Monday, April 22, 2013

First Aid Tips: What NOT to do!

Thanks everyone for your thoughts and emails regarding the healing of my cut.  Boy, have we learned a lot as we have never had to use the healthcare system in foreign countries or even self treat a wound before.
(Videos below)

1. Don't just grab your traveling first aid kit that has been sitting on the shelf for ages.  We did that and found out the alcohol towelettes had all dried up, the sticky part of the bandaides would not peel off the plastic protector and we didn't have much adhesive tape left.

2.  Don't assume that in these instances you can buy what you need in foreign countries.  I sent Ward out for surgical pads.  He couldn't find them and came back with panty liners. (I'll never look at them the same any more!).  As we had nothing else...we used them for the first 5 days.  We then found some surgical pads (which are a lot softer) at a good Pharmacy in New Delhi.

3.  Have some general first aid knowledge.  Since I never had a stitched up cut before, my first aid skills in a foreign country were inept.  We were avoiding water since the water here is contaminated (however, we do have our own water filtering system but, I was so nervous about getting an infection that I was even apprehensive in using that!)  Therefore, we changed the bandage daily and would only clean it with alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. (Had to use hand sanitizer until I could find any alcohol.)  I didn't realize (until day 6) that the hydrogen peroxide is only suppose to be used for the initial cleaning (this was after we made the video...which is now titled  "what NOT do do for wound management which is loaded below) and found out the skin was burnt (as hydrogen peroxide kills EVERYTHING) and some skin actually came off onto the bandage.  Hmm, what to do now.  As I was afraid a bandage would break open the blisters I left it open to the air thinking it may heal quicker and not be irritated (this is when I was in the hotel room and not out in the Indian pollution.)

4.  Have a contact back in the US that is in the medical field.  At this point I was afraid that I just took a step backwards as it seemed like blisters were forming by the stitches and I had areas where the skin was removed and susceptible to infection.  I was at a loss so I took a picture of my arm and sent it to both Doug Burks (head Pharmacist at the Decorah Hospital and to Annie Zenner Mccune, niece and emergency nurse in Marshfield, WI).  Doug took the picture to one of Decorah's best doctors (Dr. Dougan) and had a wound consult. (Bev Rustad, nurse in Decorah also helped with the advice which was confirmed by Annie Mccune.)  They re-assured me that it was on the right path for healing and that there wasn't any sign of infection...Yeah!!.  They then told me the proper steps that I should be currently taking which were far from what I was doing. Their advice:  QUIT the alcohol and hydrogen peroxide!.  Clean the wound daily with soap and clean water.  Apply sterile vaseline to keep it moist and not stick to the bandage, and ALWAYS keep it covered as it heals better in a moist environment.

I also had to use Doug Burks to review the meds and shots they gave me as there wasn't any instruction given.  We had to do shots in the butt and didn't know what they were for.  Ward had never given a shot before but became pretty good at it.  Next, Ward will have to take out the stitches (day 14).  First time for everything. 

I am now on day 7 and feeling better.  We are planning on trying to bike tomorrow.  We will start with short days and see how the arm feels.  The guys have been super through all this.  It probably helps that they go spectate at the Asian International Champion Wrestling Tournament everyday.  I don't think I am really putting them out too much.

From here we start the second half of our trip.  We are heading to north India and then dropping into Nepal.  Looking forward to the beauty of the Himalayas.

Until next time and thanks again. 

Namaste, Jacky

                                                 Videos: How NOT to care for a wound.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Trip to the Emergency Room

The Sink fell off the wall.

“Jeff ,call 911“, oh here in India it is 118.  Having the end of a  day end in an Indian hospital emergency room is not my idea of a good day.

Monday April 15th  we had good day of riding.   Our 110km day from Agra to Mathura included a few stops at historical sites, some strong headwinds and temperatures only at 113.  We had some good fortune in finding a hotel for 1050 RS.($21.00)   We were tired and just needed some rest and a bit of air conditioning.

Jacky decided to take a  quick shower in an effort to wash away the road grime, air pollution, sweat and sunscrean from the day.  This is when everything went awry at 7:30 p.m..

First I need to explain how an Indian bathroom is designed.  They are all tile, no shower curtain and they have one common drain.  The shower head normally spews water over the entire floor.  Hopefully the drain is at the lowest spot on the floor.  ( Are you getting the picture?)

Jacky was finished with her shower and  was drying herself.  She used the sink to balance herself so she would not slip on the totally wet floor.  This is when all “hell” broke loose.   I did not mean to swear,  but the porcelain sink broke away from the wall and crashed to the floor.   (The rusted brackets were  paper thin.) Jacky slipped and fell on the broken chunks of porcelain sink.  Her right bicep was cut  badly. 

