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The Zen Masters of Afghanistan…

or ninjas, or firewalkers, or whatever other badass pain insensate icon you can compare to these kids. Here’s a couple more of our stalwart local patients.

The little boy with the interesting headgear and gator (it was raining and we needed to keep the dressing dry) was hit on the top of the head with an axe, according to the story we got. Luckily, it must have been a very lightweight axe as it only penetrated the skin and didn’t reach the bone. He was completely lucid and not showing any neurological defects during the hour he was with us. I threw some stitches in and off he went. He got the gator because he sat there as stoic as a supreme court judge the whole time without complaining or moving. Yeah, these kids are tough. We still get the occasional hysterical screaming kid, but we get more of these kids with zen like patience and bearing.

The little girl behind the old man lost her right eye and suffered shrapnel wounds to her face and leg. I treated and stabilized her initially and then we evacuated her to the forward surgical team where she stayed for a few days. She is on a list to get a replacement eye prosthetic (glass, I think) which will probably be performed in Kabul when it eventually happens. She was another monk like patient; she cried a little bit but otherwise didn’t squirm or fidget during the whole process of cleaning up her wounds and bandaging them. Normally we would have sedated her, but since she had head trauma, we couldn’t give her anything that would cloud her clinical picture.

She’s too young to realize the magnitude of her loss, but the day this picture was taken (about 10 days after the event) she was smiling and playing with her sister and responding to me when I talked to her.