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Dave Cummings- From the Trenches, June, 2010 Edition

Dave Cummings writes: Sometimes, I’m hard pressed for things to write about. The piracy of the past few years slowed filming considerably, resulting in fewer opportunities and matters to include in my monthly column.

Lately, however, I’ve been thankfully noticing more and more courts coming down hard on copyright infringement. I wouldn’t want to be an up-loader or a downloader in today’s law enforcement environment and/or civil court lawsuits; getting caught could be costly, both financially and in jail time! The courts are not just those in the United States, but globally, too.

On a personal note, my military dermatologist referred me to ophthalmology because she noticed that the top portion of my pupils were somewhat blocked by my overhanging 70-year old eyelids. Long story short, I was offered eyelid surgery to remedy things. So, six weeks ago, I checked into the Navy’s Medical Center for the procedure on both eyes. Being a retired ARMY officer in a NAVY facility didn’t matter, as I was treated respectfully throughout the entire 24-hour period of my stay, as was everyone there.

After the check-in paperwork, which went quickly since two weeks earlier I had completed the pre-op detailed exam and eye measurements with my surgeons, an EKG, blood work-up, x-rays, and a consultation with anesthesiology. I got into one of those “yukky” hospital gowns and slippers, had vitals taken, and was interviewed repeatedly to insure that I was the right person getting the right surgery; another patient and I were then walked down the to the “prep” suites –during the walk, I found out that he was an active duty Army Senior NCO casualty from an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) that targeted him in Iraq; he was having surgery to correct damages to his stomach.

At this stage, a bunch of nurses and technicians went to work inserting an IV, attaching heart and lung monitors, and verifying aspects of the surgery. My actual surgeon and her primary assistant then drew lines on my eyelids where she would be cutting out two inches of excess skin in the shape of a football, and my two anesthesiologists briefed me on what to expect and how they would keep me comfortably in a “twilight” state until close to the end of the surgery when I would have to have my eyes opened for the final adjustments and stitches. This was very thorough, indeed.

I was then wheeled into the OR, and while the anesthesia was starting to take effect I sensed that a lot of monitoring stuff was being attached, and some very bright lights were on. I could hear my surgeon briefing her surgical team on how she planned to proceed. The next thing I recall was my surgeon asking me what my favorite San Diego restaurant was, and asking me to look straight ahead at her nose so she could check alignments. Yes, we were almost done—what seemed like mere minutes to me actually was approximately an hour. Two final stitches were added just as the painkillers were beginning to wear off, and I was wheeled into my hospital room where I was treated like a royalty.

The rest of the day meant lots of ice packs, phone calls to my daughter and son to let them know where I was (I had not informed them about the routine surgery), constant vitals being taken, “chow”, and slow walks around the hospital ward, initially with a female hospital tech holding my arm to make certain the anesthesia was worn off and that I was completely stable); later, I visited the wounded Army NCO and we watched the news on his television and chatted about modern Army life.

That evening, my surgeon came by to check on me. Luckily, she just happened to come in while I was holding the ice pack to my eyes, so I got accolades for being a good patient and following the icing orders. As she was leaving, the Army NCO thoughtfully called from his room to check on me.

As my surgeon commented, we were both Army guys in a Naval Medical Center and both had been in active combat (mine was in Vietnam as a Unit Commander in an Infantry Division during the enemy Tet Offensive; the NCO’s was during multiple assignments in Irag, and she said she was proud to know us.

The next morning, I was allowed to dress and walk to the “Galley” for breakfast, then back to the ward for my discharge medical check-out briefing, a stop-by to wish the Army NCO well, and a final check out by my surgeon. Somehow, I was recognized as “Dave Cummings”; subsequently the word quickly got out among the enlisted ranks, and “Lt Col Cummings” was asked to sign a lot of autographs and pose for a lot of cell phone photos, something I ALWAYS like to do for military folks and other people.

I know this is getting long, and is short on sex-related matters, but let me just mention that on my way to the hospital garage to get my car, I purposely veered off course and visited the Wounded Warrior Detachment. Those injured and recovering folks had such a “can-do” attitude and outlook that I felt honored to hang-out with them. They are happily kept busy with physical rehab, college courses, doctor appointments, and life after combat. I left there feeling “lifted”, and proud to have had the opportunity to informally meet these All-American heroes.

A week after the surgery, I had my post-op appointment, which went well. My upper field of vision has significantly improved. After the follow-up, I again had the honor of visiting with some other Wounded Warriors; America is in good hands with today’s military. The Army NCO/Master Sergeant and I have kept in touch, and he’s getting his body and life back together; he’s now back to full active duty, training others for combat. God Bless Him, and ALL our Wounded Warriors!

Stay well, use sun block, drive defensively, and be nice to people just for the sake of being a nice person.

Dave Cummings, ,,


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