Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It's Something Unpredictable, But In The End It's Right.

I've made a decision. It hasn't been the easiest decision, and it took quite a bit of time and struggling to reach it. Now that I have decided to become more public with it, I haven't quite found the easiest way of sharing the news. I have told some friends individually, but I'm a little hesitant on blasting it on my Facebook status. It is easiest when I simply tell people straightforward. I come across the response of "Why?" quite often and it's hard to express all of my reasons.
How did I come about to this decision? It was an answer to prayers, fasting, hours spent in the temple, studying, weighing options, realizing that I wasn't where I want to be and I wasn't going where I wanted to be going. A result of frustrations over job opportunities, employers, physicians, and the hardships and utilization of physician assistant colleagues. There's been some tears, especially knowing that there was a strong possibilty of leaving family and friends. I had also been praying that my eyes could look at my situation in a new perspective.
Then there was the awakening of an idea that has laid dormant in my mind for years, aroused over a simple question from a friend during a lunchtime study session at B&N: "I know you talked about it before, but have you considered the military?"
My eyes began to open and I decided that this was the new pespective I had been searching for. I asked queations, I read, looked at the differences between the Army and Air Force -- decided on the Army for a few reasons, and prayed.
Last week I took another step. I went to San Antonio, Texas to get some questions answered, get a physical and a vision waiver (I wasn't sure if my vision would disqualify me, that's one of the reasons I've been quiet about my decision), and most importantly, get a confirmation that I was doing the right thing. And I got it. In the words of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, "I'm motivated by the lack of doubt." I really don't have any doubt and for the first time in 5 months I feel confident in what I am doing. There are other reasons and feelings for why I'm going into the military, but they are a bit more personal and harder to express.

For those who have some questions (and I'll be happy to answer any more)
1. How long do I have to do it? It's a three year commitment. If I decide to do any kind of advanced training or pursue a doctorate, they require more service in return of at least another 3 years. I'm not sure if I'll go beyond the three years, it depends on what happens in the next three years (ie. family, etc...)
2. Could I be deployed? Yes, and I am willing to do it if I need to. I won't be involved in combat due to my gender, and most of it will be spent in a heavily secured hospital. The PAs that I spoke with that have been deployed said that it is more of an issue of inconvenience of being away from family that was a concern for them, rather than the issue of safety.
3. What will I be doing? Most of the time it will primary care for soldiers and their families for the first three years. I'm looking to be stationed at a large military hospital so that I can get some good experience. There's also some training of combat medics that I will be involved with as well. It averages about 45 hours of work a week, so there is hope for a life outside of the military. Deployment usually has longer hours and work 6 days out of the week, still lots of primary care as well as trauma care experience.
4. Do I have to go to boot camp? I will be going in as an officer, which is a bit of a different world than the enlisted soldier. I will spend 9 weeks in San Antonio going through the Officer Basic Course and I will learn some of the basic things about how to be an officer, some physical training (but not as intense as boot camp, and there really isn't any yelling at officers - they do keep it at a very professional level), and more training related to the medical field like combat trauma, etc... This will most likely start in June and when I am done I have about 2-3 weeks to get ready and move to my first post -- which I should find out in April, feel free to do the poll on the side.

So that's a bit of an update. These next couple of months will be interesting to say the least. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Public Service Announcement for Socially-Inept Men

Last week at a social activity I noticed that one of my friends, who is still a bit of a novice to the single social scene, seemed a bit uncomfortable around a guy that she had just met. I swooped in and removed her from the awkward situation. I've had my times of similar situations when I needed rescuing too, even from "Superman" (a guy once introduced himself as Superman). She was a bit weirded out by the guy who seemed a bit forward and "touchy." I had to reassure her while she had just met a couple of weird guys, there are plenty of decent ones too, and she just happened to come across a couple "outliers." Those are the kinds of guys that stand out the most. I have met quite a few of them myself, and would like to take a moment to turn this post into a type of Public Service Announcement for guys who might be one of those left side outliers on the socially appropriate scale. This advice is based on personal experiences. Feel free to include your own ( for guys and gals).

1. Never grab a woman's waist unless you are 1.dating and she's comfortable with it or 2. you are dancing to actual music (imagined music or humming doesn't count) and only after you have asked her to dance.

2. If you invite her over for some home-cooked food to show off some mad cooking skills, make sure the food is decent. Gravy should not have the appearance nor the consistency of wet cement. I'd rather settle for a bowl of cereal. Cooking skills are definitly a plus, but I'm actually quite content with just a PB&J that is made with love.

3. Weapons do not have their place in most social conversation, especially when you have known the other person for only 5 minutes. Do not mention the machete and rope you keep in the back of the car. That is just creepy.

4. Beware of a flat affect. This can also come across as creepy. Show some facial expresion. Smile. Use a little voice inflection.

5. Do not claim that you have "special healing powers" or that you have "The Prophet" as a nickname.

6. Never underestimate the value of smelling good, or just even the absence of B.O.

7. Don't stare. Open mouth staring is even worse. Even if you don't think she notices, one of her girlfriends will and she will mention it to her.

8. Do not use Facebook applications to express your feelings about your crush or ask her out (not an actual experience, but I still find it really lame.)

9. On the first date, use discretion if you want to mention that you like to play "Dungeons and Dragons".

Thursday, March 5, 2009

"Pleasure Music"

I love coming across "creative English grammar." Having learned a second language I have had my share of funny mistakes and I do sympathize with those who have English as a second language. I recently received a free pedometer (15,830 steps so far today!!) and decided to look at the directions after I had it put together. The instructions were in English only and I didn't come across anything that said "Made in Hong Kong" or any other country on the device. Here is just a sample - as written:

"The paces are detected via the Movement of waist Mounting. Attach the pedometer to your waist band or belt, you will enjoy pleasure music or get news when climbing mountain or walking."

"...please change the battery when the LCD screen black or can't clear voice of radio, if the device is not working, please take out battery after 3 seconds, please fix battery again, it will be work properly."

"Don't use it in too low temperature condition, Maybe it affect its work of step count."