By: Manuela Joannou (M.D. Medical Director, Project Trauma Support)

So we are now at the countdown!

Flying out of Ottawa early Friday morning to Gander Newfoundland to start the Great Adventure.  Easily the greatest adventure of my life.  Haven’t started to pack yet.  Only today started thinking about the medical kit I am bringing.  It is now dawning on me that maybe my tendency to be a last minute person might be a problem here.  So much to think about bringing.  I need to really think about this.  One chance to get it right.  Nine days away, most of them on the ocean far from civilization.  Cold.  Wet.  Sleeping on rocks.  Seasick maybe?  Migraines, chafing, blisters.  Sunburn.  Windburn.  And that’s just me.  Have to think about packing for the others and their possible medical misfortunes too.

What to bring!!??

And there is the usual running around getting office paperwork done, leaving instructions for coworkers and family, switching call schedules etc. etc.  Feel like the Mission Impossible music should be playing in the background.

And yet, we are packing to go with military veterans who are healing from injuries acquired because they put themselves in harm’s way to serve and protect us. They are used to strategic preparation, packing and deploying at short notice.  Their military service meant they were never not on call.  Their families ready to let them go anytime, in spite of what their plans were.  Strategic readiness.  24/7.  A lifetime of unpredictability and willingness to submit to what is ordered and required.  Sleep is not guaranteed.  Ever.

I probably should have started packing 2 weeks before, not 2 days before.  But I will get it done.  It is my chance to serve, to join the adventure.  I have so much to learn from theses brave men and women.  It is such an honour and privilege to have this opportunity.

Thank you to all you wonderful people who have donated to my True Patriot Love Fundraising endeavour.  TPL has been exceedingly generous in sponsoring our Project Trauma Support initiative.  All of the money that TPL has granted us goes directly to sponsoring military members and veterans to attend our program.