Monday, September 20, 2010
HELPING OTHERS CRY
Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. The winner was a four year old child. His next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man crying, the little boy went into the man's yard, climbed onto his lap and just sat there. When his mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy just said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry."
Sometimes that is the only, and the best thing, we can do. We may want to throw something, hit something, go hide in the woods, explode, scream, anything to take away the pain of the person we love and feel helpless to help. So it is with our wounded warriors. And so it is with their nurses who care for them night and day, nurses who come to see the spirit and indefatigable courage of each of them. But sometimes all they can do is sit with them and 'help them cry.'
But who helps them? Who is there to help them cry when the burden becomes too heavy. Perhaps it is a nurse like Soo who whispered to me, "I have waited and waited all day for Kelsie. This is the best part of my day. Thank you for bringing her."
The nurses too are the unsung heroes. Clara Barton, a pioneer American nurse, was credited with reaching soldiers in some of the grimmest battlefields of the Civil War. She later organized the Red Cross through stubborn sacrifice and real dedication. Today's nurses and medical staff are no different, balancing objectivity with compassion on battlefields of a different sort.
Badly burned warriors can often be in the Intensive Care Burn Unit at BAMC for months. When Marine Sgt Merlin German arrived at BAMC from Iraq, he had burns over 97% of his body. He spent more than 500 days in the hospital. He had a 3% chance of survival. His t-shirt said, "Got 3% chance of surviving; What ya gonna do?" The back lists four options: "a. Fight Through. b. Stay Strong. c. Overcome Because I Am A Warrior. d. All Of The Above!" The last one was circled.
Nurses and staff in the burn unit are reminded, by talking with loved ones and looking at photos they tack up on the walls, that there is a person beneath the bandages. It is hard to not become attached. The nurses come to know the families of the severely burned warriors, as if they are their own. These nurses have to 'fight through,' 'stay strong' and 'overcome,' because they too are warriors. They spend hours dressing wounds and being there to 'help their patients cry.' Treating burns mixed with lost limbs, decimated bones, muscles, and nerves are also a war fought on a different battlefield by nurses and staff. For them it is the fight of their lives as well.
And sometimes, just sometimes, a break from the battle is a dog that appears, seemingly out of no where, to snuggle and help the staff release some of tremendous stress they are faced with daily.
For me there is nothing more noble than people that go to war to save. With their hands and their hearts they serve their warriors with amazing skill and a level of caring that is rarely rewarded or recognized. Perhaps it is because there is no way to reward commensurate with the service rendered. It just might be beyond our capacity to understand that they too are paying the price for freedom.
PLEASE HELP US HELP A WARRIOR
TRAIN A DOG - SAVE A WARRIOR
$1,000.00 WILL SPONSOR A DOG FOR A WOUNDED WARRIOR.
PLEASE SEND TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS TO:
PENNY'S FROM HEAVEN FOUNDATION, INC.
13423 BLANCO ROAD ~ SUITE 218
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS 78216