the ER

How could this little girl’s forehead have so much blood in it? -_____-

Nurse Pinky asked again and again for more gauze, and I doused each one in sterile saline before she dabbed the girl’s forehead with each square. Then, I took over, holding a square over the girl’s forehead–she couldn’t have been more than five–trying in vain to distract her from the gaping wound in her face, caused by falling on a rock. It was maybe 2cm long and 3mm wide.

Behind her, another little boy, maybe three years old, had fallen on a broken bottle. He had a gaping wound in his head too, but his was on the back of the head. His parents has shaved off a good chunk of his hair, leaving the 1cm by 2mm wound exposed (woohoo) and easy to clean.

Josh began opening up a surgical kit, mid-forearm length gloves and all, ready to suture up the three year old boy’s head. Pinky applied three injections of lytocane–I had had the stuff stuck into my finger when a glass pipette shattered in my hand and cut an artery–and once the back of the kid’s head felt like a bag of cement to him, the suturing began! A curved tip tied to a razor thin length of blue-black string. Josh lined the tip of the suture up with one edge of the wound, pushing it in so the tip went into the boy’s head and out the other side at a perpindicular angle. Perfect. The suture was yanked out for a good ten inches as he looped the length of the string–one, two, three times around the pliers. He pulled the wound shut, then repeated the loop with two lengths. Then once length. Then snip.

Two more passes later, and the little boy’s head was fine. He even hopped off the operating table on his own, “happy as larry” as the Aussies say. Now onto the little girl.

We could very well have left the wound alone. After all, suturing a little girl’s effing face isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do in the world. Either way, there would be a pretty big scar. But in the end, Josh was fine with giving it a shot. Suturing the little boy was only the second time he’d ever sutured anything. The first time was on a 40 year old man’s leg. It wasn’t pretty, lul.

We held a length of towel over the little girl’s eye to calm her down. Seeing Josh’s bearded face towering over her frail form PROBABLY wouldn’t have made the surgery any easier. However, Nurse Joao brought out a lifesaver–a spray-on local anaesthetic that made it so the little girl felt zero of the lytocane injections. One, two, three injections, and her forehead was completely numb. Josh readied another tip, fresh from a new surgical kit, and began suturing again. This one wasn’t bad either, aside from the string getting caught in the hinge of the pliers a couple times. It took a little over an hour and a half to process both kids and to get cleaned up, but in the end it was worth it. Two last-minute patients who JUST made it into the ER in time, and two happy sets of reassured parents. Then, off to the Dili Beach for an overpriced hamburger, shoddy fries, and a lulzy game of trivia. The largest desert in the world with the lowest amounts of rainfall? Not the Sahara, nor the Gobi. It’s Antarctica. Ahhhh.

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