Sunday, February 10, 2013

Leader's Recon

Not being female I may not be as empathetic or as sympathetic or as nurturing or as loving or as kind or as sensitive as I should be, but I can try and fix things! Strategy, that's all we need, a new strategy. As a Recon Marine our job was to sneak in, gather information and sneak out.  We weren't supposed to analyze, just gather but to know what to gather the good team leaders had an idea of what to look for. I met Beth when I was a young, cocky Sergeant with 3rd Force Recon. She swore never to marry a military guy (surrounded by pilots attending flight school in the Pensacola, FL area). Now if that is not sneaking up completely unawares I don't know what is. I almost went with "stealthy infiltration" but that could be construed as personally degrading. Running a recon team probably affords the team leader more autonomy than most other leadership positions in the Corps short of Battalion Commander (Lt. Col to Col).  The Recon Tm Ldr. (Cpl. to Sgt.) plans the mission, trains his Marines, drills them and executes the mission, the only order which he must follow once inserted is "abort the mission" otherwise the show is his. He either wears all the glory or bears all the shame. I loved that job and was good at it. A huge part of the job is taking care of your men, you take care of them and they take care of you. Some observation skills and empathy are therefore required. Another component is "the leader's recon" a subset of the recon mission and normally performed at the objective area. If the team's mission is to lay eyes on target and report back, the entire team does not need to actually examine the target.  Normally the leader's recon includes the team leader and whoever he deems most pertinent to assist him in accomplishing the mission, this might be in the form of an attachment (non-recon person assigned to the team for a specific purpose) say a really good artist (although we were all trained in military sketching) or a significant security element (really tough guys).   Beth... she needs to rest more, she needs to elevate her feet to reduce the swelling, drink more water, decrease stress but she still needs to make it to the target. Although, when addressing the target too late in the day the stress levels are significantly increased which then defeats all of the above...  Sometimes the attachment requires special treatment. A Corporal I knew was a Somalia veteran, this was prior to Gulf II and Afghanistan. Every patrol they ran had at least one field grade officer attachment (Major or above) and sometimes 2-3 as these guys had to get combat ground time on their resume' if they ever wanted a flag grade promotion (general type). The patrol then ceased to function as any form of patrol at all and became a care unit for said attachments. I could use this. I told her I would see Gabriel in the morning, receive the briefing from the Nurses, all the while allowing Beth to rest and relax. We could then move forward and address the objective (Gabriel) together (after I walked into the room first and asked them to cover the chest wound).  Later that day in the afternoon or early evening I could return, snap a nice photo of the boy (sans tubes and what nots) and return with a cheery report emphasizing all positives reported by the nurses.
Photos minimizing tubes and all other maternally viewed negative things and emphasizing those lovely baby things.

The plan works, Gabriel is an awesome conspirator and does his part very well. He is doing good. I add another aspect of subterfuge, Beth does not like long hair on men (a few rock stars, but not her husband) so I lopped it off while on a run to get her an iced mocha.

Photos of the short haired freak to follow.

The plan worked, a report with mocha and haircut to a well rested wife. Later that day we visited Gabriel together, then returned to the cottage where I cooked her chicken caesar wraps, to which she responded, "I'd rather eat your food than eat out any where we've dined on this trip." I'll take that one.  I returned to the hospital and found Gabriel was retaining some fluids and was again in danger of possibly requiring an abdominal drain tube, but if he could just urinate.  I stressed the need to urinate. The next day he was filling the container with beautiful pale yellow pee! He still retained some fluids though so he was placed on lasix to evacuate  those fluids and get him better prepared to close his chest. Hopefully tomorrow they'll close his chest,  although the surgical team might move the procedure to Monday. We're ready to move forward and start eliminating some of the machinery in Gabriel's world.

 Not that we're ungrateful for the technology that has allowed him to live, but count the monitors and apparatus (there is a little baby right in the middle of all that stuff).
The IV delivery systems, about half or less pictured.

He might be heavily sedated but he's still a beautiful lad! I'm looking forward to Mom seeing him without a breathing tube.


Lisa Cheney-Jorgensen said...

He is indeed a beautiful lad!!! my heart just swelled up, lots of love to your and your family!

meegan holland said...

I love the tone of your blog, Earle. Full of love and caring. Not to worry - you ARE empathetic!

Norma from Idaho said...

Classic blog. Great plan. Super photos. Looking forward to seeing the shorn father pics.

Even when sedated and hooked up, Gabriel radiates intelligence and a fighting spirit.

Aunt Joni said...

Such a beautiful boy! You are being a great husband and father. Gabriel is in the prayers of many people every day!God loves you and your beautiful family!