26 January, 2011

Reflecting on Removal

Last Sunday, a friend wanted to enjoy the un-seasonably warm and sunny weather, went running. Jumping across a small creek during his run, my friend landed on a slippery place and his right leg slipped over to the left while his body tumbled forward over it breaking his leg. He was lucky there was someone nearby who also heard it break in two places. Five to ten minutes later an ambulance was there, and before he could get any pain drugs, they asked a ton of questions while doing vitals and blood work to see if his heart could take it. He arrived at the hospital in good time, but the O.R. had no surgeons. He had to wait 36 hours before they could squeeze him in the following evening. All the morphine in world would not have made him pain free, so it was pretty difficult to watch someone close to you, unable to make it better. But I know from my hospital and ICU stay, that people or family around can keep you on the radar screen and sleepy nurse stations alert. There was at least two times when his day nurse forgot pain drugs on the schedule, and he could only page numerous times with no avail before one of us would raise a stink.

Now, it's Wednesday and he is moderately better and almost a bionic man with a huge rod down the Fibula. Now weeding him off morphine so he can do PT and go home to face the first two frustrating weeks of healing….nearly immobile. A fit man, who in one split second needs the help of many people. A good lesson in one’s so called "independence."

He was doing great even with the extreme pain by being mindful, and I hope I can learn from this. For me, watching a close friend in pain, made me think of the cute kids I saw in Cambodia with limbs missing. And of the pain they had to endure now referencing my friend, it became all too real. It brought home the realization of the magnitude of pain the land mine victims endure and most without any drugs or immediate help. Please help continue to help the campaign for removal of those devices and the ceasing of them being used ever again.

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