The Drunken Sailor

Filed Under (Stories) by maripipi on 07-03-2010

At about 6:00 PM, the sun just started to set.  I was sitting in the gazebo when I saw four men carrying a bleeding man towards my house. “Where are you going and why is he bleeding?” I asked.  “Accident and there is no where to go but to you”. The man holding his bleeding hand answered. I told him to hold his wrist tightly to slow down the bleeding. I was overwhelmed. What must I do now? I went upstairs and prayed to God for divine intervention. Then I read my old surgical nursing book. After reading I went downstairs to examine the man’s hand. I learned that the man holding his hand was his companion. They were traveling from Masbate to Calbayog, Samar. Francisco, (not his real name) the patient was the look out man while Andres, (not his real name) was the pilot. Francisco was bored just looking at the endless sea ahead of him so he started drinking a Chinese brew called Siok Tong.

One bottle after another he took them fast and he got drunk. He could not balance his body as the waves hit the side of the pumpboat (outrigger boat)and he fell into the sea. He realized he was in danger so he looked for something to hold on to save his life. He saw something moving, he grabbed it with his right hand and the rapid rotation of the propeller severely injured his hand.  Some pieces of the skin were hanging from the injured palm. Tendons were cut, as well as several blood vessels. The palm of his right hand was ripped open and scraped to the bare bones. With no electricity. villagers went home to get flashlights. Soon I had five flashlights flooding my work. The first thing I did was pour alcohol into the injured hand. Then using a needle and thread I tied the bleeder. With the bleeding now reduced, I joined the white tendons accordingly. When I hit a sensitive spot or nerve he jerk and moan. After sewing all the skin together only a few small pieces were missing to cover the whole area. I applied bacitracin ointment to the whole injured palm before wrapping it with a cleaned ironed rag. Francisco was so drunk he did not know what happened to him. In his drunken stupor all this was done without local anesthesia. In a village like ours there is no Pharmacy where to buy medicine. Patients are at your mercy and they expect miracle to happen.  As a volunteer I learned to be strong in my gut and do the work beyond my capacity as a nurse.

I allowed Francisco to sleep in the sofa after the procedure. Meanwhile I give the instruction to Andres to go back to Masbate without delay, see the doctor as soon as he arrives. I told him he might lose the use of his right hand. With two villagers as volunteer to accompany Andres, they took Francisco back to Masbate.

I almost forgot about Francisco when I got a call a month later. The caller said he was Francisco, the man who injured his hand. He is calling to thank me for taking care of him. I ask him if he went to the doctor, he said no. He was afraid he would be reprimanded by the doctor for drinking so much alcohol. Besides he had no money to buy the medicine. I ask him how he was doing. He said he was doing fine. All his fingers are moving and he is plowing the field to keep it ready for planting. ” Wow” I said to myself. Suppose I was not there at the time he needed help where will this man go? He may bleed to death. I am glad to be of help and I am glad I came back home to serve where my service is highly appreciated.  All these gave me the ultimate satisfaction in life.

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