The Dumbass Chronicles: Stuck

Updated: October 18, 2013


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.

stuck2The 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.





  1. leftoftheboom

    October 18, 2013 at 9:02 am

    “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.”

    I know what you meant but I lost it at this sentence.

    • JoeC

      October 18, 2013 at 9:07 am

      Same here. It was all I could do to not throw a Navy joke in the mix.

  2. JoeC

    October 18, 2013 at 9:06 am

    I volunteered for a health screening once in college and part of the screening was to have blood drawn. Being an ignorant 20 year old I did not consider that the people drawing the blood would be trainees that were completely unproven and of questionable ability. I thought I was the lucky one when this hot chick walks up and tells me she will be taking my blood. There were 6 of us doing the screening and they had two rooms with three of us in each room and 3 nurse trainees taking blood. My room went first. It was at this point that I realized this hot chick had no idea what she was doing. The other two nurses had stuck their patients and gone to the other room by the time my nurse got the needle unpacked. Still basking in the glory of my blissful ignorance, I chalked it up to her being especially careful and let her continue. She hit the vein right off and I was feeling better. And then the blood started to flow and the nurse passed out. I’ve got blood coming out of my arm like a lawn sprinkler and the person responsible for controllig it is laying on the floor unresponsive. Nice. I don’t know how long I sat there with the other two guys laughing at me before one of the other nurses came in to check on us, but it seemed like an eternity. When they finally did come in the only thing they asked was why I had my finger plugging the hole like they didn’t even notice the girl on the floor. I think it was at that point that I lost faith in medicine.

  3. BPH

    October 18, 2013 at 10:52 am

    ” I would feel comfortable with them penetrating me if they would kindly allow me to reciprocate.”

    This part just made me laugh coffee out my nose!!!!

  4. Shawn

    October 18, 2013 at 11:47 am

    I teach down at Fort Sam houston and we where showing the new students how to perform injections and IV’s. As the lead instructor that day I always feel I should go first and get an IV from another instructor to show them what it looks like and how easy it is. In my infinite wisdom, the only other instructor that day had just been assigned to instructor duty and had no clue it seemed on how to do IV’s. We talked the class through the set up and prepping as we demonstrated it. Right before the other instructor was about to inser the needle I realised I was in for a world of hurt. first the needle bevel was facing the wrong way and as soon as he picked up the needle his hands started shaking like an old man with parkinson’s. I knew at that point I was fubar’d. At 6″4 280 lbs I have very large viens that are easy to hit, not with this guy. After the initial stick, he missed, and then he proceeded to go fishing in my arm for my vien. But of course since this was in front of an entire class of students I couldn’t say anything in front of them. I had the worst bruise since he, of course, infiltrated the vien like a champ. After the class was over I, of course, gave him crap and still do two years after the fact.

  5. Peyton

    October 18, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    I got the pale guy during my CLS class. The mother fucker sticks me and roles the vein. When he finally hits his mark I start pouring blood.

    He starts freaking out. Iv never seen a Asian then caucausion before in my life. As I’m watching my life source exit my body at an alarming rate I look at h and say “are you going to cap that and hook up the IV”. He was so comotosed at that point that the medic instructor had to finish up for him.

    This would be the same guy that dislocated my ankle in Iraq a few monthslater.

  6. Bernard

    October 18, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Oh my god I laughed at this remembering Medic trng. in Ft Sam 1988. I was lucky to get someone as good as myself (not that we were good yet but equally matched) I remember one guy Lee Claiborne who drew the short straw and got “her” (I don’t mean because she was a girl just she was that girl). After laughing at Lee and getting a look of death back I watched her stick the needle in totally wrong and she said “oh my god I did that wrong” and she pulled out the needle and right back in worse. Now Lee being if I remember right 6ft 4 inch and large frame got pissed off and raised his fist, I just closed my eyes and turned my head waiting for the splat but he changed his mind and said a few choice words I chose not to mention it again. we went to the hacienda and had bulls all the way around!

  7. Grunt's BBQ

    October 20, 2013 at 2:07 am

    Freaking hillarious, man! I got lucky at Ft.Sam by some miracle, but the thought process was very similar. I’ll never forget a DS who yelled at me because I was too slow, saying “What the fuck, is this your first time? Get it in there.” Ah, yes. It’s my first time. And much like on a date, I need to wipe some shit on it first.

  8. Revelle

    October 22, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    I can’t believe a former medic would miss on a nice vein… I did once, only because I was a noob then (my 2nd stick actually) and it was AIT, but I haven’t missed any of those type of veins since. I NEVER try to fish for a vein because usually, I can tell right away when I fuck up, so I just pull it out and try another spot or they bruise worse. I had one sergeant I had to stick for practice where his vein was all sideways and he was making me ultra nervous just by the tone in his voice. I didn’t miss and he wasn’t bleeding, but I was getting that saline lock on there at an incredibly awkward angle. One time, I also dropped a saline lock right when I needed it in the BAS tent at Camp Bullis at night and had to get my buddies to grab me a new one while I’m giving this poor guy the vulcan death grip on his arm just so I could keep him blood-free.

    I just don’t understand how anyone could mess up a vein, especially a large vein. It’s too easy!! D:

  9. willie makit

    October 24, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Chris Hayes is Rachel Maddow, Rachel Maddow is Chris Hayes…mmmmm

  10. Johnny L. Jones

    November 10, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    In Paramedic training, we were forced to endure a seemingly countless torture sessions of doing starts on each other before we were ever unleashed on the unsuspecting public. Sergeant, you have my upmost sympathy. I honestly believe I have suffered some permanent nerve damage from badly applied sticks. Starting an IV is not like riding a bicycle, as I have found out to my embarrassment and the pain and displeasure of my patient on at least a couple of occasions. Rote and practice are the operative terms here.

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