Since leaving the US in 2009, I've racked up my share of good stories. Some funny . . . some unbelievable . . . some interesting . . . and some moving.
Every once in a while one of those stories becomes a bit of a legend. And this is one of them.
I hadn't really thought it was that good of a story . . . it sort of was just one of those new-normal kind of stories.
That is, until I shared it with a group of summer interns on the eve of their departure.
Since arriving in Galmi, I've been very involved with wound care in the OR. Not because I was a wound expert, but because I've sort of become one at Galmi . . . out of necessity. It started with showing up to stretch and splint burn patients . . . and now I find myself leading regular teaching sessions with the OR techs and anesthetists on the anatomy of the skin, physiology of wound healing, and anything else they need to know to provide the best patient care possible.
I also have been grilling them about hand washing.
It's the first thing we talk about EVERY session: when to wash your hands.
The problem was, the soap at the sink of the wound care room kept disappearing.
Hard to wash your hands if there is no soap.
I had popped in to wash my hands because it was the closest sink in relation to the room where I was treating my patient. There were several wound care staff buzzing around a couple of patients. I squeezed between an occupied gurney and the sink to clean my hands.
But . . . there was no soap.
I turned to ask someone about the absence of the bar, but they were all occupied. I made a mental note to bring up this unacceptable practice (because if there's no soap, there's no hand washing . . . and if there's no hand washing, there's no infection control . . . and if there's no infection control, then why the heck are we wasting our time with dressing changes!?!?!) at a later date, and figured I'd have to take care of it myself.
So, I went to the far end of the room where there is a wall lined with cabinets. I opened the cupboard where the secret back-up bar is stashed.
But it wasn't there.
I was a bit disappointed . . . and a lot irritated.
'HOW MANY TIMES??' I thought to myself. 'HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL THESE GUYS-----'
My internal dialogue was interrupted.
What the-----????? Multiple shelves in the cabinet were littered with dozens of tiny bird feathers.
'Uh, guys . . . ' my back was still turned towards them as I began to pose my question. 'What is that?'
I spun around. 'Excuse me . . . WHAT. IS. THAT?!?!'
The rumble of the room came to a halt.
They stood there frozen.
'WHAT IS THAT?' I asked again.
The bravest man in the room spoke boldly and with a confidence that none could rival. 'Those, Déborah,' he said, 'are feathers!'
I blinked at him. My irritation over the soap paled in comparison to what I was now feeling.
'Yes, I know they are feathers.'
They stared at me as if I wasn't making any sense.
'Let me rephrase my question . . . WHY ARE THERE FEATHERS IN THE OR BLOCK?'
'Because So-and-So put his chickens in there.'
For a moment, I wondered if this is how my mother felt having dealt with my shenanigans when I was a kid.
'AND WHY WOULD SO-AND-SO PUT HIS CHICKENS IN AN CUPBOARD IN THE OR????' I asked, not understanding why I was the only one in the room concerned with this scenario.
'Well, Déborah,' he answered patiently, 'You wouldn't have wanted him to have put the chickens on the floor, would you?'