I remember falling off the bike; I remember seeing my tibia poking through my skin.  I remember pulling my ankle away from my knee as my calf tried to contract and force the tibia out further. I remember the bumpy ambulance ride to the remote clinic in Northern Greece where I was on temporary duty as a flight surgeon. I remember lying in the middle of an aisle on a commuter boat to the mainland filled with chickens, goats, and people speaking Greek.   I remember waiting for the Air Evac on the tarmac.  I remember the Air Evac nurse sent from heaven with a syringe full of morphine.  I remember waking up at Landstuhl with my leg in an external fixator.   Despite the years that have gone by I remember everything – sounds, smells, sites – everything! (more…)

One defining characteristic of mine that has often dictated the direction of my life is that I like to take things to the extreme. If something peaks my interest, or strikes me as worthy of my attention, I tend to become obsessive. This was certainly the case during my senior year of high school when, among other things, I had to decide what to do upon graduation. (more…)

On May 22, 2007 during routine route security operations, my (2) Stryker vehicle section came under small arms fire. While attempting to isolate the origin of the small arms fire my vehicle was hit by a buried, command-wire IED consisting of (EOD – estimated) 4-5 155MM artillery rounds, mortars and propane tanks. After a very brief blackout, I woke to a smoke and dust filled Stryker hull; the blast had come in from the radio array on the right side and blew a significant hole in that section of the vehicle. After shaking out the cobwebs, I began to assess the situation and immediately realized my right leg was mangled; I could see my fibula near my knee (my fibula and foot were gone). I called out to my squad to report my condition and attempt to get their status while grabbing one of the three tourniquets I carried in my kit, (1-rapid and 2-rachet straps) and began to apply the tourniquet. I feel this is one of the reasons I was able to cope with the fact that I was an amputee so quickly during my recovery – I knew my leg was gone immediately. I did not wake up in a hospital missing my leg; I actually tended to it first hand. I think it would be more difficult to simply wake up to such a sight. (more…)