Today was longer than yesterday. We had 3 planes come in today and lots of patients. The 82nd got hit hard and the liaison had his hands full with taking care of all his guys. The liaisons are responsible for taking care of the guys from their units that come from down range to LRMC. Some are better at their jobs than others, but over the last 3 years and my trips working here I have met some terrific troops here supporting their own. One of them told me yesterday that if he could not be with his guys down range that LRMC was were he wanted to be so that he could be here to help them when they got here.
Our 12×12 pillows are being left for a larger pillow that is about 16 x 20. We might want to reconsider redoing our size that is being sent to LRMC. One of the nurses that came in today asked if we could send 16×20 down range also.
I had patients coming out of my ears today and they all where in good spirits. Well if they were not when they came in, they were when they left. Being military they all call me ma’am. One came in and I told him that ma’am just would not work and my name was Karen. Every time he said ma’am I said Karen. Finally about the time we finished with filling his bag full of his goodies he was catching on. At the very end he said ma’am again and took both of his cheeks in my hands and said Kaaa reeeen. He smiled and his liaison laughed. At the end of the day his liaison came back with a new group and I could hear him tell the guys outside when you go in call her ma’am she really likes that! I gave him one of my looks and told the guys my name and they all said “Hi Karen.” One of the guys said that they learn quickly and knew who to take orders from. I really had to laugh when just as they were leaving and 2 more guys came up for clothing. I had not introduced myself but after we finished and I went to put my name on their forms I noticed that one of them had already written “Karen” at the bottom of the form.
As long as this war has been going on and as much as the TV news tells us about it, I find it amazing that the troops that I run across here want to go back down range. They want to be with their guys. Three of them today told me that they would not be here.
When I asked them if they had been manifested out they told me no they had to see the doctor. I would say well, how do you know you are not going to be here long? The reply would be something to the fact of “I can’t let them keep me long” or “I have to get back” or “It is nothing serious, they have to let me get back.” I talked to a Marine who has a neck injury. The doctor says he should go home for treatment. His unit has 49 days left. Because he can get treatment in-country he wants to go back to Iraq. He wants to finish his job. His wife asked him to come home and not take a chance; I tried to convince him of the dangers, the other volunteer tried. He is going back to finish the job knowing that the wrong jolt could leave him severely injured from the neck down.