Jeff and I heard all of the ruckus.  Jacky was able to unlatch the door and let us in.  I do not want to sound crude or gross, but imagine walking in, to find your wife bleeding profusely from a 7 inch gash in her right arm, sitting
in a pool of blood and water.  Jacky fainted as I was trying to help her stop the bleeding.  (Remember the shards of the sink were everywhere.  It looked like a scene from a horror movie.)

What to do first?  Stop the bleeding or wash the wound with filtered water so to prevent infection.   We did everything all at the same time.  We washed the wound, stopped the bleeding, and put some clothes on Jacky. 

The hotel staff got us a pedal type rickshaw to go to an emergency room and they accompanied us as well.   Jeff ran along side the rickshaw for moral support.  Jeff filled out the hospital paperwork as they took Jacky into see a doctor right away.   He said a visit in the emergency room required less paperwork than getting a room at a hotel!  I was able to be with Jacky while they cleaned the wound  and numbed the gash and put in 9 stitches. (The scar will not be very pretty.)  (I thought I was pretty tough but the cleaning and stitches  made me light headed.   Not much support for Jacky.)

Indian hospitals must have an open door policy.  While they were stitching up Jacky,  a young boy walks into to see his mother who was an attending nurse.   The hotel worker was also in the emergency room.   The doctor and attending nurse used gloves but no masks by any one else. So much for keeping out any germs.

The cost for the emergency room and doctor was 1000 RS.($20.00)  I took Jacky back to the hotel and Jeff went on an antibiotic run with the help of the hotel staff.   That turned into a 2 hour event.   The drugs and supplies were 650 RS. ($13.00).   I am now responsible for giving  Jacky antibiotic shots twice daily.   I will never make a good nurse,  needles and I are not friends.

We took a truck taxi from Mathura to New Delhi because Jacky will no be able to ride for a while.   Coincidentally,  we had planned on being in New Delhi for the Asian Wrestling Championships, April 18th to April 22nd .    Jacky will heal her arm and Jeff and I will go to the wrestling tournament.   Our next challenge will be keeping infection at bay.   Thanks to Doug Burks (Pharmacist at Winneshiek Medical Center in Decorah) for informing us what the drugs are that Jacky is taking as education at the Pharmacy was not existent.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Days 35-38 of 100 in India plus other fun stuff

As we ride throughout the day we experience a lot of variety in nature, foods and what we see on the road.  They load their trucks so heavy that it is not uncommon to see a truck over turned.

Or maybe the truck was swerving from this road kill.  They never drag the dead animal off the road.  They leave them for the vultures to eat.  It turns into a real nice smell to ride by (if you know what I mean).
Dead cow.

Or you may encounter some very aggressive monkeys.  Pretty smart may I add.  They will jump on you and grab your food and/or water.  Below they stole a water bottle, unscrewed the top, and then poured it on the ground so they could lap it up.

We have had some challenges with the hot weather with riding temperatures reaching 120 degrees.  We frequently have to stop to get something cold to drink, get in the shade or have some good ole roadside watermelon.

Other challenges have been finding internet which seems very surprising to us since they are supposedly the country that we are worried about in surpassing us with technology.  Another challenge is regular electricity.  It is intermittent.  Many places have back up generators but they cannot always carry the load either.  Yesterday there was a 1.5 hr blackout from 12:00 - 1:30pm in Gandi.  Their were surgeries taking place at this time at their state run hospital.  The back up generator kicked in but ran out of fuel.  The surgeons were left in the dark not knowing if their patients were dead or alive.  ICU patients on ventilators had to have their families handle the manual resuscitator to help the patients breathe and other ICU patients had to fend for themselves. They state these blackouts are not uncommon.
Back up generator
We have experienced a lot of beauty also.  There is nothing like a beautiful sunset at the end of the day.

Passing by the mango groves is a welcoming site.  We have eaten mangos and have had a lot of Maaza, the mango drink.

We also are enjoying some great food from the roadside vendors.  One of our favorite breakfasts is the masala dosa.  It is a fried bread that has a potato mixture in it with masala seasoning.  You eat it with your hands, tearing it off and dipping it into the sauces.  Mmm goold!

Below is the grill that they cook it on.  As you can see it is well seasoned.

Now we are off to New Dehli where we will watch the Asian Iinternational Wrestling Tournament.  The e-newsletter will be coming out within the next few days so sign up if you haven't already.

Until then, Namaste (Good-bye in Hindi)

Days 30 to 34 of 100 days in India

This was taken as we were climbing the mountain.  We started at sea level.

