Picture of the many toiletry items available at the new WWMC
The first day seemed to be very long, but it felt good to be of service to the men and women coming through LRMC.
The first thing I did after arriving at LRMC was to stop in the Chaplain’s office and let them know I had arrived. There were LOTS of new faces. I got a warm welcome from those that were here during my previous visits. LHCP and my past visits were commended when I was introduced to new staff members. (We are doing good.)
I then picked up my badge and went outside, just in time to catch the big blue military morning bus of patients come in. As I stood there with many new liaisons, I wondered how some of these staff members that have been here for years keep providing the same wonderful support day in and day out. Many of the liaisons are new since September, but there were some old friends left to talk with as the patients were off-loaded from the bus. When you talk with them, you realize that even though they too are military, the respect they have for the job being done by the troops serving in the Middle East runs deep, and that is what drives many of them.
After the bus was unloaded, I went to the WWMC to start my day. It started slow as we unpacked some boxes and stocked shelves with socks, sweats and white t-shirts. The patients slowly came in one or two at a time. By mid-afternoon the pace was picking up. I had a patient come in that seemed to be out of breath. He was not breathing as if he had run a race, but just a little out of breath. I noticed he had some very small beads of sweat on his forehead and I asked if he was ok. He said he was a little warm. Since it is still VERY cool here, my ‘mom’ flag went up a little. He asked for some Rolaids because he had heartburn. The other volunteer got some for him but I asked him if he was on any medication. He said he was taking some heart medication. I took the Rolaids away from him and told him to have a seat, as I was uncertain if it was a good idea for him to take it. He asked what he could take for heartburn if he couldn’t take Rolaids. I gave him some crackers. He was still warm and sweating a little. I told the other volunteer that I thought he should go back to the clinic instead of us allowing him to go to his room outside the hospital, so the volunteer went to call the clinic. He came back with a wheel chair and took the patient to the clinic. The patient came back about two hours later saying that he was originally supposed to leave LRMC the next day but now he was extended four more days. I told him I was sorry to hear that he was not leaving but I was glad to know he was going to be able to visit me for the next four days, and it was better that he get checked out again than to have something go wrong once he left. So, I guess ‘mom’ is already causing problems here. 😉
I had two guys come in just to see what we had before they went to their doctor appointment. As they left the WWMC, it began to rain and one of them said in a slightly whining voice, “it’s raining.” Now anyone that knows me, knows that comment and the way he said it leaves the door wide open for, “Now come on, do you really think you are made of sugar?” Not sure why, but he seemed to take offense to the thought I would not think he was made of sugar! We joked back and forth a little bit more and he left. A few hours later he returned and I just had to let him know that since he had not melted, my thoughts of his biological make up must have been correct. We went back and forth a little bit teasing each other while he got the clothing and other items that he needed. When he left he told me that I was the most fun- no matter what people said.
I had déjà vu today. A patient walked in that I swear was here last year when I was working. He turned around and looked at me. I told him “I know you”. He looked at me like I had lost it, which I might have, as tired as I was, but I was positive I knew him. I asked if he was at LRMC in September of last year. He said no, but he was there two months ago. He told me that he was also here a year ago. I said that I must remember him from his visit a year ago. He said that he was surprised that I would remember anyone’s face, with as many people as come through there. I told him I might not remember names, but faces I remembered. He was wearing an eye patch, so I asked him how he was doing. He told me he was doing well; that he had surgery two hours earlier. He told me his visit two months earlier was to fix his left eye and now he was in from Iraq to have his right eye fixed. He had to have both of his lenses removed and replaced with artificial lenses. He said that he researched it and that they had artificial lenses for the eyes that can be put in and they are good for near sight or far sight. You can choose one or the other and must wear glasses for the other sight. However, he had found an artificial lens that was now good for both. They were called progressive lenses and he would not have to wear glasses. When he came to LRMC for his surgery he was shocked and very happy to learn that they offered the progressive lenses. He did not think that the military would be so up-to-date on the medical advances.
Today I worked 9 hours thanks to the support of Bernie from France.