It’s hard to believe that it’s already been five days since the last time I wrote on this blog. Every night, I try to write something, but for the last four nights, by the time the day is winding down, so is my ability to even think, let alone write.
Tonight, I just quit. As the last two meetings of the evening wound down, I looked around and no one was there with something I needed to do. I could have gone looking, and I probably should have, but I told myself, “If I can make it to my stateroom without the tyranny of the urgent grabbing me on the way, I’m going to go straight there and try to write something for the blog. Well, I made it! So far, the day has been 15 hours. I’ll spend about an hour trying to write this (and get it loaded to the net which is whole nother problem!) and maybe I can get a good night’s sleep.
But even as I’m typing this, we just went to Flight Quarters.
I’ve said this before, but it is so strange to experience the changes to the space-time continuum that has happened over the last two weeks. Two weeks, it can not possibly be only two weeks since we arrived here in Port-au-Prince. So much has happened, so much has been done: We’ve treated over 700 patients, every one of them severely injured. We’ve done over 500 major surgeries including 38 today. We’ve sent over 300 people who came to us broken, bleeding and dying back home to their families. And we’ve stood by 21 souls as they’ve torn this earthly veil and joined the hundreds of thousands of their brothers and sisters who fell victim to the power of nature to shake our world.
Several days ago, I took pictures of some of the other ships here serving in Haiti. I don’t know which ones they were exactly, but we’ve had ships associated with two ARGs ( I think that’s Amphibious Ready Groups, but I’m not sure. We live and die by our acronyms and all I ever call them is ARGs) lead by the USS NASSAU and the USS BATAAN. We also had one CSG (That’s Carrier Strike Group) headed by the USS CARL VINSON. The VINSON and her escorts have left us now.
There are also a number of Partner Nation ships here. This is a picture of the French ship SCIRACCO (sp?). Her Captain and Senior Medical Officer came to the COMFORT for dinner with our ship’s Master, Captain Holley. Tonight we had a visit from the leader of a group of Colombians here rendering assistance to the people of Haiti.
Our Intensive Care Artist has given us two more drawings that I am sharing with you. They really are telling of the scope of this tragedy.
Tonight we’re getting a shot in the arm! We have been overwhelmed with major Orthopedic Surgery cases. Broken femurs, broken legs and feet, broken pelvises, shattered arms, broken backs, broken necks, and broken skulls. We left Baltimore with one Orthopedic surgeon onboard. We received several more when we were plused up after our arrival here, and today, we’re receiving 10 more! Six of which are Orthopedic Trauma surgeons. We plan on running three OR’s 24 hours a day doing nothing but Orthopedic surgery to burn through the hundreds of surgical patients who have been waiting since the earthquake more than three weeks ago for a chance to have their broken bodies repaired.
We also have some new equipment that we’ve received to help them do the voodoo they do: Three C-Arm Fluoroscopy machines. Complete with tech rep to get them up and running and two Radiation Physicists to calibrate and certify them safe for use. These expensive pieces of equipment weren’t ordered until after we arrived here in Haiti. So in less than two weeks, the Naval Medical Logistics Command in Frederick, Maryland turned around a request for these machines, got the quotes, wrote the contracts, got them shipped, then the Supply team got them hop scotched from Jacksonville to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, out to the BATAAN and then yesterday, finally lifted to the COMFORT. Purely amazing!
OK, that’s enough for tonight. It is getting late and I need to finish this and check to see if that tyranny of the urgent is waiting outside me door!
And Debbie, I love you so much! We’ll be home soon! Well, someday!