Ouch!

Warning:  this post is not for the faint of stomach and includes some photos that might be graphic for young eyes.

Sore throats, poop, blood and more blood…yesterday was a doozy of a day!

As some of you know I have been fighting what appears to be something like Strep throat so my throat is incredibly sore, I’ve had a low grade fever for a couple of days, been mostly useless around here so I finally started taking some antibiotics and am waiting to start to feel a lot better.

So yesterday morning I was feeling pretty crummy.  I am so thankful to have Liz here who made lunch for the family and dinner too!  I was in the kitchen when Ellie calls to me from their room, “Quick Mommy, come here!”  Upon entering the room, what do I find but Ethan sitting on a little child’s stool with poop coming out of a hole in in the backside of his diaper!  The how’s of why the hole was there to begin with are still sketchy to me.  I scooped him up, in the chair and toted him to the nearest shower where I did my best to hose off the chair, remove what was left of his diaper and clean him up.  About midway through this process, Ellie once again comes running to me (as I was strattling Ethan in the shower, trying to not get myself wet), but this time she is crying….”Mommy!!  Daddy’s hurt and there’s blood all over his face!!!”  Well, we’re off to a good start I think to myself, desperately hoping that he wasn’t seriously injured. (I did not get photos of the Ethan blow out, sorry to disappoint).

After hurriedly finishing my poopy task, I went back into the kitchen to see Liz helping Bobby apply pressure to his scalp as he tries to wash up all of the blood over the sink.  He walked into a low hanging board made of Nispero (hard wood!) and it got the better of his head.  Here’s a photo once he was all washed up and had controlled the bleeding:

We debated whether or not he’d need to go into town for sutures, wishing our surgeon buddy Seth were here!  He took a short break from working outside and the bleeding died down so we decided it was probably safe enough to let it heal up on it’s own.  As the day wore on, his headache went away and he proceeded to work outside.  At one point he said Terry arrived on the scene where Bobby was working and said, “whoa, Bobby, you’ve got blood pouring down your face.”  Bobby said, “I really thought it was just sweat pouring off my head.”  He had a couple more “bleeding” episodes in the day, but overall it seems to be healing up alright.

Around 9 p.m. I took a concoction of Benadryl and Tylenol (I looked up the dosages for Tylenol PM)  to try to knock myself out so that I could sleep and shortly after we got a phone call from Gene, the Ngobe Pastor that is heading up some of the projects on the property in the last couple of weeks.  He brings a team of guys to come work and they stay down in the “Treehouse” building on the property.  Alex, whom they fondly call “Negro” is their cook, and apparently a pretty good one (I asked him last week for some lessons on cooking Panamanian foods so hope to get on that soon).  During the day he works with all of the guys, but then cooks them all dinner as well.  Apparently he was just about finished with his meal prep and cut his hand with a knife.  On the phone Gene said he thought he was going to need stitches but would we mind taking a look.  They came up to the front door a few minutes later and we got a good look at the laceration once we mopped up all the blood and could actually see find the source of all the bleeding (yes, Cam, there was quite a bit of blood, mixed with rain, pouring down both of his hands…I actually wasn’t sure at first if he’d been cut on both hands or not!).  It was pretty deep and about 1 or 1 1/4 inches long.  Again I’m thinking, Seth, if only you were here!  (For all of you blood and guts “junkies” I really did want to snap some photos at this stage but I simply didn’t know where the camera was).

The options were:

1. keep applying pressure and see what happens in the morning.

2.  drive the boat in the dark to Bocas to take him to the hospital there where people say you go to die.

3.  get out the suture kit and stitch him up ourselves.

Alex boldy said he could handle getting stitched up without getting numbed up, until he saw the suture needle and decided he thought it might just heal up fine on it’s own and he could just cook all day long, or do work jobs that only required his right hand. :)  Gene told him that Liz and I were both nurses, which seemed to encourage him quite a bit, and then Bobby found a bottle of lidocaine and Gene told him, “Just let the nurses sew you up!  You’ll be fine and it’s not best to leave it till morning and it’s dangerous to drive the boat at night plus it’s raining.”   Inside I was thinking, “thank you Gene for that vote of confidence, but it really, really isn’t warranted.”

