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    Saturday, May 27, 2006

    Medicine Man

    I was at a Brain Trauma conference on a Saturday morning and was invited to a"sweat lodge". The old man who invited me was the tribal Medicine Man. This old man knew who Sgt. B and I were immediately, I think Sgt. B pretty much gives us away everytime as he is black, and there are no black folks here. I could pass for Native American, but I still stick out like a sore thumb too with the way I dress. He knew we were the Special Forces guys, but he liked to call us the medicine men. He thanked us for our service to the country and our service to his community here. It was neat to talk with him. Unfortunately, we couldn't make it to the ceremony, but it was cool just to be invited. It wouldn't be the last time I heard someone call me medicine man here either.

    The hospital staff has been incredible to Sgt. B and I. We've been floating between the ER, Podiatry, Pediatrics, OB/GYN, Surgery, and Dentistry inside the hospital shadowing a physician in each department. We've also had the opportunity to go out into the community with a Public Health nurse and do some house calls. Lastly, there is a walk-in clinic, and on Tuesdays there's the diabetic clinic where the community's diabetics come in for a check up. I've only seen one life-threatening trauma come in since being here, and it was pretty hairy. A baby was at a daycare here in town and, supposedly, another child was stabbing this baby in the mouth with some keys. The baby's tongue swelled up and he lost his airway. The EMT's were unable to intubate en route, so by the time we got him it was looking pretty bleek. The ER doc on call attempted an intubation, but to no avail. He then tried to do a cricothyroidostomy, but was unsuccessful as well. I really don't know how this baby made it, to be honest. The Nurse Anesthetist (former Marine) arrived after being beeped and he saved the day with a miracle blind intubation. Sgt. B and I were assisting the whole time as the two ER nurses completely lost it, they froze up and freaked out because they knew the child and family. It was an "oh shit" moment for the ER as they don't get stuff like this often. The ER doc was pretty shaken up as well. Afterwards, upon inspection of the tongue and mouth we all thought it odd that there were no cuts or abrasions in the mouth if it were keys that caused the trauma. The ER doc concluded that there could have been some abuse, so it was promptly reported, and is currently under investigation. The police suspected a bottle being shoved in the baby's mouth forcefully and repeatedly. Sad stuff if true. Another sad moment was in Pediatrics. A young mother with a 4yo. girl came in because she suspected sexual abuse. The pediatrician did an assessment, as I was shadowing. I can't even begin to describe what I saw. It was the first time I've ever had to walk out. The mother was in tears when Dr. A confirmed her suspicions. It's the uncle, and this was the third time. It's been depressing working here to say the least. There are a lot of diabetics, I mean a whole lot. The elderly are plagued by it, and the young are plagued by Crystal Meth. While in dentistry I saw a lot of high school aged kids getting teeth pulled as well as young twenty-somethings. The dentist explained to me that several of them are meth users, and it wasn't the first, nor will it be the last tooth they get yanked. Apparently, meth destroys teeth along with every organ in the body. There are banners all of the place like a Just Say No campaign saying things like "The High is a Lie" and "Meth Kills".

    *big sigh*

    On a positive note... on my house calls with the Public Health nurse, I have been able to interact with people at their homes, and enjoy some hospitality after ministering to their physical ailments and wounds. This has been quite enjoyable, it kind of brought me back to my missionary days, I wished I had these skills then. This is going to sound so cliche, but an old lady dressed with long grey hair in pig tails and traditional shawl called me a "great medicine man" after I redressed her diabetic foot ulcers. Like I said, it wouldn't be the last time I heard that. I've also had the chance to hang with some of the "local natives" out on the town. We've enjoyed some nights of dancing, playing poker, and just cutting up. I also went to a Catholic service on Sunday, which was very interesting. The music was really, really cool. The music was led by a los lonely guitarist who sang in the tradition of the old west with these weird tribal instruments in the background. The opening song made me feel like I was walking into a saloon for a gunfight except the words had to do with Jesus having victory over death. It was very Clint Eastwood movieish. That's the best I can describe it. The preferred modes of transportation here on the reservation are horse, fourwheeler, or some sort of farm vehicle. I am pretty sure there are more of these than cars. There is also a herd of buffalo on the res as well, but they're quite small compared to the ones I've seen in pictures. I don't think they're well nourished. There is a barber shop called "Scalp 'Em" and they don't play around. I went from cool guy SF hairdo to looking like a damn Hardy boy. The food around town isn't so good, but I've had a few homecooked meals which were quite delicious. Anyways, this is the first time I've been on an Indian Reservation, it's been quite the experience thus far. I think I'm going to try and go to the Badlands tomorrow if the weather holds up.

    Have a great Memorial Day Weekend everyone!

    Wednesday, May 17, 2006

    The Wisdom of Teddy

    Why is it important to be a student of history? Because most of the time, in one way or another, most issues have already been dealt with before. As Solomon once said, "There is nothing new under the sun."

    "In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man's becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American... There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization, just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

    Theodore Roosevelt 1907

    Tuesday, May 16, 2006

    Phatasses, Jackasses, and Chimpanzees...

    Elephatasses and Jackasses. Pfft. I guess we're just a bunch of freaking Chimpanzees...

