Screw drivers, duct tape, nails?

by Karen Grimord on June 18, 2008

Quilts at Chaplain Closet

The weather was very nice today, but is supposed to be bad tomorrow.  Today was one of those days I just have to shake my head and think to myself, what kind of hospital do people think LRMC is?

I unpacked boxes that contained screw drivers, another box had duct tape.  This is a major medical facility.  This is not a CSH, BAS or EMED unit that might need these kinds of supplies.  We also received a huge box of coupons.  I can only guess that they could not find an address for the commissary and so thought to send it to the hospital staff for distribution.  NOPE, does not happen that way.  There is no commissary at Landstuhl.  We got 6 or 7 Frisbees.  We get footballs, soft balls, none blown up, but even if they were, I have never seen patients here play any of these or take any of these items.  They don’t have the time.  They’re in seeing doctors all day or sleeping.  They are traveling from one base to another on the bus to shop for items or on the phone with loved ones.  They are sore, broken up and just want to relax.  I guess no matter how much I try to get the word out about the needs here, it won’t matter.  People will send what they want to send.  I was told that LRMC received a box of screws, nuts, bolts, and washers a few months back.  They said that they had just all been dumped in a large box as if someone had emptied their garage and shipped it to the hospital.  Why?  What is the reason for that?  I don’t get it, I guess.  Some of the items come from other non profit groups, some items come from individuals but I am just at a loss.

They need 6 full time employees to handle the shipments that arrive here.  They do not have enough volunteers to cover all the day time hours that the WWMC needs to be open.  Then when they get dirty or used clothing and other items which cannot be used, it takes away from time that should be spent with the patients and preparing the WWMC with supplies they do use on a daily basis.

If we, as citizens supporting our troops, do not wish to take the time to prepare a shipment correctly and find out what is needed, then why would we expect a hospital and its staff who is working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week taking care of the wounded to do what we wouldn’t?

ALRIGHT, I am going to stop the soap box.

We had three patients come in today from the mental health ward.  Immediately I noticed one who seemed to be jumping inside.  I let the other two be served by the liaison and other volunteer, and I went to him.  I helped him prepare his bag and I spoke to him in a quiet voice.  I wanted to reach out to him, but first I had to find out if he would be ok with it.  After about 3 minutes, I put my hand on his forearm and said, “Hun, are you ok?”  He said he was just a little jumpy, but I noticed that when I touched him he stopped.  When I moved my hand, he was good for 20 to 30 seconds and then he started again.  I would softly touch his arm again and he stopped again.  As we moved around the room, I began to keep my hand on his arm and it seemed to calm him until it was time for me to get his shoes and for them to leave.  I gave him a very soft hug, made sure to still give him his space, and I thanked him for his service.  Over the years, I realize that some like to have distance between them.  Others like just a small touch and some times it is difficult to know when, but for the 10 minutes he was there with me I hope he was at some peace.

If I had to guess, I would say most of the patients seem to be from Afghanistan this trip.  I would also say a lot more Marines than I have seen in my past trips.  It is strange how things change from trip to trip.

Today I worked 9.5 hours thanks to the support of Maureen Moniz of Convent Station of NJ.

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