Every once in a while, I come across something in our clinic that makes me smile in spite of all the patient problems I listen to all day. Sometimes it’s seeing a child’s face light up as I present them with a gift of a toy car or a Beanie baby. Sometimes it’s a t-shirt that is incongruous in its setting, like the one that has an arrow pointing down to baby and is being worn by a man.
Last week, I saw the ultimate smile-maker which was the plastic cover to a tennis racket being used as a handbag. I thought it was quite ingenious and didn’t want to embarrass him by asking about it. I did take a photo to prove my point, though:
A patient sits in the examination room with a tennis racket cover as his handbag.
KEEPING THE EMERGENCY ROOM BUSY
My medical career in the US has generally been spent working in Emergency Departments in Milwaukee and surrounding communities. Although trained as an internist, Emergency Medicine has allowed me to see patients of all ages and do procedures that help save lives and prevent illness and disability. When we built our new clinic, we made sure that we had a small but functional Emergency Department, equipped with gurneys and supplies that allow us to provide at least a first level of care to those who are acutely ill or injured.
The ER has been getting a lot of use lately, as we see patients on an almost daily basis who are brought by stretcher or motorcycle with acute medical problems. We give nebulizer treatments for asthma, put in Foley catheters when patients are unable to urinate, drain abscesses, do wound dressings and, frequently sew up lacerations caused by anything from a machete to a sheet of tin roofing. Just this week, we saw two patients who were cut by tin as they worked to put up a new tin roof on their house (thanks to our home-building project). Not only do they get their tin roof, they get their laceration taken care of by us as well!
With the help of a donated bedside examination light, Dr. Wolf sews up a patient’s thumb laceration, caused by a sheet of roofing tin.
Cherlie puts the final dressing on the young man’s wound
We appreciate the partners who help us acquire gloves, gauze and suture materials that we use to take care of patients like this young man.