Tuesday, 21 May 2013

This morning was such a great experience. After I got off shift, I went to the gym and then went to the hospital to make the rounds and drop off invitations to our Memorial Day event.

I went first to the ICU and visited with the patients in the American bay. There was a positively horrific ambush within the last few weeks and several of the wounded went through the Craig hospital at Bagram. Only one is still here, injured from a dismounted IED. Everyday I've visited him I've held his hand and encouraged him to fight and be strong. He is in a drug induced coma with full body paralysis, but I can't help but believe that maybe he knows we are there visiting him. And I fully believe that someone suffering from his injuries would not want to be alone in the ICU.

After the ICU, I made my way to the Ward which contain patients who are not as serious as the ICU. The guys in the Ward are usually awake and eager for conversation and today was no exception. A lot of the guys in the Ward want to talk about why they are in the hospital and their stories and injuries just make you shake your head. One guy was trying to make sense of his experience being hit by an IED and the ground shaking underneath him. All I can hope to do is provide them with a willing listener, because I certainly will never be able to relate to anything they have been through.

Next it was on to the Warrior Restoration Clinic, where the Combat Stress dog lives. I invited all the staff to our event (the Combat Stress dog being the guest of honor after all!) and then I spent the next 30 mins on the floor playing with the pup, a gorgeous Red lab named Maj Eden.

And finally, it was off to the Vet clinic to play with some more puppies... except the Vet clinic primarily see the working dogs - bomb sniffers, narcotics dogs and attack dogs. Today they had Tessa in the clinic, a narcotics and attack dog, who in a nervous frenzy had basically chewed her tail off. She is a German Shepherd and because of her injuries the vets were forced to take the majority of her tail off. Because of her training however, she was also muzzled and sedated for her check up, trained to attack anyone who is not her handler.

The vets allowed to me to sit in on the visits and pet the sedated Tessa (not quite as enjoyable as the blind adoration of the combat stress dog, but it's Afghanistan after all, I will take what I can get! ;-) 

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