Monday, May 6, 2013

Why I Didn't Turn To The Blog For Support

I was asked in my last post why I didn't use the blog as a coping tool when all this was happening to me. First off being a medical professional (I realize that reading my rambling blog it may be hard to realize I actually carry the title of Dr, but I do)when you get a call in the middle of the night that your son has been attacked by a shark 600 miles offshore you go into medical mode, not blogger mode. When your specialty has been shock trauma for so many years you know in your mind what your going to be facing when you get a call before you even see the patient. You know that the boats don't carry enough blood products if any to handle the bleeding a shark leaves behind, my son's boat had three bags on board, a drop in the bucket as to what a shark bite victim usually needs. I knew from talking to the ship on the satellite phone his bleeding had slowed but he was still bleeding, that tells you that you have unstable blood vessels, arteries and veins. One wrong move and an artery could go and he could bleed to death in seconds. My mind was on how fast the Coast Guard could fly the 600 miles to get him and did they have enough blood on board to support him until he reached shore and could get to shock trauma and into surgery. I never once thought of this blog or any other blog during that time. I had many colleagues from different hospitals with years trauma knowledge for support only a phone call away. I am 900 miles from my son and he is another 600 miles out in the middle of the ocean, travel and money are then a concern. Then I find out there is one antibiotic on the ship and he is allergic to it. So we knew he was coming in several hours without any antibiotics on board and had a dirty wound, not to mention all the dirty organisms in the sea that could infect the wound. So now we are going to need an infectious disease specialist on call too. We also know ahead of time we don't need any surgeon, we need a hand specialist to access the injury, a hand surgeon and a plastics surgeon on call to do the actual surgery. All of that comes after you stabilize the patient,if you can and with a shark bite there is a lot to stabilize and the patient is usually in shock. Shock scares all of us, it's unpredictable and you never know if you can stabilize a shock patient before you lose them. Then there are Xrays, cat scans and MRI's to be done to access how much damage there is and where the surgeons need to start. I really wanted to see them, again blogging wasn't on my mind, my son's life and how much function he might have left was foremost in my mind. Again, nothing against the blog, but I was in medical mode and blogging is not the first thing on your mind when your son or anyone else's life is at stake. Then surgery,nerves, blood vessels, veins and arteries are not easy to work with, they are slippery, hard to find in an accident like this and hard to suture. Then we had the nerves, you have to find the right ones to reattach, it's like looking for a needle in the dark, then it's always iffy if the reattachment will even work, nerves don't regenerate, in this situation all you can do is pray they are still alive and will work again. It's a long, complicated surgery and even if I wasn't in the operating room myself I have been in there enough in the past to know the surgery in my mind so that is what I did, replayed that surgery over and over in my head, knowing what could go right but also know what could go wrong and that the outcome of a wound that severe is not usually a total success. The difference is this time I can stay detached because this is my child so Mom also kicks in. Mom and medical knowledge are not a good combination. Even though I tried to prepare my son for what his hand would look like after surgery he was still shocked when he was it. He expected this nice long incision and that was it. He didn't realize that many flaps would have to be made to find the vessels, nerves, veins and artery because they were severed and will snap back into the arm, hand or another finger. His tendons were also severed and they snap back even further so you have to find the ends of them too. leaving another incision. He had a lot of bone loss and some bones were crushed to he had to have bone grafts, pins and screws. Some fingernails were almost off but without knowing if the nail bed is damaged to where they wouldn't grow back and not wanting to leave him with no fingernails they used screws to screw them back in place. There was a lot of missing tissue so he had tissue grafts done too. His expected one incision turned out to be about 20, no idea on how many stitches to repair the shark bite, they stopped counting at 300. The chart reads 300+. From looking at it my rough guess would be around 700. Once all was explained to him he did better. The plastics guy was excellent and used every natural fold he could to suture in so someday when all is healed it won't look bad. Naturally not all could be placed in a fold so he will have some scarring, he isn't worried about the scarring he says "Just add them to all the others I have", this was the fearless active and at times plain out stupid child that had more stitches by the time he was six than most people have in their lifetime Next round is bracing for immobilization  then flexor bracing, then at least a year of therapy, but now there is a plan, he is alive and in no danger so Dr Mom can now just be Mom. There was simply too much going on to blog or even think about blogging. It's not that I don't think you would all support me, I do but at that time I needed colleagues with medical knowledge for support. I was not alone, I had family, I had my friend Jackie and I had Donna everyday or anytime I needed them by phone or text or in person.

