Giving Back

by Karen Grimord on September 24, 2012

 Monday

Today has been a nasty cold and rainy day.  I seem to have been all over the place with different tasks.  This morning I stocked some of our towels and pillows on the shelves.  We ran to Ramstein to pick up water and sodas for the Tuesday and Wednesday dinners.  We ate lunch pretty quickly and then went back to the hospital.  We received a call from one of the wards asking if we had reading glasses.  I asked what prescription strength and it was a minor correction.  The Chaplain’s Clothes Closet does not have any, but I had my personal pair in my purse and would deliver them to the patient.

On the way to drop off the glasses, I ran into the patient that I mentioned in Saturday’s post.  He was sitting at the end of the hall.  He saw me first and spoke.  It was obvious something was not right.  I asked him if he was feeling ok.  He said that they are readmitting him.  I could not believe how his appearance had changed just from Saturday.  I sat and talked to him for a short period of time.  My heart just broke.  He was on the verge of tears, but he managed to hold it.  He said he just wanted his body back.  I asked him what ward was he going to and he told me he did not know.  He had been waiting for someone to come and take him up.  I told him that I could take him upstairs if he could get permission.  I pushed him to the front desk and they gave permission for me to take him up.

I started pushing him in the chair and realized I still had the reading glasses in my hand. I got him to his ward and into his bed.  He has lost so much weight in just the few weeks I have known him.  He has no bum to cushion him while he sits.  His collar bones are now very present.  He managed to roll from the chair to the bed and I could tell he was in a lot of pain, but he did it.  We got him covered, but his tech said he needed to get into a gown.  I asked him if there was anything more I could do for him and he said no he was just happy to get help going to his new bed.  I explained I had to deliver the reading glasses but would be back.  I went down a couple more wards and delivered the reading glasses.  That patient asked me how I found them and I told him it was not difficult.  He said they were very nice glasses and could not believe we found him a pair.  He was extremely grateful.  There was no reason to tell him they were mine.  He is the patient in the hospital with not much to do but read and watch TV.  I will tell Brian what I did; he will roll his eyes and say I would give away all my clothes if I was not always so cold.  LOL, it was all good.

I went back to see my very young patient, but he was still being in processed so I told him I would be back.  I contacted his liaison and had him bring the patient his lap top from his outpatient room.  When I went back before I was off work, he had his lap top.  I took him a little stuffed squirrel wearing a denim jacket, and a DS game system that I brought from the states.  I also gave him the last IPOD Shuffle and ITunes card so he could download some music.  When I pulled the Shuffle from my purse, he just looked at it and then he took it in his hands and just stared at it.  I know he knew what it was, but I don’t think he could believe he would be able to listen to music.  I had to tell him twice that it was his.  He reached out his hand for me to take and then he leaned forward for me to give him a kiss on the cheek.  I left him with his gifts and told him I would be back tomorrow.

This is the difficult part of the trip.  So many of the patients come and go while I am here, but they are moving forward in their care.  The last few days of my trip, I leave our patients to continue on with the LHCP mission, but I feel my heart is being ripped out each time I must leave them while they still finish their care here.

This young man will eventually go back to the Lone Star state.  I wish he was closer so I could continue to check in on him.  He has a home forever in my heart.

I worked 9 hours today thanks to Callie Jordan.  Callie has been a member of LHCP for almost six years.  She is also a member of Stitches of Love, creating beautiful handmade items for our wounded warriors.  Thank you for all your years of support, Callie!

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