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Sue Spitulnik

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

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surgery

No Incision Please

NATIONAL WITHOUT A SCALPEL DAY

No surgery, no stitches, no scars…

We observe National Without a Scalpel Day each year on January 16. The first angioplasty, a ground-breaking procedure to open a blocked blood vessel, was performed on this day in 1964 in Portland, Oregon, by pioneer physician Charles Dotter. This angioplasty allowed the patient to avoid leg amputation surgery. She left the hospital days later with only a Band-Aid.

In doing so, Dr. Dotter created the cutting-edge medical specialty called Interventional Radiology, where doctors treat disease through a tiny pinhole instead of open surgery. These doctors use x-rays and other medical imaging to see inside the body while they treat disease. These advances changed all of medicine.

Today, minimally invasive, image-guided procedures (MIIP) can treat a broad range of diseases throughout the body, in adults and children:• cancer• heart disease• stroke• aneurysms• life-threatening bleeding• infertility• fibroids• kidney stones• back pain• infections• blocked blood vessels• many other conditions

Even though trained specialists perform MIIP throughout the world, many people do not know about MIIP or if they could benefit from these life-changing treatments. The Interventional Initiative was established to raise awareness and educate the public about MIIP.

Yes, I know, it is also Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Do Nothing Day, Religious Freedom Day and Fig Newton Day. This was the day I had not heard of, but know many people who have benefitted from no scalpel use, so thought I would share the history of it. A big thank you to revolutionary doctors like Dr. Charles Dotter and our modern medicine.

Pediatric Nurses Day

The picture has the correct name for this day; National Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses Day.  I truly hope no one in your family or circle of friends ever needs to get to know one of these very special people, but we know life isn’t always fair.

My daughter had major surgery when she was 3 1/2 to fix problems in her urinary tract.  I’m thankful it wasn’t cancer or a blood disorder.  Luckily she hasn’t needed more surgery as she ages.  That Doc did a great job.  Where, you might ask.  At Chanute Air Force Base Hospital in Rantoul, Illinois.  That was way back in 1978.  The base isn’t open anymore.

As a young mother, away from home, with two children and an Air Force husband, that was not an easy time in my life.  If you haven’t had any connection with a branch of the U. S. military, I will tell you they are a brotherhood.  In base housing, your neighbors are generally immediate friends, because they are away from home, just like you.  There is a bond produced by understanding that a military member’s life is not his/her own.  When the government of the country the member has signed their life away to, says jump. you jump.  It’s not a question, or a I’ll think about it, it’s how it is.  The families bond together just like the active duty members do because it’s necessary.  (I’m not complaining, just trying to explain.  I do digress.)

The nurses, techs, room cleaners, and doctors in a military hospital are all active duty military members, or they were in 1978, maybe it’s different now.  Anyway, I admire them highly.  Taking care of someone you can communicate with is one thing, caring for a baby is another.  Taking care of a child or teen that wants no part of a stranger can be trying too.  I have noticed that sick children seem to be calmer than non-sick.  My daughter’s surgeon said she didn’t feel good enough to be a brat, until he fixed her.  It was worth it.

I am an emotional person.  I cry at things in movies that others don’t even see as poignant. I cry when I’m happy, when I’m sad, and when I’m frustrated.  So, again, I admire any nurse that can care for a child, do their best, comfort the parent, then watch them walk out of their lives as quickly as they appeared.  Maybe it’s the quick come and go that makes it easier for them.  I couldn’t do their job without getting attached.

I’ll repeat, I pray you never have to know one of these caring, capable, super-human nurses.  I’m thankful they exist.

 

 

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