Field Surgery

While in the course of living life away from a couch, television, or computer, you find yourself with various injuries.

You receive far more than you would have had just running around the civilized world. I have had my share, including almost loosing a finger to a marine bacterial infection in Egypt, scars from brushes with coral, and I think every species of insect in the world has had its fangs in me at some point.

Today, my stupid injury of choice was stepping on a piece of wood and getting a splinter in my foot. Nothing new, considering that I spend about 80 percent of my time in the islands without wearing even my well-worn flip-flops. Splinter is actually an understatement. Everyone likes to exaggerate their wounds, but this damn thing was about the diameter of a toothpick and nearly one centimeter long. Needless to say, it left a hole that would soon become an oasis for all the bacteria I could possibly find on the bottom of my foot.

My Austrian neighbors Astrid and Ines either got sick of seeing me wobbling around complaining, or maybe they just wanted to experiment on an American, but they graciously volunteered to do the surgery for me since it was in an awkward place on the bottom of my foot.

And so our operating table was the filthy wooden deck of a bungalow, and the tools were pretty medieval to say the least. A lighter to sterilize things, electrical tape, a Maglight, some medical tweezers, and a whistle. The whistle was for me to blow when things started hurting too much in case she had to dig deep to get the splinter out. By looking at the spread on the bungalow, I wasn’t sure if they were going to install a car stereo or do an operation. 🙂

The really interesting thing is that Ines is the med school student, but she let Astrid (a photographer) do the dirty work. Astrid did a fantastic job though and managed to remove the piece of wood intact and with very little damage to my foot. I couldn’t have asked for a better doctor! You have some very interesting experiences on the road, but luckily you meet interesting people as well to help you through them.

Now it’s time to go kill some of the bacteria with a Redbull bucket.

Once again, life is good!

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