Penultimate day in the zone

The excitement from yesterday is that there was any. At least there wasn’t anything big and dramatic. My rewarding case of the day (the were numerous, but the first and most memorable) was doing a fusion on a fourteen year old. Normally not a procedure I would consider for someone that young, but for a growing boy to be dependent on crutches due to the pain following a mortar attack on his house. He will be almost back to normal in six weeks.

As there was no major drama (I hesitate to say only gunshot wounds and shrapnel injuries), people started to focus on the small things. Then proceed to blow them out of proportion. Describing them as ‘First World’ issues seems apt. Debates over cupboard space, who gets to do what and in what order. When there are a multitude of newly arrived blast injuries, the minor issues are mute.

This is probably a natural progression as people (medical team personnel) struggle with living in a state of constant alertness. The adrenalin is ever present. Similar to developing a tolerance to heroin, the rush in a trauma setting makes the mundane, routine and equally essential non emergent tasks less appealing. Unless one can dramatise the issue.

As can be expected, friendships are forming, people’s idiosyncrasies are noted, tolerated to varying extents and invariably laughed at over dinner or in the ride back to our host houses. The warm (bucket) shower and lights are appreciated when arriving home late at night. The implication is that the host gets up at 10pm to start the generator and fire up the boiler before making tea and entertaining the motley crew while we take turns in the single bathroom.

Walked down the road during the day yesterday during a quiet period and walked past a cafe. The Pepsi and snacks were visible behind the window display of guns and rifles. All made in Turkey and ranged from USD120 to USD150. No background checks.

20130419-152331.jpgCoffee break across the road.


20130419-152549.jpgMy translator, Walmaa.

Post script: (Lunchtime addition) Will write later about the celebratory gunfight outside the hospital. No injuries, a reasonable amount of adrenalin.

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