Here was my initial feeling:  Wow, you mean we actually might get to use all of these tools?!

 

Then I felt a little excited inside about the prospect.  Is this the look you were referring to Aidy? ;)

 

But overall, I thought, “I’m with Alex, I’m not the least bit confident that this is the right thing to do!”

Gene told him not to act like a woman and to just suck it up and let us at him.  “But it’s going to hurt!”  Alex lamented.  I told him either way he was going to have to get injected with lidocaine which was the painful part (and thank You Jesus, it was available).  Gene told a story of a female relative of his who got a larger laceration on her knee and scrubbed it and sewed herself up!  This might have been what persuaded Alex because he then did agree saying, “Fine, do whatever you want to me!” as he laid his head down on the table, resigned to his fate.   The next thing I knew, I was injecting him with numbing solution, praying it would work and guessing on how much to use.   And while I was thankful for my nursing background, I truly was thinking back more to the countless dog and cat surgeries I used to love to watch when I worked at Battle Ground Veterinary Hospital (now VCA  Battle Ground Animal Hospital).    On a side note, I just heard that Dr. Wayne Martin, my old boss and neighbor just passed away last week.   Last night I was so grateful for the work experience I had there (with a bunch of fun peeps!) and I shall miss that funny Indian and am sorry for the loss to his family.

Apparently the adrenalin in my body easily worked to combat the Tylenol PM concoction I had taken earlier because some disinfecting solution, a couple of moans, some more injections, a lot of moral support and comedic relief from Bobby, Liz and Terry, and 4 stitches later the procedure was over.  I’m not sure who was more relieved after the last stitch was put in, Alex or me! :)  I apologized to him for hurting him to which he responded, “No, it didn’t hurt actually.”  This was surprising considering his little wimpers and moans during the suturing (I was so scared I hadn’t numbed it enough!) but I was so glad to hear it. :)  Here’s Gene with Alex after the procedure.

And here’s Alex’s hand this afternoon.

Please pray for quick, clean healing over this poor guy as infections can run rampant here!!  We have started him on an antibiotic regimen per the suggestion of some docs who’ve passed through and said it’s best to play it safe and treat all substantial injuries with antibiotics as well.  Please also be praying for healing over Bobby’s gash on his head and for my sore throat and body.  I’m asking the Lord to protect those that are healthy from getting this wretched throat illness of mine and I appreciate your prayers as well!  Overall protection for those that live and work on this property, that it may be for His glory!

Note to self:  read up and inquire on preferred suture needle and thread sizes for future suturing needs.

I know I really emphasized wishing that our skilled bro Seth were here, but it should be said that I love and miss you all, friends and family!!

Just another day in the jungle…;)

Shirlene

 

28 Comments

  1. Mom - Nancy Wood
    Jun 5, 2012

    Oh my! I need to pray more often for you guys! No more injuries or sickness, k! Hope each of you get back to your healthy selves asap. Good job, Shirlene!
    I love and miss you guys… you’re way too far away.
    Hugs!

    • Shirlene
      Jun 7, 2012

      Thanks Nancy!! Yes, please keep those prayers coming. We’re probably alive because of them! Just kidding. :) God is good and I am feeling much, much better. We miss you guys a lot and send you lots of love from Panama….

  2. Bonnie
    Jun 5, 2012

    Thanking the Lord He has equipped you with every skill and need you have or encounter in your jungle!! :) Great suturing Sas! Glad it wasn’t more serious. Thank you for sharing all the exciting details of this medical adventure…great pics! Yes, our Doc Martin & other veterinarian friends would be proud!! :) I’m praying for his quick and safe healing! Love you oxox hugs & kisses to you

    • Shirlene
      Jun 7, 2012

      Thanks Sis! I am reminded of a brilliant comment Janet K. made to me, “Everything in your life has prepared you right now for this moment. God doesn’t waste any experiences.” It sure has stuck with me and in so many ways I think is so true. Please keep praying for total healing, so far it’s been looking great everyday. Praying for you, especially this week as you face the giants in your life. God is with you! Wish I could be with you too….XOXO

  3. Grandma
    Jun 5, 2012

    Hi! I love the news from you guys ! Boy what adventures you have. So interesting & educational. Please keep it up. Thanks. Love &miss you!

