This is where my real story begins. I finished my medical-surgical internship and passed my New York State license exam with flying colors. It and my internship was recognized by every state and was universally acknowledged as my being capable of providing basic medical and surgical care as a General Medical Officer (GMO) on any global US military base.
At this point I have to share an experience which was to impact on my Navy life and save me from imprisonment later on. In my last internship year an important Admiral was admitted to the Sick Officers Quarters (SOQ). He was not sick. All Navy flag officers were required to undergo extensive periodic examinations to ensure mental and physical health to somewhat ensure longevity and sound decision making. This particular Admiral had a reputation for being sarcastic, irascible, angry and known to have people he didn’t like sent to an active combat zone. The Chief of Medicine summoned me to his office.
“Peter as Chief of the interns, and since interns do all admitting histories and physicals, I want you to take charge of this Admiral’s health screen. Just do your job and have the Chief Medical Resident look at your orders and results of all lab and special procedures before it gets to my desk.” Captain Cohen made it sound like I had no choice.
“I’ve done work-ups on star-rank officers before, sir.” With that I was dismissed with a folder marked “secret”.
When I got back to my office on SOQ I opened the folder. I was unfamiliar with the Admiral and asked the senior nurse about him. “Kelly you ever hear of or do anything with an Admiral Rickover?”
Her eyes bulged. “Oh no. Not again. He was here two-years ago for his promotion exam.”
“What’s wrong? He’s just getting routine labs and a bunch of heart, central nervous system and gastrointestinal studies.” I opened his health file and looked at his past results–all normal.
“Peter you mean you’ve never heard of Admiral Hyman Rickover. He has a nickname of Admiral Prickover, if you pardon me for the word and it’s not mine. He’s a real pain in the ass. He considers his time here a waste of the Navy’s and everyone’s time, especially his. He’s the Commandant of the Nuclear Submarine Fleet for the Navy. No one likes him–not his Navy Admiral cronies, not his civilian consultants, not even the President and I’m sure animals sense he’s a bastard and avoid him.”
I scanned his admission orders from Washington and they included that a medical officer had to attend Rickover with his military aide at all procedures from venipuncture (drawing blood), electrocardiogram and his barium enema. “Barium enema? I have to be present for his barium enema?”
LCDR Kelly Bomba Chief SOQ nurse smiled. “Don’t knock it. I have to do his ‘enemas till clear’ bowel prep. Last time he made me give him some Xylocaine jelly for his anus to quell any discomfort from his hemorrhoids during the prep. He threatened me with a duty station transfer if his asshole became as irritated as he was at being here.”
My jaw dropped. This was no honor doing Admiral Rickover’s workup. It might be considered punishment but I had a good record. Why me?
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish