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The Way To A Marine’s Heart Is Through His Stomach

by Karen Grimord on February 10, 2006

Ginger, your Burger King lunches are done. One Navy, three Marines, and one Army.

Sharon, got your box and got the shoes for Don and they were mailed with the sweats and socks today.

The Marine I sat with for surgery is now on his way home for recovery and physical therapy. As I was walking to his pre-surgery room, I saw another troop that I knew who was also having surgery that morning, so I stopped in to say hi and I would see him after surgery. The morning of surgery, this young man found out that his mom was also having surgery, so his mind was more on his mom than his own surgery. We did talk for a while about his little brother joining the military and how he felt about that and now he knew how concerned his parents were about his safety, because he felt the same way about his little brother. I sat until we found out that his surgery was not going to be for quite a while longer and he said that he was going to try to sleep. I left and went to try to find the chaplain for him. By the time I got back, they were ready to take him, so it was perfect timing. After they gave the meds to relax him, he took my hand, I said I would see him in his room and gave him a kiss on the cheek. I went to check on the other patient and he was not out of surgery yet, so I went to the WWMC to work for about an hour. I then went back to the ward to see if he was coming back soon. He was just leaving post op, so I waited in the hallway for him. He was awake and doing well. He told me he was hungry and I told him we would have to wait and see what they allowed him to eat. I told him I would see him after they got him settled in. I went to go check on the other patient and he was already in his room. He just wanted to eat also and was allowed to eat, so BK chicken fingers it was. His roommate asked if I could bring him a Mountain Dew. So……first to the Shoppette then to BK then back to the room. There was another patient that was also in a wheelchair, but was very mobile. He was a character and loved the apes. He gave his first one away to his roommate who did not have one and was leaving that morning on the flight back to the States. So, I gave him another before he went down for the casting on his legs.

It was time for the cart to go around the wards, so I went and did that and saw the first patient again. He just kept saying how hungry he was and I was joking with him that he only had 2 ½ more hours left. I told him at 1630 I would be back with his BK. Then his liaison came in and handed him a huge subway sandwich. I just looked at him and he grabbed the sandwich and hid it under his sheets. He had 3 other roommates and they were laughing. I walked up to the bed and said, “Son, turn it over.” He gave me that look like, “PLEASE.”  I just stood there with my hand out and told him that there was a reason that the nurses did not want him to eat yet and we did not want to make him sick. He gave me the sandwich and I gave it to his roommate on the other side of the room, with instructions he had to wait until 1630. As we were getting ready to leave the room with the cart I told him where the sandwich was and was it safe to stay there and he said probably not. So I took the sandwich and told him it would be safe with the nurses. “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” is very true with a 26 year old Marine.

After rounds I visited the other set of guys and they wanted to go outside for fresh air. So, we got all three of them in wheelchairs and away we went. Going outside was not that difficult, but coming back in was a chore. The hospital is not level and there is an incline to the floors. We were going up hill now and I’m trying to push two wheelchairs at the same time. (leg and arm injuries on both patients). It was a site to see, I’m sure. We took up every inch of the hallway and good thing we had not been drinking, because they could have gotten us for swerving, reckless driving, crossing center line, hitting park anything and I’m sure numerous other infractions. Got everyone back in bed, 2 in one room and 1 in another and the one young man kept thanking me and said that he wished he could give me something for helping him so much that day. They just don’t get it!!! It is me that they are helping. I went back to make sure the guy in the room by himself did not need anything and he was on the phone with his mom already telling her about me. He wanted me to send a picture to his mom which I was glad to do. The next day one of them gave me a little gold angel that was on a quilt that he had. They have all been discharged back to the States now.

I had an Army Sgt come in the other day that has half his face paralyzed. He said that the IEDs first just made him deaf in one ear. Slowly, the hearing started to come back and then one morning while he was brushing his teeth he saw one side of his lips just drop and then also that side of his face. He was waiting for MRI results and I told him that I would be thinking about him and if he needed anything just to let me know. He just stood there a minute with his head down, so I gave him a hug. This guy was big but even the big guys like little hugs.

