Triple Amputee

by Karen Grimord on June 25, 2008

We are out of ankle socks and pillows until the shipment I sent before I left the U.S. arrives.  What is in the bins or on the shelf is it.  Glad to know that our pillows have arrived in the Middle East and patients will be arriving with our pillows to use while here.

Someone sent us really big cans of tuna fish.  I guess LRMC does not have a kitchen to feed our wounded.  OK, I know I can have a smart mouth, I will stop.

Bernie, all of your mirrors were taken to LRMC and they will be on the wards.  I don’t imagine they will need any more for a while.

I was asked to prepare two bags and take them up to one of the wards.  Well, I should know better than to wear white.  I had one strap over one shoulder and one strap over the other shoulder and dropped off the bags to the room and just as I was leaving the ward I noticed I had big brown stains on both shoulders.  These are not the bags LRMC normally purchases.  They were donated and I guess since the bags LRMC purchases did not stain anything I had worn in years past, I never thought about it.  I had to get a second shirt to wear to finish the day.  Kathi has been bleaching it, using stain remover and anything else she could think of while I was at work today and the shirt just needs to be burn now and put out of its misery.  As much work as Kathi did on it, she might need a vacation by the time I leave here.

I have been packing boxes of excess LRMC items to be shipped to the Middle East.  A huge carton went out today and I started a second one.  Kathi has been threatening me that I had better not hurt myself and that I had better drink lots of water (due to the renal failure 3 weeks ago).  She says that she does not want to have to call Brian and tell him any bad news.  Well, today I can say I sent sweat and blood to our units in the Middle East.  I cut my finger on the tape gun and sliced it well enough so that it kept bleeding through 3 Band-Aids.  Since I wanted to finish the boxes I was working on, I just kept my finger stuck straight out until I had them all taped up but you could see little drops of blood under the tape.  I think they need a new tape gun here.

We had a quiet afternoon with patients coming in to get bags filled, but patients seemed to all be drifting in one by one and when I asked how I could help, they told me they were just bored.  So, one by one they filed in until I had 6 in the WWMC.  One had seizures, one was almost blind, one has to have wrist surgery, one had to have ankle surgery and I do not know about the others.  Little by little I got them all talking to each other and then just backed out of all the conversations.  I find that they do a lot more healing sometimes when they find out they are not alone among their own peers.  I am not their peer even though I was in Bosnia.  Each of them in that room could share their story and help the other.  I just listened.  The almost blind patient asked me a question and I answered.  They all started saying they should leave me so that I could have some peace.  I told them that I was pleased to have them all there and had they noticed that it was pouring rain outside.  None of them had.  One of the patients asked if they could come back tomorrow and just talk and I said of course.  The blind patient told me that all of them must feel comfortable with me to talk the way they had for almost an hour without noticing the rain.  I told them it was not me that they had shared their stories with each other and they had to continue to do so.  That it was part of the healing process.  Another patient told me that my statement might be true but they all had found their way back to the WWMC knowing that I was working there and none of them needed anything and so that said a lot about me.  It was very nice but I think things some times just happen.

I had a triple amputee come down to the WWMC tonight just as I was closing up.  The heat today was unbearable and the humidity was very high.  A bad storm rolled through and he and his liaison came down just after the storm passed, it was just slightly raining.  As the liaison was rolling the wheel chair down the sidewalk, I could see that the patient was a double amputee but did not see he was also missing part of his arm.  We have 4 rooms lined up in a row and I was locking up the 4th room as they were heading down.  The 4th room does not have a cover over it.  Just as I was walking back under the cover at room 3 the gutter water came pouring out.  Yep, I was wet.  The patient saw that I tried to duck to miss it.  He asked me what happened and I said the water from the gutter got me.  He laughed and said “OOH”, he thought I was trying to get away from Al Qaeda.  I should have said, “If that was the case I would have hit the ground,” but I let it be.  He made a funny!!  I asked him what he needed and he said a razor.  Since he only had the one good hand right now I asked him if he would like an electric razor.  He said he would and so I got one from our special stash.  He also wanted batteries for his camera.  We have thousands of them so I gave him a large pack.  I asked one of the other liaisons that had walked in if he would cut the razor out of the protective hard plastic wrap.  He did.  I then asked him as I was getting the batteries if he would take the cover off the top of the razor.  Now, I have known this liaison for a long time and we joke with each other all the time and he said, “What else do you want me to do for you,” in a snotty voice.  The patient said it was God’s intention and way.  I was not sure I had heard him right, or if he was even talking to us at first until his liaison said he should explain what he said.  He said that it was God’s intention for man to help woman.  It was man’s job and should be his pleasure to do so.  Now I just looked at my liaison and I know I had to have just had the biggest grin on my face, because the patient’s liaison said, “Look, look at her face.”  Ladies, you know the look that we can give, one of those looks like ha, ha, ha, now whatcha going to say to me, smarty pants.  You got busted and by one of your male counterparts.  We had a very nice time with this guy, who by the way was not an American.  He was one of the many nationalities that support our troops in the GWOT.

We got a very large shipment in today.  It was a lot of snacks but unfortunately they had mixed Little Debbie cakes with Capri Sun drink bags.  They mixed shampoo with chips.  The chips were smashed and some of the bags were opened.  The Little Debbie cakes were flat, and one of the Capri Sun drink bags had busted open.  They also had sent stuffed animals but because of the juice box they were all sticky.

If you are supporting units and mailing your own boxes please take all of this into consideration.  If you want to see what your box would look like when it arrives, package it up, mail it to a friend on the other side of the US and have them mail it to a friend of theirs and that friend can mail it back to you.  Do that 3 or 4 times and you will get the idea what happens to a box when it comes half way around the world.

Tonight needed to be an early night, as I am sore and tired, but it is late again so I will finish this.  Maybe tomorrow I will have time to post to the group what the process is when I wait on a patient.

Today I worked 9 hours thanks to the support of our wonderful secretary and SoL leader Maria Waddell.

 

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