Karen’s LRMC Trip Blog
Days #4 and 5
Thursday and Friday, March 17 and 18, 2010
This is a difficult entry for me to write. Not because of the day I have had or the wounded I have met, but because I have to come clean with the Yahoo LHCP members. I just realized that as I was going to tell you about the interview Armed Forces Network (AFN) filmed with me today and next week when I post the link to the AFN interview, you will all find out my secret anyways. I am the patient going through Landstuhl Regional Medical Center that I have been blogging about.
Last Friday was a beautiful day, that was the truth. I was going back and forth from the Wounded Warriors Ministry Closet (WWMC) to the storage rooms gathering items and stocking shelves. I was well rested and happy to be back. Then it happened, my foot twisted and I landed on the outside of my ankle. It was one of those “oh my gosh..breath…that really, really hurt…get your balance…ok composure….oh crap look around and see if anyone just saw you make that stupid move” moments. Nope, I was in the clear, no one saw. I stood inside the storage room for a couple of minutes, drew a couple deep breaths and got what I needed and went back to the WWMC.
About 15 minutes later, the foot started swelling so I took a long tube sock, some ice, and wrapped it around the ankle. All is well!!! Later the ice had melted, so I went to ER and asked for some instant cold packs that I could use as I continued to help patients and stock shelves. The pain wasn’t horrible. Then mother Silvia saw me. I was limping and she asked me why. I told her and she wanted to see it, so off came the tube sock, my shoe, and my sock. There is a very big egg on the side of my ankle. She had a fit and told me to go to the ER. I told her it did not hurt too bad and if it was broken, I wouldn’t be able to walk on it. She kept bugging me over the next 2 hours. So, at the end of the day I decided I was going to go to ER to prove her wrong. I did not want to listen to her all day on Saturday on the tour for the wounded troops.
You know the rest of the story from my past blogs. I went to the ER and the tech ordered the x-rays. Doc comes in and tells me the ankle and knee are broken. Can you imagine my surprise when I went there to prove to mother Silvia that I was ok? I was wrapped and splinted from mid thigh to toes. I was in the hotel bed all day Saturday and Sunday except for a trip to the ER Saturday night due to loss of capillary refill and pain. Monday I went to orthopedics and found out my knee was actually alright, but the ankle was broken. I was put into the walking brace and life continues here at LRMC.
The reason I didn’t want LHCP members to know is because I felt stupid for getting hurt, felt like I was letting you and others down. I didn’t want someone taking care of me because I believed I was tough enough to take care of myself, and then followed the spectrum of feelings from anger, to guilt, to embarrassment, shame, all of it. However, I realized that I couldn’t keep it a secret because of the interview that AFN would be doing.
While I was still stateside, I was contacted by AFN. They were told I was coming in and asked me if I was willing to do an interview while I was there. I told them that I was not the story and gave them email addresses of those we support and wounded that keep in touch with me. They told me that they understood, but they still wanted to do the LHCP story. If you have been with LHCP very long, you know we do not put our logo on every item we distribute. We do not advertise on TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, internet, etc. I truly believe that the story does not lie with Jim, Rachel, Sharon, Maria, myself, or any other LHCP volunteer, but lies with those that sign on the dotted line to serve our country with the US military.
I finally agreed, and the interview was scheduled for this past Wednesday. I thought they would be there about 30 to 45 minutes. Well, this trip is full of surprises. AFN and I were attached at the hip from 10:30 to 2:00. Now those that know me are laughing, so get it out of your system, have your laugh. I always have a camera in my hands so I never have to be in front of the camera, so this was horrible for me. The young man I told you about with the Nobody’s Hero tattoo came in while AFN was there and they talked to him. It gave me a small break so that was nice. So here is the link to the story
Michelle Michael reports.
I also met a young man with the same ankle break on the same leg that I have. I am now up and walking on the cast with no crutches and all is well. The ankle is still swollen and starting to become the most beautiful shades of blue and purple, but as we all know, it could be so much worse.
Last night, I was at the USO watching a movie when they had to bring in a wheel chair for a young man who was dizzy and not feeling well. He came in yesterday from Afghanistan due to seizures. They needed a volunteer to go with him to the ER. I said I would, but another military member said he would go. Good enough, until I found out that the other military member was at LRMC as a cardiac patient. I got up and started to follow them to ER. I got to ER just as they arrived. I asked the escort if he was a patient at LRMC; he said he was and I introduced myself. I told him that I would stay with the young man so he could go on back to the USO, that I did not want both of them laid out somewhere. He laughed and said that his doctor gave him a clean bill of health that afternoon. Since both were patients, I stayed. We took the kid into the exam room and when they got his vitals all looked great. He was still complaining of being dizzy.
When the doctor came in and had the kid sit up, I knew right away what was wrong. His blood pressure went up, the doctor looked at me and said hypertension and I said dehydrated. Doctor ordered blood work and then two bags of IV fluid full bolus. Since this was going to take about an hour, we left the patient to rest and then came back one hour later at 8:30pm. He felt better and we took him back to his room. I did not post last night as it was a long day with this unexpected event.
Today (Thursday) was a very busy day. I started work about 8:15am and left at 4:30pm to go over and help set up for the Combat Stress event.
We had so many patients today, I can’t even tell you how many, but one stood out to me because when I turned around to see if anyone needed help, he was just staring at the socks. I went up and put my arm around his shoulders and asked if he was ok. He just stood there a minute and looked at me. I asked him if he was tired, confused, lost and didn’t know what he needed. He said “yes.” I then started where I have started so many times before. “Hun, are you a boxer or brief kind of guy.” He smiled and we packed his bag with socks, a full size towel, XL house slippers, a winter jacket and some toiletry items. I helped him do his inventory list and out the door he went with the rest of his group. He was probably 10 years older than me. I always hear from people that they want to support our young men and woman who are wounded in OIF/OEF. I cannot imagine how this war has affected this man at his age.
We received approximately 20 boxes in the mail today. Some were LHCP boxes. We received more paperback books. I am unsure how or what to do about this. Paperback books have been on the do not send list for years, but people still send them. I can’t even imagine the amount of money spent on sending paperback books here that we cannot use, nor have a home for. Same thing goes for playing cards. Last month the WWMC had approximately 8 large bins of playing cards. I found a home for all of them, and now one month later, there are 4 more large bins of playing cards and no one wants them. If you belong to a DAR, American Legion, VFW, Blue Star Mothers Group, Church Group, or any other non-profit directly supporting LRMC-WWMC, please pass the word to NOT ship playing cards, stationary, blank cards, paperback books, or other items on the do not ship list. Three quarters of the largest storage room at the WWMC is not usable because these unneeded items are taking up the room. If LRMC cannot use them and LRMC or LHCP cannot find a home for the items, they must sit. The workers and volunteers at LRMC do not have the time or resources to try to redirect these items when they arrive, so please just don’t send them.
Thank goodness there is a lot of work for me to do in the sitting position with my leg propped up.
I would like to thank Stephanie in Texas for her contribution to this trip. Without the loyal support of people like Stephanie, I wouldn’t be able to be here helping our wounded troops and hopefully making their time here a little brighter. Thank you, Stephanie!