Carwash

CARWARSHING—that's what we call the "torturing" we do to patients at the Hydrotherapy Room of the Burn Unit. Depending on the severity of their condition, the patients come in daily to have their burns cleaned and their dressings changed.

The room has yellow tiles for its walls and floor and has at least three stretcher beds in galvanized steel. It feels hellish during the daytime because it's hot, which explains why we sweat like pigs. When you pass by the hallway that connects the Surgery and ORL Wards you will probably hear screaming. We have to burst the blisters and remove dead tissue over burnt skin. Imagine the pain. Ideally the patients are sedated, but to save on funds they'd rather skip the pain meds.

This morning Charlie Clarion and I were at the Carwash. A 40-something patient came in, with flame burns on the face, ears, neck, arms, and back. He was frying something on the pan when the gas stove exploded weeks ago. He was hit, and his wife, too.

He was reeling in pain because his wounds still hurt, but they were healing well. Just as he was about to leave, we spotted a wound we had missed—on his arm! We called him back, cleaned the remaining wound, and dressed it with gauze.

Charlie, my blame-shifting companion, said, "Huwag niyong kakalimutan si Dr. Catedral—magaling 'yanKapag tatanungin kayo kung sino ang naglinis ng sugat ninyo, sabihin niyo si Dr. Catedral."

I personally find my stay there gratifying. We are glorified, life-saving body scrubbers, and we use ointments with silver on them. No kidding.

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