Retirement Countdown

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Busy Week

Well soon we will be saying goodbye to our Danish friends. It’s going to be a sad day, we’ve all become good friends. I guess everyone is used to saying goodbye to friends, that is the life of a military person unfortunately. It’s really not “goodbye” it’s always “see you later”, goodbye is final and that’s not good, especially here! Last week was really busy, 2 eighteen hour days and a fourteen hour day, this week we‘ve had a couple of 12 hour days, not as bad as last week. Wednesday was a very sad day, two children came in after experiencing an IED blast that tore through a bus. Their mother and father were killed in the incident, and one of the kids ended up passing away due to injuries from the blast, that left the one child all by himself. Not a good day for anyone at the hospital. It’s sad that the cowards use such a crude weapon to fight their fights, they are very unpredictable.

I’m doing good overall, but when you see kids die it really takes a toll on your psyche. They are truly the innocents in this whole war. It’s too bad.

The picture on this entry is the empty blood units we used on one patient. Believe it or not he survived and is doing well! I couldn’t believe it.


22 JUN: 1. Neck washout and closure, left shoulder and leg washout, wound vac placement left leg. 2. Abdominal washout, wound vac placement. 3. Washout right hip. 4. Bilateral knee disarticulations (amputations). 5. External fixation left femur.
23 JUN: 1. Team DANUS was called in to help with a massive casualty, basically another amputation, I was only there an hour, don’t know how many limbs were amputated, very sad day.
24 JUN: 1. Wisdom teeth extraction. 2. Abdominal washout, wound vac placement. 3. Tracheostomy.
26 JUN: 1. Colectomy, wound vac placement. 2. Closure of scalp laceration with skull fracture, done on a “detainee”, we saw 3 “detainees today that blew themselves up with an IED, I guess you would call that self imposed justice! Woohoo! 4. Thoracotomy and closure, placement of chest tube. I held the lung in my hand on this one, pretty exciting stuff don’t you think? Haha.

Well that’s about it for this week, Shayna I love and miss you very much, everyone else take care.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


DANUS = Danish + US. A lot of the people in the group didn’t want me to use this name since it sounds a lot like anus, but I like it. Not the anus, the DANUS! We also had a normal serious picture taken and it can be found under the “picture gallery” tab. I volunteered to be the patient for the picture, with the understanding that no tubes were to be placed anywhere in me! Had some excitement this past week, I got to cut a leg off. I know it sounds weird to say, but it was really cool. I have pictures but I don’t want to post the really gross ones on here, I’ll let most of you see them when I come visit, that is if you want to see them. We also had a couple of guys come in with some minor injuries, but they had their security dog with them, he had to be taken to the vet with possible blown eardrums, poor dog. I’m sure he’ll do fine though. Shayna is doing well after her surgery, unfortunately our cat is being returned early so if any of you living close could drop by and help Shayna change the litter box once a week that would be great. It’s going to be kind of hard for her to carry the box while on crutches for the next 5 weeks or so! Thanks in advance!

I spoke with Shayna’s dad, Larry, on the phone and he said that the Legion in his area was interested in sending some stuff out to us. That’s great and thank you! If anyone else would like to send some things just use the address I included in the last article, it will come right to me. Anything from home would be great, use your imagination, I trust you……..well some of you! Haha.

I will added a video today, 25 JUN, at the bottom of this entry, just sound really, of what the rocket attack warning sounds like. The small video is actually the “all clear” announcement we hear after the rocket attack danger has passed. It’s really loud and annoying which is a good thing for us!

14 JUN: 1. Removal of bullet from neck. 2. Amputation left lower leg, washout right leg, washout right hand.

16 JUN: 1. Open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) of the maxilla (lefort I), basically we put 3 plates and screws in a patients face, around the right eye. 2. Appendectomy. Good day, no mass casualties!

18 JUN: Very long day, 18 hours at work, 15.5 hours actual surgery time. I’m getting paid overtime right? Haha. 1. Abdominal washout, wound vacuum placement. 2. Face washout, removal of foreign body, exam under anesthesia right eye. 3. Removal of K-wire, finger. 4. Dressing change, washout left leg. 5. Exploratory laparoscopy. 6. Washout and external fixation right hand, washout left hip. 7. Washout and removal of foreign body right leg. 8. Washout left arm, auto-venous graft from right leg to left arm, angiogram.

19 JUN: Called in for a case today, not fun especially after the long day yesterday! Washout of a gunshot wound to the right hip (head of femur).

20 JUN: 1. Washout left arm (previous graft patient). 2. Washout right hip/gluteus, antibiotic bead placement. 3. Incision and drainage neck wound, tracheotomy placement, left shoulder dressing change. 4. Tracheostomy placement. 5. Tracheostomy placement. 6. What a way to end the week, another 18.5 hour work day. We had a 9-liner (that’s how casualties are reported to us through a succinct 9 line message describing who they are, where they are coming from, their condition, etc) around 1900 or so. We had about a 2-3 hour break before coming in and working until 0130. Again the overtime question comes into play! Haha. We did two exfixes on the femurs, an exfix on the right ankle and also he had massive vascular injuries to both legs, near the groin, not good. He ended up having 60+ units of blood and he is still kicking as of this morning. Very strong guy. Unfortunately he is a coalition fighter, non-US, I hope he pulls through.

