by Bethaney Butler
It was a beautiful, but hot, Saturday afternoon in Madang town and Sarah, Jill, Kandra and I had just been grocery shopping, where Kandra and I had also gotten ice cream cones. For a double scoop it was only 2 kina where most places in town now are 3 kina and they had given us huge scoops.
After leaving the grocery store our plan was to drop Jill and the food off at the house and then Sarah, Kandra and I were going to go back to the PBT office. There are two gates to the property. One is a remote controlled gate, but had gone out earlier that week and hadn’t been fixed yet. So, we went in on the manual side. Sarah was driving, I was riding shotgun and the other two girls in the back seat. Sarah had gotten out, unlocked the gate, opened it, driven the car through and was shutting it. Kandra and I were chowing down on our ice cream, when we hear Sarah calmly say, “Uh, guys I’m going to need some help.”
I casually slide out of my seat and go to the back vehicle to see what is up. There was nothing that I could have done that day to prepare me for what I was about to see. Attached at the bottom of this old gate is a piece of rusty concrete reinforcing wire (arc mesh) and attached to the concrete reinforcing wire is Sarah’s ankle. I look at Sarah’s ankle, then at my ice cream cone, that I hadn’t quite made it through the first scoop of yet, then back at Sarah’s ankle and reluctantly threw my ice cream cone on the ground.
Have you ever tried to shut a door behind you and you thought you were out of the way, but weren’t and it got you on the ankle? That is kind of what happened. But, instead of a solid door, it’s rusty concrete reinforcing wire, and when I examined it closer had a hook on the end. The wire had entered between her Achilles tendon and her ankle bone and come out 2 inches below. Before calling for help Sarah had tried to pull herself off, causing the skin to rip around the entrance and exit of the wound. I tried lifting the gate up to see if Sarah might be able to slide her ankle out, but to no avail. The gate wouldn’t budge much and the hook on the end wasn’t about to let her go. By this time Kandra and Jill were both there. Because Sarah started going into shock and was starting to get dizzy Kandra’s job was to support her. Jill was on the ground evaluating the situation. For some reason, I thought Jill had some medical experience so I was asking Jill what to do. But the lack of response from both Jill and Kandra, who Sarah was now holding up instead of the other way around, confirmed that I had to be a little more proactive.
I asked if anyone had scissors. Kandra snapped out of it enough to go and get a pair out of her bag. My thoughts were we need to get her off the fence ASAP and get her to the Haus Sik (hospital). I tried cutting the skin with the scissors, but the tip just wasn’t sharp enough to cut through and because of the angle her foot was attached to the fence I couldn’t get the scissors in further where the blade may have been sharper. Alright, I thought, that obviously isn’t going to work. On to plan B, I asked Sarah where the keys to her house were. She pointed to them and I ran over snatched them up and sprinted to her front door. I felt like I was on one of those reality TV shows where they have to do so much to get a bunch of keys and then they have to go unlock the door and it’s almost always one of the last keys that opens it. It was the last key I tried that opened her security door and then I had to find the one that opened the regular door. I was looking for knives, sharp ones. I opened drawers until I found her them. I grabbed 3 knives of different sizes and 2 pairs of scissors, locked both doors behind me and sprinted back to the scene. By this time Sarah was really going into shock and saying, “I don’t care what you guys have to do to get me off this fence, just get me off!” I picked the sharpest knife and started cutting. Luckily there wasn’t too much blood and it started clotting pretty quickly. Once she was free, Jill and I helped her to the car. I was now driving, Sarah, Kandra and I to the Haus Sik. Jill was to run over to our other property where the acting PBT director was living and inform her of the situation, then meet us at the Haus Sik.
When we arrived at the Haus Sik I wasn’t too sure what we needed to do, but was confident enough in my language abilities to figure it out. Kandra and I carried Sarah most of the way to the ER because she was in so much pain. After waiting in the ER for awhile, we were all dripping with sweat. It was hot outside, but much hotter in that room. There were 3 other patients in the ER, a man with a stab wound, a woman with appendicitis, and a man who was involved in a drunken brawl whose face was swollen like a basketball. Luckily, there was an Australian doctor here for two weeks working in the ER that afternoon. He took Sarah right in, cleaned the wound really well, numbed her up and put in 3 internal stitches and 4 external, and gave her a tetanus shot, all for only 10 kina ($3.63). It took us around 3 hours to get in and out.
We are thankful to God that we were all together and were able to help each other. I am especially thankful for prayer and the instant communication with God in situations like this when you need His help. From the minute we stepped out of that car to the time we got home God directed our steps and gave us guidance. Please praise Him with us!