Monday, February 18, 2008
14 looking like 10, going on 40...
I haven't talked about what I do here...Perhaps sometimes I don't feel like I do a lot, but perhaps that is not ours to say.
This evening a group of children were brought in to the hospital by ambulance. Mixed ages, one kid looked like he was about two, the others were perhaps up to 14 years old. Some awful injuries. I don't know the story, maybe playing in a field, apparently some mortars landed on them and a house nearby. My very qualified colleagues took the serious patients, and I worked on a young child. He was scrawny, dark eyes, black dusty hair. Quiet, observant. Dried blood caking and cracking on his hands.
He had a large ragged wound on his forearm, and the mid-shaft of his ulna was smashed and splintered per our x-ray. He was quiet and pensive. He spoke some English too. I try to stroke his hair, tell him he will be fine. He didn't grimace or complain when we took blood from him.
With all the other trauma going on in the emergency room I try to stand in front of him and block his view from everything else. I ask him about soccer and what he likes to do. But he is nauseated from the morphine and glum.
Our surgeon took him to the operating room later. The child said he was 14, but he was not like the huge kids we have back in the States. ...He was as light as a feather, and looked more like he was ten or even eight years old. My medical colleagues are wonderful, so professional and skilled. I pale in comparison to them, so I just try to do what I can.
I am hoping the child will forget what he was seeing around him. The detritus of the ER, bandages, blood stained gauze, blankets on the floor, CPR being performed on a patient on one side of him. Staff all mingling and blending into a whirl of activity and purposeful action.
Peace is my wish for him. He seems strong, older than his years. He looks a bit like me, but he is more handsome of course! I wish my stupid smiling at him could actually make him better.