Ha Noi, Vietnam 3

Posted by on Mar 23, 2011 in Blog | Comments Off on Ha Noi, Vietnam 3

Ha Noi, Vietnam 3

Wednesday, March 23, 2011.
Vien Bong Quoc Gia Hospital, (National Burn Institute) Ha Noi, Vietnam.

Day three. Last night after surgeries wrapped up, I realized some of our staff may have been a little homesick. Soon after we made sure all our patients had a bed on the ward, we found ourselves in one of Ha Noi’s few Kentucky Fried Chicken locations. Imagine traveling this far to eat American fast food? My sense is everyone was trudging through a massive case load of patients, and combined with severe jet lag, the idea of bringing local 333 beer, sugar-cane cokes and fried chicken back the hotel and crashing was just what this team needed. We paid over a million Dong to buy two buckets of the Colonel’s finest; however our street smarts told us to skip the cole slaw. The gamble paid off as the locals hit the secret-recipe out of the park. Odd thing was, as the team gave the buckets a good pickover, people admitted it had been years since anyone had actually had KFC in America. Part of this may be the mental exercise one gets over here when deciding what to eat. Some things look like bread and taste like beans. One particularly tough skinned green fruit opens up and reveals a batch of what I swear are frog eggs. Salami often tastes like a camping mattress. That said, the majority of the food here is sensational. There is also a thick hangover of French-influenced cuisine so the fact is we have been flat out spoiled. The range of flavors and textures fill our tanks and adoringly support the reason why we are here.

Today’s schedule is filled with many finger, toe, elbow and neck releases. One interesting case is a 20-year-old man undergoing a neck advancement with an axilla release and a FTSG (full thickness skin graft.) The poor guy had his entire throat and face seared when a propane kitchen stove leaked and ignited. When we asked him about the accident, we discovered while on fire, he tried to turn the stove knob off so his family would not catch fire. Point is, we’ll do what we can today. We’ll take his chin, which is pushed down permanently into his chest and release the tissue. In a week or so he’ll be able to hold his chin up. He will look left and right without swinging his entire upper body around. He’ll walk away with some normalcy. It’s a good day this thing called Wednesday.