30 DEC 2007 So many holes
Today was pleasant and calm. I biked to the hospital under a steely grey sky. My little friend with the back burn was scheduled for a check of her dressing. To avoid any pain, she was given a sedative that relaxed her and prevented her from remembering any of the procedure. I removed her dressings and took out all the steel staples holding the artificial skin to her back. The wound had dried up well and the artificial skin was sticking like shrink wrap. Even the deeper burn on her hand was starting to look cleaner. Her father has been doing a good job keeping the burn clean, though she protests loudly every time her hand iswashed.
After dressing the wounds on her back and hand, we turned our attention to her face. The burns there were very mild, but had some scabs that were peeling off and sticking to her long fine hair. She hadn't been able to to bathe because I kept the dressing on her back for a few days. her hair was dirty and tangled. After scrubbing the burns on her face to remove the yellow scabs, the nurses helped me wash her hair. I only have sons, and don't know a thing about taking care of little girls' hair. I learned that a brush is better than a comb for getting out tangles. We were able to give her a good shampoo with the medical soap. After de-tangling her hair, we used some kiwi lime conditioner to repair the breaks and split ends and give her hair a luminous bounce. After a good rinse, one of the nurses braided her hair and we wrapped her head in a towel to dry. I swear, Jack Twist, it seemed more like a salon than an operating room this morning.
I found the father of the girl surrounded by other Iraqi men, talking on the ward. I brought him to his daughter. I learned that this man works as a (redacted) in the (redacted.) He spoke excellent English and after I assured him that his daughter had fared well in surgery, we discussed other common issues. As they live close by, I should be able to send her home for the rest of her recovery nestled in the heart of her family, returning occasionally for clinic visits. I'm optimistic that the scars will be reasonable.
After this I wandered around the hospital, an idle soul. Up on the roof I found OR Nurse R. and Vascular Surgeon M. working on OR#5. I joined in to lend a hand and all my cares just drifted right into space. I drilled hole after hole and it was a very satisfying release. I was smart enough to wear my safety goggles. No one wants a pediatric surgeon who looks like a pirate. The wiring is coming along nicely for a TV, refrigerator, ceiling fans, and music system. What a shame it will be to leave..............NOT!
In the afternoon I wandered back to the OR and found Urologist S. rebuilding a little boy's urinary tube. It had been injured when he was treated for shrapnel wounds this summer. For the past five months, he had been peeing through a tube that came out of his belly. After Urologist S. used a telescope and an x-ray to find the blocked area of his urinary tube, I acted as assistant while he and Urologist J. carefully removed the blockage and reconstructed the delicate tube. He will need time to heal, but it is great that there is the possibility that he may urinate the normal way in the future.
We definitely feel a decreased number of wounded coming to visit us, especially among US troops. Here's hoping that this good trend continues.