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All the about Pkchukiss's life in the Singapore Armed Forces

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Practise your skills!

Before my secondary school's wildly successful course on studying methods, I was stuck to inefficient and mundane rote memory work, which really took up plenty of my time after school. Staying back in the quiet environment of the school library then happened to appeal to me, and hence I was able to accomplish the mammoth task of memorising scientific facts, mathematical formulae.

Some were not so lucky (or are they just not disciplined enough?). They had to resort to interesting tricks to get past the numerous tests the teachers had to impose on us (by the ministry's mandate). To help these people improve their skills, a [:: two-part ::] [:: program ::] has been created for their practise and perusal.

I got intravenous needles stuck in me again ¡ยช by my platoon mates. The anticipation on Monday morning (when it was announced) mounted into a great climax that saw me trembling behind another guy as I saw somebody else getting poked in the arm. Not that I mind other people practising their skills on me, but the sight of a needle in any human flesh is enough to drive me nearly bonkers.

It was easy for others to poke me: I only had to look away from my arm for it to be a nonchalant experience (though I was in excruciating pain the entire time, because my buddy was doing some major topography inside my flesh), but I tried to plead with them to excuse me from poking my buddy. Which of course was a no go.

"You are a scout, and you will be alone with zilch logistics support! Not only do you have to carry your own food and water, but you will also have to take care of your team mates in case anything goes wrong!"

Oh well, at least they didn't do the usual scream-at-you-and-make-you-do-push-ups routine that was reminiscent of my earlier days in the platoon.

First I tied a tourniquet around my buddy's arm: it was supposed to restrict blood flow to expose the starved veins. Next, some alcohol swabs would fatten the vein further, making the catheter thirst for blood, literally. I didn't. Thankfully the catheter did. I had to avoid looking at my buddy as I pricked his skin with trembling hands.

"Don't tremble... Calm down." (The same advice again. Either I am really nervous, or there is something wrong with my hand.)

Thankfully (I've got tons to thank), the needle made its way into the vein easily and the catheter slid in with a surgical ease, upon which the medic congratulated me.

"See! You have done it!"

I guess he just didn't see the pool of sweat on my forehead... It sure wasn't easy to do that: I had failed five times previous, with only one success (with the medic's help), so this is probably some major accomplishment. A few moments later, another medic came up to me.

"Is your arm free?" He grabbed it, and started examining it carefully.

No it isn't. It's attached to my shoulder.

"Yup, my arms are free. Who's the lucky guy?"

"Your team commander."

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