The Stars Come Out

Last night was busy. I cared for a triple amputee, a U.S. Army soldier who had stepped on an IED. Despite coding once in the trauma bay and once in the OR and receiving 28 units of blood, he was surprisingly stable for me. Once again, the human body amazes me. In these younger, healthy people, the can suffer a lot of damage and still stabilize with the help of medicine. The human body normally holds 5 liters of blood. He had been transfused with 10 liters total of new blood, meaning that he probably didn’t even have any of his own, original blood left in his body. Yet, here he was with rock stable vital signs.

Later in the shift, we received a 14 year old boy who had been building an IED under the instruction of his Taliban uncle. While he was attempting to assemble the IED, it exploded and blew off the kids hand as well as resulted in fragment injuries to both of his eyes. Not only is the Taliban evil to us, they have their own children and nephews doing the dirty work for them. Luckily, U.S. forces were able to track down the uncle and arrest him. But now we have a child who was assisting with Taliban operations, so what do you do with him? Nothing except our security personnel will scan his retinas and take his fingerprints to place in a database. It is so sad that these kids are taught to kill at such a young age.

On a lighter note, last week, hundreds of people gathered at the center stage of the boardwalk and stood in the cold for two hours to watch a star-studded USO-sponsored event. The event began with a surprise visit from Admiral Mike Mullins, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest ranking member of the military! He said some really nice things about how much we are appreciated back home for the sacrifice we are all making and that he understands the stress our loved ones back home are facing, especially this time of the year. I was very impressed with how personable and down-to-earth he seemed.

We also got to hear Lance Armstrong as he MC’d the entire event and told little stories here and there about how we accomplish anything if we put our minds to it. Kix Brooks of Brooks and Dunn played his guitar and song a few songs and Kathleen Madigan, a popular standup comedian, made us laugh with all her great jokes! Lewis Black put on his comedy act, maintaining his reputation as the most negative person in the world. At last but not least, Robin Williams, who called out to us as he stepped on stage, “Good Evening Kandahar!” just like he did in the movie “Good morning Vietnam.” He told lots of sick jokes, but he also joked about his new heart valve as he recently had to have heart surgery. All of the celebrities commented on what a shithole Kandahar Air Field is and how they think they will have to have their lungs cleaned out when they get back because of all the dust. Oh, and the smell of the poop pond! Robin couldn’t get enough of that! Robin actually said that Iraq is a paradise compared to KAF.

I was really impressed by the presentation put on the other night, but what touched me most is that these celebrities didn’t just go to the largest, safest and most comfortable bases here in Afghanistan. They actually went out to some of the Forward Operating Bases and stayed in tents and breathed in the dust and felt cold, just like the military service members here. No special living quarters for them. My room is nicer than where they had to stay. It meant a lot to the troops that they were willing to sacrifice some celebrity comforts to come perform for them.

I have attached a link to the USO story about their tour and the main picture was taken here at KAF that night. I am out there somewhere in the audience behind the celebrities!




7 comments on “The Stars Come Out

  1. Bärbel says:

    Merry Christmas Krista! I know you’ve heard it many times already, but let me add my name to the very long list of people who are grateful for what you and your comrads are doing for your country.

  2. Maureen says:

    Merry Christmas, Krista. I can’t believe it is cold there now. I know all of the soldiers and the children you care for are so grateful for your skill and kindness. It is hard to fatham anyone having a child build an explosive. And to use such things against the soldiers is unforgiveable. How do such cultures develop and seemingly, at times, to thrive?

    I will be spending Christmas Eve and Christmas with Jan and Harte and their kids and grandkids. Beaty’s and Wells will be there as well. Other neighborhood news, Mark and Arienne Shouse finally sold thier house, closing in Jan or Feb. So we will have a new neighbor/family soon. Mild weather (rain and 40F!) The ‘worst winter in 50 years’ has not materialized.

    Take care and keep warm. Do you need any warm clothing?


  3. Jessica says:

    I’m glad to hear there is some entertainment this time of year for all of you. You are missed right now, and I’ll be thinking of you a lot on Christmas Day! I hope it’s a good one for you. Hugs and Kisses and Merry Christmas!

  4. Marj Frank says:

    I’m so glad you get a little entertainment for the Christmas season.
    And you are doing such good things there, giving compassion and care to the wounded soldiers, children, citizens. War is terrible. In the midst of it, what a blessing to have people like you there to give human warmth to people in their worst hours.

    I wish you a good day, and hope you get some more moments of Christmas cheer.

  5. Marita Zieger says:

    Krista, I think of you evry day this Christmas season. It is good to know that you had some happy and enjoyable moments. I remember the USO when Erhard was stationed in Germany and I was with him in 1960-62.
    Are you coming home in February? You truly deserve a break. You are, as always, doing great things over there and all of us are grateful for that.
    Be safe and stay healthy. We love you, Marita and all of us in Buffalo.

  6. Tom Penn says:

    Hey when do the Playboy models come to dance on the stage, like in Apocalypse Now?

  7. Uncle Paul says:

    Krista: We love your blog and think of you often. Reading your Adventure reminds me of what I realized a few years after I got back from my S.E. Asian tour…that it was the best medical experience of my career. You probably have already guessed that it doesn’t get much better than it is right now. In spite of the lousy place, you’re learning and experiencing more and faster than you ever will again. I see you doing what I did, imprinting the important stuff…your personal contact with patients, esp the ones that “get to you”, not just the GIs, but the local ones and their families too. It’s great to have this permanent journal so when you get old like us, you can go back and refresh your memories, remember how you felt, find those names and faces that are so easy to forget over the years etc. The logistics and mechanics of the tour will all fade and blur over the years, but lots of the other experiences will stay vivid and evoke emotion long after you’ve forgotten most of the tour. My only war journal is on 35 mm slides and tape cartridges that haven’t been seen or heard in decades and probably never will be, since the devices that play them are pretty much obsolete. We hope your Christmas was as merry as possible for where you had to spend it, and that the New Year will be the best of your life.

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