Friday, August 27, 2010

Blood and Guts

Yesterday was an interesting day. It was a day where I realised that my sense of disgust and horror was gone forever. It started off normal: I dragged myself out of bed, cussing and grumbling, came to work, recieved the handover and started work. Roughly 30 minutes later the first RTA was wheeled in: front seat passenger involved in a head-on collision, crashed into the windshield and sliced his forehead open. Brought by some heroic bystander and God knows what happened to the driver.
We pulled him from the gurney and started work. I pulled off the peice of cloth covering his face and found this flap of skin pulled over his scalp. There was lots of blood going in all directions and my sleeves were soaked in seconds. I pulled the skin back in place and started to apply pressure dressing. A quick assessment found that he was fully conscious and oriented and pissed off as hell. He was moving all his limbs but I called the Trauma Team anyway because I didn't know what the hell was going on under that gigantic cut...
End of story: all CTs were normal, the surgeons patched up his scalp and ligated the bleeding arteries and he was admitted. And a few hours later the ambulances started rolling in: 4 children in 2 different RTAs, one of them in a coma due to a skull and face fracture.
It was a nasty day. But what bothered me was that I didn't feel a thing. I wasn't even slightly grossed out or distressed. All that blood and trauma... it didn't do a thing.
I don't know what I'm turning into.


I haven't been this disturbed in a while. I actually teared up. I could never imagine myself dealing with a situation like this. They brought their son in, all curled up and drooling. I assumed he was palsied, born that way. But no. He was fine. He was totally normal. He called the Azan for every prayer in the house. He was out playing with some kids on the swing hanging from the tree in the backyard. Time for prayer came and went and no one called the Azaan, so they started looking for him. And found him hanging from the tree, caught around the neck by the swing rope. God knows how long he had been hanging there, but he was still breathing when they got him to the health center but in a coma. Of course, it was too late. It would probably have been better if he had died. Irreversible brain damage had already occured, and the previously well, active, Azaan calling 12 year old boy was now an incontinant vegetable with the brain of a new-born child.
At first I was irritated when they kept asking for a 'brain scan' to see 'what was wrong with him' and if he can be fixed. He had already been fully worked up and treated in their district hospital. Then I thought it was a matter of counselling: maybe they hadn't explained the situation fully to them; that this isn't something you can fix, it's not a temporary thing that will improve.Then I thought they were still in denial about the condition.
Then I realised they were just so heart broken and shocked that they just couldn't handle the idea of their son being gone forever and replaced with this... thing. All the counselling and explaining and scientific evidence in the world could not help them understand why them? Why him?
I hope nothing like that ever EVER happens to me or anyone I know or love or hate. Ever.