Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Quick trip to Pungue

Got a call at the end of the day to saying someone down the highway had been (badly) bitten by a dog and needed to be taken to hospital for shots. I wasn't sure what shots were even available locally, but we went to see the person and at least dress the wounds.

We pulled off the highway several km's from here where the family stood in a huddle waiting for us. A man held a child, about 5 or 6 years old, who was crying. The mom was nearly hysterical. Turns out the "someone" bitten was this child. As we examined the wound and discussed what to do, we discovered the child's older brother was also bitten, though not as badly. And apparently a 3rd person was also attacked. We decided to all pile into the vehicle and head to the Pungue Health Center. At least they had Tetanus immunization.

We arrived at the health center after dark, and the place has no power.

The nurse emerged from his house nearby to greet us in shorts and flip-flops. He quickly ushered us into the room labeled "Triagem" and set about cleaning and dressing the boys' wounds. The youngest boy cried from the moment we arrived until the moment we walked out, but especially when he got his shot. Everything about the place was so very humble and simple. He used a flashlight to work by that he obviously was used to positioning "just so" while doing this sort of thing. Since there were quite a few of us in the room with idle hands, Dwight held the flashlight from a better angle. I had brought one as well that was quite bright and I couldn't help but think that was the brightest that little triage room had ever been after dark. He worked quickly and efficiently. Thankfully he had the basic supplies for dressing the wounds and immunizations were kept in a battery operated cooler.

When he was done, we made small talk. He asked Dwight if he recalled giving him and his laboring pregnant wife a ride to Vanduzi awhile back. Dwight said, "Yes, I remember you." The nurse said, "Well, that baby is born and at home now. Won't you come meet my family and see our baby? It's our firstborn." So we took the extra few minutes to visit his home, meet the family and neighbor kids who were there for supper (spaghetti...a delicacy out here) and some TV viewing, and then we left.

By the time we stopped to drop our passengers and little patients off, the little boy had stopped crying and the whole family was settled and happier.

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