BOLC Weeks Four and Five: Mostly Great Stuff!
My fourth and fifth weeks at Fort Sam Houston ... yes, still loving it!My apologies for failing to blog last week ... it's been non-stop, and I've been stressed and tired. Lots of PT, lots of sit-ups! I will start with the good news: I passed my PT test today! Hooray!! I was so excited after passing my sit-ups that I jumped up, ran around like a maniac, and did a cartwheel. Haha. Then I realized I needed to make sure I didn't do anything stupid because I still had a two-mile run to complete for a PT pass, and I didn't need to twist an ankle in my moment of exuberance. My two-mile time was about 15 seconds slower than last week's time, but I expended more energy to pass my sit-ups, so it all evened out. This means Cheesecake Factory in my very near future. Yay! And my roommate/buddy bought me a new Starbucks mug to celebrate.
Let's see, highlights of last week ... we had our Army Service Uniform (ASU) inspection, which is when we put on our dress blues and are inspected while standing in formation. I have to say we all looked really sharp! I'm glad I got the pants to wear with the uniform jacket instead of the skirt -- it takes three pairs of pantyhose to cover my leg tattoos, and that makes breathing difficult. My advice to anyone who might be coming to BOLC: get your ASUs before you come. There were people literally picking up their ASUs from the tailor the night before our ASU inspection, and if it didn't fit properly, guess what? You're out of time! So get it done early. I had mine from earlier this winter from when I attended that 110th Anniversary of the Army Nurse Corps, so I knew my ASUs were squared away. One less thing to stress about!
Also, going back to the PT test, and fitness in general: don't come to BOLC out of shape. There are some people whose recruiters apparently said, "Oh, don't worry about it ... they'll get you into shape at BOLC." Wrong, wrong, wrong. It used to be that if students did not pass the PT test before the end of BOLC, they were allowed to go to their first duty stations and pass it there. This is no longer in effect, starting with our BOLC class! We were told that we would NOT be released from Fort Sam Houston, that we would remain here until we passed, and probably lose our assignments. Ugh. So that was what was hanging over my head ... not a good feeling! There is one more PT test a week from Monday, and there are still some folks who are struggling. I feel for them very much, because physical fitness and passing that PT test is so integral into Army culture. During class this week, every example in which we discussed Soldiers being disciplined used the example of "Let's say your Soldier fails his/her PT test..." I cringed every time! Not a fun thing to stress about, so do yourself a favor: if you're coming to BOLC and you have any doubts about your PT ability, start early.
My very new Dell croaked last week, which is one reason I didn't blog -- I was dealing with a wireless card that caused my laptop to lock up, despite a total reinstallation of Windows 7 and drivers. This was Wednesday night, as I was supposed to be studying for our midterm exam. The midterm was no joke ... approximately 25% of our class failed it. I was VERY happy to pass with a 78%, and anyone who knows me knows that I am usually an A student. In this case, I took that passing grade happily! I also went to the PX (post exchange, the sort-of-department store on post) and bought a new laptop earlier this week. My husband overnighted my little Dell Mini 9 netbook to me last week, but I needed something that would run some Army-specific software, and the netbook wouldn't -- it has a Linux operating system, which doesn't support the software I needed to do my homework. I now have a lovely Toshiba laptop, and I'll probably sell the Dell when it comes back from repair. So just be aware, future BOLC students: you WILL need a computer. Not having a computer will hamper you severely because the computers at the library and in our post hotel are often in use by others.
Also, just FYI: if you are told that you need to show up someplace very early in the morning wearing PTs and with a bottle of water, congratulations! You've been selected for a random drug screen. Yes, I had the honor. It took two bottles of water before I felt the urge ... the ER nurse bladder holds quite a bit!
Today we had our CBRNE exam -- that's Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives. Monday is our final exam in the morning, and then out for Field Training Exercises (FTX) in the afternoon. We go out to the field for three weeks, but we get to come back on weekends. We may or may not get to shower during the week ... it could get interesting! I am looking forward to being out in the field. This is the last part of BOLC before we break off into Nurse Track! The home stretch. Sorta.
About Pixie.RN, BSN, RN, EMT-P
LunahRN: a short green-eyed redhead, very tattooed, a volunteer Paramedic, ER RN, new 2LT/66HM5. Avid reader, addicted to good shoes, allnurses, and her smartphone.
Pixie.RN has 'NREMT-P: 11, RN: 6' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'ED/Trauma, 66HM5 (Army)'. From 'everywhere and nowhere - global nomad'; 42 Years Old; Joined Aug '05; Posts: 12,626; Likes: 7,228.0Apr 22, '11 by New1LTYeah...you're back and with awesome news!!! Congrats again on your PT test!!! They brought the shower conex(es) out during our field exercise, so you should be able to shower. I REALLY hope you are able to. I had field experience prior to that, so I had my little corner up bird bathing it and washing my hair out of a bag. However, that first shower was soooooo awesome!!! I'll have my fingers crossed for you. Keep up the great job!!!