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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Playing hurt!

I was thinking today about my years in the Navy.  One of the things that came to mind is we very, very seldom ever sought medical help for an injury or sickness.  From the Seaman Recruit in Boot Camp t the salty old Master Chief with over 30 years of service, thy all have one thing in common.  Unless a bone is sticking out or they can't stop the bleeding after an hour, or they can no longer stand up when they cough, they never went to sickbay.  I had a friend, a Senior Chief at the time, who had a heart attack and a triple bypass.  The Navy Doctor told him he was going to make him retire.  My friend did not want to retire, and argued with the Doctor.  The Doctor made a critical mistake at this junction.  He said, if the Senior Chief could find a ship willing to take him, he would release him to full duty.  My friend found an old friend, who was the Executive Officer on an Adams Class DDG who was more than happy to have him!  Eight weeks after his triple bypass he deployed to WESTPAC!!

The reason we don't go to Sick Bay is we don't want to be separated from our unit!  In Boot Camp, we don't want to miss graduating with our original company.  We strive to graduate with our class in "A" school or "C" school or we want to make the deployment with our shipmates.  The unit and our Shipmates is our driving force and we will suffer through just about anything to stay with them.  I saw men with broken legs on crutches, on Tin Cans, struggling up steep ladders, never complaining.  I saw and experienced concussions that were never reported to the Corpsman.  As long as we could get along, we stayed as far away from Sick Bay as we could be!

The problem with this is after we leave the Navy, those injuries show up again as closed brain injuries that lead to dementia, fractured bones that lead to arthritis, and high cholesterol that leads to heart attacks.  But, as long as we can stay with our shipmates, we endure, ignore, and self medicate.  Very much to our detriment later in life.  Do I have an answer?  NO!  All I am saying is I understand why we do what we do.

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