We left the sunny beach in Goa and headed inland.  We knew we would start seeing hills but didn't realize we would be climbing over the Western Ghats.  We hit them in the heat of the day, 113 degrees and direct sun.  It was very tough as I (Jacky) was getting nauseous and dizzy.   My sherpas came to my rescue and helped lighten my load by each taking a panier so that we could make it to the top.  We were all beat!

Biking to Hampi.

It got easier from there.  We stayed on the plateau.  We reached Hampi which is known for its ruins that were built in the 14th century.  It was very impressive especially when considering the time period that it was built in. Below are pictures of the temples and their intricate stone carvings.

Elephant stables.
Temple entering Hampi.
Intricate stone carvings.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Some additional photos to go with previous blogs.

Enjoying some R & R on the beach.  Check out our biker tans.
This is the ammunition for "Holy".  Water and paint filled paintball guns and balloons.  Holy is the celebration of colors...of spring.
The locals celebrating "Holy".
Jeff and Ward were full participants in the "Holy" activities.
During "Holy" they have fires and people bring their offerings for the Gods.
Billboards can really tell a lot!  There is a big push for women's justice.
Cows are in the roads and...

even elephants.
They love their spices...
...and their chilis!
City of Bundi.  Palace is on the hillside.
The hotel in Bundi gave us a "safe journey" send off.
Now that's how you fill a jeep!

Its not uncommon to fit 4 on a motorcycle.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Day 15 to Day 29 of 100 days in India

We have surpassed the 2000 km mark for cycling.   21 days of riding and only one flat.  Udaipur to Panjim.

I would to thank Dave Galligan for sponsoring Day 19.   Just a quick note about this.   We had entered the state of Gujarat and and it is a dry state.   Prohibition does exist here.   As a tourist you can get a special permit to purchase beer and or hard liquor but on a very limited quantity.  The state has only 28 locations to purchase alcohol.  We were satisfied to not have our evening celebratory beer.   But in Surat we where next to the beer store and Jeff got the permit and we were able to have a couple to celebrate a long hard day in the saddle. 

Day 15 we were traveling through area with lots of green marble.  Along the roadside there was all of this marble polish strewn about.   We came to learn that the trucks are overloaded and if they need to make the legal weight limit they just throw the bags over the side.

Day 16 we had two mechanical problems.   Jacky had the first flat tire and Jeff's pedal broke.   The flat got fixed but the pedal had to be replaced.   It was not easy to find a bicycle store that could accommodate our pedal needs.   After 2 hours in a city of 500,000 we were able to find a pedal for Jeff.   We had just entered the state of Gurarat and things change quickly.    Now ketchup is everywhere. and prohibition exists.

Gujarat is a wealthier state and it very noticeable upon entering the state.   As our route took us to Surat we noticed more factories and that the crops have switched from wheat to now bananas, tobacco, sugar cane and vegetables.

Day 20 was very ruff for me.   I was suffering from heat exhaustion.    Vomiting, chills, and diareha and I flet like a truck hit me.   Rest day.  Day 21 was not much better, but we covered 42 km and it hit 113 degrees that day.

On day 22 we saw our glimpse of the Arabian Sea in Daman.   We touched the water but to dirty for swimming at least for our liking. 

March 27 was the day  called the festival of colors.   Happy Holi is what the locals call it.  It is celebrated by dousing each other with dry and wet water colors.   As we road along the route we were bombarded with water balloons and dry water color paint.   Jeff and I played along and just got destroyed by the colors.
colors for dousing

On day 24 we were coming into Bhiwandi and Jacky noticed all of the water tankers on the streets.   As we headed out for dinner the police made us return to our hotel because of the danger.   Earlier in the day there riots and now all of the stores were closed and the city was in lock down.   The tankers were for the police water cannons.   No food for us that night and only our 105 degree water.   Editorial comment.   We are hearing and seeing that the police do have a corrupt side to them and it is important to make your contact purposeful  and brief.

Day 25 we arrived in the outskirts of Mumbai.   Huge city and navigation is critical for safety.   At this time we are going to take a train to the State of Goa.   We going to beat the heat and see more of the country and the train will help us do that.   Also it was a goal of Jeff's to ride  on the Indian train system.
train station in Chembur
waiting for daylight to leave station

Easter Sunday is day 27 and we had planned to not ride but we took it very easy and stopped at the Basilica in North Goa and just meandered along the coast of Goa.  77 km later we found a beach hut and rested for the day.  The Arabian Sea is cleaner here and we are all swimming and enjoying the beach time.

Tomorrow we are off towards Hampi.