    • Shirlene
      Jun 7, 2012

      Hey Grammy! :) Life with God is an adventure! Life with God in Panama is really an adventure! ;) haha Thank you for keeping up on the blog and for encouraging us with your words. You’re a “with it” Grandma if I ever knew one! WE LOVE YOU!

  4. Cam
    Jun 5, 2012

    Yes!!! Thank you, that’s the version I was looking for! NICE WORK, WELL DONE!!!
    I just want to add for ol’ time sake… “Bobby get some HONEY on that gash.” ;) Except your luck would be that panamanian honey carries more infectious properties than good infection fighting ones, so I’m not so sure that it would be wise this time. But as you know and cannot deny… it would stop bleeding and help seal the wound. *sigh* Don’t you miss me and my sweet, honey advise? ;)

    • Shirlene
      Jun 7, 2012

      We did remember your honey advice, I mean, how could we forget when you ingrained it so well into every fiber of our being??? ;) I actually found some ORGANIC honey here, can you believe it?! Could anything please you more? I thought not. :) Thanks for the encouragement and mostly for being the loyal and lovely sis that you are. I DO miss you and your sweet advice!

    • Aidy
      Jun 10, 2012

      Cammy I have an awesome little testimony book on people in NZ who have had amazing results with honey. Of course NZs Manuka honey has some of the highest UMF in the world..but you probably already knew that ;-) One story I remember is a guy who got badly burned when trapped under a tractor that rolled on him. The doctors at the hospital could not believe their eyes when his friends started treating him with honey. The results were AMAZING. Ive tried it a few times. Gets pretty sticky when lying in bed and the honey starts melting out from under the bandages :-) I recently bought about 10kgs of fully natural honey (bee parts, twigs and all) from a guy here in African. Emm tastes pretty good!!

  5. Verity
    Jun 6, 2012

    Awesome!! I love it… Great job Shirlene. Is Bobby on abx as well? I hope you are feeling better. Praying for you all and loving you dearly.
    Ver

    • Shirlene
      Jun 7, 2012

      Thanks V! No abx for Bobby (we have them, just doesn’t want to take them and destroy his “good” bacteria). :) Think of you much, and love you even more…couldn’t be here without all of the prayers! XOXO

  6. Teresa & Johann
    Jun 6, 2012

    So glad to hear you guys made it thru your first medical emergencies. Sorry about the head Bobby *ouch*, that really hurts.
    Love the sutures Sas! I’m glad to see your confidence increase, but hopefully not at the cost of more accidents. We’ll pray!!! Love you all.

    • Shirlene
      Jun 7, 2012

      Thanks Hans, if you were here, I have a feeling you would’ve been my first patient. ;) I kept thinking about that gash on your hand from that metal roofing material on the log cabin I think it was? It gave me perspective on how close the stitches should be I think, so there seems to have been purpose in your childhood injuries even for me. haha Yes, please do pray for safety over all of the work on the property! Teresa, I was just kidding about Johann being my patient. If you come and visit, I promise to keep him away from machetes, knives, and things deemed sharp or pokey. ;) Sure do miss you guys and all of my precious sobrinos…the only bad thing about having such a great family is you miss them much when you’re gone. sniff sniff Big hugs to you! Love you mucho.

  7. Aidy
    Jun 6, 2012

    That is SOOOO the look!!!!! Hey where did you get the kit? I want one!!

    • Shirlene
      Jun 7, 2012

      Hee hee :) I promise I would never stitch you up with such a deviant look on my face….what possessed me to post those photos anyway??? As for the suture kit, Bobby put some together with some of my nursing tools and items he got online (either ebay or government surplus type sites I think?). I’m sure he could point you in the right direction if you are serious about wanting to get one. :) Hugs to you my Kiwi friend!

