Serving as an emergency physician and medical toxicologist in the United States Air Force in Afghanistan (2011) was an amazing experience. It was an honor for me to resuscitate patients, relieve pain and suffering, and provide the care my patients needed. While deployed I was constantly reminded of what a great nation we represent and protect. The U.S. flag hung on many walls, flew atop numerous flag poles, and most importantly, waved proudly in my mind and heart. Serving in the military helped me to look outside of myself and to do things for others that they clearly could not do for themselves. No matter how bad I thought my days/nights were, it was nothing compared to the catastrophic injuries and suffering others had experienced. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have sacrificed a little for others who gave so much.
Shawn M. Varney, MD, FAACT