Saturday, September 11, 2010

Buddy Taping

So, apparently my husband has a broken toe. It happened about a month ago while he was out jogging on one of the bush trails that criss-cross the mission farm. I realize that city biking or running can be a bit like flirting with danger considering the traffic or criminal element. But bush running has its risks too. They’re just different.

1. Traffic on bush trails takes more the form of snakes. Thankfully you don't encounter them that often, but when you do, you want to do some fancy high-stepping or put the brakes on.
2. Stumps. This should actually be #1 since we come across way more stumps on trails than snakes.

Funny that health literature for travelers does not include facts on the dangers of stumps in Africa, just malaria, snakes, crocs, and such. But stumps have caused several injuries to our family (and others) over the years, like toe-stubbing, leg gashes, and sole punctures (which testifies to the fact that wearing a coat of armor could come in handy now and again :P). You see, there are many, many stumps in rural Mozambique because people clear land and trails by hand. It’s a huge job all that chopping, never mind trying to dig the root out too. Believe me, I've tried, and I gave up. As a result, there are hundreds and thousands of stumps of all shapes and sizes to be found just about anywhere--in planted fields, in yards,

and on trails.

I’ve even seen one INSIDE a classroom. I kid you not. Gotta do something about that.

As I was saying, these stumps can be dangerous because they’re everywhere, mostly where you don't expect them. If you have to drive a vehicle off-road to a village to visit someone…beware of biggish stumps lurking in the tall grass. They can really ding your vehicle. (Heh.) And if you’re out walking on bush trails…beware of shorter, smallish stumps that lie in the dirt as if to ambush the next unsuspecting passerby.

We know the trails close to home quite well and have stubbed our toes on the stumps along them often enough to remember more or less where they are. So usually, though not always, we avoid kicking them. But there are the times when we’re distracted or busy talking and suddenly *thwack!*

That’s what happened to Dwight about a month ago. He was jogging alone on one of these trails and didn’t see a stump. *THWACK!* I guess he limped home in a great deal of pain, then over the next few days sported an amazing rainbow of colors around the knuckles on his foot.

(This is someone else's foot but is how his foot looked)

Medical services are limited out here so I suggested maybe splinting, or bed rest with bathroom privileges, and taking anti-inflammatories until the next trip to South Africa when it could be x-rayed. Dwight opted to carry on with life, albeit "carefully", and take the anti-inflammatories when it hurt. Turns out it hurt often.

We made our scheduled trip south this week so he finally got to see our family Dr. An x-ray was done and it showed a spiral fracture of the large bone of the great toe.

(a spiral fracture)
Not good. After considering several ways to treat it, he decided on anti-inflammatories and to “buddy-tape the great toe to the neighboring toe for support. That way, the neighboring toe will do some of the work and the great toe will do less = better chance of healing.”

The term “buddy-taping” makes me smile. Partly because it just sounds funny to me, and partly because in life in general, we all need to be buddy-taped from time to time.

There were several main objectives for this current trip. For one, Bero was scheduled to have surgery on his other arm.

Bero and I grabbing a quick lunch in Vilanculos where we clear customs and immigration.

This is his 3rd such trip to South Africa this year and his 2nd surgery, and he’s still smiling.

In the hospital waiting room

Pre-op vital signs, arm band, next: flashy OR pj's

Ready to go and pretty calm about it all.

Many people have contributed to make these reparative surgeries possible for him, from kind sponsors in Canada to kind people on the ground here in South Africa. We, and Bero, extend our warmest thanks to you all for coming alongside and supporting this whole process!

3 days after surgery was his birthday. We took him to dinner and a movie. At the restaurant (Spur), the waiters all came out singing to him with a sparkler stuck in a lemon. He loves lemons. Was he ever surprised!

Another reason for the trip is that the Cessna also needs some attention since its engine is timed out and needs to be replaced. It'll be here for quite awhile, so we'll be returning home by road next week. It's a 2 day long, hard trip by road and if Dwight struggles to use our stiff clutch too much, I guess I'll be a "buddy" and step in to help do the work of driving. :) But please, no tape.


PPS: Just discovered this on youtube. Although I'm listed with photo credits, there are photos from others in there as well. The song fits well with today's theme.


Russell said...

They serve lemons at spur? Eeesh, tell dad to take up cycling until his toe heals, I'm guessing that's going to take quite a while to heal!

Sharon Guzak nee Clark said...

hey guys! I like your analogy about the buddy taping! Sometimes I wish I could buddy tape myself to Bob just so I'll know where he is! The video you foound on u-tube was done by Lee Clemments, Catie's husband. (he has a profound case of bi-polar, if you recall) He put it together while they were at the lake with us and I "shared"it. He's really coming along mentally from when he was first diagnosed, although there's still a long way to go before he can be with people and be comfortable in his own skin, yet. The stress of looking after Lee as well as working "part-time" at Michaels, the craft store,has been quite a strain on Cathy (this week she works eight 8hr days straight)She's not allowed to sit down during her shift(she's one of the managers at the front end) so she tries to wear her back brace, kneebraces, ankle braces etc. until they become so uncomfortably hot she has to strip them off. They still can't get her onto AISH until she sees two more dr.s but with her work schedule and with Lee''s depressions she hasn't got the energy to do anything else but sleep when she gets time. If you're needing any extra things to pray for , this situation could sure use some.
Dwight, I've broken both my big toes and both my pointer fingers one way or another and just wrapped the toes like you did. They're funny looking toes anyways, so I don't care! I have no idea about how or when i broke my fingers. it just showed up on an x-ray about ten years ago. But they're getting funny looking with arthritis, too, so I guess I'll just go around looking gibbled! I'm scheduled for an MRI on Friday to rule out a tumor as the cause of the trigeminal neuropathy (so much fun!- and at 8am no less!) Don't they know I sleep till noon! I know I;'m rambling on so I'lllet you off the hook and say bye for now! love, Sharon