Stained With Sweat and Blood

Monday, March 29, 2010

It has been a while since I have made an entry from this trip.  Jim has kept you up to date on his trip and I have been busy with working at LRMC also.

WWMC 2010We have had many volunteers spring cleaning and sorting through items not needed here at LRMC.  Last week, I sat with a patient before he went in for a procedure.  He was supposed to be out before 10:30, but it went much longer than expected, so I had to leave before he came out.  I felt horrible to find out later he went for lunch and passed out as he was standing in line for his Burger King Whopper.

Jim is right when he told his story about the young Marine who wanted to stand on his injured half casted foot.  I imagine they do feel like they have their “mom” here.  There have been many here that stand on a splinted foot or rest their bodies/arm pits on their crutches and get a lesson on proper care of their leg or use of crutches to prevent crutch palsy or nerve damage.  Mom is not here, so someone has to make sure they wear their jackets when going outside for a smoke, tie their shoes so they don’t trip and hurt themselves again – or worse, cause another injury; even if we know how tired they become walking on one leg and using the crutches.

I helped one of our Polish coalition forces last week.  His translator was with him, but I feel it is better to talk directly to the patient.  So I have found over the years, it is very easy to ask if a patient needs a razor by “shaving” my own face, or “brushing my teeth” with hand motions and the coalition forces always seem to know what I mean.  I am sure it must be quite the sight to outsiders to see a woman act like she is putting deodorant on or clean her ears with Q-tips, but the patient is number one and unless they ask the translator, the patient is who we should look in the face with a smile and treat with respect.

We had 4 battle-injured Marines come in at one time.  I helped put their duffel bags together.  As I asked them if they needed shirts or sweat pants, one told me he did not need a shirt, so we moved on.  Before they left, I learned that he only had the shirt on his back, which was stained with sweat and blood.  After giving him a smile and a pat on the back, I gave him the “what for” on the donated items that were sent for troops.  I told him he needed to take what he needed and that meant that he was not to walk around in dirty clothing.  So we then began adding to his bag.  One of the Marines needed break-a-way pants due to a drainage tube.  I was happy to find a pair that LHCP had sent.  I explained and showed him the easiest way to put them on.  It should not surprise me, but he wanted them on then and there.  So we got that task accomplished with him first unfastening the right side, sitting and putting his good leg in the still fastened side.  Then he stood, and I brought the back around as he held the front and we again fastened the right side around the tubing.  He was so very happy to have pants on instead of shorts.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, we have a Combat Stress Class for those wishing to attend.  So after I get done at the WWMC, I go and help set up for this.  We have Popeye Chicken one night, pizza another night, and Subway sandwiches the last night.  This class gives those patients and escorts time to talk about any concerns they may have with their deployment.  Next week, I will take some more time and go over Combat Stress in this blog.

WWMC 2010

Thanks to Callie Waddell for helping to sponsor this trip.  She has been an LHCP member for two years, and is one of our biggest Stitches of Love contributors.  Thank you for all your support, Callie!

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