29 October 2007

29 OCT 2007 Crash

29 OCT 2007 Crash

Got to chit chat with M. yesterday, and everyone is doing fine. The boys are doing well in school, it was a nice weekend and they were enjoying a day together. Unfortunately, they had gotten into a little fender-bender the day before. No one was hurt, so it didn't matter so much. Numbers were exchanged, insurance companies were called, and the traffic of suburban sprawl pulsed on. To the stranger who helped M. get the fender off the minivan and into the rear cargo space, thank you. You didn't have to stop and help her, it was very generous of you. I know the fact that you have military members in your family has a lot to do with why you stopped, but of course you didn't know M. was a military spouse until you met her.

To the couple who helped direct traffic until M. got the minivan turned around, and then followed behind her until she got back to our neighborhood, thank you. Knowing that you were retired Air Force doesn't surprise me at all. You were very kind to give part of your weekend to help us out. We don't have family in the area, but your generosity made us feel like we did.

To my friend and colleague doctor N. who drove M. to get her rental car, thank you. We really do owe you. The biggest relief is knowing that no one was hurt, but it is so frustrating being 7000 miles away and unable to do the slightest thing for my wife when she needs me. Driving around when we need to swap cars or do errands is my job, my duty to her, and I'm over here shirking my duty. You are a true friend because knowing that you are there if M. needs help eases a heavy burden from my heart. You've helped me out with so many complicated patients in the hospital back home that it is no surprise that you are helping me out again. It will be a great day when we can get our families together and laugh about this over dinner.

M., of course you handled it all like a champ. I like the way you didn't let me know until you had everything settled. I guess after 16 years you know how crazy I get when I'm not able to help you because I'm stuck at one hospital or another. In spite of all the hassles, you really handle this single Mom thing pretty well! I'll be relieved when it is over.

Last night our team here in Iraq operated a boy who was in a car crash a week ago. He is a seven-month-old baby. He is scrawny and undernourished, and looks to be the size of a two-month-old child. We first met him the day of the crash. He had developed a large lump on his head which was a collection of blood under the scalp. Since he was comfortable, and the skin was strong, we let him go home with his Mom, and he came back to visit us in clinic. Yesterday, a small spot on the skin broke and the collection of blood started leaking out. Neurosurgeon J. and Oral/facial surgeon P. operated on him to clean out the sac of blood and fix the dent in his skull. He's making lots of noise and yelling whenever he wants to breastfeed, so I suppose he is doing well after surgery.

The circumstances of the car crash aren't completely clear to me. I'll explain the details as best I know. As I've told you before, the truth is elusive, and matters less to our success than the source of the bleeding. The boy was riding in the car with his father and mother. They crashed when they were blocked by another vehicle. Gunmen dragged his father from the car and killed him. When the boy's mother tried to struggle with the gunmen, she dropped her baby. He struck is head on the rocky ground, fracturing his skull.

I could serve my country a hundred years and still never deserve such a fine beautiful place for my children to grow.

Seat belts for everyone; no kids in the front,



ChefSara said...

I'm glad to hear everyone is ok. Stories like yours reinforce my belief that most people are inherently good, and will help out a stranger in need.

Chris said...

Sara, I really do agree, and I remember childhood where you didn't have to be afraid of neighbors or kids at school with guns. That America is still out there and I don't know if we can find a place where we can let our guard down again.


lainy said...

Glad to hear your family was helped by someone who cared and that no one was hurt.

Also happy to hear that the baby is fine.

You all do so much and I know this will pass and you'll be home safe and sound soon.

Chris said...

Lainy, thanks for the encouragement. Yes, I know that, but I do wish I could be sedated and woken up when it was over! CC