There was a young man that came in Tuesday that was just in the hospital gown, hospital pants, and flip flops. He was shaking so bad due to the cold weather, the first thing I did was grab a zip up hoody and put it on him. The other volunteer went to go get sneakers and I grabbed a pair of socks and sweat pants. We put the sweat pants right over the hospital pants and then the socks. We then did the normal boxers, more socks, house slippers, hat, gloves, etc and he wore the winter jacket out the door. I saw him again tonight at the bus stop. He was talking with another troop about how cold he was and that he got dressed right there in the WWMC. The guy he was talking to said you were that cold and he said, “Hey, I’m from Texas.”  I spoke up and said, “Yes, he was that cold.” He looked at me a minute and said, “Oh yeah that was you.” He did not care who dressed him––he just wanted warm clothes.

Two day ago doing rounds with the cart, we had a gentleman that just wanted aftershave with alcohol in it. That’s it!! Three days before we had some Old Spice that had come in and I was “HA” I have this covered. I told him that I thought we might have some Old Spice and was that o.k.  He said he liked Old Spice but if we didn’t have it, anything with alcohol would do. I told him I liked Old Spice also. That the younger guys were saying it was an old scent, but they didn’t know what they were missing because it was one of those scents that just causes woman to get closer and closer. He said shhhhh we can’t give them all of our secrets. When I went down to the WWMC, it was gone. The one thing he wanted and we had. Now this is not a usual request and “no” we will not ship it, but just the same I felt bad. The next day we had some Musk aftershave that came in a box. Now this came from the dollar store and I was not sure if I should take it up to him, but it was aftershave with alcohol. I took it to him since there is usually another volunteer in the mornings, but not afternoons. When I walked into his room, I smiled and asked how he was feeling. He said much better since they had just given him morphine. I said well I had something that might make him feel better yet, but that it was not Old Spice. I sat it on his bed side stand since he looked like he was still in pain. I thought he was going to shake my hand to say thanks but he gave it a kiss, for a bottle of $1.50 Musk aftershave, MUST HAVE BEEN THE DRUGS!!! LOL

We were also visited by a 1 Star this week and several Full Birds.

Today I worked just inside the Chaplain’s office and not in the WWMC. There were a lot of boxes that needed to be sorted and distributed. After doing this all day, I’m just going to say one thing. DO NOT MIX LIQUID WITH FOOD ITEMS or ANYTHING ELSE IN YOUR BOXES. Nasty mess box after box!!!! Powder does not do well either. Even with our post to the web page for no more toiletries we are still getting them. The chaplains were sending them to hospitals and units down range but got emails to stop that. I guess they are still over flowing there also.

I have the last 3 dozen apes to give out next week on Valentine’s Day. We have received hundreds of cards from schools, churches, civic groups, and other individuals with Valentine wishes. If you or someone you know sends these kinds of items to our troops, please keep something in mind. Glitter is not friendly to patients or our troops. It sticks to bandages, cast, tubing, uniforms, and everything else it comes in contact with. I also wonder about in the field and how/if it would interfere with night time/covert operations as it may be seen since it is shiny. Have you ever got one speck of glitter on your self and just keep chasing it to get it off?

Our large and x-large long sleeve shirts are gone!!! We need more and we need sweats of all sizes. A couple days ago we got hit with 3 buses of patients. I think that is probably one of the largest groups at once I’ve seen.

We have the sweats that Kathy has sent due in here soon and that is it for shipping items here. Anything else you want to ship, please do so to my stateside address. I would like to ship more sweats and XL-L long sleeve t-shirts as soon as possible.

I can’t go into details about what happened this week to make my week suck, just remember that what comes around goes around and usually 10 fold. So be careful, someone upstairs is watching!!!

Karen

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