Not Strong Enough To Watch Him Go Through This

by Karen Grimord on September 14, 2007

Today is going to be a warm day and I understand we are sending out a lot of patients. I have been taking excess supplies from here and sending them to one of our contacts down range. The NCOIC and the chaplain are happy since they have been trying to get this stuff out of here for several months but have not been able to.

I had a troop about my age come in. We started talking about his arm, which was in a compression bandage. He was shot in the forearm and the bullet hit the bone. He goes back in on Monday to have bone removed from his hip and put into his arm and to remove the metal brace that they put into the arm during the first surgery. He showed me his x-rays and pictures they took during surgery. I think he was expecting me to get freaked out by the pictures, but that has never been something that has bothered me.

Later, I was in the storeroom getting some things to stock and when I returned there was a woman in the WWMC that was picking out some things. I asked her if I could help her and she said that she was just trying to get some things to cheer up her husband. She seemed to be a little on edge. I asked her if she was ok. She dropped her head and took some deep breaths. She said that she never wanted her husband to go to Iraq. But if he had to go that she knew she would always support him. I thought he had been injured downrange. As she continued to talk I learned that his pancreas was shutting down. He had stayed here in Germany and was in class. She felt sure that he would be OK because he was with her but one day in class he became ill and ended up here with 30% of his pancreas not working. She started crying and I went around and just gave her a hug. She just hugged me and cried. She said that she was not strong enough to watch him go through this. I told her that she was and to look inside herself and she would find the strength. That it was there and if she could not find it to come down and see me and we would find it together. We stood there and held hands and hugged and talked about the tube in his nose and just to take one thing at a time. He was supposed to be safe here and she could not do this by herself. I gave her a big box of stuffed animals to look through to take up to the ward for him and told her I would be right back. I went inside and got one of the chaplains and explained the situation and they came out and I left them alone so that she could talk in private. We all think that danger and harm live far from home when it can be on our own doorstep. Tell those that are close to you that you love them. Pick up the phone and say I miss you, it only take 2 minutes and 2 minutes from now might be to late.

I had my bald friend come back in from the other day. He has back problems. They might be injecting his back on Monday. He is very worried, but I told him that if he wanted to come see me beforehand that I would go up with him. His friend, who is very short, is Army and my bald buddy, who is AF, and has to be 6’6, are like Tom and Jerry or Mutt and Jeff. They are so funny together and total opposites but somehow it works for them.

The dignitary was the secretary of the Army. I was helping a very young kid on crutches when they arrived. I almost got finished helping this young man when they walked in and we were in the corner by the toiletries. I was introduced by the Colonel and the Secretary asked me a few questions and then started asking the young troop I was helping a lot of questions about his injury, how it happened, etc. His photographer was taking a lot of pictures the entire time so I don’t know if they are on the web anywhere, but maybe someone can find them. They can’t be very good because right before the patient showed up I was really working stocking shelves and cleaning up. Then the chaplain’s assistant brought in a big cart from the warehouse. We decided not to try to get it up before the Secretary got there so we were wheeling it back inside and the entire cart dumped. There were shirts and about 100 bars of soap on the sidewalk. Even the Colonel was picking them up. I hurt my wrist and the top of my hand when the cart tipped. Talk about poor timing!! Anyways, we got it cleaned up and then this young man came in for some help. I was trying to help him with my bruised hand when the Secretary showed up.

I don’t think people understand two things about “helping the troops.” You can become a problem for them or put yourself in harms way by doing so. I find it interesting that people will find ways to work outside the system to “help the troops” not understanding that there are very good reasons that the system is in place the way that it is. There are problems with PTSD that can put someone helping a troop in a dangerous situation. There are infections and medical conditions that cause problems. There are military requirements put into place for their protection and safety and ours.

People want to help and I am the first to say I know that the system can be more than difficult to work inside of but I would not want anyone doing good in support of our troops to be harmed due to PTSD, or to spread a illness from one patient to another because they did not know proper procedures by just shaking a patients hand or taking something home to their kids. Giving a patient a ride and having that patient go into a medical emergency or being in an accident with that patient or not getting the patient to their destination on time or by curfew. Being in the system protects you! Doing it the way they ask you helps protect you! If you are doing any of these things without permission please stop and get permission from their agency for your protection and the protection of our troops.

9.5 hours worked today in thanks to Dianne Lane and her contribution to my trip.

Since some members did not give me their real names with their contributions I will not be able to mention each member by name but I am working each day in thanks of a LHCP member. If I have not worked a day for you yet I will. Thank you all again for the contributions to the trip.

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