November 2008 – 5th Floor: Conversations…

Welcome“I could smell it out in the hallway!”

“Real food!”

“Fill your plate – there’s plenty! Sandwiches there, chili over there, drinks behind you.”


“NO calories in the brownies!”



“Was your son wounded or are you here for something else?”

“My son was wounded – suicide bomber.”

“It’s my husband – IED.”

“Where was he?”



Buffet“You can stay here and eat or you can take it back to his room.”

“I think we’ll sit here with you all for a little and take a break. He can’t eat food yet and I would feel bad if he smelled it if we ate it in front of him.”




“Leftovers will go in the pantry when we leave. Do you know where it is?”


“Come with me and I’ll show you where it is.”

“This is great!”

“Where are you two from?”


“Have you all had snow there yet?”

“Just some flurries. I work for the nicest company. The second they heard about my son, they said, “GO and don’t worry about a thing! Go! You need to be with him!””

“God Bless them…. not everyone is as fortunate as you to work for a company like that…”

“My husband has his own business and will be going back but I’m staying and he’ll be going back and forth.”






“What size t-shirts would you like?”

“Oh these are perfect! I thought it would be chilly here and all the clothes I brought are long sleeves and too warm.”

“Oh and here are some notes for your son. They are from people all over the country.”

“And they read EVERY word of the notes they get! Thank you SO much!”

“That’s nice to know. I didn’t know if they did or not. Would you like a little pillow?”

“He could use the pillow to rest his arm on.”


“I love your accent. Where are you from?”

“Georgia. This is great! Who are you?”

“We’re a group who supports you and the wounded guys. We come as often as we can and do this. Would you like an afghan? Or would you rather have a quilt?”

“His mom will be down later. She’s in charge of things like this.”


“Would you like to take something back for your husband to eat?”

“He’s not able to eat yet. His mouth is wired shut.”

“How about a smoothie?”

“No, he can’t eat anything like that yet.”

“Well don’t leave without the things we have for you. We’re going to load you up!”

“Oh my goodness, THANK you SO much!”


“What size t-shirts would you like?”

“Would you like an afghan or a quilt?”

“A lady made these totes – here pick one. There are some special goodies in it just for you.”

“Make sure you take a gift bag with you – it has snacks in it for you.”

“Who sent these?”

“We have people from all over the country who help us support the wounded and their families here at the hospital.”


“I’m just in here fixing a plate for a Marine down the hall. He can’t come down, doesn’t have anyone to help him.”

“No family?”

“He was at Walter Reed and had a set back so he’s back here again.

That’s why there’s no family with him.”

“Oh, ok, May I help you carry the food down to him?”

Setting Up






“I’m back. Jane, do you want to take the gift things down to him? I’ll walk you down there.”

“Okay, let me grab them.”

“Hi there, may I come in? I have some things for you.”

“Sure. Sorry for not being with it. It’s the pain meds they have me on.”

“They make you sleepy?”

“Yes, I hate how they make me feel, but they help with the pain. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe I’ll feel better tomorrow.”

“Well here are some things for you, a quilt, some notes, a bag of snacks, a t-shirt.”

“Thank you.”

“Where are you from?”


“I know some Marines from Washington.”

“What are their names?”
“No, I don’t know them.”

“How’s your arm?”

“Pretty bad. About as messed up as it can be without being amputated.  Where is your son?”

“He’s out and back home now but he was at Camp Horno.”

“I was at Horno, too, different battalion, though. Phantom Fury, huh? Those guys kicked butt, the ones who were in that…”

“Ahhhh you lived in those barracks, huh? Yes, Phantom Fury…”

“Yes, I heard they condemned the barracks at Horno after our unit deployed.”

“I heard that, too.”

“I’m keeping you awake, aren’t I?”

“Yes, I need to get in bed now.”

“Okay, well thank you for your service and *please* know you are in the prayers of many and you *are* supported – don’t listen to the crap on the news. We love you guys! Here let me give you a hug before I leave.”

“Jane, here’s the mom from Georgia that the dad said would be down later.”

“Fix a plate before we run out and we have some things for you so make sure you get them.”

“Oh myyyy. Where did these come from? You all are so great. This is so nice. I’m going to sit down and take a break. Marines really take care of their own. They really do. He’s my oldest. We have a large family back home and little brother is staying with them while we are here. We just up and left as soon as we heard he was coming here. The doctors have been really great fixing him up.
I don’t cry when I’m in the room with him. I stay strong when I’m in front of him. He’s my oldest. I want you two ladies to meet him before you leave.”

“Jane! Quick… the Gunny’s waiting for you so we can get a group picture…”

“You have to gown up before you go into the room. Here’s the gown. Let me Velcro the back for you. There’s the gloves you need to put on. It’s not so much that you might give something to him, it’s more to protect you. There’s a germ in the Iraqi soil that that takes a while to get out of his system and this protects you from that.

Son, I’d like you to meet these nice ladies…”

Until next time, continued prayers for our military and their families.

Love and Hugs,




R. LeeErmey and the moms