What “72 Hours” Actually Means In The Military Medical Sector

Ok. Let’s follow the timeline.

December 20th, the Spouse Thingy takes me to the ER because I’m in a heckuva a lot of pain. One of those things where when they ask you how bad it is on a scale on 1 to 10 you want to grab the technician by the nads, squeeze, and seethe, “Define that on your scale, Bucko!”

We’re there until 4 a.m., when the ER doc declares it to be my gall bladder, sends me home with instructions to not eat anything fried or greasy, and to see my primary care doc within 72 hours, and to arrange for an abdominal ultrasound.

December 21st, the Spouse Thingy is out of bed by 7:30 a.m. to call the base clinics to arrange the followup appointment, and the ultrasound appointment (he lets me sleep. Yay.) They have no record of my ER adventure, so they’ll “get back to us.”

December 22nd, my regular doc’s (whom I have never seen) tech calls to schedule an appointment. For January 4th. Slightly longer than 72 hours the ER doc wanted, but hey, I’m not bleeding from every orifice, so it’s not an emergency. They’ll call back to let me know about the radiology clinic and the ultrasound.

December 24th, they call back. No available ultrasound appointments until January 12th. At 10:15 a.m. So there’s no point in seeing the doc until that’s done, and the appointment is re-scheduled for the 12th, too, in the afternoon.

January 6th, the base clinic calls. My doc will not be available on the 12th, for whatever reason. She can see me on the 17th (and now I know, my “regular” doc is female. Imagine that!) But do keep the ultrasound appointment! And no greasy, fried, or gassy foods for 2 days before!


So at this point, 72 military medical hours is defined as “Eh, maybe a little less than a month, unless something more interesting pops up for us to see. Like a toe fungus.”

We sooooooo need to find a civilian doc. I talked to a woman online who was in the ER for the same problem on the same night; her gall bladder was removed within a few days.

But you know what gets me more than anything? All this time, since December 20th, I haven’t been able to have a single French fry!

I want my freaking fries!*

*and fajitas, and bacon, and a burger, and...and...and...

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