Sunday, April 4, 2010
Tonight I met a young man who asked me if I knew Jim. I told him I did, that he was the VP of LHCP. He told me that he was deployed in Afghanistan and was staying in the same hotel that Jim was while he was here in Germany. His wife had come up from Italy to visit him while he was receiving care here at LRMC. He told me that Jim had given him and his wife 100 Euro and he did not know how to tell him, ‘no he did not want it,’ but he thought it was very nice of him to give it to his family. So Jim gets an “Atta Boy” for his donation that made a family’s trip to LRMC from Italy a little bit easier.
It is still very cold, windy, rainy, and just plan ugly weather here. We have been busy with new patients, combat stress classes, and then the weekend patient trip to Trier again. I don’t know how many trips I have made to Trier, but I am sure my feet have hit most of the cobblestones taking patients from one place to another.
I thought I would let someone else speak for me this blog. Holly is a patient who came in last week. I met her Tuesday at a Combat Stress class. She was to head out right away, but due to a change in her medical condition, she got held here for a few more days before going back to the states.
I was sent to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center because of seizures and lower back issues. I was in an IDF blast last October while serving a tour in Iraq, and while I had no external injuries, I had internal injuries that I tried to hide for fear of being taken away from my team. I held on for over 5 months, and was 11 months into my tour before being sent here to Germany. I was scared and ashamed, I felt as though I had let my team down because I could not “tough it out.” When I got here, they tested me for Multiple Sclerosis and Lupus. I screened negative for both, but I have a tear in a disc in my lower spine that will need surgery, and I will need physical therapy, quite possibly for the rest of my life. I may also have developed a seizure disorder, but I am waiting on test results to confirm the diagnosis. While I was here, I had a great support system, to include the cadre that worked the CQ desk to the volunteers that work here; specifically, Karen Grimord. She volunteers at the Chaplain’s Closet, and they offer everything from undergarments to jackets to toiletries that wounded warriors might need. When I got here, I had no shampoo, soap, jacket, or civilian clothes; just basically what I had on my back was what I carried with me.
We receive vouchers for military and civilian clothing so you have what we need. What I have found to be helpful in my recovery here is the support that I received from the Chaplains who work the Combat Stress classes, and Karen. They offer hope when you feel hopeless, and with the emotional support and the things they supply, they make you feel like it will get better. Anything that you may need, they do everything within their power to get for you.
I also was able to take a trip with the Chaplain’s group to Trier, Germany. It was a great trip, and I got to see one of the first Roman Catholic Cathedrals, named Dom St Peter, it was built by Constantine. It was unbelievable, and taking a trip out in civilian clothes made me feel like a human again. I am so thankful for the support that I have received here, it’s hard to get wounded in battle, but these people have made a difference in my life forever.
I thank each of the LHCP members and donors for making it possible to support our wounded troops such as Holly.
Thank you Bernie, Diane and Frank Lane, Larry Walley, Stephanie, Callie Waddell, and Maria Waddell for supporting my trip this year. You also helped purchase Holly lunch the other day as we sat and talked about her medical condition, the son she left at home, and what she has to look forward to.