As for the murder, I had plenty of support from family, so much so that I would turn my phone off at times to stop the calls and rest. Again when something that horrific happens blogging didn't even enter my my mind. We were more concerned with did they catch who did it (the answer is yes), what charges will they bring (pretty much anything they could), will it be a death penalty case (yes it will, which means the trial will drag on for months or years, most likely years). In the beginning calls were flying back and forth because we have two with the same name and it took about an hour to  figure out which one had been murdered and why. The only answer the killer gave after admitting to doing it, and apparently his motive is "because he wanted too". He didn't even know my cousin or anyone that was in the group with my cousin that night. He confessed immediately, one of the many witnesses that saw the whole thing from beginning to end that night wrote down the license plate of his truck so they had him in custody within 30 minutes. My cousins, blood, hair, brain matter and skin was still on his tires and under his truck and the knife used to stab him was still in the front seat with my cousins blood on it and the fool's fingerprints. I guess with that evidence and that many witnesses he figured he might as well confess, they had him anyway.  I'm not sure if I told you how he was murdered. My cousin had gone to the pub to meet up with a group of friends, he sat down and ordered a Coke (he doesn't drink), a strange man came up and ask him if he wanted to fight, my cousin just kind of laughed and told the guy he didn't fight with anyone so he needed to move on, he didn't immediately leave so they ask if the bouncer would remove him from their area, which he did. About an hour later the group decided it was time to leave, the table beside them decided to leave at the same time, they didn't know anyone at that second table. So with both tables and witnesses eating at restaurants on both sides of the pub there were a lot of witnesses. Thank God.  When they got outside the guy that was in the pub earlier ran up from nowhere and stabbed my cousin in the chest and ran away, or so they thought. 911 was called but my cousin told his friend that he was afraid he would bleed to death before they got there so they decided to get in the car and drive around the corner to the hospital. When they were walking in the parking lot my cousin's friend heard a car revving it's engine and turned to look, it was the guy that just stabbed my cousin in a large truck, his friend tried to push my cousin out of the way but the guy just swerved and ran over his stomach area, then he backed up and ran over his head, then pulled forward and ran over his head the second time and fled the scene. The coroner told us that my cousin was alive when he ran over his stomach area and alive when his head was run over the first time, it was the second time that killed him. His whole head was literally crushed, he was unrecognizable. He also said that he would not have survived the stab wound to his chest even if he had not been ran over.  My cousin was a fitness trainer who owned a gym, that gym and being a personal trainer was his life. He was a good person who would do anything for anyone and was well like with a very good reputation in town. Now there is the aftermath, the grieving, what to do with the gym, sell it or let someone else in the family run it, he collected motorcycles, so there are a lot of them to deal with too, his house, his clothes, etc. It will take a while.

When I get mad at the lady that cut me off in traffic, think something is stupid, just want to try some humor, etc. I will blog it but when something serious such as the above two things happen blogging is not even something that enters my head. Too much to deal with at that particular time.

While I thank you for worrying about me and deeply appreciate your concern I thought I needed to explain more in detail what was going on so you could understand why I wasn't blogging about it.


  1. I didnt know all of that happened. Of course if anything was said or posted anywhere else afterwards I didnt notice it since my world was crashing at the time around then. I completely understand why you didnt turn to a blog. No one in their right mind would at that time... maybe soon after or when things were calmed but typically not. I hope your sons hand is doing well and you have gotten some closure for your cousin.