12 March 2011

Good at Drawing a Crowd

Yesterday was a good day . . . busy, but good.  Thursday had been rough . . . really rough, but Friday redeemed the week (mainly it was because I got to watch a birth . . . pretty messy and gross, but REALLY, REALLY amazing!  One minute momma is fat and the next minute there's a brand new little life with ten adorable toes and an unforgettable scream . . . INCREDIBLE!)

Yesterday was also unusual because I didn't get to take my 1-3ish break . . . things shut down here daily at that time because it is just too hot to move.  But I was up in the OR seeing patients all morning and didn't notice the time until it was 3:15 (thank you Lord for an air conditioned OR block!!).  So after a wrestling match with a pair of crutches at 4 (that ended with a saw and power drill), I went home for a much needed shower.  At 6:02pm my phone rang.  There's a patient that needs crutches.

I grabbed my keys and just before running out the door, I hunted down my little household-sized electric screwdriver and the biggest drill bit I have.

You see, our crutches are made by a guy who in our workshop . . . and they are beautiful!  The thing is though, before I got here . . . crutches were being distributed by nurses who do wound care.  A patients height wasn't considered nor proper technique taught (believe it or not, if used incorrectly, crutches can do some damage) . . . so it was always assumed that the holes were being drilled in the right places.  Unfortunately, when adjusting the height, the holes just don't match up.

When I got to the hospital, the nurse who had called me introduced me to the patient's father and asked me to give him the crutches.  'Where's the patient?' I asked.  'He's not here.  You can give the crutches to him' (pointing to the father).  'But I need to see the patient.'  Everyone was surprised by this . . . which, in turn, surprised me.  'I have to know what height the crutches should be.'  They took me to the patient.

When I came back from my office with the crutches, a stool, my drill, and a wrench the dozen-ish men in the room (there are 4 patients per room on the surgical ward . . . plus family members who sleep on the floor) stared at me.  When I sat down and pulled out the wrench to start unscrewing the bolts in order to adjust the wooden crutches, the men who had been sitting on the floor, got up and came closer.

When the holes wouldn't line up and I pulled out my little drill, six more men and three male nurses came in from the hallway and circled around me, just watching.  Their silent stares said it all: WHO IS THIS CRAZY WOMAN WITH ALL THESE TOOLS??  WHERE IS HER HUSBAND???  WHY IS SHE NOT HOME LOOKING AFTER HER CHILDREN?

The feminist that hides inside was crouched, ready to spring out once my drill bit made it to the other side of the wooden leg and announce 'WOMEN CAN USE TOOLS TOO!!!'  When all of a sudden the little-motor-that-in-the-end-couldn't began to sputter and whir and slow.

With little more than a quarter of an inch left to go, my drill died.

Il est mort. ('It's dead.')  I said, dropping my head as I started to laugh.  I guess I'm just no Rosie the Riveter.

Accepting my defeat, I returned the bolts to their original position and sent my patient on his way with crutches that were only slightly too short.  First item on my big-city shopping list: a power drill.


Allison S said...

CHris would get a kick out of this. I'll have to tell him!

Allison S said...

CHris would get a kick out of this. I'll have to tell him!