Saturday, September 3, 2011

"Lucky Coin"

Captain K did not plan on meeting me today but her lucky coin landed on tails, not heads like she was hoping for.  During a medevac Blackhawk mission she was injured and unfortunately became one of the soldiers that would be sent to our FOB; a club she was not anticipating joining I’m sure.   The FST was not informed of the event until the good Captain showed up with the other injured soldiers.  She was initially evaluated by Joe J for the typical trauma evaluation and then I followed.  It was obvious that she fractured her arm from visual inspection and x-rays confirmed this.  The biggest concern immediately was one of the major nerves to her arm was not working and the sensation this nerve is responsible for on her arm was lacking as well. I brought her to the operating room to stabilize the injured arm and hoped in the process I would be able to alleviate the pressure the nerve was under.  The Captain was put under a general anesthesia and then my work began. I was able to reduce her arm in a much better position and stabilized it.  She was extubated (brought out of anesthesia) a short time later and transferred to recovery. There I waited patiently for Captain K to come out of anesthesia; I was rewarded with the return of function of the nerve in question.  She will be transferred to Baghram tomorrow and likely given a one way trip back to the States to recover. I explained the situation to her dismay.  She was distraught of the thought of leaving her unit with so many more missions that needed to be accomplished. After taking an excessive amount of time explaining her situation she looked at me with eyes of defeat in acceptance.  All of the other soldiers that arrived were stable with neck and back pain from an IED blast and nothing for me to do orthopedically.
After our trauma ordeal we had a meeting of the minds between me and the other 3 surgeons about the mentorship program were trying to start with local Afghan surgeons.   Today it was confirmed that we are a “go” for a meeting with 4 Afghan surgeons on Monday; one of which is the director of a large local hospital near us.  What we are trying to avoid is the doctors we mentor becoming dependent on us because one day we won’t be here and we don’t want the local medical system to falter when this happens; past experiences of others has shown this to be a possibility.  There is also a lot of corruption in the local medical system and we are not here to precipitate that environment. I look forward to trying to make this medical mission work; cross your fingers.
Joe J and I followed our meeting with an intense workout at the gym. I can’t remember a time in my life I ever worked out this much. It really gives you time to reconnect with your body and put it back on track.  I know this is only temporary while I’m here because the minute I leave my real life will be overwhelmed with life responsibilities some wanted and others not.  I will also add that next Sunday (September 11th) the NFL season begins; which every American on this base is excited about, and I will be participating in a “NFL Combine Lift Off”. The event, which is sponsored by the MWR and USO and divided into weight classes tests how many repetitions of 225lbs you can bench press; I’m interested to see how well I can do.
Trauma has been slow lately and it was not expected considering Ramadan ended September 30th.  We have been told that motivation for insurgent attacks increases around this time because their religious fasting is complete and temperatures are beginning to cool slightly. In the end we are ready
P.S. I love you Melissa, Turin, Talon, and baby MylaJ

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