Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"Little Kaenat"

Last night at 8:00PM I got a call from FOB Bostick.  The Colonel on the other end informed me there was a three year old Afghan girl who sustained a femur fracture and wanted to know if I would be interested in treating her; without hesitation I agreed.  The very moment I hung up the phone a middle ages man with a California surfer hair cut stood there staring at me.  He reached his hand out to me and introduced himself “How’s it going my name is Pete”; I offered my hand.  Pete is a name I have heard much about over the last weeks but this is the first time we actually met.  My base has a lot of soldiers on it but there are also a few other U.S. groups here including non-military.  One of these special groups is called the “OGA”, also known as “Other Government Agencies.” I can’t go into who they really are and what they specifically do but can tell you they are really important in the grand scheme of theater action.  Pete tells me he is really appreciative I have agreed to take care of this girl for specific reasons other than the fact I want to.  Pete tells me the child will be hear by 10:00PM shakes my hand again and disappears out of the door into the night. 
10:00PM finally comes and like clockwork Pete arrives in a helicopter with the 3 year old Afghan girl and her father. She is transferred into the FST for me to evaluate. “Rocky” our Afghan interpreter is present to help me gather information about the child from her father. I initiate communication with the father by introducing myself and shaking his hand. I learn my beautiful Afghan patients name is “Kaenat”. It’s obvious from the start that this child is from the higher sect of Afghan society based on her physical condition. Her dark naturally curly hair hides big brown scared eyes beneath.  I look her in the eyes and try to hold her hand but she wanted nothing of it; I have something to work toward with her other than medical care. I admitted her to our FST, made her comfortable, and made plans for reducing her femur fracture with application of a hip spica cast for 8:00AM tomorrow morning. After finishing her overnight orders I retreated to my shack for a night of sleep.
I was awoken this morning by our CRNA (anesthesia nurse) at 6:30AM; 30 minutes prior to my alarm. My anxiety was spiked initially but learned he thought I would be up and about planning early for the case; I guess he was a little excited.  Now I was awake so I started my day sooner than anticipated.  I made my way to the FST and found little Kaenat sleeping soundly with her father bedside.  Once the operating room was ready Kaenat was woken up; Afghan fury in her eyes.  Once her father soothed her we made our way to the OR.  Our CNRA aka “The Bear” gave her surgical sleeping juice and then we began.  Joe J assisted me and considering I have not put a hip spica on a child since my pediatric residency training at the Cleveland Clinic I was pleased; just like riding a bike Dr. GoodwinJ (one of my amazing CCF pediatric orthopedic attendings).  Kaenat was extubated and I carried her back to her waiting father in recovery. His eyes were impatient for my report of the surgery. “Rocky” informed him everything went well and for a second time during my short time here he hugged me; I don’t think that will ever get old.
Afterward “Pete” our new “OGA” friend thanked us and asked us over to their secret compound on our FOB for lunch; Joe J and I accepted. We had a great time and got to see a lot of really cool things but I can’t disclose any of it to you or I would have to ..; I like you better alive so I’ll just leave it at that.
Talk to you soon.

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