It has been quite a day over here at the Red Cross. The vibe on the base is distinctly tense and wary as everyone awaits the result of the government budget meetings, the deadline of which is midnight tonight in the States. As you may be aware, if the budget is not reconciled then members of the armed forces would continue to work without pay (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-13015909). For us at the Red Cross, this means we may see a substantial increase in the number of financial assistance cases that we handle. Currently, if a servicemember needs a loan, his family in the States can apply through the military aid societies, but often a red cross message is initiated so that the deployed servicemember can give official concurrence on the loan. If this situation is not resolved by midnight tonight, our office is making preparations to assist in any way we can. This includes possibly working up to 12 hour shifts to support an increased case load if need be, as well as staying up-to-date on developments from the military aid societies. Depending on the outcome, I may have quite an update tomorrow!
On a different note, my wonderful mom sent over 8 bricks of homemade fudge which marvelously survived the ridiculous journey so I made up several plates full and brought them to the staff at the ICU Ward, the ICU and the CASF (which houses the ambulatory patients). The fudge was a huge hit since confections like that are pretty uncommon out here. I also had a really sad and somewhat disturbing experience in the ICU. There was a soldier who was awake, and was very seriously injured. He had lost both of his hands which meant I couldn’t hold his hand to express support, but when I moved close to talk to him it dawned on me that he had lost his hearing in the incident as well. Because he was lucid, he wanted to know why I was there, but because he couldn’t hear I couldn’t explain that I was simply there to support him. He was growing distressed that he couldn’t understand me and I was at a loss for how to communicate. This was one of those sad times, when no matter how much you want to help and no matter how good your intentions, I came away feeling that not only had I failed him,but I had almost made matters worse. Without language or human touch what do you do to express your compassion?