Ramblings by a Combat Life Saver (cont.)

[Author’s note: from my time preparing and being deployed to Iraq.]


March 21, 2010

Here is the much anticipated sequel to last week’s ramblings. What happened at the Combat Life Saver (CLS) class? Did you get to start an IV? Did someone do it to you? How many tries did it take? This is somewhat of a letdown. We found when we came in that starting an IV was no longer a part of the CLS class. The head instructor said, “It has not been proven that any CLS student ever saved a life in combat by starting an IV.” Let me translate this for you—“some student tried starting an IV in another student’s nose and drowned him, so we know you are all too ignorant to try this.” What the instructors replaced the IV training with was an adventure in itself.

They asked us if we had heard of “tension pneumothorax?” The lone nurse in the group had heard of it. We were going to learn how to treat this condition on the battlefield. Suffice it to say that it involves the lungs, is a dangerous condition, and involves the student in inserting a huge needle into the upper chest of the patient. As one who has not yet mastered the art of nail clippers, this was a daunting task. We had to find the third rib on the appropriate side and insert the needle in three and a quarter inches at a ninety degree angle. All of us had visions of doing this to each other, as practice. Offhand I could think of no one I had that big of a grudge against (even in the parish). Fortunately the instructors brought in several racks of pork ribs. Yes, that’s right, we were going to practice the technique on someone’s dinner. Thank God it was not a Friday as we Catholics are squeamish about meat on Fridays’ in Lent. Though I successfully inserted the needle into the pre-BBQ banquet, I hope I don’t have to use this technique in real life, though I understand it could give a Soldier a second chance at life.

The Gospel this Sunday is about second chances. The woman caught in the act of adultery finds her sins forgiven by the Lord. Others did not want to forgive, but to condemn; that is not the way of our Lord. Do you have someone you hold something against and are determined not to forgive? Is there someone you will never speak to because they have hurt you in some way? Jesus would give them a second chance, will you?

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