While we waited for the doctor to arrive the wound care nurse went in search of the product she intended to use instead of wound flushing. I don't recall specifically what it was, only that it was something specific to her bag of tricks that the doctor didn't understand. That is why he was coming to see her solution for himself.
Once she had returned and the doctor had called to say he would be there shortly, the nurse decided it was time to begin Dave's instruction on how to care for my wounds. I still think the nurse was expecting my husband to not be able to handle the situation because he had no type of medical training but she didn't let on. If he was willing to try, she was willing to give him the chance.
I remember Dave was all business as soon as he knew the task was at hand. As the nurse began to put on her gloves, Dave asked her where he might find bigger ones and then easily donned those she indicated.
He had a focus about him I rarely see. He studied each movement the nurse made as she began laying out the supplies she expected to use. Next thing I knew he was peeling off the large dressing protecting the two large wounds that dominated the middle of my abdomen.
The nurse talked Dave through each step of caring for each wound. She described in detail each wound and its complexities, as well as warning signs to watch for.
One wound was right in the middle where my belly button should have been. It was about the size of a plum laid out sideways and it was deep. The second one was down farther, right at the end of the incision but above my pubic bone. It was smaller, but it was deep and it had caverns that went underneath what looked like healthy skin.
In actuality the second was far worse than the first. It had the potential to go south quickly and for such complications to go unnoticed so she explained to Dave how to find the hidden caverns and how to check for the development of new ones, as well as what to do if that should occur.
Dave worked his way through this process with determination and confidence. There was a surety in his movements that surprised even me. I found myself wondering where he had gotten it. Then it dawned on me.
Dave was in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. He has always claimed not to be a veteran of that conflict but I never believed him. He has always had the classic signs of someone with PTSD but he insisted he was stationed elsewhere.
As he worked, I asked him, "When you were in the Air Force were you flying support for the war,
Without even looking up the man confirmed my suspicions and I asked him the second part of my question, "Did you end up helping them treat the patients or anything like that?"
"Uh huh," he responded, still not being specific so I point blank asked why this mess that was my abdomen didn't seem to phase him at all.
"This is nothing compared to what I saw then," he responded without any change to his voice but the magnitude of what he said was not lost on me or the nurse.
I finally had an explanation for those PTSD symptoms I've witnessed over the years. God bless this gentle man who gives me all he can.
To be continued.....