      • Aidy
        Jun 10, 2012

        You did an awesome job Sas! I would let you stitch me up ;-) YES Im serious about the kit! I love the pouch that you have all the sharp cutty, stabby, poke hole thingys in. Get bobby to tell me more if he has a free moment! Thanks!! Hugs back. Hope thats in person one day soon!!

  8. meta mourton
    Jun 6, 2012

    Darlin, I wouldnt let you with in 10 ft of me with that needle ad grin.
    We are so proud of all of you and the things you are doing, miss you bunches too.
    Love,Meta

    • Shirlene
      Jun 7, 2012

      LOL Meta, I don’t blame you one bit because I have to admit I look more than a little scary in those photos. :) I think of you and Randy a lot and feel so blessed to be backed by such wonderful people. Thanks for following our journey and joining us from afar! Love and hugs to you….

  9. Nicole
    Jun 6, 2012

    you are my hero shirleen!! why didnt bobby let you stitch up his head????

    • Shirlene
      Jun 7, 2012

      I have no idea why he wouldn’t have jumped at the opportunity to be my first victim! Maybe I gave him that evil look I have in (at least) one of those photos??? ;) Actually his injury occurred during daylight hours and we would have been able to drive him into town if the bleeding hadn’t stopped. We miss you guys but we’re getting things ready for you so there will be a place when you come down! ;) Hugs!

  10. Janet Kinser
    Jun 7, 2012

    I join you in thanking God for the ability to suture when needed. You saved him so much trouble and did a beautiful job. I do pray for complete healing for him and for you, Shirlene. Is your throat better now? I am mighty glad for your nursing background. It does seem a bit much–sore throat and poop and blood times 2–I want you to know I pray for you and Bobby, Ellie, Bella and Ethan each day. Miss and love you. Do you have good chocolate there? If you did not have such huge postage costs, I’d send some. Love, Janet

    • Shirlene
      Jun 8, 2012

      My dear Janet,
      Yes, I am feeling nearly 100 percent better (thankful for all of the prayers)!
      While the small amount of chocolate you find here is not what you’d expect from one of the few places in the world that cacao beans can be grown (tropical rainforest type geographical zones), we can get chocolate and we find that pretty much any chocolate tastes good now. :)
      Did you happen to see my response to Bonnie’s comment on this post? I have found I recall that quote you made to me several years ago and felt it especially appropriate as I sat and made my first suture attempt. Who knew having watched all of the canine and feline surgeries in my veterinary clinic job would give me at least enough confidence to attempt to stitch this poor guy’s hand? God did. :)
      Thank you so much for your tireless prayers for my family, both near and far, you are loved much and missed! Hugs to you and Arden…

  11. Brett in Bali
    Jun 11, 2012

    Wow! I am grateful to be miles away from the wild lady with the needle. Well done.
    PS: Get some super glue maybe?

    • Shirlene
      Jun 22, 2012

      Hee hee, yes, better stay clear of me! ;) Some Dermabond or other such “super glue” would be handy to have around here…I don’t know that it would’ve managed to hold this particular laceration. For you Brett, I would try to locate some though in the event of any cuts. Come visit us! I will leave the needles in the cabinet. :)

  12. Lucy
    Jun 12, 2012

    OMG!! omg!!!! That is crazy!!! How’s bobby and everyone doing now???? I am sooo worried! I will defintley praying more and more !! for healing also for peace!!! Shirlene! Did you lost weight? From the picture,you seems lost so much weight! Have you not be eating or just stressed??Miss you guys very much! please be safe!! You always in my prayer!! Much much love!

    • Shirlene
      Jun 22, 2012

      Lucy!!! Thank you for the prayers, yes, we really do need them! We need a good cook like you around here so we eat well and are happy. Come see us soon and plan to stay a while, ok? Love you!!

  13. Alice Mathis
    Jun 15, 2012

    Shirlene, You guys are in my prayers. You are so amazing! I’m praying for your safety and good health so you can serve God. Love you!

    • Shirlene
      Jun 22, 2012

      Thank you so much, Alice!! Keep those prayers coming, we feel so blessed to have our “back up” back home and couldn’t be here without it. Much love to you!

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