Friday, November 2, 2007
This is Muhammed. He had a burn contracture release and skin graph. When he was a baby, his hands were burned by hot oil. He was never able to use his hands after the accident.
Because if the infection risks and need for frequent dressings skin graft patients stay on our ward for an extended time. Muhammed has been on the ward for over a month.
I have taken care of Muhammed many times. Every time his hands were completely wrapped in bulky bandages while we waited for his skin graphs to heal. But yesterday, when his dressing was changed, it was decided his hands were healed enough to keep his fingers partially exposed enabling him to use his hands.
When I received report I was told I needed to encourage Muhammed to use his hands. He had never used them before and was walking around with floppy hands. His muscle's needed practice.
At the beginning of my shift I gave Muhammed a large bucket of blocks. After some gentle prodding he beginning to take the blocks out of the bucket, one by one, and began to build a block house. His mom joyfully looked on.
"He is using his hands! I am so happy."
All afternoon, Muhammed walked around the world carrying things with his hands. He carried his basin to take a bath, he tried to turn the pages of his chart, and he tried to grab my stethoscope, his mother always happily watching as her son discovered how to use his hands.
"I'm so happy," she explained.
So am I.