Basic Training: Week 10

June 09

My last Sunday at Basic Training. I never thought I'd live to see the day.

This week we have been on a lot of details around base, like moving furniture and police calling (which is a fancy way to say "picking up garbage"). I took three naps yesterday and our fireguard schedule is back to normal, so I feel better.

Last night was a "pizza party". "Party" in BCT means sitting in our assigned seats in the classroom, being yelled at to shut the f*** up. But there was pizza. We watched a dumb movie, but a movie, called Tropic Thunder.

I'm still spitting up blood, even more than before. I talked to a drill sergeant about it and he pretty much just said to suck it up. But I think I will probably go to sick call tomorrow morning. Even though I will miss graduation rehearsal, so I will probably be that person who messes up and trips at graduation. Also, they always make fun of you and make you feel guilty for going to sick call. Which is probably why so many people ignore their problems and end up breaking themselves. My best friend here has to get pins in her hip from stress fractures that weren't taken care of.

A couple nights ago I had an unsettling dream that something bad happened to someone in my family but my mom was trying to hide it from me. I could tell she wasn't telling me the truth about it, which made me feel really uneasy. The feeling stayed after I woke up and I told Eversmann about it and said that it was one of those dreams that feels real, like it's foreshadowing something.

Today we got to make a phone call. I took out my phone and saw a message from a distant family friend that said, "I heard about your mom's diagnosis. How are you doing?"

I had to read that a couple times.

So I called my mom. Do you know how many times I have called my mom since she found out? And she never said anything.

She was not sounding too good this time. She sounded out of breath and kept coughing. I asked her what's new at home and she said nothing really, my little brother just got out of school. She talked on about nothing really, but I could barely concentrate on what she was saying and had to ask her to repeat herself a few times. Finally I just said, "How is your health?" She said, "Oh, I have a little bit of a cold. Why do you ask?" I told her about the message. Then she admitted that she has stage 4 lung cancer. It's everywhere in her body, even her brain. She said the average time doctors give patients in her circumstances is 12 months to live, without medication.

I couldn't believe I had to wheedle this information out of her. She said, "I just hate how everyone is acting like it's such a big deal." I wondered, what is a big deal in her world???

She acted really optimistic about it and said she doesn't feel scared or worried about it. Something that was said in a blessing she got from a church leader makes her believe she won't die from it. "But if I do, joke's on me," she said, cracking up. Ha ha.

That's my mom for you.

I'm still trying to digest that news... I guess I will seem them on Thursday and hear more.

June 10

I went to the hospital this morning to ease my nerves about my blood-spitting problem, even though the drill sergeants are sure it's nothing. The army doctor gave me a nasal spray and said if it doesn't work, see another doctor. The nasal spray is just to moisten your nose... I don't even have a dry nose. It's runny. Whatever.

Tonight I was doing push-ups (I am doing 200 push-ups or 300 sit-ups every night now). I didn't even get to 20 when a big marble-sized ball dropped into my mouth. I spit it out and wondered how  a grape had gotten into my nose without me knowing it! It wasn't squishy, but it smeared blood wherever it went, because it turns out that's what it was made of.

My battle buddies were saying, "maybe it's lung cancer," and all this stuff. I haven't even told anyone about my mom, so that started to freak me out. I went down to show the drill sergeant what I spit out (which was kind of awkward). He said, "It's nothing. Probably just coagulated blood." He couldn't even pronounce the word "coagulated." I don't know why I listened to him. I threw it away and came up to the bay and finished doing my push-ups.

I am probably dying.

June 11

After I gave birth through my sinuses last night, I bled the rest of the night and a little in the morning, but now it's stopped finally stopped, after 12 days. So who knows what that was about.

Tomorrow is Family Day. Everyone is excited, like it is Christmas. Well, I am a little bit not excited, not a bit like Christmas, because my family doesn't even want to be here. They said they'll just stop by because they've always wanted to see South Carolina anyway. My mom asked if they have to come at 9 or can they just come for the last couple hours?

Just as well, I guess. My family is pretty awkward and we would run out of things to do anyway. I think I'm the only one who gets done with the phone calls before out time is up. Sometimes I don't even make a call.

For one thing, my family doesn't know a thing about the military. I think they don't know how to react to my decision to join. It's a strange world to them. Just another one of my things. But what they don't know is that this thing is different... It's not like a cross-country bus trip with a couple of hippies or a volunteer trip abroad. It's a new life. "Your life will never be the same," Senior-senior drill sergeant said ominously today.

Anyway... More importantly, who is taking care of my lizard while everyone is here???

June 12

Today was Family Day. We were supposed to do this cool thing where we surprised out families by running out of the woods through all this smoke, but it rained. They tried to replicate it by shoving all of us into a stairwell at the company for an hour, then we ran out into the tire pit looking ate up because it was 200 degrees in there and we were packed in like sardines, getting baked.

Expectation vs. Reality

But our families were still there, so I guess nobody cared. From my family my dad, my mom, my grandma, my sister and one of my brothers came. We weren't allowed to leave base, so we went to the PX and ate food that was not the D-FAC or MREs. It was glorious. But then I ate an MRE anyway, because I wanted to show it to my family. I knew they would think that was cool. They may not care about my combative or shooting stories, but MREs make the Army look so cool.

We went bowling, which was fun. Then we got some hot chocolate and played Wii Sports at the Solomon Center. It was really the best day.

We had to rush back to the company so I could get smoked for something or other. It is my last night in this hell hole that I am actually kind of fond of because it's my home.

On one of our first weeks here, Eversmann woke up Durant by pulling the sheets off her bed. Durant got so mad and tried to pull off Eversmann's, but Eversmann was prepared. Durant swore in her wrath that she would be avenged when Eversmann least expected it. Tonight, two months later, was that day. Our last night here and she pulled all the sheets of Eversmann's bed while Eversmann was sleeping. Eversmann knew what it was for. She'd probably been sleeping with one eye open every night for weeks, which was half the punishment. The fight that ensued was 50% hateful, 50% friendly, and 100% enjoyable to watch. Which about sums up my time here at BCT.

I've spent a lot of time here regretting my decision to join the Army, but now that it's over, I don't think I would give it up for the world. My journey with the Army has only begun; but if the sisterhood I've found and the ways I've grown are any indication of how the rest of the journey will go, then BRING IT ON.

June 13

This morning was our graduation ceremony. Then we came back to the company and I got my things and left. Hardly anybody was back from the ceremony yet, so we didn't get to say goodbye to each other. It was kind of weird, leaving a place that had such a big impact on me with so little fanfare.

My family and I went out to eat, then we stopped at a gas station and I changed into civilian clothes. I couldn't be happier. I sat in the van and listened to music. I hope I never take short pants and Imagine Dragons for granted ever again.

Now it's on to the next adventure: AIT.


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