LEAVE: I won't be coming home on leave for my mother-in-law's memorial service. I asked several members of my unit if I could go on emergency leave and still go on my scheduled Rest & Recreation leave in mid-June. I got various answers from emphatic Yes to maybe.
Then I talked to the sergeant who actually handles leaves. She said if I take the leave now, I cannot take an R&R leave until every other soldier in my entire unit has taken a leave or turned it down. My wife said she would rather have me home at the time we agreed on than now, so I won't be coming home until June.
One of the sergeants in my unit who was deployed previously in 2005 said, "Guss, you did it backwards. I went home on R&R then my Dad died a month later. They have to give you both leaves that way." Army jokes are seldom delicate.
RIGHT FOOT: The good effects of the cortisone shot in my heel lasted exactly one day. I have a bone spur. My foot hurts every time I step down. I am currently on a 2-week ban from running, but since the DFAC is 3/4 mile from my living quarters and the bathroom is 200 meters away, I have to walk on rocks several times a day even if I have the day off. What I should do is get the bone spur removed. But the Army is nothing if not the home of socialized medicine, so I will be getting new shoe inserts, new anti-inflammatory medicine and more cortisone shots before the Army doctors will be able to justify operating on my foot. The only variable in the process is how much I complain--which I will be doing often.
Because I could not do the weekly 5k race this morning, the first sergeant put me on what he was told was a furniture moving detail. He said I would just have to supervise the soldiers who would be moving the furniture. As it turned out, I was on a security detail with a 30-round magazine in my weapon. I spent most of the day standing on or walking on rocks--almost everything here is paved with gravel. My foot would have been better off if I ran the 5k.
CLARIFICATION: A reader of my blog from NYC asked where I carry 30 POUNDS of ammo on my bike. It's actually 30 ROUNDS of ammo which weighs just over one pound.