Last night was busy. I cared for a triple amputee, a U.S. Army soldier who had stepped on an IED. Despite coding once in the trauma bay and once in the OR and receiving 28 units of blood, he was surprisingly stable for me. Once again, the human body amazes me. In these younger, healthy people, the can suffer a lot of damage and still stabilize with the help of medicine. The human body normally holds 5 liters of blood. He had been transfused with 10 liters total of new blood, meaning that he probably didn’t even have any of his own, original blood left in his body. Yet, here he was with rock stable vital signs.
Later in the shift, we received a 14 year old boy who had been building an IED under the instruction of his Taliban uncle. While he was attempting to assemble the IED, it exploded and blew off the kids hand as well as resulted in fragment injuries to both of his eyes. Not only is the Taliban evil to us, they have their own children and nephews doing the dirty work for them. Luckily, U.S. forces were able to track down the uncle and arrest him. But now we have a child who was assisting with Taliban operations, so what do you do with him? Nothing except our security personnel will scan his retinas and take his fingerprints to place in a database. It is so sad that these kids are taught to kill at such a young age.
On a lighter note, last week, hundreds of people gathered at the center stage of the boardwalk and stood in the cold for two hours to watch a star-studded USO-sponsored event. The event began with a surprise visit from Admiral Mike Mullins, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest ranking member of the military! He said some really nice things about how much we are appreciated back home for the sacrifice we are all making and that he understands the stress our loved ones back home are facing, especially this time of the year. I was very impressed with how personable and down-to-earth he seemed.
We also got to hear Lance Armstrong as he MC’d the entire event and told little stories here and there about how we accomplish anything if we put our minds to it. Kix Brooks of Brooks and Dunn played his guitar and song a few songs and Kathleen Madigan, a popular standup comedian, made us laugh with all her great jokes! Lewis Black put on his comedy act, maintaining his reputation as the most negative person in the world. At last but not least, Robin Williams, who called out to us as he stepped on stage, “Good Evening Kandahar!” just like he did in the movie “Good morning Vietnam.” He told lots of sick jokes, but he also joked about his new heart valve as he recently had to have heart surgery. All of the celebrities commented on what a shithole Kandahar Air Field is and how they think they will have to have their lungs cleaned out when they get back because of all the dust. Oh, and the smell of the poop pond! Robin couldn’t get enough of that! Robin actually said that Iraq is a paradise compared to KAF.
I was really impressed by the presentation put on the other night, but what touched me most is that these celebrities didn’t just go to the largest, safest and most comfortable bases here in Afghanistan. They actually went out to some of the Forward Operating Bases and stayed in tents and breathed in the dust and felt cold, just like the military service members here. No special living quarters for them. My room is nicer than where they had to stay. It meant a lot to the troops that they were willing to sacrifice some celebrity comforts to come perform for them.