780.4: Dizziness and Giddiness.
Deep breath: I still felt out of place. I turned the engine off. Quietly, I promised myself: once you get commissioned, maybe after you go through ODS, they’ll give you a Geneva Conventions ID card and you can stop showing your driver’s license at the gate. You’ll have a uniform and you won’t be the only one on base wearing jeans. You won’t have to be on a guest list.
I got out of my car and walked inside. The National Naval Medical Center was a labyrinth, but this was my third and final physical—putting a bow on the package, as my recruiter had told me—and I knew my way to the health center. As I sat between two men waiting for their pre-deployment physicals, I couldn’t have felt less proud. An academic in a hornet’s nest. But, I promised myself: one day you’ll deploy too—as a doctor—and serve your country. One day you’ll use the Arabic you spent four years in college studying. You’ll be able to tell your children that you fought in war. You’ll justify your departure from the intelligence community: to be one who does, not one who says. I thought of a picture hanging in my bedroom. Deep breath.
The path to a military scholarship for medical school is lengthy: background investigations, essays, fingerprinting. Letters of recommendations from current or retired officers; my grandfather wrote mine. A personal interview with a current military physician: I got taken out to lunch by a Navy doctor who also happened to be a reality star, and then got mentioned in a gossip blog. And of course, a slough of physicals. Today I was to go over the results of my blood work from the previous appointment, and sign the appropriate forms. My insurance company had faxed over the entirety of my medical records, including my broken arm at the age of 7. I was tying the bow. I wiped my palms on my jeans.Continue reading…