Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ben in Uniform

He doesn't look like my sweet husband anymore!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Lt. Goins has Officially Reported for Duty

Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama

This morning at 0600 I kissed Ben good-bye as he and Anthony set off for Commissioned Officer Training at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, AL. The farewells were a little teary, but I also felt a swell of pride as I watched him leave to fulfill what has been a dream and sense of duty he has carried with him throughout most of his life. Early this afternoon I confirmed that they made it to the base safely and hope to hear from him this evening. He will have access to phone and email so I at least I will have some contact with him, although it will be limited.
After this morning I have a new respect for the families of those who have loved ones fighting overseas. It was quite heartbreaking to say good-bye to my husband, and we will only be separated for a month during which he will be out of harm's way. It is much different than sending your spouse to Iraq for an indefinite amount of time where he or she will be in constant danger. Remembering those families makes me ashamed of feeling even the slightest bit melancholy.
I'm embracing my new duties and responsibilities of as a military wife. I've been studying my spouse's handbook "Air Force as a Second Language". I thought you would find the below amusing. I haven't experienced most of these yet, but number one I've already learned very well! I suppose number two means I shouldn't expect that assignment in Italy we were hoping for!

The Ten Commandments
of a Military Spouse

1. Thou shalt not write in ink in thy address book.
2. Thou shalt not covet choice assignments.
3. Love thy neighbors from other branches of the service no matter how superior the Air Force may seem.
4. Honor all thy benefits for as long as they all shall live.
5. Be thou kind and gentle to retired, white-haired Commissary, Exchange, and Thrift Store customers, because someday thou too will be a retiree.
6. Thou shalt not threaten to, or kill thy children or spouse when your spouse is TDY.
7. Thou shalt look for the best in every assignment even though the best may refer to "most childhood diseases in one year" or "record snow in one month’s time".
8. Thou shalt remember all thy friends from all thy assignments with holiday greeting cards, for thou never knowest when thou may wish to spendeth the night with them while enroute to a new duty station.
9. Thou shalt not curse your spouse when s/he is TDY during moving days, holidays, birthdays, or anniversaries.
10. Thou must never arrive at a new duty station and constantly speaketh about how much better thy last base was.

Monday, May 19, 2008

DO Day on the Hill: Mr. Ben Goes to Washington

Like a kid in a candy store, Ben on the Capitol steps.

Dean Stowers with the DCOM students at the Capitol.

Ben schmoozing with Tennessee Senator Bob Corker.

Ben is thinking of trading in his white coat for a black robe and getting some real power.

"And if you look to your left, here you will find 30 million books that no one will ever read..."

Ben was in D.C. for DO Day on the Hill. That’s where hundreds of students and DOs from around the country congregate in our nation’s capitol to make their Representatives and Senators aware of issues that are important to them as (future) physicians. Specifically, Ben spoke with Bob Corker's staffer, Hunter Bethea, about obesity in America. It’s also a chance for students from various schools to meet in a collegial spirit and begin getting politically involved early in their medical careers. This year’s DO Day was one of the biggest ever, with over 700 students and more than 300 physicians attending. Well over 1,000 white coat-clad students and doctors spent the day meeting with their respective legislators.

It also provided an opportunity to see some of the sights, visit museums, and walk around the mall. Ben had the chance to walk by a few of the places he’d most wanted to visit, like the Library of Congress and Supreme Court (although, much to his disappointment, he didn’t get to meet Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas, his favorite Justices). Ben’s biggest thrills were sitting in the Senate chamber when legislation was being presented (Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) walked through and he really does look like Lurch), talking to a physician-turned-Congressman from Georgia, and meeting one of Tennessee’s U.S. Senators, Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) on the sidewalk outside the Capitol building after meeting with his staffer a few hours earlier. All things considered, he had a great day gallivanting about the hill, feeling very grand and important as he did so.

Ben also had a great time taking in some of the culture of D.C. He and his classmates went to a tavern that touts having the country’s largest selection of beers (over 1,300) as well as serving an excellent hot Reuben sandwich. The best part was when the Dean of his school arrived. As the beer began to flow more freely, so did the stories. Ben was sworn to secrecy, and is therefore a little reticent to post them on the Internet. Just have faith that they were well worth the beers it cost to get them.

After DO Day on the Hill was over, Ben stayed in D.C. for an additional three days serving in his role as an officer in his school’s chapter of the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA). The SOMA National Convention was held immediately following DO Day, and Ben was a delegate representing DCOM. They discussed and voted on resolutions ranging from non-discrimination of LGBT students to full disclosure of income from pharmaceutical companies paid to med school faculty. There were also demonstrations and speakers. Additionally, mixers were held every night to meet and form contacts with students, physicians, and medical/hospital groups from around the country. A fun moment was when Ben got to meet someone that both he and Angela had only previously known through phone calls but had never met. Miranda Reed is the younger sister of one of Ben’s good friends from UGA, Nick Reed. Miranda is a 2nd year at PCOM (Georgia campus). She’s an extremely gracious person who, like her brother (a recent grad from the Medical College of Georgia), has served as an occasional counselor to Ben. They are good friends that help him maintain perspective through the trials of med school.

All in all Ben had a great time in D.C. He was a little sad that his wife wasn’t there to share it with him. But, he looks forward to the day they can return together and see all the sights and do all the things they’re both dying to do.