The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.


December 24, 2008

Name: RN Clara Hart
Posting date: 12/24/08
Stationed in: a military hospital in the U.S.

No doubt about it, these past six months have been terrible; exhausting days filled with sadness and despair. Fatigue became my new best friend, with isolation surrounding and comforting me. As the end of the year approached, with Christmas only a day away, I sat and reflected. I looked at the lights twinkling on my newly decorated Christmas tree while thoughts and memories filtered through my head. I suddenly realized that, as difficult as the last 180 days have been, I've been given wonderful gifts, ones with no monetary value, and yet priceless. So on the Eve of one of the most joyous days of the year, let me share with you my gifts.

The beautiful young girl who trusted me enough to wrap her arms around me and sob against my shoulder over the death of her father.

No new WIA's in the past three weeks.

A soldier, shot in the head, prognosis poor upon his CONUS* arrival, and the absolutely awesome smile that appeared on his face when I walked into his room three months later.

An Airman, presented with his purple heart by the commander in chief, who when later asked who his favorite visitor was replied, "Clara".

The officer who told everyone who entered his room he had "the best damn nurse in the whole hospital".

My coworker who simply announced, "You are one of the best nurses in this place. You know your stuff and you're wonderful with the patients and their families. I'd want you to take care of me and my family." To those in this profession that is the highest compliment you can pay another medical provider.

The grin on an amputee's face as he played tug with my puppy. He had so rarely smiled.

Hearing "Clara" bellowed embarrassingly loudly across the hospital lobby as one of my patients from two years ago tried to get my attention, and the hour-long conversation that followed.

The Christmas card I received from a patient and his family wishing me well.

The laughter I shared with a Marine who brought me an inexpensive and highly amusing gift on my birthday.

The cookies, breads, cakes and photos that adorn the ICU break room, all from appreciative patients and their families, with their Christmas and New Year’s salutations.

Wonderful gifts, some simple, many small but oh, so significant to me.

My sincere wishes to all of you for a fantastic holiday and a healthy, happy New Year!

Merry Christmas!

* CONUS: Continental United States


Clara, your posts to this blog are a gift to us, they are cherished, empathized with, prayed over, and bring smiles and tears.

Thank you, and Merry Christmas to you and yours.

NO Doubt Christmas cards mean alot - As a retired USN "Sailor", I was deployed more times than not during Christmas, and man its rough !!! You know too , today, Our Troops Need Your Support. The USO's commitment is to always "be there" for the troops. But we're not a government agency; to do our job, we need you! Help Us Serve Those Who Serve Us. Give to the USO.

I linked to this, you have given some of the best gifts anyone could get - and I am so glad that you shared the wonderful ones that come in return - they are priceless and always to be remembered carefully. Merry Christmas and an even better New Year, to all you touch and care and carry.

like the movie,the king of hearts,i left my war and entered the insane asylum. life made more sense there than in a combat zone.after 30+ years a psychiatric nurse, i salute you a caring,concerned and quite competent icu nurse.may mankind learn to live with one another.let wars be so over. dona nobis pacem.mike

More & more people know that Blog are goods for every one where we can get more knowledge nice job keep it up !

And a very Merry Christmas to you and yours. And most importantly, Thank-You. (I was there once.) -d

Merry Christmas Clara. Your love, patience, and passion for your patients is truly exemplary. In the words of our Lord and Savior "So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other."(John 13:34) Thank you for being a shining beacon.

thank God. It's good to know you are appreciated. I count your friendship amongst my blessings.

another christmas...
belgium 1944...

John D. Raikos (and the 3rd Army) were ordered to take Bastogne. They did.

He also came home.

Come home soon y'all.

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