Saturday, May 15, 2010


This week was up and down for the FST. We had a couple days with no patients and a couple that were somewhat busy. We continue to get patients who were victims of IED blasts, more now than when we first arrived. I had a conversation over dinner last night with Shane Lawson, one of our two CRNAs, who has been deployed several times and he mentioned that most of the injuries he saw in Iraq in 2004 were from high-velocity weapons and were not as severe compared to the injuries we are currently seeing in Afghanistan. We took care of two Afghan men this who injured by an IED. They both had fractures of there calcaneus (heel) bones, which take an incredible amount of force to break. One also had fractures to both bones in his lower legs. He was transferred to the Role 3 in Kandahar where his left foot was amputated the following day. I spent today taking care of another Afghani who was also a passenger in a pickup truck that hit an IED. His right foot was mangled (an actual Orthopedic diagnosis I found out) and was amputated in our OR. It may seem that we are becoming apathetic towards some of these injuries, but we are not. Many simply seem the same.

The highlight of the week was Thursday, which was the 102nd birthday of the Navy Nurse Corps. The Nurse Corps was established in 1908 with the first women to serve in the Navy known as "The Sacred Twenty". It is tradition to have a cake-cutting ceremony where a chaplain performs a "blessing of the hands" and the most-junior and most-senior nurse cut the cake. This FOB does not have a full-time chaplain, so Doc Z substituted. I had the baker at the dining facility make us a cake and we had a small ceremony. Here is a picture:

Pictured left to right; LCDR John Eckenrode, LT Shannan Cook, LCDR Sue Howell, LCDR Robbie Ladd, LT Shane Lawson

Following the cake-cutting ceremony was another special event - the shaving of LCDR Robbie Ladd's head. In an attempt to raise money for our MWR Fund (Moral, Welfare and Recreation) we had a silent auction to shave Robbie's head. What's the big deal, you ask? Robbie loves his hair. The running gag throughout this deployment was how long it takesRobbie to do his hair and how much "product" he uses in it. The winning bid was $150 from our Orthopedic Surgeon, LCDR Sharese White. She fronted the money and then let the corpsmen do the shaving. They really had fun with it and Robbie was an excellent sport, plus he looks pretty good with a shaved head. Here are some pics from the event.

Sharese turning over the money to Robbie. Check out that 'do. Who wouldn't want to shave it?

Is Zo enjoying that or what?

The Aftermath

I'm publishing this post on the eve of what is the most anticipated day in the John and Judi Eckenrode household - Judi's Birthday. Once again, my birthday was not all that important to me growing up, but for Judi it's quite the opposite. As a matter of fact, not only do we celebrate Judi's birth DAY, but we celebrate Judi's birth MONTH. I'm sad that I won't be able to spend her birthday with her, but she will get to spend it with her entire family and I think they will be able to make it special for her. Hopefully I can spend the day watching reruns of Reno 911! and NOT treating casualties. I was able to send her a gift from the bazaar (it was Cowher's idea). I wanted to get her something big, but she recommended I save it for the Vegas trip and who can argue with that?


Oh yeah, I almost forgot. 16 May also marks the half-way point for this deployment. What a nice coincidence that it also falls on Judi's birthday.

Take care,


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