Tuesday, April 26, 2011

May 12, 2012

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8:00 P.M. Disaster has struck... Early this afternoon, Josey noticed something on a hilltop as we wove our way through the dead vehicles along the highway. She saw what she thought might be a signal mirror, or a glint of sunlight from the glass of a moving vehicle. So we pulled off to the side of the road, geared up, and started to make our way up the steep, rocky hillside.

Half way up, Josey stepped on a rock which gave way from beneath her. Her foot slid into a small crack which the rock was covering and she fell over backwards, wedging her leg, breaking it, and dislocating her knee. It's a compound fracture, and her tibia was protruding from the skin.

Kevin threw up when he saw it, but quickly recovered and helped me free her leg. Josey was screaming in agony, and she'd more to come. I found a small stick within reach, and put it between her teeth to bite down on. I sent Kevin to fetch two straight sticks to use for a splint while I pulled off my T-shirt to cut in to strips for bandages and to tie the splint on. When he returned a few minutes later, I steeled myself to the task of setting her fracture as best I could. Which was something I did not look forward to...

I told her I'd do it on the count of three, but pulled it straight on two. With no idea whether the bones were aligned properly or not, I wrapped the wound with the T-shirt strips and then laid the sticks on either side of her leg. With Kevin's help I tied them snugly, one above her knee and two below, flanking the wound. Once the major pain subsided, Kevin and I picked Josey up and put her arms around our shoulders. We carefully made our way back down the steep, rocky slope, then carried her back to the trailer and into bed.

All we had was some aspirin which was in the first aid kit, and I gave Josey four of them. For what it was worth, which wasn't much I'm sure. She still writhed in agony until she passed out from shock. I had Kevin wrap her up in blankets and elevate her feet, then I dropped the trailer and took off in the Scout in search of medical supplies in the nearest town.

Unfortunately there wasn't much to be found. Some hydrocodone and a couple bottles of vodka, along with a few rolls of gauze, some Ace bandages, and a few feet of flexible splint are all I could find. The local pharmacy and doctor's office had been essentially stripped clean. I did find a pair of crutches among the bones of their former user on the way out.

When I returned, I found Josey still out. Kevin was putting a wet wash towel on her forehead and had been wiping the blood from her leg as best as he could. I took advantage of her unconscious state to fix her up a little better. Some of the vodka I used to flush the wound, which I then taped shut with bandage tape from the first aid kit. Next I covered it with gauze, held in place with Ace bandage. Then I used the flexible splint and more Ace bandages to stabilize everything as much as possible. I think things are lined up right, but I can't be sure. Only time will tell...

11:30 P.M. Neither Kevin nor I felt much like eating. We've been keeping watch over Josey, who's been drifting in and out of consciousness. I gave her a hydrocodone pill and some water while she was half way awake, about an hour ago. She's sleeping now, which is for the best at this point. I've suspended her leg in a makeshift sling hung from the overhead bunk, to keep it above her heart and reduce swelling and bleeding.

Kevin finally fell asleep on the floor next to his mother's bunk, and I carefully worked around him when I changed her dressing. She's still asleep thanks to the hydrocodone, and she doesn't seem to be running a fever. I think I'm going to have a couple shots of that vodka and get some rest myself; we're in for some long stressful days I'm afraid.

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