Reality Check.

I love being in Germany, but this deluxe opportunity comes at a price. A TRAUMATIC price. As much as I want life to be about clothes, travel and shopping - it's clearly NOT, and today was a reminder of the severity of my duties.

I didn't want to post about my job for a multitude of reasons, but TODAY was such an experience that I felt I was filtering myself if I didn't share it.  It's a downer, so if you're not in the mood to read this, now is your chance to click away.


Today I was assigned to carry CRITICALLY WOUNDED soldiers from the aircraft onto a bus (essentially a school bus modified to hold canvas stretchers). Once the patients are secured, I ride along with them to the Army hospital which is a BUMPY and HORRIBLE 20-30 minute drive. 

When I say they are critically injured, I mean these are the patients that are BARELY HANGING ON. Yes, these are our young soldiers that were in the WRONG PLACE AT THE WRONG TIME. Limbs missing, bones snapped, mental trauma - they are a DAILY sight from a vicious and cruel war zone. Its tragic, and no - it's not in the news.


During today's transport I noticed one of the patients had woken up and he looked SCARED TO DEATH. I watched him look at the tubes connected to his arms and try to mentally process the numerous pumps and equipment pieces mounted above his knees. He was ALONE as none of the other staff members seemed to be interested (or maybe they didn't notice, in their defense).

Instinctively I removed my work gloves, and placed my BARE HANDS on his forehead , shoulders and arms to comfort him. He looked relieved and asked if he was in Germany. I talked to him while he SHIFTED IN AND OUT OF CONSCIOUSNESS to distract him from the horrible pain of the bumpy German roads.

Even though his was in a level of pain that I cannot even fathom, he shook my hand and thanked me. He repeated my name several times and said he would never forget me.

I usually don't connect with a patient like this, so this evening has been full of reflection as I look at all of the luxuries I have and take for granted. Health, eyesight, all of my limbs and good friends. Be grateful for what you have because it can quickly slip away.

Disclaimer for the HIPPA freaks: no patient information was disclosed, and the photos included in the posting were from past missions - and not today.

14 comments:

Tanya said...

Thank you for sharing this touching story. it's a reminder that to be thankful for the things we take for granted, a reminder we all need. You're amazing for doing what you're doing.

Gawgus things... said...

Wow! This puts everything in to context doesn't it? It's so awful what atrocities there are in the world day after day after day. Hope you're ok, sending big hugs xx Oh, and sis is having a Hen Party organised by moi!

Jessica.B said...

Thank you for sharing this. It is people like you who make things a smidge bit easier for spouses like myself. I could only hope that if my husband were to fall to such a terrible incident, I'd want someone like yourself by his side.

Pleemiller said...

hum...the power of the human touch to change a moment.....I've been around ER medicine, blood banking and then in ministry and I've seen my share of the stuff many learn to disconnect with.....what a powerful witness to stand with folks as they transition of one place to another.....powerful post.....reminder at how quickly life can and does change so we need just live in the moment....
you did your moment well today....blessings

Beth said...

Man, I almost cried. Read it to the hubby and it moved him to. He said he thankfully, but still unfortunately, only has to send a couple people your way.

The power a human touch and at least appearing to care does wonders! :)

Lisa Cozza said...

Aw, you are so amazing. You must have made him feel such peace in a moment that was full of fear and dread, and my guess is that he WILL never forget you. Pretty awesome M :)

xStroutx said...

Thank goodness for people like you, you're a truly amazing person. This story is really touching, and I'm sure that soldier will remember you forever. you must have been a massive comfort to him.

Rockabilly Gypsy said...

As a former military wife (he's retired now) it actually warmed me rather than depress me, knowing that there are people like you supporting people like my nephew, and my friends, and that they'll be comforted. Thank you for everything you do and your tremendous service!

Miyan said...

wow, your job sounds intense. we need more people like you in the world, im sure he will never forget the comfort you provided on that ride to the hospital.

it's nice to find your blog & love germany (i lived in bonn when i was younger) so let's keep in touch!

Miyan

www.miyan-overseas.blogspot.com

Green Tea and Cupcakes said...

Im sending you a big hug. I know this is part of your job but I think it takes a very special person to be able to do what you do xxx

Hot Pink Combat Boots said...

Thanks for the kind words and support -all of your comments are so thoughtful and GENUINELY appreciated.

I'll be stopping by everyones blogs today - sorry I'm a bit behind. The internet here has been off and on in the dorms.

Vern said...

One of the many reasons I love you!Hugs!

clutterholic said...

Wow. This took my breath away. You are so strong. Thank you for your courage to face this and to try and help in every way you can.

Andi said...

It's horrible, but that for sharing.