16 October 2007

16 OCT The comfort of nothing

16 OCT The comfort of nothing

My call night has passed, and thankfully there has been enough calm this morning that I could slip home for a shower. We were flying the black flag most of the night. Vascular surgeon M. Was on duty with me, and he just seems to have the knack for very busy black cloud call nights. Since we were running multiple operations at once, I was blessed with good help from my partners. You can see Laparoscopic surgeon S. has his hands scrubbed and is about to head into a case. He has the good sense to be wearing his splash goggles. He is wearing a cooling vest, because we heat the rooms to near 100deg to protect the patients who often are cold and are losing blood. Sometimes we need to wear lead shields through long operations in those hot rooms and we come out with our scrub suits drenched in sweat.

We finally finished the days' operations at 0200. After rounding on patients and seeing a few new visitors to the ER, I snuck in two hours sleep on the couch of the PLX.

The morning was smooth. After a quick breakfast of powdered eggs, rasberry yogurt, tomato juice and biscuits with sausage gravy, I gave my morning report as the DFAC coffee began to kick in. We had treated patients from six different nations last night. With the multinational force and contractors, there are individuals from all corners of the globe at risk for injury.

I arrived in the OR for my morning routine of washing and treating the two boys with severe burns. It is very labor intensive care. I had the good fortune to have three or four assistants in each operation. We scrubbed away dead skin and fat and placed new clean dressings to ward off infection. In spite of the physical and emotional demands of burn care on both patient and provider, my spirits were greatly lifted today to receive a strong message of support to press on with this work.

If you haven't, please visit a wonderful blog on health called Well by Tara Parker-Pope of the NY Times. She was kind enough to mention our work here, and is a great source of health advice and stories.

Afternoon has arrived, and I crossed a few chores off my card after editing proofs of an article and completing some business readings. I'm going to visit the OR to see if the on call team has the action under control. I'm hoping that they do becaue I'm looking forward to an afternoon in my hooch alone and the comfort of doing absolutely nothing for a spell.

Take good care of yourselves!



Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Coppola,

I read about your blog in the NYT, and posted a comment there. Just wanted to say that I am a physician, stateside, and am grateful for the work that you and your colleagues are doing in Iraq. I was sad to read about the baby girl in your blog today, but I am terribly glad that there were kind people to look after this mother. Bless you. If and when you feel disheartened, remember that there are many people who believe in what you do and who are quietly cheering you on. --ars (illinois)

Brian Hurley said...

Dr. Coppola - in addition to the New York Times noticing your blog, it also came across the desk of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Dr Ward Casscells, who had some nice things to say about it on his blog yesterday.


Yours is a great site; terrific writing...and thanks to you and your team for all you do,

Chris said...

Dear ARS and Brian,

Thank you for stopping by. I'm happy to read your generous comments. I'll definitely check out Dr. Casscells blog. If the post brings any interest I hope that it can highlight the bravery of our troops, and also spread the word about organizations like Fisher House ( http://www.fisherhouse.org ) that help us fulfill our duty to our injured troops.

Best wishes,


sara said...

hi i am sara from iran . ialways read your blog.. i'm a medicine student.stager!!!

Chris said...

Dear Sara,

Best of luck with your studies! I recall my days in medical school fondly. I would love to learn more about Iran. Today we recieved a patient who had been treated in Iran, but then came to visit us after returning to Iraq.

Best wishes,