Two weeks ago, I did something I never imagined doing when I left the U.S. Below is the crazy story I never imagined having. But have it I do, so here goes.. :)
I visited our organization’s farm on Friday with some co-workers, and we stayed overnight. We were told that Saturday morning some of the guys were going to cut open a cyst, or tumor, on one of the goats.. They told us they were going to cut it open, and I thought it would probably drain
out of a small incision. Even though it seemed simple enough, it’s not really the norm for me in the States so, being the curious person that I am, I decided I would watch this process.
After eating our breakfast Saturday morning, we headed up to the goat barn. The surgery, to be performed by lay farm workers and a couple of my co-workers, was going to take place in the Pagi’s—our goat-patient—stall. No doctor, no sterile table. Just a feces-ridden stall floor. Here’s the setup: There are three men holding Pagi down on his side. Another man puts on gloves, preparing to do the actual incision, while my boss held the flashlight for better lighting under the stall roof. I was handed the pack of cotton to hold and my friend stood just behind me, taking a couple pictures.
They give Pagi several local anesthetic shots around the tumor located on his neck just below his left ear, which turned out to be 3 tumors next to each other, totaling about the size of 1 1/2 (female) fists side by side, one end of the tumor seemingly festering.
After somewhat letting the shots kick in, the 'point man' began an incision along the outside of the tumor. I quickly realized that this would not be the type of procedure I had imagined. The tumors were much larger than I expected, and solid. There was nothing draining out of the cut. They were going to slowly separate the tumor from the skin, and remove it. Soon, the point man left (to get something else? I still don’t know) and everyone got a little bit closer, since one of the men holding Pagi down was now using the scalpel.
Eventually I offered to hold the flashlight, so my boss could take a turn cutting and swabbing up blood. Before I knew it, my boss was called upon to go somewhere and asked me to take over the blood clean-up. What do you do when you’re the only ones there for the job? Of course I’ll wipe up blood! No gloves? No matter.
So on went the surgery, separating the skin from the hard mess of tumor. At one point, Pagi began hyperventilating and we paused the surgery to stop the excessive amount of blood he was losing. Eventually the tumor was cut out of Pagi’s neck. At the risk of giving “t.m.i.,” I even helped scrape some out with my hands, I’m pretty sure. None of this could have been very sanitary anyway, though. They stitched him back up with about 8 or 9 stitches for an incision
about 8 inches long, would be my guess. I realized after this was over that this must be why doctors “scrub-in” up to their elbows. It took a good 3-5 minutes to get all the blood off.
Sadly, I don’t have any pictures of after the surgery, but
the last I heard, Pagi was doing well. Within a day he was standing up and
eating. So far, so good. : )
So I guess you could say that on Easter weekend I was “covered
in the blood of the…goat.”