Monday, January 3, 2011

In Stitches

DH has been very busy lately. He's sent 5 goats and 2 pigs to freezer camp. Finishing up the last pig he was tired and in a hurry to get the job done before dark. That's a recipe for disaster. I was in the barn finishing up cleaning the chicken coop and worming goats. The recent mild temperatures thawed the month long litter on the coop floor allowing for easy cleaning. I was just about done when I heard a loud "AHHHHH" from DH who was out in the driveway working on the last pig. I knew instantly that it wasn't the kind of "ahhhhh" that announced he'd dropped his knife and now had to clean it off, or even that he'd dropped the hose and it had squirted him in the face, but rather the kind of "AHHHHH" he would make if he dropped a cement block on his foot, smashed his finger with a hammer, or cut himself. So I listened up, but didn't hear the thud of a body collapsing in the driveway so that meant he was still standing at least. Next thing I know he's coming in the barn, his finger wrapped in a rag, and asked "Can you take a look at this and tell me if you think I'm going to need stitches?"

It's a good thing I'm not the squeamish kind. He unwrapped his finger and there was a large gaping cut going all the way to the bone. "Ah, yup," I said, "that's gonna need stitches all right." (Sorry I didn't take a picture of it but you probably wouldn't have wanted to see it anyway.) I quickly finished up worming the last few goats, then just dumped a bag of shavings in the middle of the coop floor. Grandson came out to help get the pig loaded into the back of the truck with the rest of the dead bodies of the day. And off to the hospital we went.

Now here's the difference between men and women. I would have taken the time to change my clothes first. He was wet, covered in various bits of meat, blood, and entrails, with little bits of pig fat clinging here and there like gobs of dandruff, and his boots looked like he'd been sloshing through a vat of hamburg. Yuck! Heck, I might have even taken a shower and washed my hair. I'd probably have to be unconscious before I'd go anywhere looking (and smelling) like that. I can only imagine what the hospital staff must have thought before he explained that he'd cut himself while gutting a pig. They were probably wondering what the other guy looked like. Even after the explanation, the female staff were probably thinking "well, he could have at least changed his shoes!"

Fortunately he missed the tendon and didn't do any serious damage. And it was also fortunate he was using a very sharp knife. It was a nice clean cut. 3 stitches, a tetanus shot, and a prescription for antibiotics later, and we were on our way home via the drugstore. We delivered the dead bodies to the butcher later in the evening.

Now here's my thoughts: I could have cleaned that cut out with saline then stitched it right up for him. Horse tail hair makes great stitching. I've stitched up sheep and they didn't complain - well, not much. I even have tetanus vaccine here. OK, so it's a CDT combination but look at it this way - he'd never get any form of entertoxemia caused by Clostridium perfringens types C & D either. (If you don't know what that is then you're not a sheep, goat or cow person. Perfringens is also called over-eating disease. I figure he could maybe use that one.) As for the antibiotic I've got a choice of either long-acting penicillin, LA200, or Nuflor. My needles are a little large for human comfort but they'd do the job just fine I imagine. And I could tell he didn't damage the tendon because his finger wasn't drooping. Funny thing though - he opted for the hospital ER and the co-pay. Imagine that?! The doctor told him to come back in 10 days to have the stitches removed. What? Do people really go to the doctor for that? I've always taken out my own, and taken my own casts off too. Don't you?

BTW, when I got home the chickens had spread that big pile of shavings pretty evenly over their coop floor. Such nice, helpful girls.

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Delirious said...

You have a stronger stomach than me! You lost me on the "deworming" part. I certainly couldn't have stitched up a finger! ;)

When I was a girl I went to visit my grandparents who lived in the country. As I wandered about their farm, occasionally I would see the skeleton of a dead animal somewhere. I saw a dead rabbit, and another skull...can't remember which kind. Then my Dad caught some fish and brought them home. I got looking at those fish and could see their sharp teeth. I remembered that the rabbit skull, and the other skull both had teeth in them too. For some weird reason I decided to start a teeth collection. So I got out a big sharp knife (my grandfather always kept his knives sharp) and started to cut the teeth out of that fish. I too, ended up with three stitches in my finger. :)

Andrea said...

Your words had ME in stitches! Great story. Stay warm.

Caroline in NH said...

Loved it! I have often thought the same thing... circumstances being different, I could easily take care of a number of things with the meds/ needles I have on hand! Ivermectin is used to "deworm" humans in some areas! (And it seems every time I butcher poultry I get a *small* cut somewhere.)