Having a tube stuck down one’s throat and hernia surgery will tend to do that to a person – especially a 20-year-old.
“I told her I was here for hernia surgery and that I had no one around here that I knew,” he said. “No family, no nothing.”
“He told me it would be a lot better if his dad could be here with him,” said Grimord. “But his dad couldn’t make it over for the surgery.”
That’s when she offered to step in as a surrogate parent and meet him at the emergency room entrance, follow him to the operating room and sit with him prior to and after his surgery. He took her up on the offer and the two saw one another several times prior to the big day.
“We sort of became friends along the way, just talking and shooting the breeze,” he said.
On the day of surgery Grimord was right where she said she’d be. The patient, however, wasn’t. He had overslept and was late to both the ER and the OR.
His anxiety level rose and he said he figured he’d have to brave the surgery alone. Little did he know that she was running around the hospital trying to find a way to get in touch with him. Several minutes after he made it to the OR, she showed up for him. Soon, he got his anesthesia and was feeling more confident.
“All I saw from the back of the gurney (as he was being wheeled to surgery) was a big thumbs up and I knew he was feeling all right,” she said.
She sat in his room and waited for him to come out of his haze after surgery and when he did, the first person he saw was his surrogate mother.
“He looked at me and his eyes were a little crossed from the medication,” she said. “The first thing he said was, ‘I know you!’ It made my heart swell bigger than my chest.”
To get that heart swell, she bought a plane ticket and left her family in Virginia to come to LRMC and volunteer for 45 days. She has been gathering and donating supplies to both downrange and LRMC for the past year-and-a-half. She said she knew there was something more she could do.
“I get so fed up with the news,” she said. “All you hear is negative. But you come here and talk to the servicemembers and it’s 98 percent positive. I knew when I left the states that was the truth, but being over here has reinforced that feeling for me.”
This isn’t her first stint with volunteer work, but she said it has been her most rewarding. Oct. 19 was her last day at the LRMC Chaplain’s Office. It’s a place she said she wasn’t quite ready to leave.
“This is something everyone should do,” she said. “They are giving me my freedom and I should give something back. This isn’t being nice, it’s giving back. And I’ll be coming back.”