OUR WOUNDED WARRIORS |
November 07, 2006
OUR WOUNDED WARRIORS
Name: A Nurse
Posting date: 11/7/06
Stationed in: a military hospital
Many times when people learn I am a civilian nurse working in a military hospital they ask if I take care of any wounded soldiers. When I reply "I do" they always ask how they can come and visit the wounded. I always tell them "you can't". People are shocked by that blunt response and frequently tell me, "I just want to say thank you."
I realize most people are very well intended and really do want these guys and gals to know how appreciative they are. However we are very protective of our wounded warriors and here are the reasons why. If you think back to a time in your life when you were your absolute sickest. Or a time you were in horrific physical pain. Or a time when you were so devastatingly depressed you could hardly climb from your bed. Or a time you were grieving the death of a dear friend or family member. Or a time when you realized the life you thought you had or looked forward to having was no longer possible. Or a time when a husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend says, "I can't do this anymore," and leaves you alone.
Many of these wounded experience some or even all of these things at the same time. The IED that shredded their leg so badly it had to be amputated also killed their buddy or buddies. The family they thought they could depend on isn't there. They are trying to come to terms with just how drastically their lives have changed. They are trying to manage emotional and physical pain issues with infection issues and the need for multiple surgeries to clean their injuries. These soldiers and marines, depending on the severity of their injuries, will easily go back to surgery 10, 20, 30, even upwards of 40 times. If you really stop and think about it and put yourself in their place, would you really want a stranger walking into your hospital room?
Frequently the celebrities come by to visit. I remember visiting with a soldier when someone knocked on the door and an MP stuck his head in and asked the soldier if he wanted to see Mr. X. The soldier did not, the MP said okay and closed the door. We talked a bit more, then I left him to get some sleep. As I was leaving and closing the door to his room, Mr. X's PR person comes running over and said to me "He really doesn't want to see Mr X?" I told her "No." She then said "Well, we're only here this once, maybe he should reconsider. He saw you, didn't he?" I told her the soldier did not want a visitor and walked away. These soldiers know me, I've seen them in horrible pain, I've held their hands while the tears roll down their faces and I've listened while they tell stories nightmares are made of.
I know people want to show their appreciation for the difficult job these soldiers and marines are doing. Please be sensitive to their needs and not your own.