Sunday, April 12, 2009

blood in my hands

Working in the operating room, I am accustomed to the sight, smell and feel of blood. In the sterile setting, I carefully monitor, measure and replace blood loss as needed. It is a totally different thing when the fresh blood in my hands is gushing profusely from a young woman's lacerated head and face right on to the smouldering asphalt of Siquijor's market road. The girl was hysterically crying out "Si Ma'am! Si Ma'am! Kasab-an ko ni Ma'am!" as she continually brushed away the crumpled denim jacket a man was trying to press on her badly cut up face.

That she was able to stand and wail was a good sign that her injuries, though grossly bloody, were not acutely life threatening. She was thrashing and trembling by the open passenger door of a sedan that had rammed into an electric post, the car's hood wrecked into a V and the windshield totally shattered. With the keys still in the ignition, it looked like it was a freak accident where the car's parking brakes somehow got disengaged and the vehicle, with the girl in the passenger seat and the driver out, careened downslope and slammed into the post.

I held her flailing arms so I could look closer at her wounds. They were stellate and some were deep but she was showing good coagulation. If only she would stop jumping about there wouldn't be so much blood thrown around. Soon her "Ma'am" arrived, an elderly woman, obviously bewildered, who kept asking, "Ngano man ni? Naunsa man ni?" looking at her smashed car and not minding her bloodied girl. Onlookers quickly bundled girl and Ma'am into a pedicab that brought them to nearest hospital for debridement and suturing of wounds.

With sticky blood drying quickly in my hands, I went on my way to find the habal-habal driver that would take me to the mountains and to the sea. Thus began my sojourn in la Isla del Fuego, the Island of Fire that glows in the dark, Siquijor, one shimmering hot April day.


Lloyd said...

This is deeply engaging, and brilliantly written. I trust you'll continue the story of your excursion to Siquijor! As your prose and imagemaking are so evocative already, photos will be optional -- but will be welcome nevertheless. :-)

ness said...

Awww, thanks, Lou. :-)

Now I'm pressured for Chapter 2! Truth is, as I was writing that, I was already thinking the that follow-up post would be pictures lang because the rest of the day was actually just the usual oohhs and aahhs of touristy things. But even that will have to be shelved (together with all the other travel posts I've been wanting to write) because there's something more urgent I want to write about.

Something about my breathing...

Sonia said...

cool one, doc. i thought you were writing about the iranian girl who got in a VA too.

ness said...

Hi Sonia,

I try not to write about our actual patients in this public weblog because of privacy issues.

Hey, I'm glad you finally joined the TBR! Hope you'll join the next one, too, before it's board exam time. :-)

the philippine daily idiot said...

An engrossing read, Doc Ness. The device you are using here is to surprise the reader by helping him to comment that hey here's a doctor responding to a VA, getting herself dirtied. He'd wonder if she'd say, "Aseptic technique!" or "Hepa B precaution!" or something to that effect. Hehehe. On the other hand, the other source of surprise is when you deployed apathy toward the end as a counterpoint to the whole drama. Hehehe. I wonder what happened to the girl? Hey, great writing.

ness said...

Thanks, Meloinks!

Glad you enjoyed it.

As for the girl, I think her scars will depend on the kind of sutures used (2-0 versus 5-0) and the antibiotic's effectivity! And also, the patience of the resident doing the suturing! :-)