how to get to Verizon
why I couldn't use the first gate after 2 PM
how to find the airport to pick up the commander
If you are not a naturally independent and self-reliant person when you marry into the military, you will become one. Sink or swim. Or get divorced.
So, the 352 has been very busy...with the first morning's formation at 0400 and subsequent mornings at 0600. I have very little sympathy for Neal, though, because 0600 is actually 0800 his time and he rises with the roosters. This is almost sleeping in for him.
Today, however, brought an interesting new task...the ANAM (Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metrics)....basically a brain scan. In the wake of fighting a war that introduced the Improvised Explosive Device and a seemingly unending supply of suicide bombers, the military is finally beginning to understand the need to diagnose and treat traumatic brain injuries accurately and efficiently. ANAM promises to do just that. All deploying troops are required to complete the baseline scan prior to mobilization. Should, God forbid, something turn them or their vehicle upside down, the baseline will then be used to determine if a traumatic brain injury has occurred, to what extent, and help doctors provide the best possible treatment quickly.
This reminds me of the question we were asked during the interview Neal and I did for the local news. The question (and our answers) never aired, but the reporter asked us, "Have you all discussed what will happen if, Heaven forbid, he doesn't come back?" We stared at each blankly, which silently answered her question...no, we had not. Neal, quick with a response, said "Well, we have discussed what will happen financially. She will be provided for with the life insurance policy...but nothing beyond that." Would that have been the appropriate time for me to say, "Well, if he doesn't come home, I think I will become a nun." or "If he doesn't return, I will just go ahead and commit myself to a mental institute for the rest of my days."? Because that is how I feel. No, we haven't had that conversation, but it is part of being prepared. Just as the ANAM is meant to prepare our troops and the doctors who treat them for one of the worst possible scenarios (not the worst, but certainly not one that anyone looks forward to).
Neal just texted me to say they are finished with the ANAM and I'm sure he will tell me all about it tonight. In the meantime, I applaud the Department of Defense for learning from the past. IED's and suicide bombers don't seem to be fading away into the sunset. The ANAM looks to be another tool in the DoD's toolbox used to prepare for them.