My Stint In The ICU During Fallujah Attacks

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    At this time I am only a nursing student, but before I took this leap, I was an active duty soldier for the U.S. Army as a medic, stationed in Germany. I was barely 19 when they told me I was to be stationed in Germany, leaving the United States for the first time and being extremely far away from my family and friends. It was a long time adjusting to the change, but I did.

    My Stint In The ICU During Fallujah Attacks

    I was a new medic when the Fallujah attacks happened in late 2004. I worked at a family practice clinic that was attached to Landstuhl hospital. The wards at the hospital became so overwhelmed with the injured soldiers, that they had to open up another ICU wing on an emergency basis and asked for volunteers to staff it.

    I was the only one who raised my hand to take much of my personal time to help these wonderful people. I began on 3rd shift, 14 hour stints, 3-4 in a row with one day off in between.

    I wasn't sure what to expect and because I was a new medic, I was learning very quickly and forced to do things that made me who I am today. I'll never forget that first night when they asked "You're a medic?" and I replied "Yes, Ma'am", and then she told me to join the IV start team, inserting or replacing IV's in the soldiers that needed it throughout the floor and at that time my overwhelming journey began.

    There was one soldier, only 18, who was involved in a roadside bombing, his legs shattered and in tremendous pain. Every time I went into his room to do vitals or whatever needed to be performed, he cried for his mother.

    At one point, around 4am in the morning, he told me that I reminded him of his best friend that he missed and we both ended up crying together, missing the family and friends that were so far away.

    There was one man I will never forget. He was a young Officer, newly married and admitted to my floor for a gunshot wound to his temple. He was sniped from far away, the bullet shattering through the side of his head and permanently taking his vision from him.

    His new bride will never be seen again, only the memories of what he knew of her. What blew me away the most about this man was that he smiled. He hoped and dreamed and accepted what had happened to him. He fought for his country and he was proud of that. His smile...I will never forget it. I cried over simple things and he smiled even when his sight was taken.

    I have so many stories I could tell from my experiences in the military but it would take hours to go over. These two brave soldiers are just some of the wonderful, strong and courageous people I have come across and they have changed my life forever; helping me to look at the world a little differently and more positively.
    Last edit by Joe V on Jun 16, '18
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  2. Visit SarahLovesNovember profile page

    About SarahLovesNovember

    Joined: Aug '04; Posts: 108; Likes: 45
    LNA/Army Medic
    Specialty: 6 year(s) of experience in Still a medic at heart but ICU, M/S, SVU

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  3. by   Nidawi
    Thank you for serving our country! I think you're going to be a wonderful nurse!
  4. by   hamnurse
    Hugs to you SarahLovesNovember! What a unique prespective you got in nursing while there. You will bring a lot of maturity at such a young age to your nursing career. You go Girl!
  5. by   skwlpn
    You should be as proud of your service to this wonderful country as I am of the incredible people who protect it. Semper fi.
  6. by   SuesquatchRN
    hank you
  7. by   ElvishDNP
    Wow. You are a special person and I know the people you served will not forget you. Thank you for your article. My brother is a Marine and should he ever need medical attention I hope someone like you is on his side.
  8. by   calliesue
    Thank you so much for serving our country. Thank you for taking care of our sons and daughters when we can't be there to help them. God bless you.
  9. by   romantic
    Thank you for sharing your story with us. Your story is heartbreaking; I read it with tears in my eyes.
    Thank you!
  10. by   WarrenpeaceRN
    Thank you for taking care of them.

    What comes next doesn't denigrate their service. It is a call to action for Americans to be conscious of the power we have and to NEVER allow our children to be expended needlessly.

    Imagine if the majority of us saw through the lies from the beginning, few did and few chose to question. If Americans had questioned, about 4,500 Americans might be alive today, 30,000 Americans would not be returning home gravely injured, untold thousands would not be returning with serious psychological problems, about 4,000 coalition soldiers would not be dead, and over 100,000 Iraqi civilians would be alive today. Imagine the impact of all this on families and children across the globe. I won't even go into the monetary cost....trillions, better spent on health care, schools, research.

    Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and they never had WMDs. The US government knew this. The chemical weapons we gave to SH, which he used on the Kurds, were well past their shelf life. The world, the UN and the US government knew that Iraq was far from capable of producing an nuclear bomb...the vast majority of Americans never bothered to question.

    A random observation....few New Yorkers spoke of mindless revenge after 9/11. Most of the rest of the country did.

    Now the gov is saying the same about Iran...question authority.

    A fun fact...only two Congresspeople have a child in the military.

    If you disagree with this, please tell me why you think we invaded/occupied Iraq and why it was justified. Thanks
  11. by   SarahLovesNovember
    Wow...thank you all for your wonderful comments. It was an amazing and heartbreaking journey and I have shed many a tear for lost friends and loved ones.

    Oh, Brooklynguy...your random fact about only two congress people having a child in the military is not shocking unfortunately. Most people would not support their children being in the military due to fears.
  12. by   pH7.40
    Thanks for your service and commitment. I feel that regardless of a person's stance on the Iraq war it is our duty to protect and help mend our wounded soldiers who are after all just extraordinary citizens stepping forward to serve our country when called upon. I applaud your work. Thank you. Good luck in your journey as a nurse. Keep writing about your experiences!