Saturday, April 29, 2006

travis afb omfs

the other day i made a delivery to the firehouse on mcchord, and something about the way the chief let everyone know that there was pizza, and others pitching in to help pay for it reminded me vividly of dr berry walking up to the front desk, slapping down about 50 dollars, and saying, "the doctors want to get the techs pizza and sodas for lunch today."

travis afb, 1994. my "career" in the air force was on the skids because i had chewed out a captain within earshot of both our supervisors, coworkers, and patients. hey, she had it coming. she was a real twat. still, i should've found a better way.

anyways, i was in desperate need of new start. one of my friends had moved to oral maxillo facial surgery, and loved the job, and thought if they could get me up there, it might be just what i was looking for.

omfs was seperate from the main dental clinic, and was treated like the bastard stepchild of the 60th dental squadron. the workers actually embraced their cast-off feel, and were a tight-knit crew. right up my alley.

every day was a near-battle between life and death. that seems melodramatic, but it was true. we were no longer talking a silver filling. we were talking patients who could pass out, quit breathing, and die. we had to be johnny-on-the-spot. we were experts in our field, and the doctors talked to us as equals. we knew our shit, and it was alot of shit to know. i assisted tooth extractions, nose jobs, chin jobs, scrubbed into the or, spent all day on my feet. every single patient was a different story, and the day never got boring.

we were a team. we didn't all necessarily get along. we didn't hang out after work. but once we stepped into those linoleum hallways, we were thick as theives. i knew that if i yelled out "i need a runner now!" someone who wasn't busy was going to appear at my doorway within seconds. we made sure everyone got lunches, got out when they needed to, and were taken care of.

we worked hard, and we played hard. i remember tossing a plastic lid from a yogurt cup up and down the hall like a frisbee. rousing games of spoons in the break room at lunch. someone always seemed to end up on the floor trying to get the last spoon. getting a hot female patient and discreetly flagging down the other male techs to pass by the room or "pop in for a spare pair of east/wests". slinging mud in the stone room on wednesday mornings with nirvana or the beastie boys thumping out of the ratty stereo that i still have and that still works.

a year-and-half of being the best. of being part of a well-oiled team that i could count on, and who could count on me. of feeling like what i did was noticed and appreciated. the memory of dr berry's pizza and soda lunch was not an isolated incident, it happened at least once a month as the doctors' way of saying thank you for all we did.

after that, i pcs'ed to eielson afb, alaska, and still had that team mentality. unfortunately, no one else did, and i got out of the military four years later.

but this one goes out to those everywhere who do what they do, and love doing it, and do it well, and keep the faith, and don't get the recognition they should.

darth sardonic


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