    The Elephatasses in the Senate and President Bush are utterly failing our country on the issue of border security, I say border security because what good is immigration reform if we cannot stop illegal immigration in the first place? I point my finger at the Elephatasses because they were supposed to be the party of reform who were given a mandate by their constituents over the last decade. I mean, they control the House, the Senate, and the White House and can't please their constituents? Who the hell are they catering to on this issue? Mexicans? That's a damn shame. Those of you who vote liberal may very well cheer that it is the Elephatasses taking all the heat in the press on this issue, but the fact of the matter is, no one has ever expected the Jackasses to secure our border. It's like watching the, obviously, better team hand over a win to the JV squad. Frankly, the Jackasses are simply the benefactors of a rumblimg, fumbling, tumbling bunch of Elephat-asses. Both sides want immigration reform, neither side wants to secure the border. The Jackasses have absolutely proven they are impotent on this issue. Sure, on immigration reform Jackcasses have a couple of ideas, but what good is reform on immigration if you can't put a halt to the source of illegal immigration in the first place, an unsecured border? The Jackasses and these "maverick" Elephatass Senators are like a bunch of nimrods bailing water out of a sinking fishing boat while not trying to plug the hole that's causing it to sink in the first place.

    Where is the common sense?

    Immigration reform and illegal immigration/border security are two separate, but related issues. This links to a break down of the vote today which clearly shows which Senators are for some real border security, and which would rather shun the issue. Are you satisfied with your Senator? I am pissed off at my Senators, Lott-R and Cochran-R of Mississippi who didn't even place a vote. I will be making a phone call to both of their offices tomorrow.

    The other thing is the Jackasses think they are actually "winning back America" as if to say our ideas, and our liberal agenda, is what the American people want. I'm sorry Jackasses, but that's just not the case. The Elephatasses have simply pissed off their consituents so much that they will not be going to the polls in November- period. When the Jackasses take over, it will not be a vote of confidence in them, so much as it will be a vote of silence for their opponents, the Elephatasses.

    *Sigh* Okay, I am officially finished venting. I guess I'll go eat a banana now, and find some Elephatasses and Jackasses to throw my poo at.

    Sunday, May 14, 2006

    Abraham Lincoln once said...

    "I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom, and that of all about me, seemed insufficient for the day."

    -Abraham Lincoln

    Saturday, May 13, 2006

    Taking care of feet

    Theodore Roosevelt once said about the importance of taking care of your feet, "Sound hearts are not much good if the feet won't stand." Any infantryman who has put a ruck on his back and worn combat boots would attest to the same. I believe that second only to the maintenance of one's weapon is taking care of one's feet. That was reiterated by my preceptor on day one. My mentor here, we'll call him "Dr. L", blew all of my expectations away as a civilian Doctor. Typicaly, physicians I've worked with, so far, on the civilian side have had no interest in applying his/her knowledge to a military setting. I don't think it has been intentional, but rather, naturally, one would gravitate to his/her strength which in most cases is civilian medicine for most doctors. It takes either a lot of experience in war medicine, or a good imagination and in-depth research to take the scope and knowledge of an M.D. and transfer it to an SF Medic in a way that best prepares him for what he'll see. Dr. L has shown this to be his mission for me and my battle buddy, "Sgt B" while we are here on the resevation. Dr. L isn't former military but his enthusiasm and knowledge, particularly of the SF mission, is umatched by even some of the military doctors that I know. Dr. L's plan is to make sure we get training in various different scenarios from truama, to delivering babies, to going out to homes in rural North Dakota for treatment, to dealing with translators (which we will certainly need here), to the simple things like feet, and more complicated things like surgery. Day one was feet. Dr. L said, "Guys, I know you may want to go straight to the OR or ER, but I think we should start with an often overlooked area for the soldier- the feet. You guys have already had your trauma rotations, so now we're going to focus more on clinical medicine because most of the time you'll be treating indigenous village folk in order to build rapport and gather that valuable human intelligence. And it will be you, the team medic, who will be getting this intel after you've taken care of a son, daughter, or chief with simple clinical procedures." I was impressed by this conversation and many others throughout the day. I am very fortunate to have such a dedicated preceptor, he is more dedicated to us than to anyone else in the hospital, he makes it very clear to everyone that we are priority one, and he makes it clear to us that we are to actively seek out his colleagues for their valuable knowledge. The physicians here have all been excited to meet us, and even on day one I was invited to come to a Brain Trauma Conference at the community college outside of town with the ER doc, which was today, and was great. Anyhow, back to the feet. What did we do? We did a lot of wound care with diabetic patients whose feet ranged from literally rotting off, to simply paring down callouses and seeing if an ulcer was about to open up. We also did some ingrown toenail removals, all along talking about how to treat infections, trench foot, plantar warts, blisters, gangrene, and when to recognize the need for amputation. Very good training. With every procedure and patient Dr. L would apply his favorite SF mantra "See one, do one, teach one." We would watch him do a procedure, then we'd do the procedure ourselves, and then we'd have to do some role playing and explain step-by-step how to do the procedure. Looks like it's going to be a great learning experience here.

    Sunday, May 07, 2006

    Another One Bites the Dust

    I just finished Surgery and Anesthesia, and am utterly exhausted. We lost 4 guys in all. Every single phase of the Q-Course has left me with less comrades. At first, during the Selection phase it was due to guys getting hurt or quitting. During the Small Unit Tactics phase it was a lack of being able to patrol. This phase, it has been guys either not making the grade, or guys just being careless. It sucks to see friends go, but at the same time if they aren't up to par- well, like I always say... It's been a nice ride, but now I'm gonna have to shoot your horse. Tomorrow we start dentistry, and Thursday we head to clinical rotations. North Dakota- here I come! (I'm trying really hard to get excited about the fact that I am going to the land of... land?)

    On an unrelated note- I've added a few bloggers to my sidebar... Be sure to check them out! And guess who's back from across the pond...

    The Fast Squirrel. Go read what he has to say about various squirrely matters as he ponders about how to solve all of the world's problems.