Friday, February 5, 2016

And how does this work.....exactly.

It's the "exactly" that throws me. Every time. It happened again yesterday. From an attending. He had finished writing up a recent case of mine for presentation at an upcoming Anesthesia Conference. This was a 22 year old Hispanic girl with a small calibre through-and-through gsw entering at the left scapula and coming out through the left upper chest wall, barely missing her heart, but severely affecting her brachial plexis. She had come in for a nerve block, but had no driver to take her home. The attending asked if I could do anything for her, and I gave my standard answer. Sure.

I was introduced to her by the attending. She was crying. Her PCP had told her she had a 2% chance of regaining any use of her arm. 5 minutes later, with needles in Gall Bladder 34 and Stomach 38 on the opposite leg, hooked up to e-stim, she was raising, lowering, and rotating her arm. And opening and closing her fingers. I recorded a video of it on my cell phone, with her permission. I didn't want either of us to forget. Lift-off Houston.

Over the next 10 weeks I would see her once or twice a week, with less and less regularity. At that point she was working part-time as a hostess at a restaurant downtown. And able to drive with 2 hands on the steering wheel and flip the turn signal with her left hand to get there. She didn't really need me. She had "flown the coop". But there was the ever-lingering question. Curious minds want to know. How does it work?

My answer to the resident was standard. How does heating a point on the ouside corner of a mother's little toe (Bladder 67) cause her breach baby to flip head down? Not knowing doesn't seem to effect the outcome.  Trained monkeys could do it. Happy New Year!


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