Saturday, October 1, 2011

Where There are no Doctors look for skilled ExPats

Where There are no Doctors is a great book. It is required reading for Peace Corps volunteers and suggested reading for the rest of the worldwide expat community. I should have read it a long time ago; it is full of interesting stuff.

We have it on the shelf so in case of an emergency I can flip through it for ideas; cross-reference the suggestions with information in 3 or 4 other books on the shelf and within an hour, have a tentative plan of action. Yes, I am a slow moving nerd. I wish I could commit the content to memory, but medical stuff just doesn’t stick in my brain. Last year I even took a Red Cross course in DC. Still don’t remember the basics.

At least I remembered enough to know that head wounds require direct pressure. Spencer and I went to the school open house one Friday. Teddy fell off of a swing and the thing hit him while he was sitting on the ground. The old swing, made from a block of wood and a metal bottom, cut the back of Ted’s head. We quickly ripped off his shirt and used it as a compress. The school doesn’t have a nurse, but an administrator found us a comfy couch in the office and a first aid kit. Another parent, a helicopter paramedic, came in along with a teacher, a former EMT. They agreed Teddy didn’t need stitches.

It has been two weeks and his head is healing really well. The cut is not too long, but is deep. Good thing he has great hair to cover the scar. I am grateful to the two men Roger and John who came to our rescue. Beyond pressure, I didn’t know what to do. I do not know which cuts need stitches and which ones knit together on their own. I certainly want to avoid the clinic whenever possible. One tip I will always remember for head wounds was offered by Roger: He said that when kids have long hair like Ted, you can pull hair from both sides of the cut and braid. That will hold the skin together. That is much less traumatic than stitches and the needles that go along with them.

1 comment:

Nomads By Nature said...

I remember that book from my Peace Corps days in Sri Lanka. It use to scare the crap outta me but by my second year I found it very comforting, especially when I needed to use it frequently.

Glad to know you had additional help for your son's head wound - never thought of using a braid as a binding bandage!

I would also agree to avoid stitches unless absolutely necessary. Very happy he is healing well!