Friday, January 23, 2009

About bites and feeling badly (or not)

Ok, I have to start off by confessing that I had a small pity party for myself this week. It began with a handful or so of insanely itchy insect bites on my ankles that looked rather nasty and nearly drove me to distraction whenever they'd start itching. To make things worse, I got a blister on one foot from walking too far on our muddy road in my Havaianas. Then, to add to my misery, I stubbed a toe on the other foot! My feet were quite a sight, all decorated with band-aids and red spots. I was not having a very good foot-week at all.

It must be Murphy’s law in my case but whenever I start feeling sorry for myself, I see or have to treat someone else who’s much worse off than I am. Like the time, nearly 10 years ago, when I was very sick with a virus. There was no treatment and I was told that my recovery would be slow and likely interrupted by relapses over the 2 or so years that followed. I felt pretty bad for myself right then. I felt bad, that is, until we were on an outing one day and I saw a young paraplegic mother being pushed around in a wheelchair by her kids who were about the age of mine at the time. Then I felt ashamed and much better all at the same time.

This week was sort of similar in that while I was facing my small troubles, much bigger ones were underway for others. First, Dwight came down with malaria. (Yes we are on prophylaxis, but when you find a capsule like this in your batch, you kind of have to wonder at what’s in the rest of them, no?)

Then, just as he was recovering from malaria, he developed cellulitis accompanied by fever, and the characteristic redness and swelling in his one leg (it was decidedly worse looking than my ankles/feet). Cellulitis isn’t the kind of thing you try to treat at home, even if you’re a nurse. But we don’t have much choice here, so I got to work with some of the great antibiotics and dressing supplies that the Prairie nursing team left with us in June.

And then, as if just to make sure I got the point, a young boy hobbled here with his friend for help the other day.

He’d been bitten by a snake two days previously and had carefully tied not one, but two tourniquets above his ankle to stop the venom from spreading. This practice is outdated since most times, it simply makes things worse. He didn’t know that, of course, and the poor little guy had a fairly swollen, sore foot. My own right then, felt pretty fine by comparison.

As I was thinking about all this, I remembered an incident that we heard about a month ago. Apparently, a guy who was bathing in the river near our property was bitten by a crocodile. Crocs seldom let go of their prey, and this one was no different. The guy was with two friends at the time who held him by the arms and fought to save his life for 2 solid hours. In the end, the croc won. I can’t even fathom such an event as a rescuer, much less as a victim. My troubles right now seem very small indeed.

Other moments of the week:

This is how our morning devotional time looks these days. Usually, we’re a group of 30-40 people, but with the addition of work-for-food program participants, the number of those showing up at morning devotions has mushroomed to almost 100 on some mornings.

The man in the photo below came to work for food this week, but apparently he hadn’t eaten in 3 days so he was too weak from hunger to actually do any work. (Below, Pearson hands him a plate of food). He is not the only one we’ve seen in this condition. In fact, yesterday a very thin crippled widow came to us saying she and her children hadn’t eaten in 5 days. I can’t fathom that either since I can barely skip snacks between meals without feeling famished. (We took the woman home with food for her family and a follow-up assessment will be done to determine how we can best help her.)

The number of guinea fowl for distribution is growing too. I think when there are more than 10 of them together they change from a flock to a rabble! They're kind of noisy. But yeah--I still like 'em.

Last paragraph stuff (aka the bug part--for new readers):

Mud wasps made themselves at home in some sandals on our veranda while we were gone last week. What a mess! Couldn't they have waited a while longer to make sure we weren't coming back??

In closing, I’m happy to report that the little boy’s leg (that was bitten by a snake) is improving, and Dwight is much better too. And my own ankles and feet, well, they're just fine.☺

Tchau for now. And take care.


Karen said...

And I was feeling sorry for myself yesterday, sick with an earache/headache thing going on??!!

Penny said...

Thanks for putting things into perspective. And as usual I love your photos.

Russoft said...

haha, yeah, mom, I know that feeling. You can feel pretty bad for yourself if you don't take the time to look at what happens to other people.

Amanda said...

It really does help to put things into perspective every time you feel sorry for yourself... I don't do it often enough though!

Zookeeper Cat said...

Lynn, the picture of your devotional time is touching. I often think of the stories that came back to our church from the Prairie Bible Institute group that visited you a couple of years ago. Their lone escort (my friend) went on to assist them on a similar trip to South America, where his bodyguarding services actually did come to be needed at one point. His stories are much like yours--people surviving with so much worse than we insulated Canadians at home think we could ever put up with. Press on toward the prize.


Anonymous said...

Very good & thought provoking blog Lynnie, it could always be worse couldn't it. I'm sure you are reminded of that fact alot more often in your end of the world than we are here at our end.

Love you,
your big sis

Karen C said...

Lynn, I enjoyed your blog post. I am an LPN and children's pastor. My husband is pastor of Church on a Hill in Savanna, Il. I have a new burden to remember you in prayer. I would like to go back to school myself. Currently taking Bible classes through Berean. God bless, Karen C

L. Lagore said...

Thanks for all the comments everyone. I'm honored. Karen C, welcome and thank you for your prayers. They're very appreciated, especially right now.