Well that brings our total surgeries to 60 since 16 May 09. Not too busy, not too slow, just right! Shayna I miss and love you very much, I think that you made the right decision. HAPPY FATHER’S DAY Dad, thanks for all that you have done for me and raising me to be what I am now. Happy Father’s Day to all of the other father’s out there! Everyone else take care and I’ll be writing more next week.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Multinational Nurse at the Multinational Medical Unit

Okay so the picture looks weird, but it was funny doing it. I’m wearing the shorts from a Danish military uniform, a blouse from the Canadians and a hat from the Netherlands (Dutch), my name tag from the Army ACUs and of course some good old American firepower! Woohoo. As I’ve stated before it really is a cool thing to be able to work with so many different countries here, an opportunity that I will never get again. There are small differences on how the OR is run, but overall it is amazingly very similar. That was one of my main concerns coming here, would I be able to function with all new equipment in a foreign environment, literally! Everything is working out fine. Shayna and I have already been invited to visit Denmark and Amsterdam, Denmark we can do right away but Amsterdam will have to wait until I retire from the Navy so we can enjoy it to its fullest! Just kidding. I can’t believe that a month has passed already, time is flying and I’m certain that it will continue. It makes a huge difference being surrounded with so many top-notch professionals that all want to be here to help make a difference, or at least to help get the trigger pullers back out into the field! After 15 JUN I’ll have 9 paydays left until I’m home, piece of cake.

8 JUN: Washout of abdomen, bilateral legs, drain placement in neck. Had a casualty come in, coalition forces (Canadian) unfortunately, mine injury, leg amputation, had to do a thoracotomy in trauma bay, patient passed away. Very sad day.
10 JUN: Washout of everything on same guy. 5 US Army guys post IED (Improvised Explosive Device), did surgery on one of the guys, open tibia fracture, placed an exfix (external fixation), the rest were stable.
11 JUN: We were called in as the second OR team today. We washed out a GSW (gunshot wound) that entered the right side of the neck and exited through the right scapula (shoulder blade). He is in the Afghan Army and is a very lucky man, the bullet didn’t hit any other organs! Someone was on his side today!
12 JUN: We did a minor 5 minute case (EGD) on a US Army person today, that’s it! Good to be bored in the medical field.

I wanted to recognize the military presence of a couple more countries, I apologize if I’ve already mentioned them in the past, Scotland, Belgium and Romania. It’s nice to see all of the countries that are here with a common goal, kick the $#@$%$ out of the Taliban!

Today, 13 JUN, is a very good day, relaxing. I couldn’t run because the ankle is swelling up again, so I biked for 7 miles, it’s amazing the different muscles that are used, I’m sore in places that I shouldn’t be! Haha. That’s about it for this week, Shayna I love and miss you very much and I’m glad the surgery went well, thanks Ray for watching the cat it’s helping Shayna out tremendously, couple more weeks and he should be good to go to come home with Shayna. Everyone else take care!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Power on.....Power off!

The new place we are staying in is fantastic, but all places here are at the mercy of the generator. The great thing is that the barracks were built to withstand a direct hit from a 105mm mortar round, the walls are between 6 and 12 inches thick, so the cold air from the air conditioning actually stays in the rooms while the power is out. Very nice. The windows are about an inch thick, looks like bullet proof glass, so needless to say I’m sleeping much better since moving into the NATO barracks! Shayna had her surgery on one of her legs on Thursday, it went very well. She said that she really didn’t have any pain afterward, just a lot of nausea, not fun. I’m glad the surgery went well, I was more worried for her than I was about being here! Haha. I told her that she had a host of nations thinking about her on Thursday and wishing her well, I guess it worked. I’m finally back in full swing and able to run without pain from my ankle that I twisted in training. I’m hitting between 6 and 8 miles every other day and feeling good. My weight is between 145 and 150 depending on which scale I use, not too bad. I’m on quit smoking day #11 as of the 7th of June, it’s going good. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHAYNA, you’re getting more beautiful every year, I’m very lucky! I also ran a 10K for the Canadian Air Force this past week, went well, finished it in 55 min. Well here is a brief synopsis of what we encountered this past week:
2 Jun: A local national died in the trauma bay, motorcycle accident, 9-line message 7 Afghans wounded, sent to another base.
4 Jun: 5 hour case, close abdominal wound, incise and drain other abdominal wounds, amputation right big toe (it actually fell off when we removed the bandage!), washout both legs (removed shrapnel), amputation left index finger, washout and close the neck wound. The next case was an anal condyloma (anal warts) case, don’t ask don’t tell! Haha.
6 Jun: 4.5 hour case, I scrubbed! Same as above without the amputations! Called in at 2330 (11:30 PM) for an appendectomy, got home at 0230.
That brings the Danish surgical team total to 35 surgeries since 16 MAY, not too bad.
Well that’s about it for this week, enjoy the pictures and I’ll be writing more next weekend. Shayna I love and miss you very much, happy birthday again, take it easy and heal well, everyone else take care and keep in touch.