CHBOLC: Day 61 “Exceedingly Large Needles”

The highlight of my day had absolutely nothing to do with CHBOLC. I have been having pain in my lower back for about a week now, and I thought that it would go away on its own. Well, it didn’t and after limping through the military movement drills in PT this morning I decided to bite the bullet and visit sick call. For me, sick call has a certain stigma attached to it. There are people who will go to sick call and get a profile and ride the profile as long and as hard as possible so that they can get out of doing any physical activity. I think that is downright lazy. Despite the potential stigma, I decided to take care of my body since I’m going to be needing it for a while longer.

I got to sick call and the folks running the show that morning forgot about me for nearly two hours. When a nurse practitioner finally saw me, she spent about two mintues prodding around my lower back and pronounced that I have a strained a muscle and she was going to give me something for the pain.

In her words:

“You are going to get a shot in the butt with a huge needle!”

Gotta love the Army, no mincing of words. The nurse seemed almost gleeful, like she had been waiting to send someone back to the treatment room to get butt shot all day.

I made my way back to the treatment room, putting up a stalwart front for all the basic training soldiers wandering through the hall of the TMC. In the waiting room was a private who had a spider bite on his knee and it had swollen up to the size of a baseball. Next to him was another private who was about to get an in-grown toe-nail removed.

“What are you here for, sir?” One of them asked politely.

Summoning my best officer voice I said, “I’m getting a shot in the butt!”

The privates tried not to laugh, knowing that a drill sergeant could be just around the corner.

Soon a nurse came and escorted me into the treatment room. Private Toe Nail was laying on a bed waiting to get his foot taken care of. I watched as a burly female nurse walked by and started messing around with a syringe and a needle. My heart skipped a beat when I saw the size of the thing.

“Good grief! That thing looks more like a sharpened straw than a needle!” I thought to myself, already steeling my resolve for the event that was forthcoming.

The nurse gave me a look that seemed slightly gleeful and she called for a chaperone since a male soldier and a female nurse can’t be alone behind a closed curtain.

As I walked towards the little room with the curtain I told Pirvate Toe Nail, “Don’t laugh when I scream like a girl.” He chuckled and must have been thinking, “I get to be here when an officer gets a shot in the butt, how cool is that!”

The curtain swished shut with an ominous wisking noise. The burly nurse and her skinny chaperone looked on as I fidgeted, waiting for instructions. The nurse told me to expose my left cheek. I complied, but I was a bit nervous so I exposed the wrong one. Doh!

“Steady!” I told myself, “Take this like a man, you don’t want to walk out of here and see all those privates laughing at you because you sounded like a two-year old who just got stung by a bee.”

Left cheek now exposed.

Nurse leans over and raises needle ominously, I expect to hear the screaching soundtrack from Psycho playing next.

Nurse says, “Stop clenching your butt! You’ll only make it worse!”

Have you ever tried to relax your butt when someone is standing over you with a needle that looks like a cross between a straw and a Ka-Bar?

I did my best and the next thing I knew I felt a twinge and it was over. I didn’t scream like a girl. I maintained some sense of dignity despite having shown one more cheek than necessary.

Before I could leave, the staff had to watch me for 20 minutes to make sure I didn’t have a reaction to the shot and die. I didn’t die, but they made me sit down on my aching left cheek. That was just plain cruel. While I was sitting there, Private Toe Nail got toe nail pulled off. I think his hurt worse than mine.

Personally, I think the purpose of the shot was to cause me so much discomfort that I would forget about my back pain for awhile, and you know what, it worked.


2 thoughts on “CHBOLC: Day 61 “Exceedingly Large Needles”

  1. Hey there! I have enjoyed reading your blog! I am also a Chaplain Candidate located in Michigan and I was wondering if you could answer a few questions for me about CHBOLC if you have the time. When did you submit your paperwork for CHBOLC and how long did it take for you to get notified? I want to attend in January and just need to know when I should submit the paperwork.
    I also noticed you said that you have two years of Seminary left, but I was under the understanding that a candidate had to be in their senior year to attend all of CHBOLC at once. Is this not the case? Also, I am in the Army Reserve, not the NG, so things may be different.

    Thanks for taking the time!


  2. I am also a Chaplain Candidate. I just got a direct commission about a month ago and had drill weekend to preach last weekend. I want to go to CHBOLC this summer, what kind of paperwork do I need to provide to go? I am assuming my readiness NCO will take care of me.

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