Saturday, May 12, 2007

Saturday A.M. Emergency

By Britt:

This morning, Paige woke me up a little before 7, saying it was an emergency (I'm pretty sure that even if it hadn't been, Paige knows that using the word 'emergency' is about the only thing that will convince me to get out of bed before 7 on a Saturday) She said a boy was here that had come down from the mountains and had multiple wounds. Meet 8-year-old Jerald:

Jerald was playing last night with his friends, running up and down the main stretch of 'road' in his village - Petit bwa (the one that we hike to on the mountain behind our house.) He must have been running at a pretty good pace, because when he fell - he fell hard. The first of the wounds was a cut on the top of his head; the family had put charcoal and/or toothpaste on it. I cleaned that one to the best of my ability but it was still dirty and too-far-gone to be stitched. I had a hard time not being totally annoyed by this, but I tried to remind myself that the family honestly probably didn't know any better. I've been able to educate the people closer to us (about toothpaste and how NOT to use it), but the mountain people are still rather unreached. He will have a pretty bad, risen scar from this one. (You can see the bump on the top of his head)

The second cut was on his forehead. This one too had a lot of toothpaste on it. I debated whether or not to try to stitch it; it had been 14 hours since the accident occurred. However, I felt that I was able to clean out pretty much all of the toothpaste from the forehead cut, so I went ahead and stitched it. I forgot to take an after photo; but it took 6 stitches. Special thanks to Dr. Jen. Jen, I did a really awesome corner stitch for the y-portion (just like we practiced in August on those lovely pigs' feet) and it came together perfectly! Here is the before:

The third and final wound was on his top lip. It was rather mangled and split right down the middle, from the top all the way under inside his mouth. This too I debated stitching or not; but I thought it was worth a try. If I hadn't tried, I'm afraid it would heal and look like a cleft-lip for the rest of his life. And lips/smiles are important! There is a risk that it will become (or was already) infected and I'll have to remove the sutures before it's really time to take them out; but it could also heal without any complications. The before/after pictures are a bit blurry, but here they are: (p.s. - I am officially intrigued by plastics/reconstructive-type-work. This is the third lip I've done. Today it was my favorite - figuring out how to get it to come together just right, etc. Jen, I did two more sweet corner-stitches. I did some inside (absorbable) stitches and some outside; probably close to 15 all together.)

The after pictures look kind of bad right after being stitched because the area is still all swollen from the lidocaine; but I enjoyed taking my time on this one and piecing it back together like a puzzle. I'm praying for minimal scarring and a quick recovery. Jerald will stay down here in La Digue with a family member for the week so he can come daily for dressing changes. Here he is, post-op.

Below is a picture of 6-year-old Fritson's leg. It has been swollen like this for about a week. He came with his mom last night; they live down our road, closer to Rue. Nat'l 1. The leg is hot to the touch and he was running a fever of 104. I gave him some pain/fever meds for last night and took photos to email to my list of doctor/nurse friends. Thanks, Lori, for suggesting where to send him and also to Jen for replying with some possible diagnoses. They said he needs to be on antibiotics via IV. This morning we are sending Pastor Rony to go along with Fritson and his mom to St. Nicolas hospital in St. Marc. His leg may be too far gone and may require amputation; please pray that the hospital would be able to see him and get him help quickly. He is in a lot of pain; pray that the two-hour ride up to St. Marc goes smoothly.