It really hit home a couple of weeks ago when I went to a one-week program in Virginia called “Extreme Hostile Environment” training. For five days, I along with several other journalists, were at the mercy of six ex-British Royal Marines who taught the course. Each day had certain themes, like ‘how to treat amputee wounds and bone jutting injuries’ to ‘how to detect land mines.’
Needless to say, it was not for the faint of heart. We would spend most mornings in class. The afternoons were spent testing out what we learned by recreating these situations. So, for the ‘amputee’ day, we had to bandage up our teachers who had fake blood spurting out of them as fake gunshots were fired at us and fake bombs were exploding in the distance.
During this time period, I immediately reverted back to my high school days when I was a complete dork and know it all. I studied what I learned at night, so when our teachers asked us questions the next day, I was the first to raise my hand. This also helped me perform well in the make-believe scenarios held in the afternoon, as I was the one who remembered you have to check for entry AND exit wounds for gunshot victims. (Wow! I can’t believe I know that now).
But just a week later back in New York City, there I was in a kitchen watching one of my friends cook steak for the two of us. I don’t cook because I don’t like to touch raw meat. I cringed at the site of the uncooked flesh. It dawned on me that in a real life situation, I may not be the best person to push a bone back into a limb if that’s what’s needed.
Hopefully, I never have to find out. In the meantime, it’s baby steps. I hope the next time I’m in a kitchen I’ll be able to do more than just chop vegetables. I also hope my trip to Afghanistan is worthwhile and gives you all a glimpse into the lives of those who sacrifice everything for the safety and freedoms we enjoy in this country.