I know it has been a while since you heard from me, but I have been busy. A marine died on Wednesday, and I went to ICU to visit our volunteer who was there. I packed seven more boxes for the mail room and I only have two more boxes to pack on Monday. Our patient load has been very, very light, if none at all. I have been asked to help take some patients to a cathedral in a small town about 90 minutes from here. That is on Thursday, so I will not be in the WWMC then.
I worked 9 hours Wednesday thanks to the Mignella Family!
Thursday we took 11 patients to the cathedral and they all had a wonderful time. They took hundreds of pictures and had a good lunch. Everyone agreed that the German buildings are wonderful to look at and it was nice for them to get out of the hospital environment for the day. I had five patients that hung out with me. We were considered the “bad” group. One of the guys, Michael, is from NJ. He is quite the character and asked me to tell all of you, “All your thanks and appreciation make me proud to serve.” That makes us, you and I, proud to be an American. We all do our part. It keeps us motivated. Thank you Sgt Tucholski.
I have invited three of the patients to dinner on Friday night. They are all from different units and different parts of the country. One is from NJ, one from Iowa and one from VA. I thank you for contributing to their dinner and will let you know how it goes.
I worked 9 hours Thursday thanks to Steve and Glenda Abernathy!
We had an Air Force Reservist come in to volunteer on Thursday and Friday morning. All the store rooms look super. We got store room 1 finished and we worked on 2 and 3 on Friday.
We had no arrival of patients and that is always a wonderful thing. It gives everyone so much needed breathing room.
At 4:45, I met with the three patients that are guests of LHCP members for dinner. Since the restaurant does not open until 5:30, I took them to Castle Nastein in Landstuhl. It is assumed to be older than the first authentic mention of it in 1189, but the presumed actual origin date of 1162 is not firmly proven. If you wish to see the castle as the patients did and learn some about the castle you can visit :
The patients were very impressed and we spent about 1.5 hours at the castle. We then went to dinner and they had their fill of lamb and steaks. They enjoyed the meal very much, they even cleaned their plates with the bread.
We sat and talked about everything from their childhood to marriages or lack of. We talked about motorcycles and trucks. Gerhart, the owner, came over several times to talk with them and Gabi came out of the kitchen to see how they liked their meal. They just could not get over how good it was. The steaks were at least two inches thick and they were shocked that they could cut it with their butter knives. They reminded me several times to thank those back home that made this possible. We then decided on some ice cream for dessert, but no one wanted the whole desert, so I ordered two with 4 spoons. If they send me the picture, I will post it.
I worked 8.5 hours at LRMC, and then I was with the patients for the caste and dinner until 9:30. I took them back to the base and then went to do laundry. I finished that wonderful task at 12:30 am.
Saturday they again did not have staff to take patients on a tour, so they asked if I would go. Saturday is my day to regroup, but I could not turn them down. I have been on the Rhein Cruise when we were stationed here, but it was nice to see the patients enjoying themselves away from the hospital. Muster was at 7:30, so I had to be there a little earlier to get the first aid kit, snacks and drinks together.
The patients had about 1 hour in St. Goar. St. Goar is located on the Rhine, in the section known as the Rhine Gorge, and is impressively situated between mountains which rise on either side of the river. It is known particularly for the legend of the Loreley, associated with the dangerous Loreley rocks which are a hazard to shipping. It is also famous for the ruined castle Burg Rheinfels. We then boarded the boat. Everyone wanted to go to the open air top, but it did not take long for them to move downstairs once we got started and they realized how cold it was. I remained on top with several patients until we were about 30 minutes to our destination; then we all moved downstairs for some coffee or hot tea.
We boarded our bus again to head out for lunch and then to the Niederwald monument in Rudesheim. The monument is over 132 ft high and about 120 ft wide. The main figure on the monument is the Germania, bearing the Imperial sword and the German Emperor’s crown. 32 tons of bronze were required for casting the weighty lady. On one side of the monument is the angel of war and the other side is the angel of peace. There are over 200 people shown on the monument. I took pictures of patients in front of the monument. They were only given 20 minutes, so it was back on the bus for the trip down the hill to the city of Rudesheim for two hours of walking and seeing the sites. Some of the patients wanted to go shopping, while others wanted to go to a Torture Museum. You got it; I took my group to the Museum. I was shocked – I still found it after 13 years. We had everyone back on board at 6:00 and headed for LRMC. We returned at 7:30, put things back up, and I headed for the hotel.
These trips are a wonderful way for the patients to relax and have some decompression time, but I am beat, my feet and back hurt from carrying a backpack with gifts the patients bought for their loved ones back home. Tomorrow, I have promised to take some other patients shopping in Landstuhl and then to Ramstein.
I worked 12.5 hours today thanks to our own LHCP vice president – Jim Spliedt.