionary measure in case I really had a heart problem and needed emergency drugs.

That sounded reasonable. The Medic started trying to insert the IV. After about the fourth jab, blood was running down the back of my hand. I asked him if he had ever done an IV before. “Only once in training”. I asked that he get the sergeant who put the IV in without much more damage. A few minutes later, the emergency room Doc came in. He said that the lab results were not back and that I should go home and come back the next morning. That sounded good to me, but the sergeant said I couldn’t go home because I had to have a stress test since I had come in complaining of chest pains and had gotten the IV. I said that I had never complained of chest pains, but they said of course I had or else I wouldn’t have the IV. The Doc admitted me to the hospital and sent me to the cardiac ICU. I was allowed one call to tell my wife where I was.

The next day, the Doc came by my room to tell me that the lab results showed that I had skeletal muscle breakdown consistent with excessive exercise. “So I can go?” He told me that it didn’t make a lot of sense, but I still had to have the stress test and the earliest he could schedule it was the next morning. I was moved from the ICU to a regular cardiac room and spent the day reading more very old magazines.

The next morning, I received a traditional Southern or Army breakfast of eggs, sausage, grits, toast, milk, juice and coffee. Five minutes after I finished, the technician showed up to take me for my stress test. In the lab, the tech put a bunch of electrical leads on my chest and called the Doc who came in and explained that I would walk on the treadmill until my pulse reached 85% of my maximum heart rate. The tech started the machine and I started walking. Well, a guy who runs four or bikes 25 miles every day, doesn’t get winded very fast walking on a treadmill. After about 5 minutes with my pulse rate still under 100, the tech and Doc started whispering to each other and the Doc asked if I was having any pain. I told him no and a couple of minutes later, he said he was stopping the test because I appeared to have a severe blockage in my heart.

He asked me to sit down and explained that I needed to see a specialist and he would have me flown to Ft Gordon, Georgia as soon as possible. He left while the tech removed the EKG leads returning a few minutes later to tell me that he had discussed my case with the Hospital Commander and they were sending me to a civilian cardiologist at Huntsville Hospital… in an ambulance. By that time, I was beginning to believe that I really was sick. I was wheelchaired back to the cardiac unit where the duty nurse refused to let me stand up to call my wife to tell her I was being sent to another hospital. No, the nurse dialed the number for me because it was too dangerous for me to stand.

About 30 minutes later the ambulance driver came to drive me to my new hospital. He wheeled me out to the ambulance and then asked me if I wanted to sit up front with him or if I wanted to be belted in the wheelchair. I rode up front.

At the new hospital, I was wheeled straight to the cardiac ICU and into my very own fully equipped cardiac room with all kinds of bells, whistles, wires and dozens of hoses. A young nurse came in and removed my IV. She said that the protocol for Huntsville Hospital was to place the IV in the arm and mine was in the back of my hand. She did a nice job of removing the IV and then tried to insert the new one. Same song, second verse. After the fourth or fifth jab and a good bit of blood on me, her and the bed, I asked if she had ever done an IV before. “Only in school.” I asked for a different torture mistress and in no time had my IV and was wired for sound and several other things.

A couple of hours later, a professional cardiologist came in, looked at my chart and the dials for all my probes . My heart rate was 50 beats per minute, my blood pressure was 100/50. The Doc asked what my problem was. “I have a cough when I ride my bike 25 miles or run four. He listened to my heart, had me stand, asked my height and weight and after about five minutes said: “There’s not a damn thing wrong with you”. “So I can go”. “Unfortunate, no, because we have to do a stress test before we can release you and I can’t get one scheduled until tomorrow”. Huntsville Hospital had newer issues of most major magazines.

The next morning, I walked down to the lab for my stress test. The tech took out a razor and shaved both of my chest hairs, placed the first EKG probe, got out her Black and Decker drill and said: “This may hurt”, and proceeded to spin the EKG contact probe with the drill to “rough up the skin and get a good contact”. It hurt just a little, but being a manly soldier, I grinned the whole time. The tech was impressed and told me that most people came out of the chair when she seated the first contact.

My stress test was fine although I never did reach 85% of my max heart rate.

When I finished the test, the Doc asked me if I knew about the 5K race at his Church the next day. He just happened to have an entry form. I got four and took the whole family. Took me 25 minutes to run the 5Ks. Too much rest, I guess. I coughed for six hours.

Thursday, September 11, 2003
I don't recall ever writing anything about Sep 11. Every time I started, it seemed that I was going over board in how I looked it and what our response should be.

Sep 11 was the most atrocious of many atrocities committed by terrorists against the American people. Of course, before Sep 11, those atrocities were generally against American's in the military so I guess they don't really count unless you happen to be one of the throwbacks who value the lifes of American military people even when there is not political advantage in doing so.

The Islam jihadists have been steadily killing American soldiers since 1983 and it didn't matter to the left. Maybe they even welcomed it since it meant the empiralists were getting what they deserved. Now every soldier's life is precious to the left since it can be used as a club with which to attack the administration. I suppose that the only thing that would make them happier is if we could have some American soldiers in Israel for the "freedom fighters" to kill with their bombs.

I believe the time is swiftly approaching when the US will be forced into an all out war against the forces of Islam. At some point, some terrorist will manage to commit another Sep 11 type attack. When that happens, the government will be forced by the citizenry into action that will make the last two years look like children playing in a sunny park.

I have come reluctantly to the belief that there needs to be and eventually will be, some massive killing of Islamacists.

On this second anniversary, I say let's make it sooner rather than later after another attack on US soil.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003
The tax plan went down big. Now we get to see if Governor Riley is a leader or a whiner. Governor Seigelman proposed a lottery which was soundly defeated by the electorate and he went back to Montgomery and pouted for the next three years. Lets hope Riley takes this opportunity to do something constructive like real tax reform.

The amendment that just failed was not reform. It levied substantially higher taxes on the better off and lowered the income tax a mite for lower income people. Lower income people need relief from the sales tax on food and medicines since they are not paying a lot of income tax to begin with. Let's see the Guv and legislature propose real tax reform coupled with spending reform and I believe the voters will go for it.

By the way, Gov. Riley sounded like a true big government man when asked why the plan did not include removal of the sales tax on food. His answer was that it was too expensive.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003
I love election day. I vote at a Black Primintive Baptist Church and get to see and talk to neighbors I usually only see in passing on the streets. The rural area I live in is one of the more affluent in the County (at least, that's what we are told by the media) and we are one of the more integrated areas in the State.

We seem to be having a really good turnout with over 300 people voting by 7:30. I suspect this precinct will be a substantial majority yes vote. Several people I know have decided to vote yes in the last few days. Two of my friends decided on yes because of the scholarships.

Tonight and the rest of September should be interesting.