Layer, Layer, Layer

Picture of our many new polo shirts and wind jackets available for our heroes at the new WWMC.

WOW!!  What a day.  LRMC had over 47 patients that came in on Sunday so I saw most of them this morning along with the 18 or so that came in today.  I was busy, busy.  I was the only volunteer all day since the 4 day weekend is still on and the weather was not SO bad.  Plus, the WWMC always has bare shelves on Monday after a weekend when no one works.  I was not such a good girl today with taking it easy, but lived through it and all is good.

I forgot to tell you a story about Friday.  Sometimes they just don’t stick out until days later when they kind of come full circle.  Before I begin this let me tell you that my sleep is really messed up and my grammar, spelling, etc is due to the lack of good sleep.  I know it is when I reread this stuff, but the last post was written at 0230 in the morning.

So here is the story from Friday.  The chaplain’s office does tours; I guess once a month.  Patients that get permission can go on the tours.  The tour for today was of the Rheine River.  So, 4 or 5 guys came in on Friday looking for jackets since it is COLD here.  I told them that on the water it would be even colder and to layer since we had nothing more than wind breakers or zip-up sweatshirts.  I had to force the issue with 2 of them and just kept drilling it into their heads:  you will be cold: layer, layer, layer!  Well, I got all of them to get layers of short sleeve tees, and long sleeve tees, and then a sweatshirt with a sweater or zip-up.  I did not realize that the other guy in the WWMC was part of their crowd until today.  He came in saying he needed a sweatshirt and to try to get some clothing to layer with.  I made the comment that he sounded like me on Friday and he said that he was in there on Friday.  That he heard me tell the other guys to layer their clothing but he ‘knew‘ he would be ok and just took a shirt and jacket.  He said he froze.  I asked him what his mom would say about him not listening to me and he said that he was from the Island and it doesn’t get cold there.  I told him that was more reason to listen to me.  He said he was going to write his mom and tell her that while he was freezing, he had thought about me telling them that I was a mom and telling them to layer to stay warm just as their moms would, and it made him think about her.  I told him that he should write her, as it would make her feel good knowing that even though she was not here to take care of him, someone else was trying. He laughed as he left, saying he was going to listen to me from now on.

The guy from Friday with the messed up knees came in to visit me today just to talk.  He said he found out he is going to Walter Reed.  I told him that was my part of the country and I would come visit him and his wife while he was recovering from his surgery.  He said he liked that idea, so I guess I am planning a trip to Walter Reed when I get home.  He leaves here tomorrow but plans on stopping in before he leaves one more time.

Many of long timers with LHCP know that I don’t believe anyone should leave the WWMC without taking something.  It started I think with my first trip and a Marine that said he didn’t need anything we had to offer.  I told him with all the great things we had, there WAS something.  After going through the long list of shirts, shorts, pants, books, paper, and gum, and him saying no to everything, I got worried until I hit on a pen.  That’s when his buddies said “YES HE DOES!!  He is always taking ours.”  After that, it has become my mission to not let one troop leave the WWMC empty handed.  Today, I had to do a little pushing again; another Marine who thought he needed nothing.  I had to explain to him that my record stands at more wounded served than I could count over 4 years and he was not going to be the one to break it.  I am proud to announce that he left with a pair of sweatpants.  Which, come morning roll call out in the cold, he will be glad he took them. 🙂

It is amazing to me how many young kids come through here with stories to tell and LIVE to tell about them.  I had closed up everything and was walking to turn in the key when three men started up the sidewalk towards the WWMC.  I turned back around to open it back up to help them.  The one man had been there before but the other two were new arrivals from today.

The one man told me that the two new men were from his group in Iraq.  Then he said ma’am, these men should be dead!  They should not be here with us.  I looked at them, 10 fingers 10 toes and all the hair on their heads.  He told me that they had a car full of explosives drive right at them and hit them.  They had all their body parts, but of course were not ok.  Both had traumatic brain injury (TBI).  One was dizzy almost the entire time he was in the WWMC.  These young and old military members will be out in public shopping in our stores, eating in our restaurants.  Do you have patience to deal with them?  Are you going to be able to tell them apart from the general population when they are out of uniform?  Are you kind to someone if they bump into you not realizing they have lost their balance?  Do you make fun of someone who speaks way too slow for the time you have to listen to them?  Remember, our men and woman serving now are walking the streets of the United States.  Can you pick them out of a crowd?

I have to tell you some behind the scenes things that just add to the whole experience of the trip.  Kathi and I went to pick up the rental car when I got here and they asked if I wanted the additional insurance.  I took it, since my insurance company does not cover me over here.  Friday night I got home from work and Kathi’s husband came home shortly thereafter.  He came upstairs to tell me he had hit my rental car before he left for work that morning.  I had not noticed the damage, but the look on his face was that of a little boy and you just had to feel so sorry for him.  The damage to his car was a little tiny mark, but the damage to the rental car was quite a bit more.  Kathi and I went by the rental car company and gave them the insurance paperwork.  Kathi was saying the whole time that she should be making her husband do it since he was the one that hit it.  I just have to laugh a little, as I can still see the look on his face.  Now this is a minor thing and only a one time thing right??  Wrong.  Kathi and I went shopping on Saturday and as we are pulling out of the parking lot on Saturday, a car decides to back up without looking.  Guess whose side they were backing into??  You got it!!  My passenger door.  The only thing I could do since I had no horn on my side of the car was to hit the window and say stop, stop, hey!!  They did, but not in time to keep me from having a slight heart attack.

Life is never dull!!

Today I worked 8.5 hours thanks to the support of Bill Fowler and the American Legion Riders, Post 189 of Norwich, NY.

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