Monday, April 25, 2005

I love this place!

The temperature here is now consistently hitting 100. Of course, this is mild compared to what is yet to come. In about another month we will see 110 to 120 on a regular basis, and the Joes that were here last summer say they have seen temps as high as 140.

But wait…that’s not all! This is also the season for the coveted dust storm. Yes, “dust storm” not “sand storm". The terrain here is anything but sandy. It’s mostly dirt with very little vegetation. The top layer of which is a fine dust that gets all over everything. When the winds increase it kicks all that dust around and creates a huge cloud that swallows up everything like a hungry monster.
The picture below is a view out the front windshield of my HMMWV. It had started as a sunny, clear day and then the storm blew in. The visibility was less then 50 meters, and was actually less in some areas. This lovely little event turned what would have been a 2.5 hour drive into 4.5 hours.

Another one blew in last night. I was sitting in my tent and all of sudden the canvass started flapping from the strong wind. I stepped outside, and what was previously a very bright, full moon was now just a hazy white disc in the sky. I don’t know what this dust is comprised of, but it really plays havoc with my allergies. I tried going to sleep, but my eyes were burning like somebody had just squeezed fresh lemon juice into them, I was sneezing incessantly, and I began having a difficult time breathing. My chest became very constricted, and I couldn’t take a full breathe without conjuring up an emphysema-like cough. After sitting there arguing with myself about whether I was a wimp for even considering going to the medical clinic, I finally decided to go. I wrapped a t-shirt around my mouth and nose and made my way through the wind and dust as it was pelting me in the face.

Once I arrived I tried explaining that this is something I’ve been through before, and I just needed some good drugs and I would be on my not-so-merry way. Of course, it’s 11:00 pm and the medics are bored so we have to go through the whole rigamaroll. They did all the usual vital sign checks, and then took some chest X-rays. This part was actually pretty entertaining. As I was lying there waiting to get zapped I can see the medic flipping through the X-Ray machine instruction manual. His eyes are darting between the manual and the machine as he is trying to make the proper adjustments. I thought to myself, “Great... I’m going to survive a combat zone, but get cancer ‘cuz this guy pumped me full of radiation.” None of my body parts were glowing afterwards, so I think I’ll be okay.

In the end they ended up giving me some allergy medicine and an inhaler, which is exactly what I suggested in the beginning. I can’t blame them though. They did the right thing and were very helpful. I made my way back to my hooch, got about five hours of sleep, and dreamt of home.

Like I said…”I love this place!”


Blogger gary said...

Shall I add a case of Sudafed to the next care package?

2:44 AM  
Anonymous Shelly and Jessic said...

Aw, heck! Radiation isn't so bad. The glowing part is kinda cool! :) lol

Glad to hear you're feeling better.

Take care,

3:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey john, i've been there (had similar dust storms in india) - it ain't fun, esp for a texas boy...

at least visibility is reduced for everyone, esp the bad guys.

nice to read your posts, makes me proud to be your friend. hang tough bro and let me know what we can send in the next care package! so far the ideas we have are a little out there ;-)


6:11 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Wow, sounds painful. I thought TX alergies were bad! Hang in there, just keep thinking happy thoughts (smile).

Still keeping Amy company (or trying to at least) it is kind of complicated because I can't be nearly as cozy as you can (smile).

Love the Poem, how very sweet! Your kids are someting special. Seth and Luke keep me entertained everytime I go over to your house.

David sends his love, we continue to pray for your safety and quick return home.

Love you!

6:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there is no crying in baseball!! and there is no crying in the army either, it is still 50 degrees in missouri how do you like those apples, i leave for germany on saturday, if you get a chance come visit

lil bro jus

6:49 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...

Thank you for being there. I appreciate the sacrifices you and your family make on behalf of all of us. Take care and god bless. I wish you a safe homecoming.

10:37 PM  

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