by Patricia Brintle
We never know what surprise awaits us when we leave to work on a project. However, we always learn something each time we travel and subsequent trips are always safer and better prepared.
It was the second day of our stay in Chardonnette to repair the wall of St. Gerard church back in August of 2011. We had just had breakfast and were leisurely going over the schedule for the day and reviewing each team member’s assignments. Ellen and Bob would help mix cement, Joe and Eddy would be on the scaffold with the workers, and I would be with Pere Emmanuel ensuring that the work was moving in time.
Suddenly we heard a loud commotion at the front gate. There were screams, yells and cries of distress from the cook: “docte Levek, docte Levek, vini vit” (Doctor Leveque, Doctor Leveque, come quickly) she said addressing Eddy, our vice president. We rushed outside to find a young man holding his head and blood rolling down his face. He had gotten into an altercation with his friends, things got heated and a rock was tossed. The young man got hit in the head leaving a three-inch laceration. At the sight of the blood the others ran from the scene. Pere Emmanuel took a chair and set the young man down while scolding him for getting into a fight. He was from the parish and lived nearby.
Eddy went on “M.D.” mode and sent Pere Emmanuel to find a suture kit at the school clinic. I was to serve as the attending nurse while Joe, Ellen and Bob watched in awe. In no time, the wound was cleaned, sutured and the head bandaged. The young man closed his eyes and did not move during the operation, nor did he utter a sound while his head was being sutured without anesthesia. Eddy gave him a couple of pain pills and sent home with his friends and careful instructions on caring for the wound. We all took a few deep breaths and continued our plans for the day.
Although we always travel with a first aid kit, we knew at that moment that packing a suture kit or, at least, some butterfly wound closure strips would be a must in the future.
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