Hank – We visited the US Army Medical Department Museum on Fort Sam Houston. We walked through exhibits showing the history of the department from the Revolutionary War to present. It was worth the visit. After that we stopped by a chapel where Father George does Mass every once in a while. The Gift Chapel, as it is called, was built in 1908-9 and dedicated by President William Howard Taft. It’s the only military chapel I’ve seen that has a dome. The rest of the day was spent just hanging out. Sometimes it’s nice to just not do anything.
Kathy – It was a nice relaxing day spent with Father George. It’s been about ten years since he was stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane so we had a lot of catching up to do. Life is good for him in San Antonio, Texas. He is part of the Austin, Texas diocese so he returned to this area once he finished up his time in the military. Father George is now a contract priest providing Catholic services to the five military installations in the San Antonio area. He is semi-retired and only works part-time now. Life is going very well for him and I am so thankful for that. Father George is a very kind and compassionate person that deserves much happiness and relaxation at this point in his life. It was good to spend the day together.
The US Army Medical Department Museum on Fort Sam Houston was super cool. We were there for hours, and I could of stayed longer but it looked like Hank and Father George were about done. Maybe it is my medical background, but I found this place fascinating. Loved walking though the medical history during each of the wars as well as seeing all the technological advances in medicine over time. This is truly an extraordinary museum. There is so much interesting information that I could have easily spent another three or more hours here.
I really liked learning about the homemade warming devices that were made for ICU patients during the Iraq war. They were called, “Chief Cuddlers” A young solider from New York invented them. The main purpose of this cloth covered cardboard was to help raise body temperatures for trauma patients who had significant blood loss. The makeshift hospitals in Baghdad had limited supplies so this was a way to increase body temperatures which helped patients heal and increased survival rates. They actually did some studies while there and proved that something as simple as a cardboard box covered with sterile fabric improved patients outcomes.
I also learned that Hazel Colombo, a local civilian working in the 1960’s at Brooke Army Medical Center, in San Antonio, Texas created the first prosthetic eye that actually looked just like the patients other eye. Pretty cool stuff. I remember the first time I had to remove and clean an artificial eye during nursing school over 30 years ago. At the time I was young student nurse and thought it was a bit gross to remove and clean a patients eye. Even then though, I thought the glass prosthetic eye was fascinating and it amazed me that it looked so much like the patients other eye. Just a little tidbit of knowledge from the medical museum and it brings back those nursing school memories.
I really enjoyed the seeing the Gift Chapel in Fort Sam Huston. Going to churches and cathedrals always gives me a sense of peace. I absolutely love stain glasses windows in churches and this one had some beautiful ones. The 50 state flags and the four U.S. territory flags were hanging inside in the chapel. This is pretty standard for military chapels. Its pretty neat that the flags hang inside, they are beautiful, it reminds me that we are all connected in the military, and specific flags hold different memories of travels to those places. Also, the Gift Chapel has much color and beauty throughout it but I love the simplicity of the bare altar. So many symbolism’s here to reflect upon – within these walls and outside of them.
Our day ended with dinner and relaxing the reminder of the evening with Father George and Rinnu. It was a good day in San Antonio.
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