Saturday, June 16, 2007

"Everything they want, they take."

June 6

<-- No, not this wall.

When I came in a young kid had already been brought in. Abu Nidal said I should go observe his CT scan; I went and he had blood in his fourth ventricle. They called the neurosurgeon and the patient was taken for surgery.

Two horrible digital injuries came in today, both in young men working as stonecutters. The first one the doctor called “eversion of the patient’s thumb nail” but it looked more to me like the patient’s thumb had been cut in half by a knife oriented parallel to his palm and then the posterior part of the wound had been cut off from his body completely. The accident was with some sort of drilling machine. His distal phalanx was completely exposed where his nail should have been; it was an odd sight. All we could do was suture the wound closed so that the bone wasn’t exposed anymore.

The other accident was a man whose finger was all but amputated at the distal interphalangeal joint when a stone fell on it. The only tissue still intact was the bone itself, everything else had been severed. The doctor asked me if I wanted to suture it and I almost said yes, but then lost my nerve. It was obviously going to be very complicated suturing, it didn’t seem like good first-try material. Suturing it also didn’t make any sense to me, it seemed to me that the blood supply to the finger was cut and so it was lost anyway, but the doctor insisted the patient would be fine.

Rusmaya, the nurse who reminds me of Cyra, and I were watching something on al-Jazeera in the office when they showed a picture of Acre, it’s a city in Israel just north of Haifa. The old city of Acre has a very old and beautiful wall around it, built under Ottoman rule if I remember correctly. Rusmaya asked me if I had seen the wall; I said yes. “You see it?” she asked (I’m not editing her English on purpose). “We make the wall, and the Jewish take it! Our beautiful wall, they take. The Jewish take many things. Everything they want, they take.” Yet more proof of Arab anti-Semitism.