01 March 2011

Untitled (I have nothing clever today)

One of the tricky things that comes with keeping a blog like this is knowing how much is okay to share 'with the whole world'.  I have so many stories (already in just a day and a half) about patients that I want to share in order to paint a realistic picture of the ins and outs of life here, but they aren't necessarily my stories to tell, nor is this necessarily the best venue to share everything.

So I'll tell you what I did this morning.  After rounding with our chief of surgery, he asked me to see two patients in particular: a guy who just had a flexor policis longus (one of the thumb muscles) repair and another guy who was severely burned in a motor vehicle accident about 11 months ago, and is now here for another contracture release surgery.  I was reluctant to see the guy's thumb, as his diagnosis didn't fall into my will-see-in-the-first-six-months diagnostic categories . . . but I have issues with boundaries, especially when those diagnoses have names, faces, and contexts.  So I caved . . . but hey, sometimes rules are made to be broken.

The patient with the significant scarring was really interesting for me.  He's such a typical burn patient: it hurts to stretch and move, so I won't.  In the mean time, contractures form and mobility is lost.  We had a long conversation about how this will be an ongoing cycle if he doesn't stretch, EVERYDAY!  I need to make a set of pulleys to help get some more range of motion in his shoulders and elbows . . . I'll see if I can find some spare parts in the workshop and rig something up.  Hmm.  Where'd I put my drill??

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