Thursday, August 18, 2011

"Supporting Cast"

Trauma has taken the slow road since the last event but it’s bound to pick up; and we all know it.  Our team prepares, checks all the lifesaving medical equipment and rehearses every morning.  During these slow times we have to stay mentally and physically prepared; it’s only the emotional part we can’t account for.  After the team’s daily routine I gave a lecture about how to orthopedically evaluate a trauma patient and the basics of reading x-rays.  Afterwards I saw two U.S. soldiers for orthopedic evaluations; one of which was sent back to the U.S. for further evaluation. 
Last night my wife sent me new pictures of my kids with our new live in guests; my mother-in-laws. Yes I said mother-in-laws. I belong to a “dysfunctional happy family” were my mother-in-law and step mother-in-law are best friends, and my father-in-law is the cool guy in the middle.  I have no words that can describe the confidence inspiring feelings I have knowing my extended family has stepped up in time of need; they are the “Supporting Cast” for my wife and children while I’m deployed.  I hope they realize this is not a short skit either; my active duty army wife (Melissa) is an emergency medicine doctor who will likely deploy a short time after my return.  This transition will be the most challenging of our relationship and family will play a pivotal role in our success.  We are the lucky ones.  Many families don’t have the luxury of support from their family and or the financial means to obtain this support. It’s going to be a long next 2 years with our military obligations but success comes to those who prepare and with our extraordinary family behind us we are positioned well to capture it. 
As trauma was slow today yet again Joe J and a new friend “Rubes” went to go work out. Rubes is the Veterinarian for our FOB and asked to join us; we are always at the gym the same time.  Rubes vet responsibilities are primarily for the work dog population of the Special Forces and Ranger Units on our FOB and within a large area in Afghanistan.  The treatment of these dogs is nothing less than amazing; the canines are treated as soldiers and have an actual army rank of Staff Sargent. The handlers of the pups are actually one rank less so they treat them with respect. I’ve met some of the dogs and they are trained extremely well; some are specialized in subduing individuals and others for IED and explosive detection.   I will likely commit a blog in the future to these amazing canines when I get a chance to talk with their handlers for more details.  It was nice to add Rubes to our daily workout routine, and I look forward to getting to know him better over the next 5 months here. 
It’s now 5:30PM and I’ve been informed a soldier is going to be medevac to our FST for me to evaluate a blast injury to his arm; ETA 30 minutes.  The whole team will mobilize for this type of scenario because meanings get lost in translation and we could be dealing with something completely different; it’s better to be over prepared than under prepared.  35 minutes later two Blackhawks showed up with 6 injured U.S. soldiers; case in point.  One of the soldiers was a female with a gunshot wound (GSW) to the abdomen so Mike M took her directly to the operating room.  Joe J and I triaged and evaluated the rest of the soldiers; 1 broken forearm, 3 head and neck injuries, and 1 eye injury, but all stable.  I stabilized the broken forearm and sent him to the barracks for the night as he had no other injuries. We called Baghram for transfer of the others for advanced imaging.  The soldier in the operating room had an exploration of her abdomen which showed no major internal injuries; she was very lucky and so were we.  Once all of the soldiers were stabilized and packaged up for the flight they left on two “Steel Angels”.
Five minutes after our patients left we got another notification one soldier was going to be medevac to us; here we go all over again.  This discussion will be continued.

P.S. I miss my boys and girls.


1 comment:

  1. Mark,
    At the end of our lives we will never wish for a bigger home,extra cash or a new pair of shoes...we will only wish we had spent more time with our family.
    Helga and I are living the dream.

    love & applause,

    your mother-in-law