Colonel Takes The Pink

by Karen Grimord on January 26, 2006

This morning leaving Ramstein we followed a bus with wounded on board and then passed it. The bus pulled into the ER entrance shortly after I entered. It is heart wrenching to see the buses come in and deliver patient after patient. At the same time heart warming to see nurses’ techs, chaplains and assistants throughout the hospital be standing ready for them when they arrive. One of the COL, I love him dearly, was standing there waiting for the second bus of patients. I was carrying the Valentine apes in this morning and gave him one. He stuck it in his jacket pocket with the arms sticking out. Everyone was awwww, then the second chaplain looked at me and so I gave him one. Same reaction from everyone again. Now there must be 20-25 people standing there saying awww. A little female tech was looking at them so I walked over and gave her a different color one. Day in and day out these troops serve our wounded with such care and dignity. I could not help but give out about 18 apes this morning waiting there at the door for our wounded to arrive. I spoke with a very young man that works in L&D. He worked in ICU for one day and commented that he was not sure he could do it. The stress and pace at times can be overwhelming, so let us remember not only the troops, but the staff of nurses, doctors, ambulance drivers, and all those that support in the back ground. (By the way, the COL took the pink one.)

I spoke with one of the liaisons and he has a family arriving today from the states, that means that their family member is in ICU and not good. I asked him to give an ape to the family for their son. The flight is long here and I can not imagine the pain of knowing my son, daughter, or husband is in ICU and counting the minutes until I landed to get to their side. Not knowing what is wrong. How bad is it really? What will happen when I get at the hospital and will I have support? I can tell you the first couple questions would drive me crazy no matter what I was told and could be there myself.  However, the last question I can answer.  The support these families receive is awesome.  They are cared for in every way possible.  The only need that the hospital can not fill is the desire to have their military child/spouse back to before the incident, which put their child in ICU or this hospital.

We got snow last night and more this morning, about one inch. I stood outside last night thinking how beautiful, but then realized it would make it more difficult for those on crutches and wheel chairs to get to me. I will keep a close eye out on the long side walk to assist the next couple days until it is gone.

Today we have a woman in the hospital from the field. Her brother also happened to be serving down range and is now here to be by her side after an IED explosion.  After he left the clothing closet, I was unpacking more bags thinking what a close relationship they should have after this.

I met a young man last year who told me he would have no family when he returned back to the States with both hands and part of his face burned. His family did not support the efforts of our troops or HIM.  How sad!!! I feel they are all my family. We all have been given gifts over the years and these visits to LRMC to serve our wounded military is one of my most precious.

This afternoon I made the rounds to the wards with the apes. I think the guys might have liked them more than the women. We have enough to make rounds once a week through Valentine’s Day. I put sponsor labels on them and when the patient receives one I would tell them where it was from. Some of the apes were from Ballston Spa, NY. I had two patients that were surprised and thrilled because they were also from NY. That small little connection made faces smile. What an honor to be able to make that happen.

Well, it is 7:40 and the last meal I had was breakfast, so I must go.  Oh, if anyone wants to pick up some MED t-shirts, we are out.

Karen

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