Shrapnel Wounds To The Face

by Karen Grimord on April 9, 2009

I am up at 7 and not finished with LRMC and LHCP work until 11 or 12.  The one day I had off I did laundry and sat outside and read a book.  I think this weekend I try to find some place to go and relax without being on my feet for 8 hours straight.  That broken metatarsal fracture still drives me to walk on half my foot on days like today.

I know you probably think I have disappeared in the German countryside, but I am still here.

It has been busy here, and I hurt.  My feet hurt, my back hurts, my neck hurts and my fingertips hurt.  It must be ripping open the incoming boxes and taping the outgoing ones.  Next year, I will bring my own tape and tape gun. Using a pair of scissors and a small roll of tape is horrible.  I am spoiled and I will admit it! I like my commercial tape gun and blades.

Even  after I got into my car to go back to the hotel, I just sat there thinking wow, I hurt.  I had to stop and think about it…and think about the heroes we serve.  “You’ve been working all day…you’ve had a hard week…at least you know LHCP is doing something critical that really makes a difference.”  These guys may never remember my name or know LHCP is the non-profit that provides so many of the items they take from the WWMC, but they will remember the really nice, comforting Airman, Marine, Soldier, Sailor, and, I hope, volunteer who understood and gave whatever help they could.  Having staff like those that serve here at those critical times will make all the difference in the world to them.  So, I had to stop and think “do I really hurt that bad and how tough was today….really…”

Every year I come, I try to help LRMC with excess supplies.  Patients do not take large tubes of toothpaste, large bottles of shampoo, conditioner, etc and it piles up.  So, I try to find a contact in the Middle East that can use the items or through out those items that have expired.  We have so many blank greeting and holiday cards, we could start a gift card shop.  The patients just do not send letters home from here.  They have free phone cards and it is much nicer to call than send a letter or card.

We have an amazing amount of 2X-3X size clothing.  I guess people think everyone in the military is BIG.

We unpacked a box today of white undershirts every single one had the side seam ripped all the way up the shirt.  I am not sure the reason, maybe the sender thinks we have a seamstress here.

This morning, I went to the German post office to purchase boxes for shipping the excess items to our contacts.  They would not take the credit card, so my landlord here purchased them for me.  The post office was trying to tell him I could go to an ATM machine a few blocks down, but Gerhert paid until I could get some more Euro.  They are fantastic people and very helpful.

This morning, a patient arrived in a wheel chair.  He was being pushed by a young man I thought might work on one of the wards.  Come to find out, they were both patients.  It is an amazing thing to see that they still care for each other even when they are wounded or ill.  Being in combat can produce ties that some families do not even have.

This afternoon, as I was preparing boxes for the mail room, 3 young men came in.  One had shrapnel wounds to his face and both his hands were bandaged.  He told me that he had decided to have some work done and it was much cheaper to have it done this way instead of paying for a plastic surgeon.  He had a great sense of humor and will be back in a few days to let me see how well he is healing.

My first patient and the last patient for today sum up how our troops feel about the WWMC.  The first patient said he “felt like a kid in a candy store.”  All new clothing and it is all free.  The last patient just kept saying he felt bad taking the items that he was collecting and putting into his bag.  He said he had been home for a family member’s funeral 3 months ago and he had been spit on at the airport in Atlanta.  This is the second time I have heard this.  The first time was a few years ago in the Miami airport.  That should turn you inside out thinking about it.  Both of these were very young kids serving their country.

Our coalition forces are being hammered right now.  Canadian forces and Romanian forces are being hit really hard, and they also are amazed at the items they can receive for free.  The coalition forces I saw doing rounds today were much worse off than any of the American forces I saw.  A Romanian had a gaping hole in his leg about 12 inches long.  It was obvious that the doctors did a fantastic job on his wound, keeping his leg together.  It must be difficult on staff at CSH not knowing what really happens to their patients once they leave their care.

An escort for two patients said she felt like she was lying by telling her patients they were going someplace that would really take care of them.  Now that she is at LRMC, she knows she did not lie, but actually understated the fantastic team at LRMC.

The patient that I wrote about several days ago (with the back injury and I carried her bags to her room) came back in today.  She was feeling better and looks like she will have to have surgery.  I have invited her and her friend to dinner here at my guest house on Friday.  I would like to have an LHCP member sponsor this meal.  Send Sharon and Maria a private email and let them know you wish to sponsor one or both their meals.  I would guess that each meal will be about 20 euro or $25.  If you wish to add a dessert to their meal, please send $35.  Thank you in advance.

Tomorrow is Good Friday and I hope it will be slow.  I have to make my trip to the ER in the morning because I still cannot give myself my own shot.  I have catheterized, placed suprapubic tubes, removed stitches, and taken IV’s out, ALL ON OTHER PEOPLE.  There is just something about sticking that needle in me that I have not accomplished yet.  I did not know I was such a wimp.

Yesterday, I met a young woman who is the head nurse for a new CSH we will be supporting.  She heads back to Iraq tomorrow and we have flip flops on the way to her.  I have 14 units that need sheets again.  We need to get some more purchased.  I would like to purchase 1000 sheets ASAP.  Many of you have purchased sheets for us before.  I am sure someone can post the link to the company.

Tuesday I worked 8 hours

Wednesday I worked 8 hours

Today I worked 8 hours.

Thank you Callie Waddell for your contribution which made this possible

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