Accepting being a steward of the land often results in Creator calling upon us to do things we never thought possible. With the will to learn and the desire to do our best, we acquire knowledge, experience and wisdom through the journey. This happened to us yesterday when we woke up and started on our morning chores. We were confronted with one of our milk goats who had a large gash in her bag, deep enough to cut some of the milk glands. She was bleeding and dripping milk out of the gash in her bag.
The vet would cost hundreds of dollars to fix this, money we don't have. So we hit the books and learned how to take care of this our selves. We wrestled her to the ground, washed out the wounds and cleaned it up as there was dirt in the wound. Iodine and hydrogen peroxide we had, so we used them to clean up the wound as well.
We found out that nylon thread is what is typically used to stitch skin, so we found some nylon upholstery thread, disinfected it and soaked it in the iodine along with a curved needle. After washing the wound out over and over again, we were satisfied that we had it cleaned the best we could. At least there was no visible dirt in the wound any longer. We soaked the wound with iodine and then started to stitch the wound together ourselves. Carey had watched the doctor stitch up our son's foot when he cut it this past winter, so she had a good idea what to do. I think we did a good job. You can hardly tell the cut is there.
It is hard to see, but the cut starts just behind the foreground teet and arks around the right side of the teet and down past the bottom of the picture. We put 7 stitches in to hold it together. We learned that skin is tougher than we thought. It was challenging to get the needle through the skin, but we managed. I don't have to mention that the goat did not just sit there for this procedure either. We had to sit on her and hold her legs to get this done. The whole process took us about two hours as we were confronted with a huge learning curve.
It has been over 24 hours since we finished the procedure. We are milking her off 3-4 times a day and soaking the wound with peroxide to help ensure there is no infection. We continue to monitor for infection as our goat is not out of danger yet. We are putting Manuka Honey on the wound to ensure the flies don't lay eggs in the wound. The honey also has very strong anti-bacterial properties, so we hope that helps deal with any infection that may be present.
With all that shared, I must share the emotional, mental and spiritual implications of this experience. We have dealt with emergencies during goat delivery in the past. I've seen two heads sticking out so I had to push one back in so the other could go first. We had to deal with having to pull babies as the mom and kid were in distress. Now stitching up a large gash added to the emotional reality of life on Mother Earth. With all the issues we have experienced, I was surprised that I felt no panic. So much shit has happened out here, not much panics me any more. But I did feel sad and a bit scared as we did not have the knowledge or skills to fix this ourselves. But we are willing to learn and we had the tools, so we buckled down and did the work. Fear is a powerful force when we use it for good rather than evil. When we push through the fear of ignorance we find ourselves expanding our familiarity zone and the fear starts to go away. But if we run from the fear, we never accomplish that spiritual accomplishment!
Afterwards, Carey and I were absolutely exhausted. We still experienced an adrenaline rush as our bodies responded to the emergency. Afterwards we had to rest but we were very happy that we were able to do something to help out our goat. I am confident that infection will not be an issue due to all the work we did to clean it up. If we can manage the infection, then that will provide a huge boost to our confidence in responding to other emergencies. In fact, we have dealt with lots of emergencies out here and we are starting to get pretty good at it.
This knowledge and experience goes a LONG ways towards dealing with our own emergencies if they should ever happen. Animal stewardship has provided us with a lot of experience in the area of health care and dealing with emergencies. I know for a fact that if this happened 10 years ago we would both have panicked and failed to help our goat. I don't believe in avoiding situations like this. That does not serve us at all. I may have felt a bit frustrated in the morning when I found out about the gash in her milk bag, but I am very grateful for the experience and being able to help her out. I will also admit that slaughtering animals has provided me with a tremendous amount of experience in knowing the anatomy of our animals so that we could help out in situations like this.
I will never claim to be a doctor or a vet. I will also never claim to practice medicine either. What I can share is that I learned a lot through this experience and my knowledge, wisdom and experience continues to grow as we work hard to be stewards of this land and all the life that has joined us here to share in that experience. I am grateful to Creator and Mother Earth for this journey.