The Dumbass Chronicles: Stuck
By SGT Awesome
The year was twenty ought nine.
I was an E-5 (not yet Sgt Awesome) and my National Guard Air Defense unit was preparing to deploy to Afghanistan. We had been preparing for about four months which meant we had a full two week annual training and three or four weekend drills under our belts and I had been Active Duty for about 6 weeks as the Admin NCO because ours was already overseas. In addition to all of this I had been in the military for a decade.
I point all of this out because it is significant when quantifying the level of dumbassittude I expressed during one fateful Fall drill.
It was our weekend to get Combat Life Saver (CLS) qualified and while I wasn’t nervous about it, there were quite a few nervous/inexperienced/inept Soldiers around and I knew one of them would end up sticking a piece of metal into my arm and I wasn’t overly hot on the idea of getting stuck with a guy who hates needles or blood.
During the required Power Points and presentations prior, every single medic had been snagged up as a battle buddy for the following practical exercise.
Next went the Soldiers who had given IVs in combat on a prior deployment who mostly chose each other for battle buddies.
I was unfortunately in the front of the auditorium which made it difficult to make eye contact with someone to telepathically let them know I would feel comfortable with them penetrating me if they would kindly allow me to reciprocate. So when the time came at the end of the classes to break off into two man teams it was a bit of a scramble. The last thing anyone wanted to do was get stuck with one of the hung-over guys.
This is when the Good Idea Fairy (a mother fucker) decided to tap me with his dirty fucking wand.
I remembered that one of our 2nd Lieutenants was an enlisted medic prior to accepting his commission! I was a god damn genius!
Now, if you looked up the definition of Butterbar this guy’s picture would take up the entire page, but he used to be a medic! He went to months of training for this shit!! All I had to do was mosey through the crowd to the guy everyone was avoiding and say “LT, let’s go” and we’d blow through this faster than Navy SEALs through hair gel.
I pushed through the crowd, jabbed him in the stomach tough guy style, and said “Let’s do this LT.”
I immediately started making fun of the people who were already pale as ghosts thinking about needles and the poor bastards paired up with the most hung-over Soldiers.
Karma is a fucking bitch.
As I had never given an IV, I wanted to go first. I felt confident in my abilities and wanted to prove I was proficient in what I had been taught in the prior few hours. I didn’t want to have to watch a professional do it only to mimic him. That would’ve been weak and I enjoyed being cocky.
The LT was a skinnier fella and his veins weren’t great but my cockiness was paid off when I nailed it on my first stick with no blood spilt. I grinned ear to ear having shown a medic, and part of my leadership, that I was damn good.
I was flying high right then. While I am not 2% body fat, body builder type, I still had excellent veins. In my entire life, every single person who had ever drawn my blood felt compelled to tell me “HOLY, you have GREAT veins!!”
I was looking around the gym floor at other people getting stuck and giggling to myself as the LT was placing the rubber band around my arm.
The alcohol swab felt cool, almost refreshing.
Look at that Specialist!! He looks like he’s going to puke! Hahahahaha…
Hey… that kind of hurts and there is a weird feeling around my elbow, almost like someone spilt water on me.
I look down and the fucking lieutenant is proving every fucking Officer-Lobotomy joke I’d ever heard or told.
This mother fucker is not only apparently missing a vein that EVERY SINGLE PERSON EVER has never missed, but he is making me BLEED MY OWN BLOOD!
What I see when I look at my arm resembles what you would expect to see in a Saw movie; my brain automatically goes into tough-guy mode and pretends that this doesn’t hurt at all as I quietly wonder if I qualify for a Purple Heart based on quantity of blood lost.
My eyes wander down the table to the E-2 medic who is staring wide eyed at my arm and I die a little inside.
He finally (in what felt like 17 hours) got the needle in and gave me (I assume) much needed saline fluid.
I had yet to hit country and already I had faced death and lived.
I was ready.
I was a fucking dumbass.